Front Row: Charles Kawata

Over the last month, our fall interns have joined Music Forward in our mission and work. We asked Programs Intern, Charles Kawata, to tell us what inspired him to use his major in Business Analytics to drive social change.

This fall I have been given the opportunity to intern with Music Forward in Program Data.

I applied for this internship because I wanted to get involved in the non-profit and entertainment industries. Although I did not have much experience in either, it was something that I wanted to explore and learn more about. Most importantly, the reason why I chose to apply to Music Forward was because it has always been a priority for me to find a job that I felt is making a positive impact on the people around me and I felt I could do that at Music Forward. Even though most of my work is in the background, I know the foundation is helping people turn their passions into careers and I am happy to be playing a part in that goal.

My main responsibilities include:

  • Tracking and assessing program data including outcomes and attendance
  • Organizing and maintaining data files ensuring attention to detail and accuracy
  • Identifying opportunities for sharing programmatic impact with stakeholders based on data trends and outcomes
  • Using data analysis to support community outreach

Currently I am working on a long-term project analyzing our participants and their backgrounds to gain a better understanding of the young people we are serving. The work I’m doing will further ensure that we continue to reach our target audience so that the organization can continue to provide access and opportunity to youth from underserved communities and underrepresented groups nationwide.

Being a part of Music Forward has been an amazing experience! I’ve enjoyed attending the Artist Development and Career Development workshops as well as the Industry Sessions panels.  I’m also enjoying learning what goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen, and collaborating with the employees and other interns. The team is committed to allowing us to contribute in meaningful ways and helping us get the most out of the internship experience.

Something that I have found very beneficial for my professional development and growth here is that the employees trust me and have given me responsibilities and opportunities to make a significant contribution from day one. Specifically, for my role, I have enjoyed finding new ways to organize, analyze, and visualize real world data that we collect.

As I continue my junior year at Loyola Marymount University and start thinking about my professional aspirations, I want to explore the role data plays in streaming, distribution, and production. I also want to keep learning about the music and entertainment industries. Even though in this role I am focused on data and analytics, music has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I grew up going to church, where my dad and brother were musicians on the worship team, so it was always present in my family. I would see them on stage and throughout the week my brother would be practicing music. I always wanted that musical ability, but I just never made it a priority and one day I came to the realization that even if I couldn’t play like them, that music could still be a huge part of my life.

Whether studying, driving to school, getting warmed up for a game, or just relaxing, I always turn to music. Each song I have in my library is connected to a memory, a person, or a time in my life and I hold onto each of them. One of my favorite things to do is go back through my library and listen to old songs and go back in time to those memories.  Having a song associated with the experiences that I have makes each of them more memorable. Every time I find a new song, I know that in the future when I listen to it again, I will be reminded of those memories.

As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond in the music industry,  we are hopeful when we see the commitment of future industry leaders like Charles and our other interns and we are grateful to be able to provide them with hands-on opportunities to grow and develop as they pursue their career pathways and foster their passion for music. 


Charles Kawata is a Music Forward intern and junior at Loyola Marymount University majoring in Information Systems Business Analytics. He spends his free time playing basketball, taking photos, listening to music, and writing for his anime blog, where he enjoys exploring the soundtracks featured in anime by taking a closer at the diverse blend of genres that are incorporated and how the songs are used.

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