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Accessing the World Through Music

Civic Warriors Episode 19 with Nvak Foundation

"Talent is equally distributed around the world, but opportunity isn't."

Her passion? Music education for all. In this episode we talk with Tamar Kaprelian who tells us about how Nvak Foundation is shaping the lives of women and young adults around the world. Giving those who may not otherwise have opportunities the chance to share their voice, we hear how the introduction of music has brought communities and individuals immense positive change. Tamar shares her own journey, and how her quest to create equal opportunities within an industry have made an impact in more ways than one.


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Civic Warriors:
Innovative, dynamic, gritty, determined, warrior.

Hosts:
This podcast is about the innovators, the leaders on the front lines of adversity, the all around good people doing good deeds. They are the civic warriors of the world. Withum’s guests are the leaders in the nonprofit industry affecting change. They try, they fail, they overcome. Through their stories we can join forces to become civic warriors.

Brad:
Hey warriors. Thanks for tuning in. Withum’s guest on Civic Warriors today is Tamar Kaprelian. Tamar is an American Armenian singer song writer and founder of Nvak, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that discovers talented musicians in country’s facing social, political and or cultural challenges and provides hyper-local world-class music, education and resources to help create and distribute their own contemporary music worldwide. Tamar also form the Nvak Collective, which is a global female first music incubator, B Corp record label, and publisher set out to improve the lives of women in music in underserved regions. Let’s welcome tomorrow to the show. Tamar why don’t you talk a little bit about just briefly Nvak itself, and then maybe we can talk a little bit about a couple of projects you have going on and see where it goes.

Tamar:
Absolutely. Um, thanks for this opportunity, first of all. Uh, and yeah, I mean, you know, our, our whole theory on, um, on the work that we do is that talent is equally distributed around the world, but opportunity isn’t. So we go to places that are on some level struggling from social political, cultural challenges, um, and we help young musicians in those regions, right? Teach them how to write and produce their own music, uh, because the goal is to, um, you know, amplify their voices beyond where they’re geographically located and to use music is such a powerful medium that you use music as a way of self expression and self healing.

Brad:
Yeah, Ashley and I did a podcast, not that long ago, talking about, you know, music itself and the arts in self and how, you know, the, the mechanism for which that, uh, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter what your background is. It’s, it’s, it’s certainly a mechanism to express yourself and it’s certainly, there’s such talent everywhere that, you know, I think what you’re doing is, is, is a great thing. Cause you’re bringing that out, you’re bringing it to light and Ashley’s frozen, by the way, she was going to ask a question.

Tamar:
The one thing that I would say is that, you know, I, my background is from the music business. I’m I, you know, in the past life I was an artist. Um, I am not really focusing on my own, um, music career as much now because I essentially have three organizations that I’m running simultaneously. But, um, you know, I, I grew up in LA and the entertainment business was in my backyard. So with, with the drive and persistence, you can get in the right doors if you want to, because those opportunities are available to you because of the space that you’re in.

Brad:
Cause it’s right in front of you, sure.

Tamar:
Yeah. But what about a kid in Beirut, right. What are the, you know, like what what’s happened in there?

Brad:
Well we know what’s happening there. Yeah, yeah. A lot.

Tamar:
You know, what about it? What about a young woman in Tanzania? Right. Like it’s, um, there are a lot of talented people out there. A lot of, um, a lot of, a lot of people who would love to be able to tell their stories and, and they can’t, uh, because of, you know, socioeconomic, uh, situation or geographic situation. Um, so, you know, that’s, that’s where, that’s where we step in as we go. Okay, cool. Um, you know, we have the ability to go into these places and help these people and, um, we’re, you know, we’re going to do it.

Brad:
Um, you know, and, and so I guess Tamar, you know, you’re, you clearly are, um, you know, you’ve identified something that’s very important, which is, which is, you know, the concept of equality. And, and, and I think in today’s day and age, you know, the more and more we watch the news and the more and more we kind of learn about ourselves and our culture and our, our world itself, you know, we realize that, you know, it’s, it’s one thing to, um, it’s one thing to be helpful to others. And it’s another to actually be somewhat of an activist and, and physically do the work or physically go out into the public and find, you know, these individuals or find, uh, you know, people that are real talents or people that just, just want to make a better life life for themselves. And I think that’s the one thing that impresses me the most is, you know, you yourself have, have physically gone to various countries. And I know you have some interesting stories to some of the places you’ve gone, uh, based on our conversations. Um, you know, but you physically, physically, not only have you brought the issue up, not only have you created a not-for-profit that helps with it, but, but you’re directly impacting lives by physical and direct outreach. Right. I think that’s a big part of what you’ve been doing.

