GRAMMY Career Day Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Chapter, in partnership with the GRAMMY Foundation, hosted GRAMMY Career Day on March 11 at the University of the Arts. More than 200 high school students attended to learn about their career options in the recording industry through a panel and series of workshops.
David Sears, Senior Director of Educational Programs for the GRAMMY Foundation, welcomed students and teachers and summarized the day's program before introducing the panel. The panel included Ivan Barias, producer, Karma Productions; Fatin Dantzler, Kindred The Family Soul; Carvin Haggins, songwriter/producer, Karma Productions; Jerome Hipps, producer, Mama's Boys Music; David Ivory, engineer, Dylanava Studios; Lori Landew, attorney, Landew Entertainment Business Associates; Marcy Rauer Wagman, CEO, MAD Dragon Unltd.; and Kenny Vasoli, singer/bassist, the Starting Line.
As the super panel took the stage, Sears and panel moderator Aisha Winfield called on five students to participate in an introductory role-play example representing the process through which an artist signs a recording contract. This interactive game engaged the students and set a high-energy pace for the panel discussion, which included topics such as the day-to-day life of a musician, engineer, producer, songwriter and other professionals. Attending students were impressed to learn that some of the men and women on stage had a hand in many of the songs they listen to daily. Landew offered students some advice in reminding them to work hard in school, as their work ethic now will be an indication of their work ethic in their future profession.
After the panel, students attended one of six workshops: "Songwriting Like A Pro"; "A Band: The Reality"; "Artist Development Careers"; "In The Studio"; "Voice Masterclass"; and "Hip-Hop Turntablism." Students in each workshop learned what it takes to get noticed in many of the careers in the industry, the challenges involved with each profession and how to succeed and thrive in one's area of expertise. In the "Hip-Hop Turntablism" workshop, dancer/choreographer Rodney Hill explained to students that hip-hop is not about violence, drugs or money — the things that get so much attention from the media — but more about bringing people together and making change. The close interaction proved to be a valuable networking opportunity for many students; some were even offered studio time and further counsel.
Other workshops and their participants included "A Band: The Reality" featuring Randy Alexander, owner, Randex Communications PR; Frank Moore, producer/engineer, Studio 4 Recording; Kristin Thomson, guitarist, Tsunami and Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition; Kenny Vasoli, singer/bassist; Marcy Rauer Wagman, MAD Dragon CEO; and Danielle Wayns, sound engineer/production manager, Cenero Sound.
"Artist Development Careers" featured Chris Jordan, owner/designer, TaylorJordan; Michael McArthur, co-owner/producer, Mama's Boys Music; and Dyana Williams, media coach, Influence Entertainment and on-air personality for 107.9 WRNB-FM.
"Hip-Hop Turntablism" featured DJ Aktive, disc jockey; and Rodney Hill, dancer/choreographer.
"In The Studio" featured Ivan Barias; Kairi Guinn, producer; Phil Nicolo, engineer, Studio 4 Recording; Donald Robinson, musician/producer/composer; and Craig White, engineer, Philadelphia International Records.
"Songwriting Like A Pro" featured Corey Church, Lab Ratz; Carvin Haggins, songwriter; Lauren Hart, singer/songwriter; and Bunny Sigler, songwriter/producer.
"Voice Masterclass" featured Carol Riddick, singer/songwriter; Renee Robinson-Way, vocal coach; Annie Sciolla, vocalist/vocal instructor; and Jaguar Wright, vocalist.
After a lunch break, Sears facilitated a contest in which DJ and media coach Dyana Williams gave one lucky student free registration for the upcoming Beat Music & Entertainment Conference. The winner successfully identified the word used by the panel to explain how songwriters get paid (royalties) and what the acronym NARAS stands for. The day closed with an impressive set by the regional Philadelphia GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble.