Music

Progression: A podcast by Jane Shin is now live

I'm excited to share my new podcast today: Progression. It's a show centered on mental health, personal development and spirituality through conversations I'll have with artists and through my own reflections as a woman working in the music industry.

Listen to the first introduction episode and learn about how this project all came together at progression.fm/intro.

If you heard something that resonates with you, send a link to someone who’d be interested in tuning in.

Your continuous support means a lot to me, so thanks for being part of this journey with me.

So long, Spotify: Reflections on creating content and speaking my truth

And that’s a wrap. Today is my last day at Spotify. Since February 2017, I was a writer on the Originals Team that brought original audio and video content to Spotify for the first time. I worked largely on video content for RapCaviar as I watched it grow from 5 million to over 10 million followers as the second largest playlist on the platform.

I came into the role armed with my writing chops, my early foundation in journalism, and my most recent artist relations experience I developed previously at SoundCloud.

Video production though was a new world, so I was excited to learn as much as I could. I’m grateful for how much I’ve learned and grown, even bridging over to creative producing. I sharpened my skills in conceptualizing creative ideas, writing and pitching treatments, understanding the ins and outs of being on set, and interviewing artists.

Artist relations always went hand in hand with my role as a writer. Helping bring opportunities for artists and creators I believe in, especially emerging artists, producers, and women brings me joy. Big thanks to all those I’ve gotten to cross paths with, work with, and support throughout my time at Spotify. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and brought to the table. Some of my favorite memories include:

  • Covering the underground movement Denzel Curry started in Carol City that marked its place in Miami hip hop history and whose sound inspired a new generation of SoundCloud rappers

  • Bringing spirituality and hip hop together by inviting Imani, The Hood Healer, through to do Trippie Redd’s first spiritual reading and a special group reading for International Women’s Day dinner with City Girls, Kali Uchis, and Molly Brazy

  • Having 6LACK cook chicken wings for fans at his favorite American Deli in Atlanta

  • Telling the story of LVRN and their establishment as a creative, hardworking management company as they celebrated the opening of their new office and studio in Atlanta

  • Visiting legendary, solar-powered Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, a special recording studio that reverberates positive energy and love because of the Tree Sound team and where artists like Outkast and Future have been recording in for years

  • Exploring the history of Go Go music in D.C. and its influence on GoldLink’s At What Cost

  • Bringing some of my favorite producers through to help tell their stories which contributed to the growth of the Visualize producer series and playlist: DJ Dahi, Take A Daytrip, Teddy Walton, ThankGod4Cody and Carter Lang

  • Organizing and hosting the first ever Women@Spotify LA panel and networking mixer event where I invited women filmmakers to share their experiences and advice in celebration of International Women’s Day

  • Concluding my final week and final video project on set in Philadelphia with Tierra Whack whose music and originality has inspired me to take greater leaps and to always be myself

I’m grateful for the challenges and learning experiences that remind me to always speak and stand in my truth. Perseverance and resilience continue to build my character and strength, and having integrity gives me the courage to move forward. Key takeaways and reminders:

  • Trust your gut, know yourself, and stand for what you believe in. I’ve shared this in previous takeaways, but it’s worth repeating.

  • Share your hard work and accomplishments to advocate for yourself, but don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve been on a continuous journey of sharing my voice and consistently talking about the work I do. Sometimes I may want to lay low, and that’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t share every moment you’ve created and every contribution you’ve made. The work will ultimately speak for itself, but revel in things that you do want to celebrate and share with others.

  • Know who’s in your court, stick with them, and tell them you love them. I’m grateful for my supportive family and tight circle of friends who remind me that I am loved, supported, and seen. Congruent energy is key.

What’s next for me? I’ll be sharing more updates about my next moves soon in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be decompressing and working on some projects I’m excited to build and grow.

You can get in touch with me by heading to the Contact page on my website or feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. If you’ve been following along with me on my journey in music since the early days, thank you for the continuous support. Here’s to new beginnings.

My first music showcase: April + VISTA, Ivy Sole, and Bathe

Last Thursday I hosted and curated my first music showcase at Forecast Recordings, a boutique recording studio in the Arts District of Downtown LA.

It was a lovely night of music with three talented East Coast-based acts: April + VISTA, Ivy Sole, and Bathe. It was also April + VISTA’s first headlining LA show and Bathe’s first show in LA.

Curating my own lineup has been on my music bucket list for some time. As an avid concert goer since high school and a lover of live music, I was excited to find myself full circle, curating and organizing my own music line-up. Thanks to my friend Hollis, a singer-songwriter who also moonlights at the director of the studio, I was able to cross that off the list.

There was great energy in the room, thanks to everyone who came out to support these talented, independent musicians. Bathe opened up their set, entrancing the audience with their psych-inspired R&B sounds. Ivy Sole got the crowd energized with her poetic tunes and dancing ensued. April + VISTA sealed the night with their electric, moving set and previewed new music from their upcoming EP You Are Here.