Tamar:
Yeah. I think that philanthropy can be, can take many shapes and forms it. Doesn’t just have to be giving money. Right. Um, which is how we traditionally think of philanthropy is writing a check. Um, but there’s so much more that you can do. You can be a mentor for someone, um, you know, you can, you can actually go and do the work in person. Um, and that human interaction really is something that makes a difference, because I think so much of the time, especially some of these young people in these regions, you know, I mean, let’s use our anemias and nipple em, Armenian by heritage, and it’s a very male dominant culture. Um, the there’s, there’s constant suppression of a female voice. And me as a, as a, you know, a woman going to that country and saying, look, these are all the possibilities you can have in your life. You know, you can, you can be a performer, you can be, uh, an activist. You can be a philanthropist, you can be an entrepreneur. You, you can wait to have kids. You don’t have to get married at 21 and have a child at 21. You know, you can, there’s so many, there’s so many paths that you can take. Um, and you know, sometimes being that voice for somebody else can really change the trajectory for someone. And I think that that is just as important as all the other stuff. That’s just as important, if not more important than writing a check,

Brad:
I would say it’s more important. I think in, in today’s day and age, I think, you know, the helpful hand of another or the voice of another, that’s kind of encouraging you, I think goes a lot longer than a check, right. Especially, you know, especially with what you know, and what I want to, what I want to get into is kind of what, what you’re doing now, which is kind of, um, paying it forward to a bigger degree, which it’s not just your, uh, you know, you’re not just going in and providing, you know, education or going in and, you know, providing a voice. You’re not providing them opportunity as well, which I think is the kind of the, you know, the third layer of what your, uh, mission has been doing, which I, which, you know, has really been an incredible to see it form. And so maybe if you want to talk a little bit about kind of the model you’re creating and kind of how it’s, how it’s going. I think it’s helpful for frame of reference, to kind of the bigger philanthropy picture that you’re talking about.

Tamar:
Yeah, of course. So on the, so, so Nvak started as a foundation, nonprofit 501(c)(3), um, again, the goal being purely to go to regions and to w we do have a female focus. So, um, not to say that we’re exclusive, we’re very inclusive, but female focused nonprofit, and we teach women how to write and produce their own music. Uh, cause there is a lack of, um, female art, you know, the statistics of like the number of women in the music business. And then as artists send us, producers is it’s far too low. So, uh, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to combat that cause like 21% of the artists in the music business are women or something like it’s something like really crazy and low. Um, so our whole, our whole theory on this is like, you know, why don’t we teach artists to be able to create art from start to finish themselves? What I realized in this process is that, um, the education component for the foundation will always be the number one priority, but we also wanted another part of the mission was to be able to amplify the voices of these musicians. Well, how do you do that? You can’t do that through a nonprofit. You just can’t, you’re just not set up that way. Right. So, um, what kind of the natural evolution is that we decided to start a B Corp record label with the goal of going to regions like Middle East, North and East Africa and Eastern Europe, again, slightly different from the regions that we’re working, um, in with the nonprofit, but to go to these regions that are highly underdeveloped regions where, you know, major record labels are not looking for and signing talent from these places. So find talent, sign it, develop it, and put the music out there. And I think what’s cool about the B Corp label is that the goal is to make the nonprofit sustainable over time. Um, sustainability, I think it’s something that’s very interesting. It’s something that, you know, we’ve been thinking about a lot ever since the nonprofit was founded, um, because you know, the whole game of trying to go and find donors and corporate donors and individual donors, it’s just such an exhausting process. And ultimately you end up wasting, I’m sorry, I’m calling it wasting, but you end up wasting so much time that you could be actually doing more work.

