Nurit Siegel Smith is the new Executive Director of the Music Forward Foundation of the House of Blues, which contributes over a million dollars year to music industry education. Smith assumes leadership as Music Forward embarks on its 25th year. She is stepping into some pretty big shoes — over the past quarter century, Music Forward – formerly known as the House of Blues Foundation — has impacted the lives of a million young people with hundreds of partners, thousands of mentors, tens of thousands of hours of volunteer time. She generously let us interrupt her very busy day to learn about her vision for the Foundation.
Patrick. Congratulations. This has got to be the coolest job ever!
Nurit. It is exciting. I am 6 months into it and I have been in awe of my staff here, the youth I have been in contact with, all the support around the country and the engagement with our partners. It is exciting.
Patrick. Tell us your vision- what do you see as the role of music in education and society and how you intend to lead Music Forward to fill that role as best as possible?
Nurit. Music is such a powerful force- it is a universal language that influences everyone, It lives in our hearts and our memories and defines our most significant moments. The music industry creates these culture-shaping products with music with artists with brands and that is why it so critical to have diverse voices in the music industry. We say that we transform young lives, we kick start careers, but also we champion a more inclusive music industry. We are working with youth and improving economic opportunities for disadvantaged young people and at the same time building a more diverse pipeline of talent for the industry to enrich it with their voices so they can start to use the power of music to tell their story and change society.
Patrick. That is a big mission. how did the foundation start and what was its goal?
Nurit. We were formed in 1993 by the founders of the House of Blues. They envisioned a charitable arm to the venue that would be arts to schools with programs that promoted cultural understanding and encouraged creativity and manifested the core beliefs of unity in diversity – help ever, hurt never, which resonates deeply in the organization today.
House of Blues.