April + VISTA, Ivy Sole, and Bathe are all carving their own lanes and sounds while creating from authenticity, love, and vulnerability.

I was honored to have invited them all to personally to be part of this showcase not only because their music is incredible, but also because I’ve met them at various points in my life so far. To be able to reflect back together on how we met and how far we’ve come since then is a reminder for all of us to keep going.

April + VISTA

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April George and Matt Thompson make up the genre-bending duo April + VISTA from the DMV. April is a violinist, pianist, and vocalist. Matt is a bassist, producer, and engineer. Together, they create incredible soundscapes and stories through their music, influenced by everything from gospel and soul to futuristic, experimental sounds. Their music transports you to another place and lights you up.

I first heard of April when I heard her across GoldLink’s projects over the years. Her talent and voice blew me away and has played a significant role in the growth of his sound. I met her backstage at a 2016 GoldLink show at Social Hall in San Francisco. We stayed in touch through the Internet and our connection grew especially in the last year. Last year, I interviewed and wrote a profile on April for OkayPlayer.

A special highlight was that after their show on Thursday, their latest single “Own2” played on the KCRW airwaves, an hour before their flight back to DC on Saturday. Alignment in action is a beautiful thing.

Ivy Sole

Ivy Sole is a Charlotte, NC native who now resides in Philadelphia. She boasts an incredible amount of talent as a rapper, singer, and songwriter. Her writing is strong and poetic, heartfelt and healing.

I learned of Ivy when she appeared on the Fresh Finds playlist (shoutout to Athena Koumis) and we met for the first time last year as part of my 2017 Jane Shin Summer Tour across five cities–Miami, Atlanta, NYC, Stockholm, and London.

There’s always something to take away from her music and a lot of depth to it, whether it's a song about the rollercoaster-like feelings of being in love or about the fragility and simplicity of life. She has an upcoming project coming soon too, so stay glued to this one.

Bathe

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Bathe consists of Devin Hobdy and Corey Smith-West who create luscious, psych R&B. I first met Devin in 2015 back in my SoundCloud days. He was one of the coworkers I instantly connected with right away as we swapped music links back and forth.

I didn't officially hear his musical talents until last December when he shared the band's demo of “I’ll Miss You” on his Instagram Stories. I instantly loved what I heard, we kept in touch about things since the start of the year, and I invited them to come out to perform their music live for the first time in LA.

Through my experiences working in digital music for the past 10 years, I often think about how artists “break” on the Internet. In this case, it was cool to invite a new band like Bathe to perform despite the fact that they haven't shared any music publicly yet. I felt it was a treat for people to experience their music live for the first time as opposed to a SoundCloud link. They have music coming out this year though so stay tuned.

Takeaways from the night

  • Support emerging and independent artists. Sure, it's a saturated industry we're in, but it's an exciting time in music. There's a lot of incredible music out there, especially from new artists who are creating new sounds and taking risks on the daily. I’m thankful I’ve gotten a chance to work with emerging and independent artists over the course of my career, and I don’t intend to stop. 

  • “Build the community you want more of." Community is everything. The right people will come. Don't worry about chasing after people or things that don't reciprocate at your level. Be mindful of what you spend your time on and with whom. 

  • "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." I’ve always loved this quote from Steve Jobs, and I find myself thinking a lot about it in the context of heightened alignment I've been experiencing as of late. Not sure if this is a side effect of turning 30, but it feels good. I'm grateful for all the challenges and experiences that have led me to this point. Go after the things you want to do. If it sparks joy, keep doing it and follow your intuition.

International Women’s Day 2018: Women in Music & Film Panel recap

One of my goals in 2018 has been to create events in the community for people, especially women, to come together to connect, speak, and share space.

Successfully putting an event together in honor of International Women’s Day last Thursday was powerful and reminded me that courage can invite so many great things into my own life and into the lives of others. 

Photos taken by Génesis Ahtty

At the end of 2017, Jean Edelstein, an extraordinary writer and former colleague, tipped me to the “Women@Spotify” group, an employee-run group at Spotify for those who self-identify as a woman. The group’s mission is to celebrate, support and elevate members through initiatives and events. I thank Jean for planting the seed for me to explore resources to plan events in LA on behalf of and for women in music.

Months later, I’m proud that I launched the first official Women@Spotify LA event on International Women’s Day this year: Women in Music & Film: Panel and Networking Mixer.

In thinking about the themes of the event, I wanted to specifically invite Women of Color to speak. Intersectionality, a theory on race and gender, coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is important to raise awareness of and talk about–black women and other Women of Color have different experiences and challenges compared to white women.

I was also inspired to invite women filmmakers in music and film because as I’ve entered into the field of video through writing video content for RapCaviar, I wanted to connect with more women in these spaces.

