Home INDUSTRY NEWS Four Musicians Receives $20,000 Grants Each at Radio Milwaukee & Gener8tor’s First...

Four Musicians Receives $20,000 Grants Each at Radio Milwaukee & Gener8tor’s First Backline Program


Radio Milwaukee/gener8tor’s first music accelerator ends with showcase concert.

Photo credit: Melissa Miller

Up-and-coming Milwaukee musicians Lex Allen, Crystal Knives, Abby Jeanne and Zed Kenzo completed their intensive Backline accelerator with a showcase performance last week, following 12 weeks of immersion in the music business and fruitful musical collaborations in multiple cities.

As part of the Backline program, some of the 2018 artists traveled to New York City, Los Angeles and London for sessions, collaborations and meetings with top musicians and industry experts at major talent agencies, record labels, streaming services, management companies, music publishers and law firms.

Backline, created by 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and gener8tor to help Milwaukee musicians break out nationally, provided the four musicians the program’s first 12-week intensive accelerator-style mentorship program. Backline received 340 applications from Milwaukee-area musicians and bands for the 2018 program.

Acceptance into the program included $20,000 in equity-and royalty-free grant funding for each musician to be used toward furthering their careers. The musicians have been using the grants to pay for equipment, recording sessions, travel, publicity services, photography and video.

“This first Backline program has been a true testament of how Milwaukee is ready to be called a music city,” Backline Program Director Mag Rodriguez said. “The artists had the opportunity to make new music and even perform in music hubs in the U.S. and Europe, and they truly shined. This first program is only the beginning, and as this program continues to grow so will the community of successful Milwaukee musicians.”

During the accelerator, Backline’s musicians have spent more than 400 hours in the studio, participated in more than 100 studio and writing sessions and collaborated with more than 20 artists, and some have recorded more than 25 demos. The musicians have released five songs, which have seen a total of more than 300,000 streams on a variety of platforms.

They also received various support services, such as financial counseling, mental health resources, and personal training, aimed at holistically preparing the artists with life skills to succeed as musicians.


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