WHAT’S YOUR STORY? BIF NAKED AND THE HEART OF BUSINESS
Written by Joy Dutcher
Bif Naked has been an iconic artist in the Canadian music scene for going on 20 years. Her energetic stage presence and endearing personality have been a role model for young women to embrace being strong and feminine with equal confidence.
Successful business role-models are often described as ‘go-getters’, type A personalities and aggressive risk takers. The music industry is full of male lead singers who dominate the stage and the boardroom with a masculine ego publicly accepted as ‘what it takes’ to be a rockstar. Bif Naked started her journey with the music industry in high school and college bands in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her energetic shows, impassioned lyrics and gentle personality prove that musicians can bring their heart to business, minus the ego, and be commercially successful.
Miss Naked officially started her journey as a business woman when she created Her Majesty’s Records with manager Peter Karroll. They had discovered that her current label was going bankrupt and need to make some quick decisions to buy the masters of the album she was recording.
Bif partnered with Peter and developed a team to continue her career and sign up-and-coming bands. Where Bif originally chose many of the signed artists and Peter administered the business, they have developed a democracy that brings the strengths and opinions of all the team members in making directional decisions.
With over 20 years in the industry, Bif is more confident than ever as a business woman in her 40s:
Choosing to be straight-edged in her early 20s was an important socio-political statement for Bif. Not wanting to participate in the ‘shenanigans’ of the touring life but still enjoying downtime with her band and crew, it gave her an avenue to live her values without having to explain them to everyone. As an artist with sincere compassion for animals, it allowed her to take a stance against animal cruelty and inspire others to be strong in their convictions.
In 2007, Bif’s life was dealt an enormous challenge when, shortly after getting married, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a lumpectomy and started chemotherapy.
In the middle of recording an album, Bif tried to keep up with her original recording and touring schedule throughout her treatments. She took on cancer, her new marriage and the growth of her recording career all at once; often prioritizing business meetings and recording sessions over her need for rest. Getting to know other cancer patients throughout her developed a new expression of Bif’s social compassion and she started doing volunteer for cancer agencies and joined Vancouver’s Women’s Advisory Committee. Bif continues her volunteer work and shows her support daily for many charities on her Twitter account (@BifNaked).
She is also currently writing her mémoires for Harper Collins, capturing memories and antidotes of her unique life.
With over 20 years in the industry, Bif is more confident than ever as a business woman in her 40s. A transforming piece of wisdom that she has uses in her daily and business life is that “the one who is talking is not listening”. This reminder to talk less and listen more is a valuable insight into making well informed business and life decisions. For Miss Naked, bringing your heart to business as a woman means “listening to the whisper” and recognizing that feminine intuition can be a powerful guide.
As women can be more relational in business dealings, we can often let our fear of being judged outweigh our gut instinct. Her advice to aspiring business women is to stay true to one’s intuition and always sleep on big decisions. Perspectives can change so quickly in arguments and things that you’re enamoured about, a good night’s sleep can give you that time to think over a decision and respond without feeling reactionary.
While Bif Naked has always been a moving force in the Canadian music industry and an energetic performer, the softer side of her personality is so evident in her warmth and approachability. She had developed trusted business relationships and networks because she is authentic, has the faith to give everyone a chance and is willing to step out of her comfort zone as an artist to try something new.
She comes to the stage and the office being true to her instincts and faith in people.