Stephen Brackett

Courtesy photo

Stephen Brackett of the band Flobots at the National Conference for Media Reform in Denver.

Stephen Brackett, co-founder of the Flobots, is Colorado’s new music ambassador, the Polis administration announced.

“Through his musical work, Brackett has not only elevated the global profile of Colorado’s music industry, but also has earned national recognition for his leadership and artist-engaged social impact,” the Office of Economic Development and International Trade said in a statement Thursday.

The Flobots is an experimental rap rock band. Brackett, who will serve for two years as music ambassador, also co-founded Youth on Record in Denver, which employs professional artists to help teenagers improve their academic achievement.

In a virtual event on Thursday, Brackett mentioned how the state’s $15.6 billion arts and culture industry, representing 4.5% of Colorado’s gross domestic product, took a hit due to the pandemic. One estimate showed job losses in Denver alone amounted to 29,840.

“To be clear: as ambassador I am going to try to do my best to uplift and uphold all of these different songs and these people making music,” he said. “And how do we get folks skills so in this new industry — in this new lack of industry — we’re finding ways to keep us around?

Brackett mentioned the possibility of musical guests from around the state making appearances in virtual classrooms as a way to remain engaged.

The economic development office indicated Brackett will take on two initiatives. First, he will assess the professional and personal needs of artists to help the industry revive from the pandemic. Second, he will train musicians to become active in schools and youth facilities, increasing access to musical education. He will also lead professional development in musician health, trauma support and the emerging music business.

“We’re all aware that the old model of the music industry is interrupted and just like any other thing, any other industry, we’re at a point in time where all of our industries are interrupted,” Brackett said. “But what we’re finding as always is that creative industries — musicians, artists — they’re kind of the canaries for any economic ecosystem. And when you see the artists struggling, that also means that so many other people on the fringes are also struggling.”

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