Luka Gorgievski, 26, is a member of the band Funk Shui from North Macedonia. Founded in 2010, the band describes its music as free flow. When asked about his inspiration to become a musician, Luka says: “It was mesmerising when I found out that humans can communicate through something other than words. It is almost an elite privilege.”
“Knowing that, I cherish the gift and try to make more people smile and dance, and take away their fear. And they feel it. By chance, I learned how to make it work,” he adds.
The band has several recordings and is well known in North Macedonia and other countries in the Western Balkans. However, their professional music journey has had many challenges too. When asked what these challenges were, Luka says ‘What was not a challenge would be a better question. There were loads of them!’
“It was mesmerising when I found out that humans can communicate through something other than words. It is almost an elite privilege.”
Learning the business of art
The business aspect of their work was one of the main challenges. Funk Shui resolved this problem by cooperating with a professional music manager.
Gorjana Jordanovska, who works for Password Production, a music management company, explains that most artists in North Macedonia are “not educated in the music business”.
“They don’t know how to sell themselves. They don’t know how to work in this professional music world. They only know how to play,” she says.
Password Production decided to address this challenge systematically with the aim of helping their clients and other musicians with music business education. Along with partners from Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, they launched a project named Hub for the Exchange of Music Innovation in Central and South-Eastern Europe, or HEMI. The project is funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme.
“The HEMI project provides expertise, consultancy and training modules to music professionals in Central and South-Eastern Europe, responding to the current and future needs of the sector in the region but also more widely across Europe,” Gorjana says.
Gorjana believes that this project will be an essential contribution to the professional development of the music community. Apart from access to professional consultancy in business education, artists will also have an opportunity to perform in festivals organised by partner organisations in all nine countries in the project.
Not just for musicians
In addition, HEMI will also facilitate publishing of content and news promotion, linking upcoming and famous artists, entrepreneurs, festival promoters, cultural venue event managers, music schools and more, under a common music marketing community.
The project began in 2019 and will run until the end of 2023. By then, the project will have supported music artists by launching a platform for the promotion and business education of music artists. The project will also offer the HEMI Music Innovation Incubator where musicians will learn how to use ICT and online marketing for promoting their music further, as well as business development and management skills to meet the current and future challenges of the music industry.
So while Luka’s music is making people smile and dance, Gorjana and her colleagues are ensuring that he and his fellow artists in the region are operating on a solid business foundation.
Photo Credits: Aleksandra Kostadinovska