Brad:
So fundraising is a job in itself, right. Fundraising is an arm of most nonprofits and, and, you know, in your environment, you’re, you’re the program, the management in general and the fundraising, right. You’re wearing all three hats. So you’re right. I mean, it’s not, it’s not the wrong word to use. You know, the point is that you’re not maximizing time somewhere else because you’re spending so much time bringing money into the foundation to do the work you’re doing it. And that’s not, you’re not even paying yourself a salary, right. That’s just, that’s actually just straight up costs to provide and deliver the services you’re delivering. So I think that’s important to know too, is that, you know, you’re volunteering 2000 hours a year to make this happen and that’s great. Not necessarily sustainable forever. Right. And so, you know, the bigger picture is how do you, how do you, how do you build build an empire as, as I would call it, or as, you know, as I see you building it, you’re building the empire. And a sustainability is the only way that that’s going to thrive going forward

Tamar:
Hundred, hundred percent. And, and so I think that, you know, I really think that there is a huge market opportunity in these regions, um, middle East, um, Northeast Africa and in Eastern Europe, because we, you know, what’s happening is that you’re starting to see some really interesting statistics come from those regions. Um, namely the fact that some of the major DSPs like Apple Music and Spotify now have made their streaming services available in those regions and are starting to set up shop in those regions. What does that mean? That means that they believe that they’re going to get an influx of people using their platforms. Um, I mean the Middle East has like the second, you know, youngest population in the world. Um, there’s some statistic that by like 2024, like 75%, um, of the youth there, they will have, they will have like a, essentially like an iPhone type device. That’s crazy. Like the amount of music that’s going to start being consumed in these regions is going to exponentially increase in the next five years. So we want to really be on the cutting edge of that. And you know, what’s also interesting is we started like digging around and being like, okay, well, let you know, let’s check the charts. Right? Like, you know, who are the main that are streaming, let’s just say in the Middle East right now, you realize, we realize this is just, so this is so crazy to me. Two of the artists are like insanely old, insanely old. I don’t remember their names, but they’re like in their eighties. And then one of them is dead. Like those are the top three streaming artists in the middle of yeah.

Brad:
Yeah. That’s the demographic.

Ashley:
Wow.

Tamar:
That is crazy.

Ashley:
And you wonder how did they even get where they are?

Tamar:
That’s just politics. The biggest pop star in Armenia is this girl named Sirusho, who is the ex president’s daughter in law. And like, that’s just how you become famous is dad pays for you to get there. And what that means is ultimately the most, um, the most talented people don’t get their voices heard. It’s the people who have, um, you know, very, it’s not even connections. Okay. Networking is very important even in the music business, in the U S it’s everything. Right. But, um, but in countries, you know, like Armenia, um, you know, kind of the, the other Soviet style countries area anywhere that is not, let’s say the us UK, Canada, Australia, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s how it’s who, you know, and what powerful person you’re connected to, who is going to, you know, amplify your voice that way. And it’s just not, um, in my opinion, it’s not fair. So we’re really trying to equalize that playing field.

Brad:
Sure. Yeah. And you, and, you know, not, you know, call them non-democratic countries or non, um, you know, democracies, if you will, but, but at st man, I mean, if you look at the U S like business market, it’s the same thing to, you know, get rid of the word government, insert the word corporation. And it’s, it’s the same, it’s the same concept right now. Now, thankfully our society is getting wise to it, to the point of activism, right. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of what’s going on because I think much of the world is starting to really see the colors of the fact that, you know, it’s not just one person or another, it’s a whole system of things that are just designed to benefit one particular person or one particular demographic and not everybody. And so, you know, I think the more and more that it gets called to light, I think, you know, much of the younger generation, you know, call it your, um, you know, people in their teens and twenties right now are probably so in tuned to the concept of diversity, you know, more than the, than three generations before them, that they’re like, well, we want to help people. You know, we want to see other people succeed. And so it’s just so important, the more and more that gets called to light. So, you know, going back to your comment, I don’t, I don’t think the technology just shut off cause you were calling negative against another government. Um, I think the bigger picture is, you know, it’s calling the light, the, the, the real of, of the world, which is inequality. And, but it’s not just inequality. It’s how do we do something about it? Right. I think the bigger picture is exactly what you’re taught, which is what do you do about it? You know, it’s fine that it’s there, but there has to be, there has to be an outlet. There has to be a medium by which change can happen. And I think you’re the Nevada collective you’re creating is a mechanism for that change. If, if I, if I understand correctly.

Tamar:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s going to be really interesting to start, you know, really infusing the music industry with the art that we’re developing. I really think that it’s going to take, it’s going to take the industry by surprise. Um, because I, I think that what the heads of major labels here saying, Oh, you’re developing an artist in Kuwait. Oh, it’s world music. It gets like this… they like categorize it.

Ashley:
Like labeled.

Tamar:
You know? Yeah. They label it in a way yeah.

Ashley:
That’s interesting. And it’s still kind of suppressing that region, almost.

Tamar:
Exactly.

