J. Ross shares how Innervoice Media motivates creative people to use art and music for community advocacy in Auburn, California.
Listen to the full interview of Jamie Ross with Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.
What mission matters to you, and how did you get started on your path?
Ross says her mission is to connect communities through art, music, and advocacy. Giving youth a voice and important place in the community using mentorship and agency.
"Music was ingrained in me since childhood," she says, recalling that her family would jam together to Jackson 5 songs. In college, she joined a slam poetry team and traveled around the country for performances; the experience encouraged her to find her voice, and after graduation, she won an emcee competition. With her confidence boosted, she began participating in emcee battles in New York and worked her way up through a male-dominated industry, eventually signing with Universal.
"As I progressed, I realized the difference between corporate America and community America," she notes. "I ended up coming back to my hometown, Auburn, and founded a non-profit called Beats Lyrics Leaders to create music with the youth."
Tell us about Beats Lyrics Leaders.
Ross says she wanted to channel her purpose, music, and art into servicing her community and the communities around her. She founded the nonprofit organization Beats Lyrics Leaders 12 years ago along with two producers, focusing on bringing together young talented musicians to provide resources and opportunities for students who need them most. "We run 3-5 day conferences at native reservations, military academies and bases, and juvenile halls to empower students to recognize their voice and grow through music," she says.
What's your secret for really connecting with a community?"It's having a conversation without ego and power," she says firmly. "We're fighting with traditionalists and trying to disrupt a system. I just finished my Master's program in Educational Leadership, which taught me that communication, in any capacity, can make a community (more) equitable." She also shares that one of the reasons why she was brought on at Innervoice Media was her adeptness at fostering community connections.
Tell us about Innervoice Media and your work there.Innervoice Media is a full audio and video production company in Auburn run by President and CEO Stephen Ellestad with Creative WonderLab offering broadcasting and filmmaking facilities, equipment, talent, and more. Ross says it aims to bring communities together, help them dream bigger and reach their goals.
"We offer our facility for services, rentals, and equipment you can't find anywhere else," she explains. From flex studio space, makeup and design, character development and storyline creation to green screens, soundstages, and broadcasting facilities, there's a broad range of resources to take advantage of.
What is Kidsapalooza about?"I was working with the Auburn Parks and Recreation Department and figuring out what to do for the kids when Kidsapalooza came about," Ross says. The music, art, and wellness event is free for kids to attend on September 1. Innervoice Media will host a section with Westcoast Modular Society where students can explore sound via synthesizers and other instruments. She says Innervoice will have a presence throughout the event as well as other community leaders and businesses,, including a wellness section, since art/music, recreation, and wellness are so deeply interconnected.
What's next?Innervoice conducts jam sessions the last Sunday of every month; there, students can explore instruments in an un-intimidating environment and enjoy one another's company. The organization also hosts regular meetups and I offer a Rockstar camp for kids, as well as creative photography and creative writing classes.
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