The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front And Center: Katie Zaccardi, NY Chapter Leader & Head of Marketing and Development, #WomenCrush Music

By Myki Angeline

Katie Zaccardi brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to her position at #WomenCrush Music, an organization that connects artists with future collaborators to educate them about the business, helping them stand out in a male-dominated industry. Currently, WCM has chapters all across the country including New York, Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, and Canada.

Not only is she an accomplished singer and multi-instrumentalist, Katie graduated from NYU with a degree in Music Business. Her years as an indie artist gives her an edge in her role as NY Chapter Leader, while her current career in music publishing adds to her position as head of Marketing and Developing. In this interview, we talk about WCM’s impact on women artists and what they have in store for the remainder of 2018.

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WiMN: Tell us a little about #WomenCrush Music and your role with the company. How long have you been working with #WCM?

KZ: #WomenCrush Music is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support rising women songwriters by hosting showcases, workshops & networking events, all while creating a safe community in each chapter. I serve as NY Chapter Leader, where I organize and run our showcases and events, as well as Head of Marketing and Development, where I run our social media and coordinate partnerships. I’ve been with #WCM officially since September of 2017, but Chloe, our Junior Publicist, actually pointed out that I was the very first artist to play the first #WomenCrushNYC Showcase back in May 2017, which is how I originally heard of and got involved with the organization.

WiMN: How has #WomenCrush Music impacted the independent artist and the hurdles they face?

KZ: #WCM constantly works to educate the community so all members are able to empower themselves to navigate the hurdles that they face in the music industry, especially as women artists. We do this primarily through our workshops/networking events, as well as within our Facebook Community groups where we facilitate discussions about issues in the industry and answer any questions artists may have. The more knowledge independent artists gain, the more confidently they are in their artistry – whether it be on stage, in the studio, and/or behind the scenes on the business side. We also have showcases every month which gives artists the opportunity to see and really connect with other songwriters and artists. Ultimately, we want to bring women together and create a strong community, and believe that this will strengthen independent artists’ ability to navigate the industry.

WiMN: Where are you from and where are you currently residing?

KZ: New York all the way!

WiMN: Did you work anywhere previously that was involved in the music industry? How did those previous jobs prepare you for working at #WCM?

KZ: I studied Music Business at NYU, so all through college I was preparing to enter the music industry after graduation through my classes & various internships. Since our #WCM staff is all volunteer, most of us also hold other jobs (and/or are still in school) – I currently work in music publishing full time. My current job, as well as my internships & college classes, have prepared me by helping me learn more and more about the many different facets of music industry. What has probably help me the most, though, is being an independent artist myself. During college and still now I write and perform music, so I’ve experienced many of the very challenges we hope to help indie artists with.

WiMN: As a female working in the music industry, have you experienced discrimination for being a woman? If so, how have you overcome that?

KZ: I am lucky enough that I don’t have any horror stories about working in the industry & facing discrimination, like so many do. I’ve had great bosses, many of them female, throughout my internships & now current job, so I’m in no position to advise on how to overcome the issue. But, like many, I’ve often feel underestimated and like I wasn’t being taken seriously, either because of my gender or age. In my experience, the best way to overcome that is to just ignore anyone doubting you or sending you negative energy, and keep doing your job and doing it well. I try to focus only on my goals personally and as an industry professional, and surround myself only with people who support each other and bring positive outlooks. Sounds cheesy but it really does make a difference!

WiMN: What is #WomenCrush Music doing to reach more women in the industry?

KZ: Aside from hosting our showcases and events, we are working hard to facilitate community and reach more women via social media. We’re building up our platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), as well putting a lot of time and energy into growing our Facebook Community Groups. We have a Facebook Group for every city we have a chapter in, which gives the community a less intimidating opportunity to connect with their Chapter Leader and others in their city. It also allows us to reach more people and widen our reach so we can hopefully serve more and more of the community!

WiMN: Tell us a little known fact about yourself. Do you play any musical instruments or sing?

KZ: I do! I’m a songwriter and I play piano, guitar, ukulele, sing, and have been dabbling in banjo and drums.

WiMN: Can you share with us what #WomenCrush Music (and you) have coming up for the remainder of 2018?

KZ: So many exciting things! In New York in particular, we have some great events and workshops lined-up, several of them partnerships with other great companies that empower women! #WCM as a whole is growing, so the plan is to keep expanding our current chapters, and you may even see a few new chapters popping up this fall. That’s all I can say for now, though.

WiMN: Do you have any advice for women wanting a career in the music industry?

KZ: Put yourself out there, network/connect with others in the industry, and most importantly, help people out. Not everyone has the flexibility to volunteer their time to organizations or people in need of assistance, but if you can, that’s also a great way to get started and get experience. Additionally, networking can be intimidating but is so valuable. There are a ton of Facebook groups out there (#WCM’s is a good place to start!) that focus on (women in) the music industry, which is an easy and less intimating way to connect with people, ask questions, and find opportunities. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help you out if you ask a question in one of those groups, and also how much people appreciate any input you can give on their own inquiries!