Brad:
It’s almost like they’re saying it’s not as relevant when, when in reality, I think, you know, we’re in a society where I think who’s determining the relevance. I mean, right now, well, they think they are, but I mean, social media has changed that dynamic to the point where I think the world is dictating now what’s what’s right, right. And what’s wrong, you know, this whole, you know, canceling people’s stuff and everything going on. I mean, it’s just a reality of, because we have all this technology that we’re, we’re, we’re, people are able to voice their opinion. They do, you know, people don’t hold that, you know, for good or for better, or for worse people don’t hold back. Now

Ashley:
More light is being shed on certain things that maybe were under the veil of big corporation or these big labels. Now, maybe you’re able to see it a little bit more than in the past. Can you talk a little bit about, um, just your experience with going into these regions and how it’s, um, perceived and, or received or not received and how you kind of break through maybe the norms of what they’re used to and open their eyes and show this different opportunity to get people to kind of buy into it.

Tamar:
So when we’re talking about buying into it, are we saying getting local musicians to buy into it or, or people stateside to buy into it or both?

Ashley:
Yeah, I guess both. So how do you, um, get the local people to feel comfortable doing it when maybe otherwise they wouldn’t, maybe we start there.

Tamar:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, listen, that has been a huge struggle for us in, in a number of regions. And it still is, even though, you know, we’ve been doing work in some of these places for four years, um, Armenians still I’m, you know, I’m 75% Armenian, right? My dad’s half Armenian. Um, Armenians view me as an outsider, which is so strange to Armenians in Armenia. Let me specify that view me as an outsider. Um, and what’s crazy is I grew up speaking the language. Armenian was my first language. I didn’t speak English until I was six. So, um, it’s really hard to Armenia is also very proud culture. So, you know, what I’ll run into is they’ll say I don’t need the help when the truth is, we’re not trying to impose our way of doing, you know, it’s our way right? Is, is there a way, right? Who cares? It’s all about, it’s all about collaboration, opportunity, education, right? Yeah. Do they need the help? Everybody needs help? Like there are multiple levels in which I need help on so many different things. It just becomes whether you’re willing to receive it. And I think that I’ve, I’ve realized in, in, in some places more than others, um, the ability to receive and accept is more difficult than in others. But I do think that, um, it really just is, uh, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s something that’s like ingrained within the culture of like, um, I, I want what I want on my own terms.

Ashley:
Yeah. Like a proud, a proud thing, or I want to earn it on my own, uh, get there on my own?

Tamar:
Never I want to earn it on my own. It’s a pride thing. Yeah. And then, like, for example, in Israel, let’s say completely different region. Um, you know, it’s, it’s taken a really long time to gain the trust of the Palestinian community there because ultimately with the work that we’re trying to do there, we’re really trying to help all people in that country. And, um, Israel is a very culturally diverse space. So you have Ethiopians, you have Armenians, you have Palestinians, you have Israelis, you have, Drew’s like, there are all sorts of different cultures in that space. And you really have to hyper focus on each individual culture and not actually kind of, um, combining it and saying, everybody is one person in that one space is not a good idea. And we’ve actually had to learn that the hard way, you know, um, and it’s taken a really long time to, to, um, to gain trust in that region. Um, yeah. So, and in each space it’s a very different, you really have to take an individual life approach, which makes the work challenging and like fun kind of, um, because you’re not copy pasting in any way, um, and it really, you know, really forces you to understand a culture, uh, which I think is really important when you’re working in regions like these.

Ashley:
Yeah. And then that’s special because you’re, you’re able to see at glimpse through their lens. And then when the music comes out of it, you have that, I’m sure you can see the perspective and what they’re saying through their music based on kind of some of the experiences you had just with working with them or getting buying in is probably not really the right word, but just like you said, just trust, just being able to trust and see what, um, what really like their pain points are and what speaks to them. And then that comes out in the music. And I’m sure that whole process, although a little bit challenging is so rewarding once, once they’re comfortable enough and then you see what they create and that’s beautiful. And then that binds everybody. And then you see that probably the music in itself and all of the things that really hit home with people is relatively similar.

Tamar:
Yep. Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right.

Ashley:
Really awesome. And even in Israel, I know too, like you were saying so many different in one small little space, it’s the size of maybe New Jersey and, and, and I guess in New Jersey, there’s tons of different cultures and different, um, religious beliefs and backgrounds and everything and, and, uh, but yeah, but there’s that, there’s a lot more, um, maybe not a lot, it’s just a different sort of unrest that’s over in these regions.

