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Women and Non-Binary People in the Music Industry: Rasha Shaker

Originally from Pennsylvania, Rasha Shaker currently lives in Nashville, TN, where she moved shortly after graduating college in 2015.

Growing up in a very musical family, Rasha always knew that she was gonna work in the entertainment industry. “Music was always played in my house and I was exposed to several different genres from a young age”, she shares. “Music has always been there for me, during the best and worst days of my life. There are songs that I’ve connected with important events in my life and I just automatically associate everything with music” she adds.

Starting out from a passion for singing, Rasha eventually grew to realize that she would’ve been happy with working on either side of the industry. Life brought her to the business side of it and now she just can’t imagine herself doing anything else.

The entertainment industry is where I really thrive and where my mind always goes. I also love pop culture. If someone asked me about my secret talent it’d probably be my ability to just always find a pop culture reference.”

Working in this industry is not just a job for Rasha, it’s a public service. “I see it as helping the artists reach their fans and inspire them the same way that my favorite artists did for me. That’s one of my main motivations; you can't be in it just for money.”

Career: What does a music marketing professional do?

Rasha is an entertainment marketing professional, specializing in marketing strategy and digital advertising.

“A lot of people when they think of marketing, especially in music, they associate it exclusively to the aesthetics, which is a part of it but not all of it. I’m a super logical person so I always like to expand beyond the creative aspect of marketing.”

In the past, she worked with artists including some nationally touring acts, as well as music venues, festivals, lifestyle and fashion brands. Her specialty within marketing is live promotion, branding, social media strategy, and advertising.

With this impressive background, Rasha is now ready to take on her next position with a Nashville based guitar company that specializes in handcrafted guitars. A lot of their business is in music education where they send instruments to schools. “I’m really excited about it as I’ve never been into musical education”, says Rasha.

As we all know, the marketing side of the industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, since most of their business is in live entertainment.

“I’m so grateful that my unemployment was very short and my heart goes out to everyone who is struggling with it right now” Rasha shares.

Rasha is currently a member of The Recording Academy, Women in Music Business Association, and Women In Music. She’s also a Communications Chair for the Nashville MusiCares Ambassadors program, and she’s a member of the Color of Music Collective.

“I’ve always been an overachiever, especially in school. For me joining all of these organizations is almost like joining a club in school” she says.

As a member of the Recording Academy for almost three years now, Rasha doesn’t have voting privileges, but she still gets invitations to the Grammy’s every year. It also involves volunteer opportunities with MusiCares, although with the pandemic it slowed down considerably.

The Women in Music Business Association is an organization that started as a dinner club and eventually developed into a monthly meeting with a special guest that would talk about whatever aspect of the industry would it be (i.e. publishing, A&R, Marketing). “It's a great way to network and collaborate with women in the industry and I feel so honored to be a part of it, as well as the Women in Music organization” Rasha shares.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Rasha is also a member of Color of Music, a new organization formed earlier this year with the idea of bringing awareness and educating people about the achievements of people of color and LGBTQ+. “They give people a chance to talk about their personal experience and they discuss ideas on how to make the industry more inclusive. It’s so fulfilling,” says Rasha.

To young women and queer people starting out in the industry

“This may sound cliche.. but be yourself, be authentic, be brave enough to embrace who you are because the whole ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality is there but we are in a time now where authenticity is crucial because people are sick and tired of the same old thing,” says Rasha.

“In my personal experience, being so unapologetically myself has gotten me so far; I don’t hold back. I’m a woman of color, I have no filter. I don’t care what people's perceptions of me are. I used to be very self-conscious and almost ashamed of who I was.

Even if it seems obvious, my advice is don't be afraid of being who you are. Some people will always have something to say, but those are the people that you don’t need in your life.

Especially in the industry - authenticity is crucially needed. We wouldn’t have any of the amazing artists that we have and we had if they weren’t unapologetically themselves.”

Follow Rasha on Instagram | LinkedIn | Website

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