AMF is thrilled to announce the three winners of its 2016-2017 Music Industry Collaborative (MIC) Program awards. Destinee Ware (owner of One-2-One Bar), Chaka Mpeanaji (founder of Divine & Conjure Enterprises, Riders Against the Storm, and RAS Day), and Dave Blue (founder of Spotcaller) each received $4,330 for a combined $13,000 in grants. MIC is a six-month program designed for active entrepreneurs with existing music-related businesses. The MIC program provides strategies to grow and improve music businesses and will fast track resources that busy music entrepreneurs most urgently need: meaningful dialog with successful entrepreneur mentors through a structured small group setting that also encourages peer-to-peer collaboration.
A Little About the Winners
Destinee Ware – A true supporter of Austin’s local music scene, Destinee has spent over a decade running the One-2-One venue and bar with her husband Gregg. At One-2-One Bar, the focus has always been creating a space that musicians and fans alike feel at home in. Opening on March 11, 2004, the One-2-One bar was originally a neighborhood bar in downtown Austin. As its downtown presence became more established, garnering more local talent, the venue grew to include a rooftop bar. In keeping up with its own success, the bar was relocated to a new and larger venue on South Lamar, where you can find it today.
“Having been in business for 13+ years, the one thing I strive for is to continue learning and growing as a business owner and [the MIC Program] provided just that. The mentors that donated their time to come and talk with us and just getting to know my fellow classmates was such a rewarding experience, I can’t thank AMF enough!” – Destinee Ware
Chaka Mpeanaji – To say he’s musically inclined would be a huge understatement. Chaka is most notably known as a member of the bold hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm (RAS), a musical movement in its own right. The duo is fascinatingly unique, comprised of Chaka and his wife, Qi Dada. Riders Against the Storm received the Austin Music Award’s “Band of the Year” honor in 2014, 2015, and then again in 2016, a huge accomplishment considering RAS is the first hip-hop group to have won the top honor. Performing and headlining stages across the country, RAS has performed alongside the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Slick Rick, Damian Marley, The Geto Boys, and George Clinton, to name a few. In 2013, the City of Austin proclaimed April 29th as Riders Against the Storm Day for the city of Austin. In response, the duo organized the annual RAS Day festival, an all day family-friendly festival that seeks to cultivate community and inspire unity with an eclectic lineup of performances, food tastings, and interactive activities. Furthermore, Chaka is also a founder of Divine and Conjure Enterprises, a production company dedicated to helping clients’ visions of high energy music, events, and art come to fruition.
“Conversations at the MIC program with AMF mentors and attendees led me to a much greater understanding of my strongest assets as a brand and business. From the beginning, I felt that AMF honored my contributions to the Austin music community with a sincere interest to help me be even more productive and successful. In 2016, my company, paid more than 300 artists, musicians, designers, editors, videographers, engineers. Investment in people that create this type of opportunity in Austin is exactly where it’s at.” – Chaka Mpeanaji
Dave Blue – With the pervasiveness of the internet in our lives these days, Dave has “regretfully come to the opinion that enjoying live music today is just as difficult as it was to discover fresh tracks before the Internet came on the scene.” He had been traveling the world, from New Zealand to Prague, when he realized the importance, market, and his passion for connecting music lovers with live music. Upon this realization, coupled with a newfound sense of clarity, he learned how to code and moved to Austin to work on what would eventually become his app Spotcaller. Dave is the sole developer and marketer of the app. Spotcaller, an app and website that helps music fans find live music in their city at a moment’s notice, is simplifying the process to how one might check movie showings minutes before heading out the door. His minimalist lifestyle (he can fit all of his worldly possessions into a duffel bag), keeps his burn rate very low, giving him room to make what he believes will work for people who want to find concerts. Dave says, “It’s an age-old problem, but I still don’t think it’s been solved. So that’s what the goal is — to get that solid foundation of a great app that music fans can really rely on and hopefully really love. Technology is important, but only a means to an end. The true measure of success isn’t the ‘how’, or the ‘what’, but the ‘why’: having our minds blown by the previously undiscovered world of live music.”
“MIC will put you in the room with the smartest minds of Austin Music, giving you fresh ideas on how your business can connect with the community.” – Dave Blue
More about the MIC program
Over the past two years of MIC, AMF and its program partners have awarded a total of $26,000 to five small music business owners. AMF could not be more thankful to the MIC program sponsors, DTB Partners, who have provided their expertise as well as support of this program and individual grants to now five music business owners. Through six months of intensive mentoring, instruction and soul-searching during the MIC program, Austin music business entrepreneurs are able to improve their businesses and themselves while making real connections with others.
The Music Industry Collaborative is an applicant-based mentoring program designed for active entrepreneurs with existing music-related businesses. For more information on the program, click here.