Student musicians scale to the top at the GRAMMY U Conference 

Elena Rose, GALE, and Isadora Figueroa hosting the songwriting panel at GRAMMY U Conference | Ana Mancebo, PantherNOW

Ana Mancebo | Staff Writer

Headshots, photo booths, and famous musicians: GRAMMY U shows its members how to navigate an ever-changing music industry.

On Saturday, April 22, student musicians got career advice from professionals at the annual GRAMMY U Conference in the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.

GRAMMY U is an organization that shares opportunities to network with experts and career resources with students.

Guests, whether they attended the online stream or came in-person, could also ask well-known musicians and professionals in the field questions about success in the music industry.

In addition, students could take professional pictures at the headshot studio in the venue.

GRAMMY U Conference attendee getting her headshots done at Headshot Studio by Debbie A. Photography | Ana Mancebo, PantherNOW

The event started with a mixer where attendees could get to know each other.

“It’s a great opportunity to network, a good place to start as a GRAMMY U member,” said Vivian Machado, an FIU student pursuing a master’s degree in marketing.

Many members of GRAMMY U attended the event, with students from FIU and other Florida universities coming to the Hilton ballroom in pursuit of their musical dreams.

“I’m here to meet people and make connections,” said another FIU student. “You never know who you might run into, and I want to hear the speakers talk about songwriting.”

The songwriting panel was moderated by singer-songwriter Isadora Figueroa. Joining her were pop artist Gale and GRAMMY-nominated Elena Rose sharing their songwriting journeys in a discussion about identity.

“Stay connected with life, moments, everything,” said Gale.  “That’s your fuel to create.”

Next, the branding panel featured professionals at TikTok and Spotify and the owner of Beats communications guiding attendees through headshots, creating their personal brands, and collaborations.

“We’re always evolving, make sure your brand is authentic to who you are… Be honest while establishing yourself as a professional,” said Joel Palacios from Commercial Partnerships at Spotify.

Musician Emily Estefan, daughter of Gloria and Emilio Estefan moderated the keynote panel, where rapper and singer Guaynaa discussed his experience with music.

Musicians Emily Estefan and Guaynaa | Ana Mancebo, PantherNOW

“You have in your hands a blank paper,” said Guaynaa. “With this knowledge we’re teaching you, you will be able to fill that blank page with whatever you want. We are giving you guys the key to making that happen.”

By listening to singer-songwriters and professionals, students left the conference wiser, now recognizing the behind-the-scenes of the music industry.

“Our hope is that each student walked away with tools to succeed in their growing professional careers and left inspired to take the next steps in their journey,” said GRAMMY U Director Jesse Allen. 

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