I invited Evita Castine and Jaimie Sanchez to join me as featured panelists. These two incredible women have interesting backgrounds that have led them on their paths where music and film collide:

Jaimie Sanchez is a Dominican-American documentary producer and director hailing from Brooklyn, NY. She has helped produce films for the ESPN 30 FOR 30 series and was most recently a senior producer at VICE. She currently directs video content for Spotify. She has worked with brands like NIKE, CASIO, Pyer Moss and GoPro to showcase documentary filmmaking as a valuable medium.

Evita M. Castine is a writer, director, editor, cinematographer and photographer. She is Warner Brothers Emerging Director Finalist, Emmy winner and took home the audience award at the Diversity in Cannes Showcase in Cannes, France for her film “Only Light.” She is heavily influenced by black anthropologists and writers like James Weldon Johnson and Zora Neale Hurston who inspired her to look at the soul’s expression through the simple acts of everyday life using sound and images. She has directed videos and photographed artists Cody ChesnuTT, SZA, Dej Loaf, Raphael Saadiq, A Tribe Called Quest, Lalah Hathaway, Common and more.

It was an affirming, healing and inspiring evening of conversation and connection. Listen to the full conversation and Q&A below about the strides and learnings in Evita and Jaimie's careers and the importance of recognizing and owning your power as a woman and more.

Key moments throughout the conversation and Q&A: 

  • 5 min: The moment Evita realized she was committing herself to filmmaking when she started making films with friends which is what filmmaking is at its core

  • 5:40 min: Jaimie on being the first out of her siblings to go to college, graduating with a biology degree but realizing that something creative was calling her and taking a chance on herself

  • 7:30 min: Catalyzing things for a man that Jaimie didn’t quite understand herself at first but realizing her power that she could things for herself: "This would not have happened if I weren’t in the equation...I could do this for myself instead of just empowering someone"

  • 8:34 min-~14:00 min how Evita’s identity as a black woman and Jaimie’s identity as a Dominican-American woman influence their work and the way they work with people behind the scenes

  • 14:38 min: Evita on the most important thing you can do for yourself is hold space for yourself. The only way you know it is because you know it.

  • 16 min: we all live on the internet, there are no boundaries or conventions of anything. It’s about the work at the end of the day.

  • 20 min: All you need to say is "I am a director, I am XYZ," avoid saying "I'm an aspiring XYZ"

  • 21 min: Building confidence through persistence

  • 22 min: Putting yourself in the position with the right people and being selective about your opportunities to build resources, even if you have to pay your dues sometimes

  • 23 min: Biggest lessons throughout Evita and Jaimie's careers that stick with them

  • 26 min: Trusting your gut and being resourceful on your own

  • 27 min: Investing in your personal life, don’t isolate into one narrow path

  • 29 min: Proudest moments and highlights in Evita and Jaimie's careers so far

  • 33 min: Importance of empowering women, putting other women on and spreading positivity because it will come back to you

  • 38 min: Q&A: How do you deal with men in the industry who only want to help you after you date them?

  • 40 min: Importance of boundaries

  • 42:16 min: Evita on "Your intellectual property is important, especially for Women of Color"

  • 43:26 min: Act and walk around with the confidence of a man

  • 45 min: Awareness of pay and challenges women face with negotiating pay

  • 48 min: Q&A: How do Evita and Jaimie collaborate with music composers as filmmakers?

  • 52 min: Q&A: Where do you find the line to pause and use better judgment from difficult situations where you feel immediate emotional responses like anger or crying?

  • 58 min: Q&A: How to deal with competition among fellow women?

  • 1:00 hr: Love yourself no matter what and everyone has their own "bucket of magic"

  • 1:02 hr: Your peace of mind is all you have

  • 1:03 hr: Insecurities and vulnerabilities

  • 1:04:38 hr: Q&A: How do you establish your identity when you're getting feedback from people on how to be?

  • 1:12:20 hr: Q&A: What advice do you have for me to expand beyond just being a producer-singer-songwriter to share my music in film?

Additional links and resources that came up from the talk:


Personal key takeaways:

  • My voice as Jane Shin matters. I am not defined by where I work. I’m Jane Shin in the end. My dreams have no bounds, my identity has no bounds.  

  • Evita mentioned, “I’d rather be scared and free-falling and be free instead of wondering what if?” I had moments where I questioned how things would go with the event, but in the end, it all worked out. Taking that step, no matter how things turn out, can open doors and spark more ideas and connections.

  • Challenges are inevitable on this journey. When things don’t go my way, stepping back to remember that my peace of mind is what’s crucial to protect and uphold will help me learn and grow.

  • I am grateful for all the amazing women in my life who came out to support me or shared their support for me from afar. Thank you everyone who took the time out of their evenings to make it all the way out to Century City. I felt so honored, loved, and heard. I also want to share a special thank you to Génesis Ahtty. The last large-scale event I planned was the SoundCloud Artist Forum back in 2015. Génesis was my first intern at the time and was a massive part of the planning and execution of the event. She came in clutch again, on her birthday no less, to be the official photographer and videographer for the International Women's Day event. Look to uplift and support those around you.