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GRAMMY U Gets Up Close With Louis Messina And Interactive In Career Workshops
On April 28, The Texas Chapter hosted its 5th Annual GRAMMY U: Summit. Enthusiastic GRAMMY U student members traveled from universities all around Texas to attend this career day, which consisted of a keynote speech by Louis Messina as well as the chance to attend workshops led by several music industry professionals.
The Summit kicked off with a keynote speech by renowned concert promoter and founder of The Messina Group, Louis Messina. His lecture was moderated by Texas Music Office Director Casey Monahan, who asked Messina questions about his experience as a concert promoter and the state of the music industry today. Messina covered a variety of topics in his speech, from advising students to know what people want to booking the right acts for venues. “It’s a people business,” he told students. “Be educated, have a desire, work, and sell yourself.” Students were able to engage in a Q&A session with Messina after his speech.
Louis Messina, President/CEO of The Messina Group and Summit Keynote speaker
Following the keynote, student broke out into their chosen workshop sessions. The Live Recording workshop was led by owner/president of Reelsound Recording Co., Malcolm Harper. Students got the opportunity to go inside his mobile recording truck to listen and learn from Harper in an intimate environment. Chapter member and arranger/producer Fletch Wiley also helped lead the workshop, letting them know that practice really does make perfect: “You won’t know that much when you get out of school—you’ll learn it when you get out and put it to practice.”
Over in the Gibson Guitar Showroom, student musicians participated in the all-day workshop Jam Session, led by Chapter Board member and composer/producer Rodney Alejandro. Alejandro, an energetic and interactive teacher, pushed students to think and play creatively by having them experiment with jazz songs and variations of style within the same pieces.
The Publishing workshop was led by renowned music publisher and entrepreneur Richard Perna, who formed Music Publishing Consultants and EverGreen Copyrights. He talked about his rags-to-riches life story—starting from when he was living off food stamps to recently selling his company, Music Publishing Consultants, for a very impressive price. Students were in awe of his success, stopping him to ask questions throughout his lecture, which focused on things you need to know to thrive in the music publishing industry.
GRAMMY U Students and Rodney Alejandro Jamming
Just across the hall, groups of students were rotating from table to table in the Finding Your Niche workshop, which featured leaders from different areas of the music industry to help students figure out what direction they want to head in their careers.
The first table was led by Chapter Board member and harpist Merry Miller, who handed out EPKs and press releases that she has used in the past to market herself and book concerts. She went through two types of EPKs step by step and showed students how to write their own versions using her tips and secrets.
Another table over, producer/songwriter and founder of Same Sky Productions, Inc. David Messier was engaging in conversation with students about his own experiences in the music industry. “This is a very exciting time in the music industry,” Messier told them. “It’s all about networking!”
Texas artist agent and manager Chad Kudelka also helped lead the workshop by giving students advice on how to book acts for artists you manage: “The key component to lasting in this business is time and reputation,” he said. “It takes a lot of time to make connections and network—sometimes you’ve gotta get turned down 100 times just to get one ‘yes’ from someone.”
The last table in Finding Your Niche was headed by past Chapter Board member Randy Miller, who has worked in record labels, music publishing and artist management. Miller gave students a short history of his background in the industry before diving deep into the concept of A&R: “It’s becoming a bit of a lost art form,” Miller told students. He explained what exactly A&R directors do, adding that there must be an understanding of the entire record-making process in order to make your record and band a success.
CJ Eiriksson and GRAMMY U Students at Demo Review
Chapter Board member and producer/engineer/mixer CJ Eiriksson gave students the opportunity to showcase their talent in his workshop, Demo Review. Students sat together and listened to tracks off of each of their demos which were all reviewed and critiqued by Eiriksson, who has an extensive discography working with bands such as U2. Students got the chance to give input on others’ demos as well as receive input from everyone on their own demos.
DJ Young Guru on the One's and Two's
Meanwhile, revered producer and DJ Young Guru flew into town to lead the On The One’s and Two’s workshop alongside Austin’s DJ Protégé. Guru and Protégé spoke extensively about the art form and how it has evolved into what it is today, emphasizing the differences between their own styles and the style of electronic DJs like Skrillex. They demonstrated certain points interactively with students on their set ups and played samples to aid their discussions.
The day winded down at the Wrap Party at the Gibson Guitar Showroom with pizza and drinks provided by Vitamin Water, allowing students the opportunity to continue the conversation with their workshop leaders and network amongst their peers. In addition, two GRAMMY U acts received the opportunity to showcase their music at the Wrap Party - the Austin rock band Robot Williams followed by Philadelphia rapper Ya Man Tee, both of whom captured the audience’s attention with their lively and energetic sets. The artists were selected to play by the Texas Chapter Board.
Ya Man Tee with Texas Chapter Board Members
GRAMMY U band, Robot Williams
Overall, The Summit was a great learning and networking experience for both GRAMMY U members. Just another reason to join GRAMMY U! Thank you to our sponsor GIBSON, VITAMIN WATER and RED BULL for supporting our program!