Noelle Scaggs is Ready to ‘Throw the Thunder' on Stage And In Her Work to Diversify the Music Industry

Noelle Scaggs is co-singer of Fitz and the Tantrums and also the founder of Diversify the Stage, a group aimed at providing better access and inclusivity in the music and live entertainment industry

NBC Universal, Inc.

You may know the name Noelle Scaggs as co-singer of Fitz and the Tantrums. She’s also the founder of Diversify the Stage, a group aimed at providing better access and inclusivity in the music and live entertainment industry. NBC10 Boston sat down with her to talk about her upcoming show in Boston, the new music, and about her work to make her industry more inclusive.

Scaggs founded Diversify the Stage in spring 2020. She said she was moved by the “pure frustration” she felt at the killing of George Floyd and a desire to make a significant change.

“With everything that was going on, especially like really looking at communities of color and how we were really, really impacted with what happened with George Floyd, but also understanding that this was a cycle, right? This was something that wasn't unusual for our communities to experience and I really wanted to start thinking about my contributions to the world,” she said.

Scaggs added that she got into music to help and inspire people and this was a chance to do more.

“When I started really thinking about my career, I discovered that there were a lot of inequities that I had written hadn't really paid attention to because I was on the front of stage, not really looking at what was going on behind the scenes, not really feeling like I had any say. I thought it was just the way things were.”

Diversify the Stage grew out of Scagg’s desire to be more intentional with her own power to shape the industry. Scaggs said it’s not only about diversity on the stage itself, but also the teams behind the scenes, at venues and in all other aspects of the industry.

“It was like figuring out the obstacles, figuring out how within my own platform, I could use my power to get to folks that can spearhead things that can help me kind of really build. What I felt needed to happen,” she said.

The work takes training, education, intentionality, and time. While sometimes progress can seem slow, Scaggs said she has seen growth and hopes the industry continues in that direction.

I think it's really about that outreach and being very intentional but also creating an inclusive culture. It's one thing to hire diversely and then not have the culture that to support these people that are coming into a space that is predominantly either white or whatever, you know what I mean? Like male-dominated, whatever it is. So you have to make your culture inclusive as well,” she said.

To learn more about Diversify the Stage, click here.

Fitz and the Tantrums is playing Big Night Live in Boston on Feb. 10. Scaggs is challenging everyone to know the words to all their new songs - she expects a rowdy crowd in Boston.

"I'm just going to throw the thunder on the audience, just bring it, you know, sing along and all the things. And they should definitely know every single word to all of the new songs."

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