Since 1993, the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation has worked to bridge the success for youth through music by providing workshops and showcases to kick-start the musical careers of tomorrow’s future music industry leaders.
Recently, the nonprofit organization partnered with Miss Compton 2017 title holder Maliyah Mason, to give instruments to underserved schools and communities throughout Los Angeles County as part of the foundation’s Give Music program.
This year seven partner schools and organizations participated including; Notes for Notes, Hollywood High School, L.A.C.E.R Afterschool Program, Compton High School, Dominguez High School, Education through Music: Los Angeles, and Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).
Of the qualified students who submitted a completed Give Music application, 10 were awarded a brand new instrument of their choice. Five of which attended a school in the Compton Unified School District.
According to House of Blues Program Coordinator, DeMarco White, there is a high need for Music Forward’s programs, especially in under-resourced communities like Compton.
Through Give Music, the foundation is hoping to make a difference in the lives of those one instrument at a time.
“We are proud to offer our free programs here in Los Angeles, as well as in other cities around the country,” said House of Blues Music Forward’s Director of Development and Communications, Christibelle Villena.
“What’s unique about the program is that [the instruments] are going directly to individuals who are showing the need for the instrument to further their career or educational goals.”
The program, established in 2013, provides aspiring young musicians the opportunity to strengthen their musical talents, influence their passion, and explore the possibilities and pathways to college and careers in the music industry.
However, the overall purpose of Give Music is for young adults and students to use their instruments as tools to gateway their careers.
“We are hoping that giving them this gift and giving them this instrument is just a start,” said White.
“So we engage them through our other career prep programs with the hopes that this instrument will help launch their career.”
Aside from receiving instruments, the students were also given career advice during the foundation’s Music Forward career panel, which highlighted the panelist’s pathway to success, as well as guidance to the future leaders and their families.
This year’s panelist included CEO of RIMA Records Dr. Ali Fadlallah, 2016 Music Forward Bringing Down the House Alumna and R&B Hip-Hop/Rap Artist Tai Jones, singer/song-writer Kira Morrison, and producer/ audio engineer Sam Solomon.
“We are excited to support Miss Compton’s mission to highlight the arts and expose students to enriching opportunities that expand access and make life long connections,” said Compton Mayor Aja Brown.
“Arts and culture are vital to the fabric of our community and when a young person steps up to the plate to elevate that mission we will be there to support!”
Aside from partnering with the House of Blues Music Forward program, Mason is also utilizing her platform to bring the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) to the City of Compton. The Miss Compton title holder is also working with the city’s mayor to take local students to see the Hip-Hop duo Black Violin.
“If music is your dream, and pursuing music and playing it is your dream, I will help you to make that dream a reality,” Mason said.
“That’s the thing that I’ve been wanting to do, is not only be a positive change to Compton but also help the young people of Compton, to realize that there is so much more that they can do.”