LiveXLive's Michelle Edgar on Music Education and the Genius of Virgil Abloh
As an executive in the entertainment business for over a decade, Michelle Edgar's expertise and focus as head of partnerships at LiveXLive is leading creative brand marketing campaigns and securing partnerships. She was previously VP of brand marketing at Epic Records with clients including Travis Scott, Rick Ross, Black Eyed Peas and Meghan Trainor. She was formerly a branding agent at ICM Partners for clients Mary J. Blige, Anderson Paak, H.E.R., Bozoma St. John, Debra Lee and Tina Knowles.
Michelle founded The XX Project, which provides leading women in business with resources and tools to enhance their lives to propel their business forward. She is also the executive director of Music Unites, a nonprofit funding after-school music education programs to empower youth through music.
We caught up with Michelle for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.
Michelle, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Born in London, raised in New Jersey, and lived in NYC for years. I thought I would never leave the big city and now am as far west as you can go. These days, you can find me running on the beach in Santa Monica daily.
Your first concert.
Liberace—no joke! I've always loved the piano. He inspired me to become a trained concert pianist myself. Next was New Kids on the Block. And I'd be remiss if I didn't do a separate shoutout to Aerosmith and Paula Abdul, whose shows were music magic to my young ears.
Your favorite bands/musicians.
Stevie Wonder! His music just puts a smile on my face. Tom Petty. I am and will always be a Jersey girl at heart. And I love me some Andra Day, Gary Clark Jr. and Jon Batiste and the Stay Human Band—who are three of the first recording artists I ever worked with. I was lucky enough to witness some of their most pivotal career moments.
How you get your music these days.
Spotify—I'm all about artist discovery—and YouTube, as I love watching video content.
Your favorite place to see a concert.
Your favorite music video.
Francis and the Lights Friends ft. Bon Iver and Kanye West. I love all three artists, and to see them collaborate is as powerful as the video is artistic; yet it's still simplistic. It's filmed in one big open room. It makes me happy every time.
Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.
Anything Lena Waithe does.
A recent project you're proud of.
I joined the LiveXLive leadership team as head of strategic partnerships. We are doing some groundbreaking work in the entertainment and sports livestreaming space. It's exciting to be at the forefront of the future of digital content. Our teams just got back from the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin, Texas. We're excited for the upcoming FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup 2021 in Miami's Bayfront Park.
On a personal level, I made the most out of all of the "me time" that came with Covid. I picked up running, and in just a year, I became a two-time, All-American sprinter and am now headed to the USATF National Championships next March. I am also just months away from finishing my master's degree in legal studies at UCLA, where I'm studying entertainment, sports and media. My charity—Music Unites—recently partnered with TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. to create a summer program in collaboration with the Compton Unified School district and GearUP.
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
I love everything that Virgil Abloh created. He was a cultural savant of our generation and a genius. I have the utmost respect for his artistry. He was truly an architect of culture and fashion. He will leave a long-lasting imprint on pop culture.
How musicians should approach working with brands.
Authenticity is key. I always want to understand what my artists are passionate about—from understanding what they love, to what they use in their everyday lives and the interesting, unexpected idiosyncrasies that lead to real storytelling. And then we work to find brands they love, feel passionate about and that align with their values.
How brands should approach working with musicians.
The best partnerships happen when brands and talent come together and build something that is meaningful to both and then the brand fully gets behind the partnership and uses its influence to infiltrate culture.
What music can do that nothing else can.
Music unites us all. It's the most powerful universal language. It's the reason I started a charity that empowers youth through music education programs and gives them once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences and mentorship.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.
I'm grateful for the amazing career I've had in the music business—from working across artist management, record labels and being an agent. Having been so personally transformed through the power of sport, I'm excited to bring my two passions for music and sports together and impact change in sports. I'm excited as LA28 is around the corner with the Olympics coming to my hometown. I'm excited to continue to learn and grow, and make my mark both on and off the track.
Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.