Tyné Angela Freeman ’17 highlights music career at WIB event

by Helen Liu | 5/11/20 3:05am

Source: Courtesy of Teaghan Callaway

Last Thursday, former Women in Business member Tyné Angela Freeman ’17 MALS ’19 shared her experiences as an independent artist in the music industry in a Zoom event held by WIB. 

Freeman’s presentation, which focused on entrepreneurship and the process of launching an independent music career, was introspective and intimate. After asking attendees to think about and write down their natural inclinations and goals, Freeman encouraged students to apply the experiences that she detailed throughout her presentation to their own stories and consider how they could grow as artists. The conversation came full circle at the end of the presentation when Freeman asked participants to share their own introspections.

“I personally am not someone who’s more inclined towards the music industry, but her presentation had advice that was applicable to everyone,” Sonali Soni ’23, one of the organizers of the event, said. “I thought it was interesting for her to have us think about ourselves in her presentation.”

During her time at Dartmouth, Freeman studied ethnomusicology, a field that concerns the study of music’s cultural and anthropological sources. Much of her work is inspired by cultural events like the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance. During her senior year, Freeman pursued a senior fellowship in which she co-wrote songs with artists from seven African countries and recorded a full-length album. Freeman’s most recent album was informed by her master’s thesis, and she is currently working on a novel to accompany it. She said that she draws influence from Beyoncé’s idea of “sonic cinema” on the album “The Lion King: The Gift,” which was based on Beyoncé’s role as Nala in the live-action film.

Teaghan Callaway ’21, president of WIB, said that Freeman’s talk deviated from past WIB events and gave her insight into the music industry.

"It was interesting to bring a different perspective into WIB because a lot of the events are really focused on finance, consulting and investment banking,” Callaway said.

During the event, Freeman encouraged students who attended her presentation to foster collaborative relationships with their mentors and peers. She emphasized her commitment to the “Golden Rule” — treat others how you want to be treated. Throughout her career, Freeman has both received and given help to others, which she said has fostered her growth as an artist and as an individual.

“Collaboration is really at the core of my artistic practice,” Freeman said. “My senior fellowship allowed me to record songs with artists from different countries and incorporate different languages and different musical traditions … It taught me a lot about empathy and about listening, and I’ve been able to carry that forward to other areas of life as well.”

She also spoke to the importance of having courage, even in spaces that are not so welcoming at first. 

“Sometimes as women, or as minorities or even just in general, we disqualify ourselves from certain opportunities because we don’t quite fit the existing mold,” Freeman said. “But there’s so much value in finding ways to create space for yourself. You just have to believe that what you have to offer is unique.”

Growing up as a timid child, Freeman said that she gained the courage to stand on a stage and share her talents thanks to the encouragement of all of the people around her. She said that while she still struggles as an introvert in an industry that favors extroverts, she has learned to go beyond her social boundaries in order to achieve her musical goals.

“If you want to build a body of work, it takes time and commitment,” Freeman said. “It’s being hungry to learn, hungry to grow and not letting those personal traits hinder my ambitions.”

Freeman also shared some of her insights about staying afloat in a constantly evolving industry. With the music industry having transitioned almost entirely to streaming, artists rely more heavily on streams to earn a living from their music. According to Freeman, one stream of a song brings in only about .004 cents, so she said it is crucial that independent artists find supplemental ways to support themselves while they work to grow their audience. She also recommended that students take advantage of Dartmouth resources to fund their projects. 

“Sometimes you have to do what you need to do in order to do what you want to do,” Freeman said. “What’s important is that you still hold space for your passions as you work towards being able to fully support yourself through music.”

Callaway said that her biggest takeaway from Freeman’s presentation was the importance of sharing one’s experiences in the professional world.

"She was just a prime example of how there's an opportunity for you to pursue your passions, and in order to do that, it's really important to be able to craft your story,” Callaway said.

With her own music, Freeman said that she aims above all to uplift people and create a positive space to help others. According to Freeman, one of her friends dubbed her the “queen of self-care” following the release of her song “Serenity.” However, she said that she also wants to confront issues like identity and injustice through the medium of music.

“Art can be disruptive in ways that are more palatable for voicing concerns,” Freeman explained.

As Freeman writes her novel, her advice for other artists is to collaborate and share their work with other artists.

“You have such a captive audience since we’re all home,” she said. “We might as well make the most of it.”