fbpx

Spotlight: Executive Team

They say it takes a village and Music Forward is no exception. Music Forward is a collection of incredible, passionate professionals who make all of our programs, events, and more happen. But none of it would be possible without the guidance of our incredible executive team! Meet the leaders of Music Forward who are driving societal change and Music Forward initiatives.

Nurit Smith

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside? Israeli born. Los Angeles raised. UC Berkeley alum. I worked as a theater and dance practitioner (and was in a band!) before veering headfirst into the social sector. For over 2 decades I’ve been working passionately at the intersection of performance, education, and philanthropy. I currently live in Los Angeles with my husband, 2 kids, and a dog.  

What is your current role? I currently serve as the executive director of the Music Forward Foundation. I joined the team in March 2018 and since then have been guiding this impactful organization as we continue to fulfill our mission of making the music & live entertainment industry more equitable and accessible for all.

What does Music Forward mean to you, and what made you want to join the team? Music is such a powerful force in people’s lives – a universal language that influences everyone. That’s why it’s so important to make sure all viewpoints are represented in its creation and distribution. Understanding this well, Music Forward invites and empowers young people from around the country (now the globe!) to follow their dreams into the music industry, enrich it with their diverse voices and perspectives, and ultimately change it for the better. This is what I wanted to be a part of – the systemic change that Music Forward is driving towards. Our long term vision is one where all young people will have the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and tools to leverage their musical and professional talents and passions in a variety of workplace settings so they can successfully secure future employment, avert poverty, and achieve lifelong professional fulfillment.

What are you most excited for in 2024? We are launching two ends to the pathway into the industry this year. We are going to be helping young people explore careers with our digital curriculum where teachers and youth will have an opportunity to engage with and present our in the class, multi-week series bringing awareness to the industry and all the careers working within it. And all the way at the tip of the pathway, this year, we will see our first apprentices on the job!

What five songs you can’t live without?
Inspiration Information – Shuggie Otis
Sinnerman – Nina Simone
Rhapsody in Blue 
Lovely Day – Bill Withers
Papa Was a Rollin Stone – The Temptations

Finally, what has been your most memorable or favorite live music experience? Elton John at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, SA. Mostly solo show. Annie Lennox came out and they sang Daniel together. Divine.

Laura Clark

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside? I grew up in Geneseo, New York, a small college town outside of Rochester. I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What is your current role? Director of Learning and Career Advancement

What does Music Forward mean to you, and what made you want to join the team? Music Forward means creating opportunities and supporting a more equitable industry. Being part of this organization aligns with my personal passion for music and my professional ethos in creating spaces that empower and support diverse voices in finding success.

What are you most excited for in 2024? The implementation of Music Forward’s apprentice program.

What five songs you can’t live without?
Changes – David Bowie
Why Can’t I Be You? – The Cure
Daylight – Harry Styles
Creep – Radiohead
Feeling Good – Nina Simone

Finally, what has been your most memorable or favorite live music experience? It is really hard to name just one. Seeing David Bowie at my first-ever stadium show at the Carrier Dome was amazing and the pure joy I felt has stayed with me ever since.

Elisa Morimoto

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside? Born and raised in LA County, San Gabriel Valley specifically. Currently back near my hometown after stints on the East Coast and abroad in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

What is your current role? Director of Operations, leading finance, staff administration, and organizational infrastructure. 

What does Music Forward mean to you, and what made you want to join the team? I recently celebrated my 10 year anniversary at Music Forward – I love it. Music Forward removes barriers and creates opportunities for the next generation to showcase their innate talents and passion, and develop skills and networks to pave their path. I joined to support our young people. And doing this work with a collaborate and passionate team, in such a dynamic industry, has meant my work is ever evolving. Humble brag, this work is very rewarding. 

What are you most excited for in 2024? Music Forward’s apprenticeships. More live programming. I work in a place that constantly intersects with community organizations and education, small and large businesses, government and philanthropy, to provide solutions for youth that are not always supported by our standard institutions. Apprenticeships is collective impact and a proven way to build successful career paths and increase economic mobility. And can’t go without live programming! The moments we all connect in person are so important and I look forward to more events in 2024. 

What five songs you can’t live without? These “what is your favorite X” are always challenging to me, so here are songs that I regularly listen to and like a good Angeleno, sing in my car to. 
Harder Than You Think – Public Enemy
Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Finally, what has been your most memorable or favorite live music experience? My favorite memory was going to a concert with my daughter and watching her sing out in pure joy. The next concert I wasn’t invited to hang out with the teenagers, so I hold onto that memory pretty closely. You know, they grow up so quickly.

Adrian Flores

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you originally from and where do you currently reside?  I was born & raised in Houston, Texas and moved to Los Angeles to work in the live entertainment industry, starting with Latin Music! I have over 17 years of experience as a marketer and sponsorship manager/director, and I’ve worked at companies such as AEG Presents, Sam Nazarian’s SBE, LA Canvas, Grand Performances, and more. I also love learning about culture, tech, and anything related to art and music.

What is your current role? Marketing Director. I thrive on being creative and telling a story while digging into the data.

What does Music Forward mean to you, and what made you want to join the team?  My experiences within the non-profit realm and the music industry led me to my role at Music Forward! I always find new creative outlets and love seeing life through a unique perspective. My favorite part about being at Music Forward is my amazing team and having the ability to help build our Music Forward vision. I want to continue using my relationships and experience to ensure that MF thrives as one of the most valuable non-profits in the music industry. 

What are you most excited for in 2024?  I am excited for our continued return to live events! I started my career in live and it will always be my bread and butter. With All Access Fest at The Hollywood Palladium, live showcases at The Echo, and beyond, I am pumped to be apart of more live Music Forward experiences.

What five songs you can’t live without?
Lateralus – Tool  
The Bends – Radiohead
Nessun dorma – Luciano Pavarotti
List of Demands – Sal Williams
Alright – Kendrick Lamar 

Finally, what has been your most memorable or favorite live music experience? My most memorable concert experience would have to be the first time I saw TOOL. It was at a Wearhouse in Houston, TX.  My best friend and I had been obsessing over TOOL for years and knew all the music.   We found a way backstage and even got to hang out with the band!  Throughout the years I’ve run into them at other events and shows. The guitarist (Adam Jones) and Drummer (Danny Carey)  still recognize me from way back then which feels wonderful.

Get Involved
Events