Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Alumni (Page 1 of 58)

Alumni

Where are they now. . . find out how Berklee grads make their way in the music world.

Remembering Mike Renzi

Boston Conservatory alum Denise DeCaro (B.F.A. ’74) remembers the life and extraordinary career of her long-time friend and collaborator, Mike Renzi in the following tribute. Renzi passed away on September 28, 2021.

By Denise DeCaro

Pianist Mike Renzi

Mike Renzi (Image by Carol Mainelli)

On September 28, 2021, the internet lit up across the world as the recording and entertainment community learned of the sudden passing of maestro Mike Renzi, jazz musician and one of the most revered accompanists in the world. “He accompanied Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, and Big Bird,” as New York Times journalist, Neil Genzlinger, wrote in his Sunday, October 17, 2021 article, highlighting Mike Renzi’s 70-year career.

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Notes from the Room: When Writing Room Walls Talk

Veteran songwriter, author, and Berklee alumnus Billy Seidman reflects on the many experiences he’s had in the songwriting world. In this three-part series, Billy shares some of that hard-earned wisdom.

By Billy Seidman ’72

Vocal mics in a recording studioWith years of song cowrites to reflect on, scenes such as the following have been a reminder for me to go with the flow, but having a backup plan can also save the day. Consider this scenario, inspired by my own experiences:

Taylor the “Pop Shark” was stalking an idea, pacing in a circle doing his usual routine; speak-singing nonsense syllables trying to tease out a melody.

Jordan had been lobbing titles at Taylor and me for 45 minutes; “How about ‘Too little, too late,’ or ‘The Wheel’,” he said hoping one would click and stick.

The clock was coming up on an hour and 15 minutes since the three of us settled into BMG’s NYC writing room and…nada.

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Ella Fitzgerald: Singing, Storytelling, and the Ultimate Creative Entrepreneurial Adventure

By Nanette Perrotte B.M. ’91

Cover art for book Ella Jane the Jazzy CatElla Jane drew the shortest straw. Now she had to step onto one of the most infamous stages in New York City: the Apollo Theater. Would the audience love her? Or boo her?

This is the opening scene of my audiobook and e-book, Ella Jane the Jazzy Cat—An Ella Fitzgerald Fable. The book, written for 6- to 12-year-old students, is a fable based on the life of vocal master Ella Jane Fitzgerald. I also composed an original tune “Ella Jane the Jazzy Cat—Twist, Spin, Jump Jive.”

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Why Missy Elliott’s Honorary Doctorate Means So Much

By Darcie Nicole B.M. ’01

Missy Elliott at Berklee's 2019 commencement ceremony

Image by Dave Green

“Let me just soak it in… I don’t even know how I’m standing here…” The opening of the incomparable Missy Elliott’s humble, encouraging commencement address was devoid of egotism. Those who have been at Berklee long enough also needed to soak it in. Missy tapped into the ether. How she came to be standing there was a path forged by her musical bravery, compelling creativity, and groundbreaking innovation paralleled by a foundation that was built—sometimes against the grain—at the college for nearly two decades prior.

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Don’t Forget the Memory: ‘Tali Jams New York’ (Episode 7, Final)

Tali Rubinstein with her recorder

Image by Noam Galai

By Tali Rubinstein B.M. ’14

I don’t particularly like goodbyes.

When the time comes to part, maybe it’s better to forget and move on. Thinking about the past is agonizing in so many ways; reminiscing about what we lost (which is, effectively, all that’s in the past) is an empty rabbit hole.

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