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Tag: Berklee Alumni (Page 1 of 5)

Berklee Alumni

Singing My Way to Montreux

Fabio Giacolone singing at the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

Image credit: Damien Richard

by Fabio Giacalone ’16

My first day at the 2016 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in Switzerland was quite an eventful one. It flew by pretty quickly and included a lot of travel logistics, but I was also able to rehearse with the house trio as well as meet and bond with my fellow vocal contestants. That afternoon, not far from the conference site, there were a few workshops led by famous artists, a highlight of which for me was meeting Patty Austin and singing with her. 

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Morgana Overture Premiere with the San Rafael Symphonic Band of Bunyol

It was a real treat taking the short trip from Valencia to Bunyol to witness the premiere of one of my overtures by the local Symphonic Band from the Conservatorio Profesional de Música San Rafael de Buñol. This was made possible through collaboration and internal competitions from within Berklee, in order to select the pieces to be played.

Felipe Tellez Morgana Premiere at Buñol

Two-Five-One: Tim Hare

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Name: Tim Hare, Creatively known as FranchisedYouth
Major(s): Contemporary Writing and Production (CWP)
Hometown: Panorama City, CA
Current City: Glendale, CA

How does your degree play a role in your current career path?

I recently switched jobs so that my CWP degree would be the focus of my career. I was making a lot more money working behind the scenes in the touring world, but I wanted to compose and score music. That was the reason I went to Berklee in the first place, to learn the skills to compose and arrange music. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but utilizing all the things I learned as a CWP major to work in creating music for media was vastly important to me and what I wanted to make out of my career.

What is something you’d wish you’d known “then” (before starting Berklee, during Berklee, or your first year out of Berklee)?

How important being able to create professional mixes on your own is. I focused much more heavily on scoring techniques and my song writing. I didn’t focus on mixing as much and the ability to create a “Professional” sounding mix would give me a lot more jobs than using clever musical ideas. I was recently looking at an online Berklee Class for mixing and thought “Didn’t I already pay for four years of this?” I wish CWP focused twice as much attention on helping students develop mixes.

Can you touch on the importance of your networking, skill and talent?

Networking is everything to me. I have skill and talent like anyone that comes out of Berklee, but all of my gigs have come from networking. Taking people out for coffee, picking their brain, getting feedback, and seeing who my contacts know that can help is how I spend half of my week. I try to be equally as helpful because you never know when you might help someone kick start their own career. Networking with your peers also allows you to continue to learn and grow your skill set.

How do you connect with other people? How much does social media play a role in your career as an employee and artist?

I use Social Media as a launch point for my work and brand. Soundcloud/Facebook/Youtube are free and essential tools to creating a hub where you can quickly showcase who you are as a talent. Outside of that connecting with people face to face or via phone are exponentially more important than Social Media. In 10 minutes of physical discussion you can learn and gain more than 100 emails or messages. Once you establish any contact through a social network, get that person in front of you or on the phone so they can get to know you better and see your face.

What should a new alum focus on as they enter the job market?

In my opinion it would be organization and productivity. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself. I try to send out at least three networking emails a week and finish one composition for my Soundcloud. Find ways to gain traction in your field even when you’re not working on a specific project for monetary reasons. There are hundreds of aspiring composers here in LA so I have to find new markets to attract if I am to make a career out of this. As a new alum you are already four years behind me in terms of networking and productivity so get started right away!

 


Originally from Southern California, I moved to Boston when I was 15 and started playing Bass soon after settling there. By 19 I was playing in the local Boston scene with the bands, Baby Strange, Aloud, and The Painted Lights which included a few tours of the UK. I graduated from Berklee in 2011 and got a job in 2012 working for Warner Music Group doing VIP Concierge tours with Wiz Khalifa, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Mac Miller. I moved back to LA in 2013 and soon began working in production and day to day management for Mick Jones of the heritage rock band Foreigner. I traveled all over the world before settling back in LA in 2015 and began working as a composer and employee for music library Sonic Librarian.

Tim Hare can be found in the social spheres via FranchisedYouth’s  Facebook and Soundcloud


Two Five One is a series of blog posts by alumni. They write about two places (where they’re living & their hometown) answer five questions about their post-graduate experience, and it’s a one-off post. For more information about blogging for Berklee as an alumni, email alumniaffairs@berklee.edu

How I Learned to Stop Worrying…

…and Love the Bass Guitar

by Eruch Kimball ’03Eruch Kimball

Stepping off stage after a monster set of modal jazz I notice the fans and how they flocked. The sax, keys, and drummer are usually the first to be approached. The singer just as often. I, the bass player, seem to be able to navigate the crowd completely anonymously, not a single person inquiring about my destination. It’s rare to gain great public acclaim as a bass player, that’s just not our role. The lead guitar player? Sure. The trumpet soloist? Absolutely. Bass? Ideally, you only notice it when it’s being played poorly. Otherwise it serves a function in music that is completely supportive. An odd mix of introvert and extrovert that personifies support in the best of ways. I believe that the core elements of music and the instruments that play them have something in common in their organizational and social cultures in relation to other instruments. Said plainly, the musician’s personality can and often does echo their instrument’s emotional role in music.