Tamar:
Yeah. I think, I think really being able to understand the complexity of the unrest is it’s really hard to truly wrap your head around and even understand when you’re on the ground, because there’s so many, so many, so many layers of it. Um, you know, in Malawi, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa, you know, you can’t just roll into Malawi thinking everything’s going to be like peachy and dandy. You really have to, um, you know, you, again, it’s just about understanding culture. It’s about understanding, um, you know, yeah. The, the, the people and where they’re at and they use and, um, you know, uh,

Ashley:
The dynamics, the financial, the economic,

Tamar:
Financial economic, exactly. The social, all of it, all, everything. Yeah.

Ashley:
To get to the point where can work with them, for them to be expressive through the vehicle of music.

Tamar:
Yup. Yup. Yup. Totally, totally.

Ashley:
So what does that, what does that typically look like when you go to a different region or exploring going into a different region, what does that look like on your end for just entering that space and then getting familiar with the people and then actually working with them and creating?

Tamar:
It takes about a year and a half, uh, of research actually to PR prior to doing any work there. Um, which, uh, which seems like a lot of time, but weirdly it goes by faster than you might think. We also make sure to find really smart, cool young creatives and influencers on the ground who can really help not only spread the message of what we’re doing, create awareness, but to ultimately, um, you know, spearhead a lot of the programming when we’re not physically on the ground. Uh, so interestingly in Malawi this year, um, we got funding from the state department and from Madonna’s nonprofit, Raising Malawi to continue the work that we started last year. And what we’ve essentially done is we’ve converted all of our work to remote e-learning and it’s been, um, it’s actually been eye opening cause it’s, Brattle attest, like having worked with me for many years now, it’s very costly to go to these regions and to do the work in person. So how do you reduce costs? You reduce costs by doing work remote and it’s actually going to be a life changer game changer for the Foundation, just the programming that we’re doing in Malawi. So we’re, we’re purchasing. Um, we’re taking a cohort of 15 women, um, doing really focused one-on-one work. Um, it’s the programming from the span of full year, which is something that’s always been, and that’s actually been something that I’ve always been interested in that we’ve just haven’t, we hadn’t prior to COVID really figured out a way to do it. Um, we’re buying 15 laptops and giving these and wifi bundles. Um, so providing data, uh, for our artists in Malawi and providing the equipment that they need to be able to do that you learning, um, that we’re providing. Yeah.

Brad:
Do you need laptops?

New Speaker:
Um, yes.

Speaker 2:
Uh, we actually have some that we’re trying to donate. So let’s connect after this. No, no joke. We actually just donated 15 to a school in Trenton, New Jersey.

Tamar:
Oh my God. Thats amazing.

Brad:
Yeah. We just, we just decommissioned a liner, their computer, so like three years old. So, but they’re not, they’re, they’re, they’re very, they wipe them clean and they’re very good. So let’s connect after this, I’ll connect you with our IT, we may be able to donate some to you

Tamar:
Look at this. Everything happens for a reason, right.

Brad:
Everything happens for a reason. I know we work well together. I know that.

Tamar:
That is a hundred percent of fact Brad.

Brad:
So I apologize for cutting you off. Keep going.

Tamar:
No. So, so, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re testing something out there. And I think that, I think that it’s going to work and I think that, you know, the laptops are basically going to act as library books. Um, so as our network grows, we will obviously buy more laptops over time and donate more laptops over time. Um, but uh, you know, this way, or, you know, the costs will be so low and all the learning that we do will be e-learning. And then this kind of goes into this like kind of third project that I’m working on. Not that the first two isn’t enough. Um, yeah, I don’t know. I’m crazy. Um, but

Brad:
Most crazy people are successful.

Tamar:
That’s yeah. That’s, that’s true. That’s true. Um, one of my really close friends is this songwriter she’s, she’s a Grammy nominated, maybe grant Grammy award winning. I don’t know if Ally’s won a Grammy yet, if she hasn’t, she should. Um, but she’s, she’s one of the most successful female songwriters in the entire world and she’s a close friend and right when COVID started, we, um, we just kind of like looked at each other over zoom. And we were like, why don’t we partner to try and create a place where we offer high quality music education for free cause music education is so damn expensive in the US. So we’ll, we’ll create the content for free and we’ll have the top people in the music business, like, you know, the CEO of this guy named Craig Calman, who’s a mentor. Um, we’ll have Allie teach a course on lyrics. We’ll have Julia Michaels teach a course on Mike technique. Um, so we’ll have all of these really big names from the music business. Um, do a class on Zoom and teach the curriculum we’ve created on Zoom. And then we will put it on a platform like teachable say, uh, and we’ll offer it to everybody and anybody who wants it. Um, and then you, education becomes something that is like, literally like you have these young kids going to Berkeley college of music and they get out of school and they’re in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and they can’t find a job in the music business. It’s crazy.

