Latest session of Challenger Series by m/SIX discusses importance of upskilling within music industry

m/SIX, one of the media agencies in the WPP-owned GroupM network, hosted its 4th instalment of the Challenger Series, a webinar and live  panelist session that brings industry professionals together and this edition of the series focused on the music production industry. 

Panelists included representatives from Creative Agency Asia (CAA) and Maveriq studios who shared their own experiences of how the industry came together to create new opportunities for talents and creatives in the entertainment industry that have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Moderated by the Managing Director of m/SIX, Sheila Shanmugam the full panel comprised of:  

DJ Hayze

One of Malaysia’s biggest electronic music exports, a singer, songwriter, producer, musician,  performer and DJ. Hayze is the Creative Director and co-founder of CAA which is setup as a training hub  to foster collaboration, inspire and import knowledge within the industry. 

The Intermediate Music Production Course by CAA (Creative Agency Asia) was his brainchild and vision to help musicians and  artists upskill and stay relevant with the changing needs brought about by the pandemic. The program  is supported by HRDF Penjana and Hayze was instrumental in lobbying the government to grant the  funds for the program. 

Paul Morrison

Paul is the founder of Maveriq Studios, a leading studio in Southeast Asia providing the  entire spectrum of Audio Post-production services from Music composition, Sound Design, to Audio Post  across all media categories. Paul is an award-winning Creative Director, Composer, Producer. 

Meredith McLean

A Canadian who has been in Malaysia for the past 18 years, Meredith is the Executive Producer at Maveriq Studios, doing post production work on everything from Netflix series, TV, radio to films. She is also the co-founder of the Intermediate Music Production Course by CAA (Creative Agency  Asia) with Hayze.  

Russell Curtis

Independent recording and performance artist. Singer, song writer & music maker. Russell is the only Malaysian to perform at the Kansai music festival in 2017. Russell was one of the few  lucky students of the CAA Program.  

Highlights from the session:  

CAA was inspired to set up a training program due to the loss of revenue stream among artists since the onset of the pandemic, which was the catalyst to making this vision a reality.  

“We all realized that the industry was in trouble; everyone across the board,  from those in the DJ community to performing artists like Russell who couldn’t perform in live venues,” Meredith said. “We  saw the opportunity to approach the government and try to get them to see that this was an industry  which really needed support and these musicians needed to learn new skills in order to be able to transition  into this new landscape and to create new revenue streams.” 

According to Paul, looking at the way that the pandemic affected the community, he realized that upskilling was a key component to helping the industry. 

“Not by giving financial handouts, but actually skilling them up to help themselves,” he explained. 

For Russell, the pandemic meant that he had to find new ways to make his music work virtually. On 18 April, he performed live from his home for the first time on his show called the Russell Curtis Homecoustics Session. 

“That was my turnaround, driven purely from realizing that the scene has changed, after being a live performer for 15 years,’ Russell said. 

Pushing aside his fears, Russell joined the course run by CAA, which introduced him to the new skills he needed to navigate the new environment.  

During the session, a common theme highlighted by all panelists was the need to upskill and pivot in order to not just to survive but thrive. Each panelist also highlighted the importance of supporting each  other within the industry and agreed upon the fact that the future of the creative industry lies in the adoption of new technology that will enable individuals to cross over across disciplines and borders while continuously lifting the standards of the industry as a whole.  

The session was attended by over 180 audience members comprising of the GroupM and CAA family, clients and partners. It ended with a powerful performance from Russell Curtis, who gave the audience a preview of his upcoming single titled ‘Empathy’. 

Main image: 123rf

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