Ijeoma Wagbaranta is the founder of MOOD Mondays, a music discovery series that champions emerging artists. With the Youth Music NextGen Fund, Ijeoma was able to take MOOD Mondays offline and host in-person events.
Through MOOD Mondays, Ijeoma enabled six emerging artists to perform live across three of her events, as well as providing open mic opportunities for attendees to showcase their art.
On top of offering paid performances for young musicians, the free live events were also beneficial to the local community in Birmingham, as they created a space for networking and community building.
We spoke with Ijeoma to hear more about her role, advice for young entrepreneurs, and what she's planning next.
Your Youth Music NextGen Fund grant enabled you to take MOOD Mondays from an online series to live, in-person events. How did you bring them to life?
Bringing MOOD Mondays to a live show required a lot of planning but some of the main things included finding the right venue, reaching out to artists, creating our house band, doing back end things, like admin and ticketing and finally marketing and promoting the event. Even though at the time I was the only one running MOOD it was also a collaborative process. I had help from friends, family and also colleagues like the band mates, artists that I had previously worked with and even some previous attendees. It was really a community effort and that was lovely to see.
What inspired you to create MOOD Mondays originally?
MOOD Mondays came up as an idea because we wanted a series that would allow people to discover artists at the start of the week on a weekly basis. We started off with talent just in the Midlands but now we highlight upcoming artists all over the UK and even occasionally internationally. I think there is a need for platforms and series like this as people don't know where to find or discover new talent and MOOD is looking to be one of those platforms where people discover the artists they didn't know they needed to hear. MOOD Mondays Live is even more special because we have the opportunity to hear the new acts live with a band and also people can get to know the artists in a more intimate manner.
MOOD Mondays is part of your music events company, MdoubleOD. What does your role involve?
My Role within MOOD is really a bit of everything. I wear a lot of different caps, from event production, project management, communications, social media content creation, hosting and so much more. It can be a lot to do but I love that I get to learn so much while delivering these events. I'm also glad that slowly we are starting to build a team where different people get an opportunity to develop within this industry and continue to support the artists that we are trying to give a platform to.
What challenges have you faced so far? How have you overcome them?
Being a young woman trying to start music events on her own, initially it was hard for me to find venues because a lot of spaces didn't pay attention to me, but that changed when I was able to meet venues with the help of other people who did events via introductions. Then there has been the ongoing issue of not having a team but I'm glad to say that is slowly changing as I've met people who have attended our events and would like to be a part of the team. Another issue has been finances, getting funding or sponsorships, as the majority of the events prior to the Youth Music NextGen Fund have been self-funded, which can be very expensive if you are trying to deliver good quality and provide paid opportunities for the creatives we work with.
What are you planning next for MOOD Mondays?
I'm hoping that we would be able to continue MOOD Mondays on a monthly basis once we are able to sort out funding. The venue that we worked with, the Night Owl in Digbeth, have already said they would be happy to have us back on stage.
Is there any advice you would give to other young entrepreneurs in the music industries?
- Believe in the idea that you have.
- Try to be outgoing, meet people, network and keep up with your new connections and friends. You can learn a lot from one another.
- Collaborate as there will be people who share a common goal and you can achieve a lot more together.
- Listen to advice but don't always take it because a lot of the time people give advice based on what they see and understand but not necessarily what you are trying to achieve.
- Be an authentic person and it will also show through your brand.
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The NextGen Fund has been made possible thanks to generous support from Dr. Marten's Foundation and players of People's Postcode Lottery. We are also grateful for our vital support from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.
The Youth Music NextGen Fund will open for applications on Friday 1 September 2023.