Brad:
It’s crazy.

Tamar:
But why, you know, and, and not to say that we’re trying to compete with the Berkeley’s or the Claude Davis schools or anything like ultimately there will be kids who say, I want to go and experience this for your thing, because really it’s college is more of a, um, you know, it’s, it’s it’s social experience. Uh, just as much as the isn’t it.

Brad:
Oh, it’s fully a development experience more than just reading a book. I mean, I think, you know, Elon Musk has a good quote, which says, you know, why, why pay for college? You can go to a library and learn anything you want for free. It’s true. However, you’re not going to college just to learn something. Yeah. There’s totally an experience aspect of it, which is what’s making college in 2020 a very unusual experience for everybody because you know, that aspect of just being taken away. Oh yeah. It’s challenging.

Tamar:
Terrible. It’s terrible. Um, yeah. You know, anyways, so not that we’re trying to compete or to position ourselves, like we’re going to really disrupt that system. But I think that there is a level of disruption that has to be done where, um, opportunity is equally distributed, you know, and this is another way in which we are tackling that issue in the music business.

Brad:
Well, you’ve created, you’ve created a, you’ve created the picture, which is, you know, you’ve identified what the, what the need is or what the, what the area you’re trying to help. And, and I think there’s so many facets to it. There’s a people aspect of it. There’s a knowing how to navigate the business aspect of it. There’s an education aspect of it. There’s the actual music part of it, which is what you’re trying to do for a living and, and, and all of these things are mutually inclusive. And so I think what was really cool about everything I’ve learned so far and kind of talking with you. And I think the one thing that, you know, I love the world to know about more is just the fact that you’re kind of creating this all inclusive program, which is helping people not be, be successful. It’s not just, Hey, we’re going to give you a degree and then you’re going to use that. And then you’re going to create your success. It’s, you know, we’re giving you all the tools to be successful. And if, if you follow it, you probably will be, you know, you have a very good opportunity, no matter where you’re from, we’re going to deliver it to you no matter where you are. Um, and, and really they’re going to, you know, I’m sure you’re going to have, you know, you’re going to be involved in it too. So they’re going to know you and your contacts and how, you know, how you go about your day. And I think that’s, you know, I know what the way our profession works, you know, kids go to school for accounting. They come out of school to, you know, work for a firm like ours and, you know, their first day, they’re like, I have no idea how to do my job, you know? And it’s, it’s that on the job training that really, we coach people up, we say, okay, well, you’re going to come with Brad today. And you’re just, just shadow him and you’ll learn a lot more than you ever did in that textbook. I’ll tell you that. And you know, for better, for better, or for worse being around crazy people like me. But, um, yeah. So I think that, you know, and I think the way you’ve structured it to, I think, you know, you have a model that I think not everybody’s utilizing, but I think your model, which is so cool is the B court model, which is, you know, we’re creating a, we’re creating a corporate structure, which is built around philanthropy. And then we’re just, you know, we’re, we’re setting it up such that we have different elements or different arms. And each one kind of does its own thing all under the same mission. Right? So regardless of tax status, regardless of what’s going on, we have the same overriding goal, which is basically the goal of the foundation, which is, um, you know, to help young women around the world. Um, and you’re just, you’re just accomplishing that in, in such a way that you’re facilitating it. So people move from receiving education to having an opportunity, to be with a label, to, you know, basically breaking into the market, which, you know, I think that’s the bigger picture of philanthropy from what I say. I think it’s just a, it’s just a, an excellent model. And, you know, it’s all happening very quickly, which is cool. And, and also, you know, you’re, you’re donating so much time to make this happen. It’s, you know, when, when you’re seeing some of these young ladies like make it, you’re probably, I mean, I’m sure that, you know, gives you a feeling of being very proud of everything you’re doing.

