Donor Spotlight: Laura Payne

Meet Laura Payne, a Program Manager at Microsoft from Poway, CA. Laura first connected with Music Forward while working as an employee at Live Nation Entertainment. A lover of music and skilled musician, Laura has been a long-time supporter of Music Forward’s mission by attending special events, volunteering as a scholarship reviewer, and providing charitable giving through the company DoGood.

Laura’s love and connection with music is the foundation of her support to Music Forward as a donor, Alliance member, and an advocate of our mission.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Laura Payne and I LOVE live music! I currently work at Microsoft as a Program Manager. I’m married to the love of my life Lauren and together we have 3 sons (2 adults out of the house, 1 a HS senior at home), and 5 fur babies (3 cats, 2 dogs). Outside of family and work my favorite thing to do is to perform/record music in community symphonies and local bands, especially for good causes. I’ve been playing guitar and bass since I was 7 years old, and will probably never stop.  

What is your favorite memory involving music?
There are so many good memories involving music it’s difficult to pick a favorite. One of them is performing in The Resizters | Protest Song Cover Band, San Diego CA (theresiztersband.com) during Women’s March in Jan 2017 to a crowd of over 10,000 marchers/attendees and supporting what we all felt was a very important and powerful cause. It was one of the most inspiring events I’ve ever been a part of. A more recent memory was performing Haydn’s Creation and premiering a new original piece with a full symphony and choir at the California Center for the Arts to a full house. The event was centered on the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, and both pieces of music fit the event. Haydn’s Creation actually makes you feel like the beginning of life is happening. The music’s intensity and emotion with visuals of the historic event was just so moving that it brought me to tears while performing.

How did you get involved with Music Forward?
I became involved with Music Forward while working at Live Nation Entertainment and got to know the organization and team members better since we shared the same floor in the same building. I would go to their local events and my team was very supportive of their org as well. As I learned more about what they do, their mission and their positive impact, I wanted to support them as much as possible and continue to do so. 

What is one of your favorite Music Forward memories so far?
Attending the Music Forward showcase at the Wiltern May 2019!  It was an amazing show and event. 

What motivates you to support Music Forward?
I love how Music Forward reaches out to disconnected and under-served youth to provide programs, education, and opportunities in all areas of the music business, from writing/recording/performing to production, booking, management and marketing.  

What is one piece of advice you would give a young person getting started in their career?
Go with the flow as you progress on your aspirations. You may find that the thing you were first going after may just be a step, a lesson, or a part of the bigger picture for your overall career. Be open to trying new things, new music, new experiences as they all contribute to your musical growth. Main things to always remember: listen to your heart first and foremost, and never give up on you <3 Covid may have stopped live music for a time which has been difficult for many, but I believe it will be back bigger and better than ever.  

What is your all-time favorite concert experience?
My favorite artist to see live is the band Heart. They amaze me every time I see them, and I was fortunate to be backstage when they achieved their first Billboard #1 album. I also had the honor to open for Nancy Wilson’s band, Roadcase Royale, a few years ago at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Ann and Nancy Wilson are the musical She-ros I grew up with, and they have always inspired me.

How does music move you?
Music has always been a part of me since I can remember. It makes me feel happy, in the moment, and spiritual in a sense. I love how live music brings a large group of humans, from vastly differing perspectives, ages and beliefs, all together in one place where everyone enjoys the same musical vibes. It’s just breathtaking to witness as both a musician and as a live music concert goer. And I find it very therapeutic for myself and others. I know several musicians who are certified music therapists and they provide very impactful services to those in need.

Interested in supporting Music Forward and our mission of empowering the next generation of music leaders? Click here to get started. 

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