As an undergraduate student at Northwestern, Xavier Vilar-Brasser had the opportunity to explore a plethora of majors. It was the combination of creative writing, philosophy, and music that captured his attention. As he explored is interests more, he realized that music grounded him, and he formed the band The Altars as manager, songwriter, and performer. However, it wasn’t until the pandemic that he really consolidated himself as a creative in the music industry.
“I was looking on the work that I’d been doing over the past six months or so. During that time, I realized that it was something that I really enjoyed doing. It was a type of work that I felt really drawn to, and it really inspired me. It […] invigorated me. And so, I was like, I really would love to pursue this, the business side of music,” he explains. He understood that in order to do well in this space he needed additional skills and exposure; this led him to the MSLCE program.
As an aspiring record label producer, he wanted to better understand the business side of the music industry. “I knew the next step would be to get some kind degree in music business. After some reflection I realized that the broad scope of [MSLCE] was something that I could really benefit from. I viewed it as an opportunity to really bring a lot of my different skills and experiences to the table in the cohort, as well as meet a really energetic and invested group of people with diversified experiences and interests,” he adds.
With the pandemic, Xavier recognizes that the music industry is undergoing a massive shift and that it is important to recognize and stay on top of it. “I think one of the biggest things we’re going to see is [a] kind of community involvement,” he adds. According to him, the way forward is going to involve a massive effort from the music industry to support one another and encourage new talent.
As a newcomer in the industry, he speaks to how forming a band has changed him creatively and pushed him to create new boundaries for himself. “It was really hard to believe in myself and to not get down on myself. And at the same time, you know, a lot of arts communities are super empowering and comforting,” he explains. As he moves forward, his advice for musicians just starting out is to embrace the community and to use their talent to serve the community.
By Priyanshi Katare