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  • Writer's pictureElle

Connecting with Charlotte Abroms

Who are you?

 

Oh, hello! I’m Charlotte. I am a creative consultant, a producer of collaborative projects and I help run a music studio, Dare Studios. I love connecting people, listening, talking. I’m driven by creativity, connection and humour.

 What sets your soul on fire? When do you feel most alive?

 

Great question.
 
Staring at the ocean.
 
Reading clever lyrics.

 

Those rare moments in life when you meet someone who thinks similarly to you. There’s a real spark in that kind of synchronicity.
 

Reflecting on your journey leading up to the creation of Dare Studios, what were some of the key challenges you faced in the music industry, and how did they shape your determination to establish a studio that challenges traditional norms?

 

I should note I didn’t create Dare Studios. It was created by Gideon and Daniel Frankel and I’m spearheading the opening of it (to the public).
 
Outside of music, I also work in creative agencies, generally working alongside not-for-profits and health clients to better the lives of their clientele. We often run research and strategy projects where we interview various people to try and understand common problems they are facing, in order to come up with clever and efficient solutions to improve lives.
 
When lockdown hit, I started consulting with musicians. In some ways, I was conducting my own research into their challenges. I started to notice common themes and barriers that were affecting musicians - particularly when it comes to recording music in the studio.
 
The main barriers I identified are:
·  A lack of understanding when it comes to the recording process (defining the terms)
·  Not feeling comfortable or welcome in a studio (due to gender or race)
·  A lack of language to communicate needs in a studio setting (I developed a sound glossary to help with this)
·  Uncertainty when it comes to collaborators (choosing who to work with and if they’re the right fit)
·  Financial barriers (everything is very expensive)
·  Getting burnt (paying someone to deliver something that they didn’t deliver and the emotional and financial toll it takes)
·  Credits (common one - people taking credit for work they didn’t do)
I’ve always been driven by a desire to make things easier for people. I have been a music manager for over a decade and my primary goal has always been to facilitate creativity by making life a little easier for the artists I work with. Dare Studios embodies everything I love about management - creativity, creative freedom, collaboration and making music!
 
In terms of my own challenges, to put it simply - prior to working in music, I have mainly worked with not-for-profits, working alongside people who genuinely want to make changes, real life activists (not the social media kind), no egos, compassion in spades. My kind of people. The doers.
 
I expected a similar thing when starting out in music and mostly that’s what I’ve experienced. Although, I was flabbergasted to have come across people who are completely void of empathy. We are warned about these types!
 
Unfortunately it is common amongst people who are driven by ego, power, control, a desire for fame (all things to be gained by working in music). So many people I know have been awfully affected by these types of people. We don’t talk a lot about coercive control in the workplace, but it’s rife in music. They are the antidote to creativity.
 
It has driven me to want to make real change.
 
Dare Studios has existed for a while with these values in place, but it was mainly being used privately. I recently joined Dare Studios (alongside Jono Steer, Julia Wallace and Connor Black-Harry) and opened it to the public to create a space within music that feels safe and nurturing. We state our values loud and clear so people know what to expect.
 
At Dare Studios there’s no ego, the artist should feel in control of their experience. It’s creatively liberating, supportive, there are no barriers. The studio doesn’t discriminate, it’s a place to learn and be empowered to make music.



 

How do you feel now that Dare Studios is operational?

 

Excited! I spent so many years feeling awkward and unwelcome in studio spaces, I mainly avoided them. Now I can finally relax and be creative. So much amazing music has already been made in the space. It is a beautiful thing to be able to offer such an experience to people. I love walking into the studio.

 

As someone with over 15 years of experience in the music industry, what inspired you to transition from artist management and consulting to creating a recording studio like Dare Studios?

 

I haven’t quite transitioned. 
 
It’s more like an ‘add on’. I’m still ‘managing' producers and regularly consulting with artists. I now offer project management to artists. I can offer the same skill set and expertise to a project, but with a time limit on it. For me, it’s a much better model.
 
I’ve never liked the term ‘manager’ so I don’t call myself a manager anymore. It sounds hierarchical and I’m not about that. The term has never suited me. That’s why I keep putting it in quotation marks.
 
Running the studio came naturally to me. I love hosting events and I love connecting people. I have formed so many incredible teams of people based on having a knack for understanding who might be the right fit for an artist’s team - both culturally and professionally.
 
I now have the space to do this in every day! 
 
My favourite part of working in music has always been (wait for it)… the music. It has been a natural progression to offer people a space to grow, learn and create music in.

 

How do you measure the studio's success, and what goals do you still hope to achieve?

 

We all just want people to make music they love and to be happy. It sounds simple because it is. If a person can look back on their experience at Dare Studios and genuinely feel happy and inspired, then that’s success right there.
 
I love that we are directly addressing issues around representation. Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to work in a studio like Dare Studios and we hope to give people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn how to engineer, produce and make music.



 

What do you wish you could have told your teenage self?

 

Being sensitive is a superpower.

 

What is something most people don’t know about you?

 

I was the winner of Colgate ‘Australia’s Healthiest Smile’ in 2005. My Mum entered me. I got to hold a giant novelty cheque in the toothpaste aisle at my local supermarket. My grandma was Miss Johannesburg so in some ways, it’s a nod to her.

 

What nourishes you?

 

Writing.

 

What was your journey to making your passion your everyday?

 

I worked a full time job in another industry and spent every morning (before work), lunch break, evening and weekend pouring my energy into music voluntarily. I love songs. I worked very hard to be part of the lifecycle of many songs. I started out filming them for our website Large Noises (I think I was one of the only female videographers in music at the time) and then I ended up managing many of the bands I filmed.

 

What has been your favourite moment so far for your work / business?

 

The moments (plural) have all been to do with laughter. I have made so many hilarious memories. I don’t mean this in some toxic-positive way, sometimes the laugher is cynical. Other times, it’s genuinely funny. I often reflect with some of the artists I’ve managed on some of the peculiar situations we found ourselves in.

 

What is your favourite hobby?

 

Tennis will always have a place in my heart. The hobby I’ve done the most of in life is skateboarding. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years skating, until I eventually replaced it with music and filming. I still dream about skating. I should pull out the skateboard again.

 

How have your personal values influenced your career choices and decisions?

 

I have always had a very strong sense of my own moral compass. For as long as I can remember, it’s never wavered. Ultimately, I believe in equality and treating people with fairness. I’m now managing Dare Studios with some incredible, open-minded and likeminded folks. I see them practice these behaviours regularly and it inspires me daily. It’s true what they say about working with people whose morals and values align with yours. It takes me back to that first question - what sets your soul on fire? That’s it, that’s the synchronicity! 

 

What is your definition of success, and how do you measure it in your life?

 

Inner peace and balance, measured only by one’s own feelings towards themselves and others. It sounds deep. It’s actually quite simple. How do you feel each day? How do you feel about how you’ve treated people? Do you feel balanced? Is there peace in there?

 

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?

 

Be kind. Kindness always wins. I know it to be true.

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