Get to Know Shawntisha Bailey
Five questions for senior MEIS student Shawntisha Bailey.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Nov 3, 2021
Shawntisha Bailey is a senior in the Music and Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) program at CU Denver. Originally from Brookings, Oregon, Bailey came to Denver to study and pursue her passion for music. In May 2022, Bailey will graduate with a degree in Music Business and a minor in Law Studies. Bailey serves on CU Denver’s Student Government Association as the representative for the College of Arts & Media (CAM) and also as the chair of the College Council. Additionally, she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Bailey appreciates the “student-centered” approach that CAM utilizes, saying it is a distinguishing factor that sets the college apart, not only among other arts schools in the U.S., but also among other colleges at CU Denver.
1. What attracted you to the College of Arts & Media?
I lived in a really small town and I wanted to do something more. In small towns, it’s very hard to seize opportunities. You have to go find all these opportunities, which has taught me some skills which I’ve been able to use here in CAM. I just wanted to do something more. I wanted to explore my passion in music, specifically music business. I came and toured Denver and I fell in love with it. It’s a big city but people are pretty nice here. On top of that, I fell in love with the program [in MEIS], it was a perfect match for what I wanted, which was a contemporary music business program.
2. How have your interests evolved as you studied in CAM?
I came here thinking I wanted to be a vocal performer, and then I got here and realized my passions were different than what I thought. I knew that I wanted to do something in the music business, and as I took a lot of classes in CAM, I found I was really interested in entertainment law.
Intro to music business taught by Richard Strasser really helped me figure out what part of the industry I’m interested in. Prof. Strasser made sure we understood the definitions of what we talk about when we talk about music business, which is fundamental. I still use the things I learned in that class literally every day in my other classes.
3. What is interesting about Entertainment Law?
Entertainment law is so interesting because it’s really a case-by-case field. It intrigues me because I will never be doing the same thing every day, which is something I know I need. Artists are so often taken advantage of oftentimes because they don’t have the right information. Music law can be considered vague because while it is black in white as in what is law and what isn’t, everything about it is open to interpretation. How do you defend this or that, how do you apply the law to different cases?
I’ve helped Prof. Storm Gloor with his community research project, which involves helping Denver musicians by teaching them some of the basics of the music industry. I’ve taught a music law class in this capacity. And so many of these local Denver musicians have been taken advantage of by labels, publishers, producers, because they don’t understand the industry. It’s disheartening that it happens to so many musicians that don’t know better. Providing resources for those who can’t afford to come to school for these things is important.
4. How have you evolved as you’ve studied in CAM?
I’m a completely different person now than when I entered this program, in the best way possible. When I first came, I didn’t know a single person so I was super shy and timid and not who I am. I’ve come to grow into the person that I really, truly am and I’m comfortable expressing who I am and what my interests are. Because of CAM, I’m a leader. I represent all of CAM in my role on the Student Government Association, and I think that’s just an incredible difference from when I first came here. Now I have this huge network of friends and the faculty and staff of the college who support the students and want to see us succeed. I never thought when I started here that this is where I would end up, and the trajectory just keeps on going.
5. What are your post-CAM plans?
I'm planning on attending Sunway University in Malaysia to work on my masters in Research in Creative Arts and Media. I think it will be a really good bridge between CAM and law school.
Dean Kaptain has been really supportive as I’ve pursued this opportunity. I’ve talked to him a lot about where I want to end up and my goals because I work pretty closely with him for my student government job. He was talking about how CAM had already sent a student to Sunway before and how he was in touch with them about possibly sending another student. I wasn’t thinking about whether it was possible for me, until it was opened up. And the program fits exactly what I want to do and they’re actually excited about my thesis topic, which is interdisciplinary with legal studies and entertainment. I would be doing my thesis on countries that have first amendment rights versus those that don’t, and how that affects their creative economies. I’ll be looking at the whole creative industry—film, music, and fine art. I wasn’t quite ready for law school, but if I take a “break” I want it to be meaningful.