Get to Know the Panelists Speaking at Mastering The Hustle: How To Survive As An Artist (3/10)

Mastering the Hustle

KEXPUpstream Music Fest + SummitMoPOP, and The Recording Academy are uniting again for the seventh installment of the Mastering The Hustle workshop series this Saturday, March 10, in the KEXP Gathering Space. These artistic centric events have covered everything from promoting your music to booking shows. This time around, we're bringing together a panel of industry professionals and artists to discuss how artists can survive on their craft while continuing to call Seattle their home. As the city changes, new challenges arise for artists. Our panel knows this firsthand and will be discussing practical advice artists can implement in their own lives. Curious who these people are? Check out their bios below and RSVP for the workshop today. 

Kevin Sur has worked in the music industry for the last 20 years and in the beginning he was a touring artist. He has to learn the ins and outs of the industry in order to keep his band on the road so they could fulfill a dream of supporting themselves through their craft. As they found their way, he began to offer what he learned in the form of advice to any fellow artist that sought it. He eventually started booking tours, producing records and managing fellow artists that he believed in. When moving to the Northwest 10 years ago he decided to his existence in the industry a name, Artist Home. The goal of Artist Home was simple, to help be the voice of support for an artist that he never had and to help take an "artist first" approach to wherever his involvement in music took me.

Shortly after arriving in Seattle he was given a chance to help produce a new festival on Orcas Island, Doe Bay Fest. This experience turned his company that had a name but no clear path toward what it would become a direction and a place where they could make a difference for their music community in the form of festivals. They have grown to produce local festivals, Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, and a number of other events in the northwest.

Throughout our time in the northwest, Artist Home has maintained the same open door policy it started with; helping countless artists learn how to survive, formalize their strategies, release albums, get questions answered, or just get that nudge of encouragement that they often often need.

Seattle-based singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, continues to explore the themes of authenticity, loss, and a search for connection that has always been central to his songwriting. His meditative, melodic dream pop, shaded with flecks of alt-country and soft rock, push past the earnest Pacific Northwest indie folk to something distinctly American and positively timeless.

Kris has been busy since the early 2000's, releasing four well-received EPs, three full length records, touring the country with various national acts many times over (Gregory Alan Isakov, Jamestown Revival, Sara Watkins, Little Green Cars) and writing songs for features on primetime television (Grey's Anatomy, Tomorrow People, Hart of Dixie). Each project and release continues to build on Kris's maturing songwriting.

Ramona Grotte has been with Gigs4U since the beginning. Working closely with founder, Edward Beeson, and the Port of Seattle, she helped create the award-winning Seattle Experience the City of Music Program at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Recruiting, vetting and scheduling talent at Sea-Tac was just the beginning. Since that time, Ramona has booked over 10,000 live music events for Gigs4U throughout the city of Seattle and greater Puget Sound region. Ramona has immersed herself in the rich music scene that is unique to the Pacific Northwest and has helped build the largest and most prestigious artist roster in the region. Using this roster, and the relationships she has built within the community, she
is able to find just the right talent for every Gigs4U client, every time.

Ramona is the current President on the Board of Directors for Make Music Seattle, part of the world-wide Make Music Day held annually for over 35 years on Summer Solstice. This event is held in 120 countries and 750 cities helping to make music accessible for all ages. She also owns Shop Amused, a Seattle art and music gallery inside the Good Arts Building in Pioneer Square.

Kit Russell is a Co-Founder of The Noise Complaints Group, which is a creative consultancy that serves the community and empowers artists and creatives in the digital age. They coach and consult creatives on how to move from being indistinguishable in a crowded market, to a recognized brand with opportunities to earn revenue and freely do more of what they do best, create.

He and his Co-Founder, Lyle Burns, are positioning The Noise Complaints Group to be an Ideas Company that's the epicenter of creative products, ideas, and culture. As trusted advisors, they work and collaborate with a collective of artists, creators, innovators, marketers, and fans to generate and strategically execute innovative and impactful ideas, pushing them to the world, uncompromised.

Originally from Philadelphia, Kit moved to Seattle in 2013 and spent two years at Microsoft doing project management in their US Retail Channel. From there, he spent some time teaching himself sales & business development, eventually landing a current position at a software company called 10,000ft, selling project and resource management software for creative businesses.Kit believes that creativity is what truly moves society forward. It’s essential for people who think outside of the box to bring their ideas to life. He graduated cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communication & Cinema Studies.

Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer of cultural and community development for over 15 years. He is currently the Director of the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Seattle. As Director of the Office, he has expanded their investments in granting programs and Public Art, while establishing new programs and policies in arts education, cultural space affordability, and racial equity. Most recently he owned and operated Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community based consulting business that worked with foundations, non-profits, and local government. He served as Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving 2 years as Vice-Chair, and was Chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010.

Previously he served as the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia/multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community member’s access to arts, technology, and cultural resources ( Prior to Youngstown, Randy spent 3 years as the founding CEO of Static Factory Media, an artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, bar/performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development business. In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he received his Executive Masters in Public Administration.


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