“We have a simple mission at Backstage Economic Alliance (BEA). Unite our creative communities and empower each member with financial guidance, support and the knowledge they need to be successful in arts & entertainment.”
Those words spoken by BEA co-president Bram Bessoff, are filled with the passion and determination he needs to lead this newly minted non-profit started in Atlanta, Georgia, the production capital of the south and soon to be the world if Bram has his way. He knows well what artists need to be successful as the Founder and President of Indiehitmaker, his artist development company. “We put artists on the billboard charts every week,” says Bessoff. “and help them build momentum to have successful careers where they remain in control.”
Working so closely with talent, Bessoff sees success in artists, and their potential downfall if they do not know how to manage their finances. “Finding success in film, television, music or digital entertainment you must first understand the business. A lot of creatives didn’t go to school for business, myself included,” says Bessoff.
Bram one of two presidents of BEA (he shares the workload with fellow friend and colleague Eddie F of La Face Records days) is first and foremost a member. “I could be the BEA poster boy. I need the same services offered to every BEA member. I’m a self-employed artist and small business owner who has a family and home that depends upon my income.”
Bram often repeats the wise words of his early mentor, Jeff Hoffman to the artists he works with, “ To be a successful artist in today’s entertainment industry, you must think like an entrepreneur. Know how to run a business, hire and manage a winning team and then put everything you have into making your dream a success. If this isn’t you, I suggest a career change.”
Bessoff, a born drummer, knows from experience artists need BEA. His professional career began when he started Soup here in Atlanta, an acoustic jam-rock band that constantly toured playing over 150 shows a year for seven years straight. After its disbandment, Bram started SoundArt to help other independent artists avoid the same pitfalls of his past. Bram fell deeper into live music when SoundArt helped produce the Virgin College Mega Tour and later toured the world with Atlanta indie rockers State of Man that led to starting Indiehitmaker[and finally finding his true passion as a live music producer.
“If BEA was around ten, twenty years ago to guide me, I’d be in a very different financial position at this point in my life.” Bram now knows what it takes to create a successful career in music. “Being an independent artist is not the same as having a regular day job where you can always count on getting a check.”
BEA has workshops, one-on-one counseling, and featured speakers at their monthly meet ups to teach finances, in addition to providing financial resources and other educational tools for artists and entertainment industry professionals to manage their finances and business.
When not helping artists build momentum, working on live shows or furthering the success of Georgia’s Music Investment Act (Georgia’s newest entertainment tax incentive designed to close Georgia’s creative economy loop), you can find Bram speaking at industry conferences around the nation, including MusicBiz, SXSW, A3C and many more, or find him aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship working with their resident artists to create better live music experiences for Carnival’s passengers.
It was at a Grammy meeting several years back where Bessoff met Aneesah-Bray Power, Founder and Executive Director of Backstage Economic Alliance, an endeavor she started six years ago that finally came to fruition after the two teamed up.
“I was immediately on board with Aneesah’s vision to start Georgia’s first entertainment based credit union” says Bessoff, “but we knew we had some major obstacles in our way. The first step was to unite our creative communities: music film, television and digital entertainment and get them working together. Something we are still working on today.”
Knowing well the loftiness of this goal, Bessoff and Bray along with other board founders, decided to focus first on helping the individual creative strive for financial freedom marking the start of BEA.
“There’s plenty of groups to talk to people in the industry about honing their craft,” says Bessoff, “But there’s no organization really out there helping creatives manage their money.”
Backstage Economic Alliance is filling that gap. Join today. CLICK HERE