In the search for untapped creativity, talent & intellect, Paradise Worldwide and SAMPRA partnered up to create the Building Bridges Program. It sought out three young graduates who would rise to the occasion, leave their comfort zones and be immersed in the music business on an international level. The program began in March 2023 and took three young executives to Berlin, in order to gain work experience. The three months consisted of rigorous training on rights collection, copyright law, label management and music recognition technology.
The three young ladies were also tasked with unpacking the value of independence, in conjunction with the services and benefits that come with being signed up with Paradise Worldwide. While we are in the creative industry, we are simultaneously in the business of administration, communication and organisation. As the executives grew from strength to strength, part of their training also included being a part of the organizing team of the Africa Rising Music Conference. The day in the life of the young executives included navigating a new country with a very different environment, joining the Paradise Worldwide headquarter-office, being mentored by Paradise Worldwide natives Will Stephenson, Juan Ramirez and Leonie Junge, under the supervision of Sarah Jane Nicholson and Mike Kelly (who head Paradise Africa). Find out what the mentors and mentees had to say about their experiences.
“The SAMPRA and Paradise Worldwide Berlin exchange program has been a transformative experience for me, not only in terms of understanding the African artist perspective but also from a music business standpoint. This internship has broadened my horizons, allowing me to gain insights into the global music market and its ever-changing trends. As my role continues to evolve, I’m excited to leverage this knowledge to drive innovation, forge collaborations and contribute to the growth of the music industry. I’m eager to embrace new challenges, expand my network and make a meaningful impact in the dynamic world of music.” She has gone on to begin signing labels and artists while building her own DJ career.
She shares her own experience and how it helped her grow extensively. After not having a background in music, here is what she had to say: “My experience in Berlin was nothing short of incredible; I have learned extensively about not only the German music culture but also about the music industry as a whole. I recognize the amount of work and effort from multiple teams that goes into releasing each song.
Various engagements with diverse stakeholders have enabled me to significantly improve my marketing and communication skills, both of which I believe are critical for someone in our industry.
Having been mentored by one of the best in the music business has been one of my greatest highlights. They became my compass, pointing me in the right direction and being there every step of the way. Their wisdom and experience allowed me to navigate the complexities of the music industry with confidence and purpose. I am grateful for this opportunity to continue to learn and grow, and I look forward to further refining my skills as I continue to work here.
Doubling as an upcoming alternative RnB and hip-hop act, she has been able to navigate the Berlin music scene not only as an artist but as an executive too. She unpacks how this has evolved her as an artist and a young executive.
“It was such a privilege to work amongst such hardworking people who are invested in their roles; this is what motivated me above all else, not only as an executive but also as a musician. I am looking forward to taking all my learnings to uplift fellow creatives in the music industry while adding value to Paradise Africa in my role as A&R. I am grateful to SAMPRA and Paradise Worldwide for the investment that they have made in my career, and I will continue to work towards my career advancement with all the opportunities that have come my way.”
The mentors also had a unique experience with the mentees, leveraging their skills to tap into up-skilling the young executives.
Will Stephenson, mentoring Rhema Socika
He was able to gain insights on his own strengths and how he could further grow. “It was a fantastic experience having the interns from South Africa in our Berlin office. They had many incisive questions about the way we work, and being a mentor helped me expose where my own knowledge gaps were. We also gained fresh insights from them about life in South Africa and what it’s like being up-and-coming young creatives out there.”
Juan Aguilar, mentoring Sharon Ramoshaba
“I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Sharon, who showed great commitment and organization in the process of compiling a list of leads suitable for a joint composition project between South Africa and Colombia. The venture was thought-provoking and opened a door for me into a new realm of the music world, which allowed me to explore aesthetics and remote musical management. I very much look forward to engaging in similar projects in the future.”
Leonie Junge, mentoring Martha Mangwani
Coming from a background of being a mentee, was placed in a role to leverage her knowledge. “The Building Bridges program helped create a new outlook on the way I experience and see the two music scenes in Germany and South Africa. Seeing how the interns thrive in Berlin as both musicians and executives, as well as being in direct conversations about the cultural differences of each territory, was definitely high-level cultural exchange.”
This is evidence of a well rounded experience for all involved
We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for the Young Executives and how they will continue to grow and elevate not only themselves but the music business in South Africa as a whole. We hope to make sure that the program continues to allow them to grow in their own right.