It takes a village to raise an artist, and a new initiative hopes to bring that notion to life.

UnitedMasters and Bulleit Frontier Whiskey set their sights on Houston as a part of their latest initiative to uplift the next generation of talent by hosting a touring boot camp. It was created to help artists on their respective musical journeys by teaching them touring skills like booking, producing, performing and more.

“Through our ongoing work with UnitedMasters, we’ve learned there is a great demand and desire for mentorship and resources amongst up-and-coming and independent artists,” Jesse Damashek, Diageo North America senior vice president of whiskeys and liqueurs, told Blavity. “The 100-Hour Commitment is our response to wanting to address those needs and help this community with tangible support and tools where it matters the most.”

What’s more, an artist like Miss Kaniyah, who made her way to Houston by way of Washington, D.C., said she believes programs like this can be the recipe to success for an artist like herself.

Photo: Brian Vogel Photography

“It means a lot because personally, for me, I don’t perform often. I’m not really a performing artist,” Miss Kaniyah told Blavity just minutes after gracing the stage in the Texas city. “I’m trying to get more into that, but right now it just comes naturally. So to be able to perform out of state and move around, it’s very important to me.”

Just as leaders of the 100-Hour Commitment were intentional about selecting various talented individuals for the program, the collective said putting serious thought into the location was just as important. 

“Houston proved to be an ideal location, as it ranks as the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country and is sometimes overshadowed by music hotspots like Atlanta, Memphis and Miami,” Andre Howard, UnitedMasters’ head of commerce, told Blavity.

Howard additionally served as a mentor during the event, helping artists like Tarik Trotter learn the business side of the industry.

“There’s a ton of takeaways that I could tell you from today, right?” Trotter, a New York native, told Blavity. “I literally have a list in my notebook of different things that I’m going to be applying to my career, but even more than that, I think just being around these people and hearing them talk and the way that they think and assess problems, opportunities, issues, challenges and the way that they attack them, it’s so advanced.”

He continued, “They’ve obviously been doing it for a while and so they talk at a very high level, and it’s helpful to be pulled out from being an aspiring musician, to be like, ‘No, here’s what I need to be doing. This is what the pros are doing.’ If I can’t do exactly what they’re doing, let me extract the things that I can and do that now.”

Looking ahead, Damashek said the goal is to ensure that artists like Tarik Trotter and Miss Kaniyah are equipped with not only the resources but also the knowledge and opportunities needed to take their careers to new heights.