The role of the bass as a function of music is to support the melody, harmony, and rhythm of a piece. Any instrument performing the “bass role” has a musical duty to both lead and follow the other musical elements to keep them all in concert. The bass has implied harmony and obvious rhythm to its part and it is usually thought of as the second melody. This is a great musical example of the potential dynamics of an individual’s role in a team.

In the first few years of my bass playing I wanted to play fast and use complicated techniques to be really impressive on my instrument. During college I noticed that every other young bass player was trying to do the same thing as me and none of us were getting any gigs! The guys who were getting gigs were simple, solid as a rock, supportive players. They were members of their teams and naturally assumed a type of leadership role that exists somewhere between being fully in charge and just being a silent partner for approval. Thinking about your role in whatever team you’re in, how are you supporting that relationship and how do you keep everyone on track in whatever project you’re working on?

The bass player in a band does a couple of key things that have become stereotypes over the years. They keep the drummer on track. This means the bassist has to agree with the drummer about the tempo and feel of a song and then work to maintain those musical elements. By providing the bass line, the bassist gives the whole band the core harmonic information. The key of the song and the chord progression. This helps the singer identify their pitch and keep soloists on track by giving them a reference to the form of the song.

At the end of the night, after I’ve packed up my bass and I’m ready to head home. I’m happy that I get to continue my role as a supporting musician. I never really wanted to be the stand-out, I’d rather just help everyone be the best they can be. It’s a great way to be in charge without needing credit for it. It’s that great mix between introvert and extrovert and I’ve come to develop respect for the supporting roles over time. I learned to stop worrying. I learned to love the bass guitar. I learned to love being a part of a team. And I’d love to talk to you after my set, but if you don’t want to, that’s fine too.


Eruch Kimball ’03 is an electric bassist, composer, arranger, audio engineer and marketing professional.  Originally a Professional Music major in performance and songwriting, he completed Master Certificates in Film Scoring and Music Business through Berklee Online and is currently competing an MBA in Marketing.  Over his 16 years of music industry experience he has performed and engineered over 3000 concerts for over 2 million people across the U.S. and East Asia.  A military veteran, he served six years of active duty service with the U.S. Army Band.  He owns and operates SynchroMuse LLC, an audio branding and music services company based out of Los Angeles.  He loves to blog about life and food and is developing an online community where these two passions of his intersect called Urban Bento.  You can follow him, his music, and his writing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@urbanbento, @synchromuse)


 

Interested in inspiring your fellow alumni? Want to share your story? Email alumniaffairs@berklee.edu to find out how you can become a writer for Berklee Blogs.

The Dynamic Duo: Nell Benjamin and Larry O’Keefe

 

Musical Theater Clinic

Larry O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin met at an improv audition at Harvard University. The pair has been making magic ever since and have gone on to create musicals such as Cam Jansen, The Mice, Sarah Plain and Tall, and Life of the Party.

O’Keefe and Benjamin visited Berklee’s 1140 building on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 for an intimate and candid discussion about how to become a successful writer and composer in the musical theater industry. The dynamic duo represents the first artists to participate in the Curtain Up visiting artist series. The Curtain Up concert is an annual concert featuring the winning songs of the Curtain Up Musical Theater Songwriting Contest. It was held in the David Friend Recital Hall on April 1; Larry and Nell attended and were able to offer some feedback to the students who attended the clinic.

O’Keefe ‘93 has made a name for himself in the musical theater community. Earning an education from USC, Harvard, and Berklee, he honed his skills to create works like the Drama Desk Award-nominated Bat Boy: The Musical, which ran off-Broadway in 2001. This production received an Outer Critics’ Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.

O’Keefe is very busy working on multiple projects, including Andy, which will feature Steve Carell and which is based on the musical Annie, and an adaptation of the novel Heathers into Heathers: The Musical, which will be opening up in Los Angeles.

Benjamin’s television credits include the last and weirdest season of Unhappily Ever After, Animal Planet’s Whoa!, Sunday with Mo Rocca, and the new Electric Company. She received the 2003 Kleban Foundation Award for lyrics and a 2003 Jonathan Larson Foundation grant. She is currently working on a musical adaptation of Because of Winn Dixie with Duncan Sheik and on Pirates!, a witty adaptation of Pirates of Penzance.

For anyone who has a hard time writing melodies or knowing when (or when not) to edit a piece…this clinic was for you. Personally, I have a hard time with melody manipulation and song structure when I’m writing and they answered questions with clarity and examples. After talking with Larry and Nell after the clinic, I was inspired and motivated to pick up the script I had been writing (one that I had previously put away for good), revisit it, and bring some new life to it.

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