allalonemagazine spoke to Isis Salvaterra (Toi.toi.Musik), “a passionate music head and dedicated supporter of aspiring artists, and an articulate voice in our music culture.”
Born in Brazil to a family with Italian origins, Isis moved to London at a young age and has now lived in the city for two decades. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (combined: Psychology, Sociology, and Third World Politics and Development) at the University of Westminster, but later gave up her career as a civil servant to dedicate full time to music.
Raised under the influence of music and with African culture and sound in Brazil, Isis has been part of the electronic music scene in London for over two decades, managing artists and tours worldwide. Along with this comes the management and production of all Toi.Toi.Events in London and around the globe, as well as A&R for Toi.Toi.Music’s Record Label & Mix Series and her lifelong association with fabric’s nightclub.
After the world pandemic, she seized the opportunity to launch a platform that had been in the making for a while. ISCoaching was born. With the knowledge and experience gained from a degree in Psychology, Sociology and Politics, an Ethnomusicology degree at MA level and further qualifications in CBT coaching, Isis Salvaterra has developed a unique coaching model specifically tailored to the niche and music community. The model uses cognitive behavioural techniques for coaching for personal, professional and artistic development and also offers mentoring as well as consulting.
This interview tackles an incredibly relevant topic that is slowly but surely gaining the attention it takes to address and mend the issue of mental health in the music industry. Take a few minutes to learn more about Isis Salvaterra’s new project, IScoaching. What exactly is it? What’s the difference between mentoring and coaching? And why is mental health still such a taboo topic?
If you feel like reaching out and would like to get some advice from Isis, visit her website: IScoaching
Hey Isis, good to have you here. How have you been and how was your start into 2023?
Hey there, thanks for having me here. I feel 2023 started on the right foot, I co-programmed 20hrs of music alongside the girls of LeMaia for Shelter in Amsterdam. So proud of how it went down, beauty.
I also feel we are seeing signs of the pandemic starting to fade in practical terms (the psychological impact I believe is still here for many more years to come) but in terms of people going out more and so on. I have a great feeling about this year.
Me too! So and how exactly was the idea born to launch a platform like IScoaching? What was your motivation?
As with everything I do, everything is very organic and in most cases, not necessarily conscious. Over the course of my agency’s existence (10 years), I suddenly realised I was assisting my artists with factors that went beyond bookings and management. My academic background and training was naturally being put into practice without it being an official platform.
I lived two years between Bucharest and my base London and in Romania, as an ex-communist country I identified many problems, also the fact that mental health for them is still a massive taboo, so I wanted to be able to help / assist in any way I could. Realising that, I then thought of externalising this internal work to the world. When back in London I then spent time on putting it all info together, designing the whole programme from scratch as it is so specific to the world we live in. When back in Romania, I was invited for a talk with Electronic Beats and I was asked about it so after this I launched.
All right, so then tell us please what is the main aim of ISCoaching?
The aim is to be able to support and assist as many people as we can, especially in the nightlife. In this realm there are many additional aspects to be accounted for such as sleep deprivation, drugs, alcohol among many others. That added to the underlying psychological conditions that one who may already have it can easily destroy a person or an artistic career.
As I wrote on my website:
“I am a true believer that in order to get to the real inner person, artist, we need to get to their hearts so what I do aims at getting to the core, meaning that on the way the „clutter“ or „extra luggage“ or „barriers“ need to be removed so we can move forward and thrive. Coaching looks into the future, psychology looks into the past as it takes into consideration emotions, I find it essential to have a mix of both in order to go forward (coach). “
And what technique/s is/are used?
The technique I mostly use is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques. It is a technique that aims at reprogramming / rewiring the brain and consequently changing behaviour patterns for the better. More info about this, here.
Could you explain us the difference between mentoring and coaching?
Coaching is about looking into the future together with the coachee, acquiring the aims and then putting a mirror in front of them, helping them ask the questions in the right moment so ideas are organised and consequently they themselves get to their own best route or conclusion.
Mentoring is more on the teaching side of things, coming from a place of experience, expertise and wisdom, more like guidance from the mentor to the mentored. Safe to say “I think it’s best for you to do this” where in coaching as with psychology we can only be the tool that guides in order to teach them to problem solve, find procedures and routes which can be used to other situations in life thereafter.
And how were your experiences so far?
Absolutely and incredibly rewarding experiences to see when people achieve their goals or overcome their fears for example. What I love about CBT is that not only it assists them achieving their goals, but it also leaves them with procedural ways to deal with similar situations in future so that they will no longer need a coach as they have learned the model and procedure to be used in future experiences. It is a rather simple model, as below:
That’s great to hear, plus the subject of mental health is slowly becoming less taboo in our scene and changing for the better. What efforts have you made in recent years for your own personal development?
I always find that trauma makes us who we are. It forces us to look into the depths and really create that self-exploration we wouldn’t otherwise go for. I am thankful for my suffering as I find one can never have the best if they are not willing to pay for the worse, the only way is through so that is one way of personal development but it is not one that is necessarily chosen by us. We don’t choose what we get given, but we choose what to do with it.
That is certainly true.
During lockdown I sat down and made a list of all the things I didn’t like about myself and started going through it. I ended up with some amazing literature such as ‘The Art of Listening’ from the incredible Erich Fromm for example, or practising learning how to ask for help, being humble enough to ask, or become more accessible to people by finding different ways of communicating, I have been very misunderstood as my communication wouldn’t necessarily seem to many that they are in line with my intentions. I can be very objective when speaking, but that is not to say I am not an emotional being, in fact, I am super emotional but I ethically separate them so well, as a consequence I fail to see when people take things personally for instance.
I feel we should constantly be open to change and challenge ourselves with courage, grace, dignity, respect and gratitude.
I feel the same way. I also feel that we should communicate our feelings and emotions more openly. In the past year, I’ve started to voice my emotions out loud, sometimes in a way that even sets boundaries. And I did it in the immediate present, when I felt overwhelmed or triggered. This hasn’t always worked, it may have even cost me a few friends, but not my nerves. That is already all that matters. Also – I am a big fan of Erich’s Fromm work. Any other book recommendation that you wanna share with our readers?
Many to list but another from Erich – Fear of Freedom (specially to those in Eastern Europe and citizens of countries that faced oppression throughout history). For artists, there is a book called ‘The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self’ by Julia Cameron.
Thank you, Isis, for your very important work and open words. Last, but not least, I would like to ask you a question I usually ask everyone on the allalonemagazine platform: What does music mean to you?
Oh my god, where to start. Basically, it means everything. Music is our superpower – THE most powerful tool to humanity, the universal language, the soundtrack of our lives, what binds us together, what forms our personal and cultural identities; all human cultures have music.
In my case personally, it rules every realm of my life, my social life, my working life, my leisure, my travels and beyond. For some of us it is very extreme, like an obsession. On a more poetic note, I leave it to Plato who puts it so nicely:
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”.