Tamar:
You know, it’s amazing. Two of our artists, um, one this incredible, her name’s Rosalynn. Remember it because you will hear about her soon. Um, she is, she comes from a town of like 300 people in Armenia and a small village, and she is one of the most incredible songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of knowing or being around. Um, she’s truly a poet. And, um, she just signed her first publishing deal with one of the biggest publishing companies in the world, Warner Chapel, um, publishing and you know, her getting a $500 check in her bank account every month that, that those are those moments or Esther Lewis, who is one of our, um, artists in Malawi who, uh, is homeless, um, was homeless, um, getting a check for $500 in their bank account and essentially changing their entire life changing life. Um, and, and she, and she is now too a Warner Chapel songwriter. Uh, those are the moments where like, you just go, Oh, thank you, bye. You know, like all of this work is paying off and you can actually see the results and, you know, you see the lives being changed in front of your eyes and that makes all the bad days worth it. You know,

Brad:
I do. And if you could just forget about, you know, if you could just, you know, if we find a way to remember those good times and not the bad, you know, life is good, right. It’s just those of us that are, you know, I know myself that are a little crazy. We, we tend to, we tend to concentrate more on the things that aren’t going. Well, just forget about the fact, but, but yeah, I, I hear you, you know, that’s those, those little successes are those in this case, big successes that go a long way.

Tamar:
Yup. Yup.

Brad:
So, so from your perspective, I mean, you know, you you’ve been doing a lot. I know we’ve had a lot of conversations where, you know, where do you feel you need help? Like, where do you feel if you were to make a call to action to the public? Like where do you feel you need the most assistance to kind of help this dream come to fruition or further come to fruition?

Tamar:
Um, that’s a great question. I mean, you know, right now for the B Corp label, we’re doing an investor raise. So, uh, you know, I feel like having just started in this vast array is in this climate is, is, uh, you know, I might as well be raising money in the great depression. Like, you know what I mean? That gets a really strange time to be, um, to be doing this. But I also think it’s timely because I think that this idea of, um, you know, philanthropy is on, is on everybody’s tip of term. Um, I think, uh, social causes, um, in particular there’s a specific word. I’m trying to think of this, not coming to my mind, um, a social impact causes or something, or are, are on tip of tongue as well. And so, you know, I don’t know if there are people within y’alls network and want to come on board and like invest in this company that I think, um, you know, we’re raising 1.2 million bucks. We already have like really incredible, um, investors already signed up. Um, the exec producer of the Daily Show, um, has come on board as an investor. I’m Jennifer Aniston’s managing manager is, um, is investing. Um, my friend, um, who is in the HBO series, Westworld is investing. So they have some pretty cool people who have said, um, that they want to, they wanted the end. Um, I love to be able to open that to yall’s network if you guys know some cool people who would potentially want to get involved.

Brad:
Yeah, yeah, definitely. No. And I think that’s, you know, I think, I think the more people hear the story, I think the more people are gonna want to get involved. I see, uh, I see a huge, uh, a huge ability, um, to connect with more people. I see a huge need for what you’re trying to do and, and not even just need, but, but I just see so much positive in what you’re trying to do. And it’s, it’s, it’s just so very, not only socially impactful, but, but very like altruistic and the thought process of, you know, you’re not just doing X, Y, and Z. You’re doing so much more than what what’s being said, what you’re, you’re saying you’re doing right. I think there’s just so much more happening that, like I said, from the beginning, when, when, when people take a social inequity or a worldly inequity, and actually do something with it and make something happen on limited resources and on everything going on, it’s just, you know, it’s incredible to see it come to light and, you know, I’m excited for the day that, you know, it gets five times as big as you’re even dreaming it today, right?

Brad:
Like, you know, this, this, this concept, this model and this, this, uh, program you’re creating or platform you’re creating, if you will, is really, um, you know, is a model that I think others are going to copy, not just in the music world. I think in many, many different, you know, professions and, and, uh, businesses around, around the country, around the world. I think it’s a thought process that, you know, when people talk about how they’re, uh, socially involved or, or involved in the community, and you say, well, what does that mean? Are you just giving money? Are you doing something about it? You know, this is the, this is the, this is the corporate model that really shows that people are putting their energy, resources and money where their mouth is. You know, it’s one thing that everybody in society is saying, Oh, we’re going to do better. We’re going to do better. Like, this is the doing better, right? Like this is the model to show you’re doing better. It’s not just giving money. It’s not just creating a charity. It’s not just giving money to a charity. It’s creating a charity that’s then going to create opportunities for people. And then knowing that you’re trying to not only run a business, it’s less about the business. It’s more about the people you’re helping. And I think if that shift, if that shift happens in the corporations around the world, then this whole conversation in our news today about, um, you know, about this, about how the system is corrupted and unjust, it will go away because the system will no longer be the system will no longer be corrupt. If you set up a B Corp where you have to be by charter, you actually have to follow the mission. Like you can’t, you, you can’t, you can’t, you shouldn’t, you know, violate that, or you’re not, you know, you’re not going to be in business if you that. And so it’s just establishing it from the beginning that you’re setting up a system, that’s not going to create a unjust corporation, or you’re not going to perpetuate the issues of old. And so, you know, the bigger picture and the reason why I really wanted to get your message out is, is this model is just such a powerful model to make change. And so the more people that make that change, the more people that kind of listen. And, and I really, you know, I really hope that that more, you know, investors will cling to this and say, wow, like tomorrow is really she’s ahead of the curve. And, you know, I see it, but I’m just, I’m just a, I’m just a lowly accountant firefighter over here.

