A new collaboration between the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and the St. Thomas Music Department is bringing an Artist in Residence to Schulze Hall. It’s a natural fit, considering so many musicians work independently or in small companies. The entrepreneurial skillsets are what can help them build and sustain a career in music, when complementing their artistic talents.
Malik Watkins ‘08, better known by his stage name MaLLy, was just announced as the Schulze School Artist in Residence. Active since 2007, MaLLy is an independent hip-hop artist from Minneapolis who cemented his place in the local music scene with three critically acclaimed albums and several well-received EPs. In 2012 he was voted the Twin Cities’ best hip-hop artist by City Pages, and has been recognized by many other outlets, including Uproxx and Complex Magazine.
“As we continue spreading entrepreneurship across campus, it makes sense to partner with Steve Cole and the Music Department to better understand the business side of what lies ahead for these Arts & Sciences students,” said Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship Brian Abraham. “Collaborating with MaLLy and Steve will open up doors for all of our students to learn the business of growing an independent music career, gain practical experience, and expand St. Thomas’ network and position in the local music industry.”
“Music is such a strong part of our local economy, and the industry is largely comprised of entrepreneurial thinkers,” said Clinical Professor of Music Business Steve Cole. “We send students into great careers in music industry as artists, composers, engineers, managers, agents and entrepreneurs. Connecting them with a successful alumnus who’s blazing his own trail, is another way we can better prepare our students for success.”
As part of the partnership, MaLLy will utilize one of the Schulze Hall Business Development Offices, speak to classes and help students network and connect with local musicians.
“Seeing the Entrepreneurship and Music Department combine efforts will be a very exciting experience,” said MaLLy. “As an independent artist, entrepreneurial collaboration is vital. Song creation, merchandise sales, album and show promotion, and long-term investment all happen at the intersection of music and business. You can’t have one without the other. I love that.”
MaLLy will travel with two current St. Thomas students who are interning with him, Sociology major Zander Tsadwa and English major James Mite, to the 11th Annual A3C Conference in Atlanta, October 7-11. They’ll learn and work with hundreds of artists, professionals, industry experts and academics, while attending keynote addresses, panels, workshop, demos screenings, mixers and exhibits, all in an effort to better understand the music scene around the country and what can be applied in the Twin Cities.
“I’m always thinking of new ways to have the best videos, best music, coolest merchandise, and develop my career but it can be difficult to make bold moves with a lack of time, money and assistance,” said MaLLy. “The partnership with St. Thomas offers a unique opportunity for students to get practical experience in the business side of music and for me to have the support of a team. This is the perfect time for my business and my music to grow, and I’m thrilled to do it with St. Thomas. I’m fully invested in this endeavor and look forward to everything that unfolds from here.”
Photo courtesy: John Mooty of Wilson & Willy’s