DENVER -- Governor Jared Polis has named Stephen Brackett Colorado’s new Music Ambassador. As Music Ambassador, Brackett will serve as the state’s lead advocate for Colorado's diverse music scene and Colorado’s talented musicians. The music ambassador designation is derived from a thoughtful review of candidates who demonstrate a consistent, high-level commitment to public service whose efforts advance Colorado economically, socially and culturally through music.
Brackett is the co-founder and emcee of Flobots as well as a co-founder of the nonprofit Youth on Record. Youth on Record empowers Colorado’s underserved youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators. Brackett has been able to inspire at-risk youth to see the potential for a better life through music.
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.
Initiatives as the ambassador
As the new Music Ambassador, Stephen will focus on two initiatives. The first will include assessing the needs of emerging and seasoned artists in the areas of professional and business development training, trauma support, and artistic tools in order to begin rebuilding Colorado’s music ecosystem, which has been deeply impacted by the global pandemic.
Additionally, Brackett and his team at Youth on Record will train Colorado musicians who are interested in further developing their skills so that they can lead classes and workshops in schools and youth facilities throughout the state. The goal is for Colorado musicians to acquire the tangible skills that will prepare them to share their gifts in schools and youth-serving facilities (libraries, youth centers, hospitals, and treatment centers). Other training areas will include Musician Health & Community Safety, Trauma Support and Recovery, and Emerging Music Business. This work will inform Take Note Colorado and Colorado Creative Industries, and young children across the state will have increased access to musical education.
The role of music in Colorado's economy
Arts and culture play an important role in Colorado’s economy, accounting for $15.6B and 4.5% of the state’s GDP, more than mining or transportation. Music comprises one of Colorado’s top five creative industries clusters by employment and growth. A July 2018 study of Colorado’s music scene indicates that statewide, the music industry is responsible for more than 16,000 jobs and just over $1.4 billion in revenue. Colorado’s music industry experienced a 24% growth in employment between 2010 and 2016. The National Endowment for the Arts recently ranked Colorado number one in the nation for the percentage of adults engaged in the arts with 68.3 percent of adults practicing creative pursuits.
History and future of the Music Ambassador
Brackett will serve as the Music Ambassador for the next two years. The Colorado Music Ambassador program is a collaborative partnership funded by Take Note Colorado, Youth on Record and Colorado Creative Industries.
Colorado’s first music ambassador was Shawn King, drummer of Colorado-based band DeVotchKa. During his tenure, he engaged in an initiative to encourage Colorado companies to license music made in Colorado, the Colorado Music Licensing Project. Learn more at songcolorado.com
About Stephen Malloy Brackett
Stephen Malloy Brackett has been rhyming words as a calling and profession for the last 12 years. He has toured the world with his band, Flobots, using music as a platform for engagement and collective empowerment. The band’s platinum hit, “Handlebars,” has allowed Stephen to share the stage with many of his heroes including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Bernie Sanders, and Emily Keys.
His time as a philosophy student at Colorado State University nurtured his life-long love affair with the arts, education, and activism. Blending his passions, he co-founded the non-profit Youth on Record in 2008. Youth on Record exists to empower Colorado’s youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators. To date, Youth on Record has impacted the lives of thousands of young people and after 11 years serving on the Board of Directors, Stephen is proud to join the staff this year as Director of Special Programs.
As a Denver native, he has seen a decline in arts education in the public school system, and is doing all he can at Youth on Record to ensure that all young people in Denver have the tools to tell their own story – be it through music production, lyric writing, poetry, spoken word or movement. Stephen is a driving force in curriculum development and program planning for Youth on Record.
Stephen comes from a family that set a precedent of using your gifts to benefit others. He gives credit to his mother, Ava Malloy Brackett, for setting a precedent that allowed no label to define her outcome. Stephen lives in his hometown of Denver, Colorado with his brilliant wife Jennifer, dog Scout, and beloved cat, Puma.