May 12, 2024
The Industry Forum


How one leader's journey and initiatives are reshaping the future of the live music industry for the better.

"It’s about lifting as we climb. If I can open doors for others, then my success is not just my own."

Candace Newman is a force to be reckoned with in the live entertainment world, having climbed the ranks at major industry players like Fox Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Live Nation Entertainment. Her nonprofit, Live Out Live, is focused on helping underrepresented artists find their footing in the music industry. More than just a successful executive, Newman is fiercely dedicated to amplifying diversity and inclusion in the live music scene, particularly for Black and LGBTQ artists, as well as other marginalized groups. Her work not only reshapes how the industry operates but also who it uplifts.

Gigwell sat down with Candace to learn more about her experience as a music industry executive, and how it shaped her mission for Live Out Live.

Gigwell: Candace, your journey from California State Fullerton to leading roles at Fox, Universal Music Group, and Live Nation is incredibly inspiring. Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue a career in live music?

Candace Newman: Absolutely. Music has always been a profound influence in my life. From early on, I knew music was my path. My academic experiences at Cal State Fullerton and Cal State LA solidified that direction. They didn’t just prepare me academically; they ignited a passion that propelled me through various significant roles in the entertainment industry.

Gigwell: In researching your story, I learned that you came from the foster system. While 93% of foster kids want to pursue a college education, 4% of college graduates come from the foster system. How did you beat odds that were so stacked against you?

Candace Newman: I love that you brought that up, because that's where I learned how life-changing mentorship can be. I was blessed to be in the first year of a new scholarship initiative for foster youth, which is still helping foster youth graduate college today. If kids can get the help and support to chase their dreams, they will. That's why Live Out Live is so focused on teaching and workshops.

Gigwell: With such an impressive trajectory, what motivated you to start Live Out Live?

Candace Newman: Live Out Live was born from a need to see more inclusivity in live entertainment. The industry, as vibrant as it is, often sidelines talented individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. I founded Live Out Live to empower the next generation and open new doors in concert promotion and booking. It's about creating a shared victory. As I often say, "It’s about lifting as we climb. If I can open doors for others, then my success is not just my own."

Gigwell: We recently reviewed the UC Annenberg's annual report of marginalized groups in the music industry for our article during International Women's Day, and were disappointed to see that even though 2023 was a huge year for women's gains in the music industry, black women are still in less than 3% of executive roles. As a Black woman in an executive role, what challenges did you face and how did you navigate them?

Candace Newman: The music industry, like many others, is not without its challenges, especially for Black women. Resilience and adaptability have been crucial for me. It’s not always going to work out for me. I have to pivot, or I have to create different strategies and different plans in order for things to really be executed. It’s about understanding that a 'no' is just a 'no' for now, not forever.

Gigwell: What advice would you give to aspiring music professionals, especially those from marginalized backgrounds?

Candace Newman: First and foremost, pursue education and get as much hands-on experience as possible. Volunteer at local venues or intern in areas you're passionate about. Understanding the environment from the inside out is invaluable. Additionally, stay engaged with platforms that offer insights into the industry. At Live Out Live, we conduct workshops that bring professionals of different backgrounds to the forefront, offering a real-world view of the industry dynamics.

Gigwell: How important is mentorship in your initiatives at Live Out Live?

Candace Newman: Mentorship is a cornerstone of what we do at Live Out Live. It’s about passing on knowledge and opening up networks that were not traditionally accessible. We're here to offer guidance, support, and opportunities to those who need them the most. I encourage everyone to lean into platforms like Live Out Live, where they can gain not just knowledge but also the confidence to navigate this competitive industry.

Gigwell: Lastly, how do you envision the future of Live Out Live and its impact on the industry?

Candace Newman: I see Live Out Live continuing to break barriers and foster a community where diversity is not just accepted but expected. Our goal is to keep shaping an industry where everyone, regardless of their background, has a voice and a stage. The future is about building on our foundation of education, empowerment, and inclusivity, ensuring that the next generation of music professionals thrives in a more equitable landscape.

Gigwell: Candace, thank you for sharing your insights and for the incredible work you're doing. It’s clear that your impact on the live music industry will be felt for generations to come.

Candace Newman's career is more than just a story of personal success; it's a blueprint for building a more inclusive future in live music. Through her leadership at Live Out Live, Newman is not just playing the game but changing how it's played, ensuring that the industry echoes the diversity of its audience.

Learn more about Live Out Live at

HOME | Live Out L!ve

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