Tamar:
I appreciate it. I really appreciate it, Brad. I you’re, you know, and, and Ash, I appreciate you guys taking the time to, to, to hear, hear me out and, um, to help me kind of amplify the message of the work that we’re doing. It is, it is, it is complex. It is multilayered. And, um, but it all, you know, I strive every day to, you know, do the work that I do with integrity. And that’s kind of the most important thing at the end of the day.

Brad:
Of course. So, so what’s, what’s next for you? What, what’s the, you know, where do you go from here?

Tamar:
Well, um, a few places, um,

Brad:
Down to the bagel store.

Tamar:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. Cause I, I, we’re going to probably be moving to LA my husband and I are probably going to be moving to LA in January, which, um, which is yeah, fascinating. Um, I really think that I need to be closer to both Ally, who’s my partner in, um, in song start, which is that program, that E learning program that I was telling you about. Um, and, uh, my other, uh, business partner, Alex, so Libyan, who is, um, my partner in the, in the B Corp records label. I need to be closer to them because I think that, and, and the music business is in the, is in LA. Um, most of it is at least all the creatives are there. So, um, just kind of mentally preparing emotionally, um, preparing myself for that move because, um, you know, I, I love New York and I, I vowed to move back here in five years, but I think I need to go in and put some time in LA and just kind of really, um, integrate myself back into that system. Cause I think in order for all of these organizations to be successful, it needs to be at top of mind for, for all members and all parties involved. Um, so that’s kind of on the horizon. Um, and yeah, so I’m, I’m excited cause I, I think that that’s, I think that that is ultimately going to, um, I really think that that’s going to help us shift this all into the next gear.

Brad:
Yeah. There’s no question about that. And I think, you know, that’s, that’s definitely a big life move, but that’s cool. That’s exciting that, and you’re right. I mean, as much as we like working remotely, I will say there is some aspect that you do get more things done being in front of people. So yeah, we’re learning that every day. I mean, we, we still do our job and things still happen, but I will say that, uh, there, there is, there is something to be said about, I love being around people and, and there’s a lot to be said about the fact that, you know, you are more apt to get things done and really, really get things in motion when you’re in front of people. So it’s a, it’s a good move. It’s an exciting move. And uh, you know, I’m sure that sure you’re looking forward to it, but also yeah, New York is an exciting place to live and you’ve lived there for a while. So I’m sure it’s not easy to bail out of there, but it’s okay. Yeah. Coming back. Yeah. Get back to the East coast. This is the place to be, but –

Tamar:
That’s the place to be. We also need to let New York city heal from its permits. That’s it feels very wounded right now. So I think, um, you know, giving the city, uh, the time to kind of heal itself is really important too. And then coming back in a few years, hopefully it’ll be in a better spot, you know?

Brad:
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. And I know a lot of people have that concurring, a thought that you’re having, as I’m seeing a lot of people in our neighborhoods, like with New York license plates moving in. So it’s definitely, uh, I think a lot of people see that. So there’s definitely, definitely some healing that needs to happen based on everything that’s gone on over the past couple of months and COVID and everything else. Yeah.

Tamar:
All of it.

Brad:
Alright. Yeah. Well, you know, I know we, uh, we, we, we, we gave you, we set an hour and it’s, it’s 10 minutes over, but, uh, you know, I don’t want to, I know you’re a busy, busy, busy woman. So, um, with that, I guess we’ll, uh, we’ll say thank you.

Brad:
Hey warriors. Thanks for tuning in. On the next episode of Civic Warriors we’ll talk with Armaan and Glenn from Embrace Kids Foundation about building strong partnerships and trust with those who need our help most. Make sure to subscribe to Civic Warriors and thanks for all your support. Have a great day.

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