Why She’s Top 40: She turned her passion for music into a career that puts Alberta artists in the spotlight.
When she began working for Alberta Music eight years ago, Carly Klassen wrote a list of goals she hoped to achieve before the age of 40. At the top of that list was to become executive director at the non-profit organization where she discovered her interest in the business side of the music industry. Less than a decade later, she achieved that goal – and more. She is the current leader of Alberta Music’s all-female staff.
“Our goal is education and advocacy,” says Klassen. “We want others to recognize arts and culture in Alberta as a business. I love seeing musicians take their art seriously – what they do has so much value.”
Klassen also serves on several boards and committees, including the Western Canadian Music Alliance, whose primary event is BreakOut West, an annual conference and festival that showcases over 50 artists across a dozen venues each year.
Klassen was also awarded Industry Person of the Year in 2017 from the Alberta Country Music Awards. The award largely recognized Klassen’s work overseeing the development of Project Wild, an intensive program designed to develop the careers of a handful of the province’s best up-and-coming country artists (with more than $100,000 in prize money as extra incentive). Klassen is generous with her time and devotes herself to a seemingly endless list of projects. But there is one constant through-line in everything she does: Her belief in Alberta’s vibrant music scene.
“It’s easy for me to do my job because I’m surrounded by so many amazing artists,” gushes Klassen. “No matter where I go, I know I’ll be involved in the music industry in some way. I’ve found where I’m meant to be.”