The Recording Academy's Los Angeles Chapter Celebrates The NEXT 2021 Class
For more than six decades, the Recording Academy has remained committed to highlighting and fostering the success of the next generation in music. Via its NEXT program, launched in 2014 by the organization's Los Angeles chapter, the Recording Academy aims to identify and empower the next generation of music industry leaders to become an active voice in the Academy's mission of recognizing musical excellence and advocating for the advancement and well-being of music-makers.
This past January, the Los Angeles Chapter's Professional Development Committee, chaired by GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Marcus "MarcLo" Lomax, selected the NEXT 2021 class, which comprises 35 participants.
Once selected, the NEXT 2021 class participated in one of several mentor circles across multiple areas in the music industry, including Music Business, Music Licensing & Music Supervision, Music Marketing & Technology, Production & Engineering, and Songwriting, to gain deeper insight into their respective fields while also connecting with Recording Academy leaders.
Mentors for the NEXT 2021 class, which ran from January to June, included: VP A&R/Creative of Atlas Music Publishing Latoya Lee for the Music Business Mentor Circle; Triller Global Head of Partnerships Mary Rahmani for the Music Marketing & Technology Mentor Circle; Republic Records Executive Vice President of Film & Television Dana Sano for the Music Licensing & Music Supervision Mentor Circle; GRAMMY-nominated engineer Jeff Gitelman for the Production & Engineering Mentor Circle; and GRAMMY-nominated songwriter MarcLo for the Songwriting Mentor Circle.
Learn more about NEXT from some of the program's leaders and 2021 participants:
"Our Recording Academy NEXT program is a great opportunity for buzzing music creators and professionals to connect with their peers and those they aspire to mirror in their careers that are GRAMMY-nominated and GRAMMY-winning. The brilliant thing about the Los Angeles Chapter's revamp of our acclaimed NEXT program is the Mentor Circles and the introduction of the NEXT class as now featured on GRAMMY.com. The 2021 experience offers one-on-one engagement with top creators and professionals in our market, while creating an exclusive shared space that really cultivates the next generation of professional leaders and dynamic creators. Our track record has proven that intimate settings amongst established visionaries and tomorrow's innovators exponentially shape the latter's professional landscape and grow key music industry relationships. The trajectory of this program from membership outreach and recruitment to coveted participation and recognition has successfully evolved within the dedication of staff and elected leadership. Our goals are being achieved: to showcase an amazing group of established talented individuals that are ones to watch within our GRAMMY family. We honor and congratulate our NEXT 2021 class on their participation and announcement and look forward to attracting even more stellar talent in the future." —Qiana Conley, Executive Director, Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter
"What I was telling the mentees is that, for your own mental health, you really have to find a balance, and you have to figure out a way to go very hard and just work as much and as smart and as hard as you can to accomplish your goals and your career. But you have to make time for yourself if you don't put gas in your own tank, how are you going to drive anywhere? How are you going to take anyone else anywhere?
"Stability is really just finding things that you enjoy in life, and within those things. you'll find inspiration to pour back into your music and it'll just be natural and just like a human place. I think it'll be even better, for the way the music comes out, if you live your life and you find your balance.
"Between the work side of things and the enjoyment side of things, I think it's really important. That was one of the things that we hit in our mentor circles." —Marcus "MarcLo" Lomax, Songwriting Mentor Circle Leader, 2021 Professional Development Committee Chair, 2021-2022 Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board Vice-President
"The vision to attract and cultivate leadership from our 21-to-35-year-old demographic led to the launch of the NEXT program in Los Angeles seven years ago. We're now seeing the benefits of creating a program that not only cultivates the next generation of Academy voices, but also gives veteran members the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way. The beauty of mentorship is the learning and exchange of ideas across generations, where both the mentee and mentor relationship is mutually beneficial." —Nicole Brown, Senior Manager, Chapter Administrative Operations, Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter
"I had a great experience in this year's NEXT program. Despite the limitations of not being able to meet in-person, I still felt like I got to know my mentor and the other participants in a meaningful way. I learned a lot about the value of always showing up and saying yes to new opportunities, and how new creative partnerships and creative work is usually born out of normal conversation. I also learned how to lean more into the servant's mindset as a producer, in that everything we do is to bring out the best in the artist to create the best possible version of the song. Our goal is to capture magic with our production, and we're guiding the artist towards greatness." —Alvin Addo, NEXT 2021 Participant, Production & Engineering Mentor Circle
"I found the NEXT program extremely educational and helpful. Dana Sano, our mentor, taught us everything from music licensing and clearance to supervision and pitching. She also brought in featured guests that all had unique stories and career paths. We really covered all the bases, and I appreciate Dana taking her time and being an amazing role model." —Tess Castro, NEXT 2021 Participant, Music Licensing & Supervision mentor circle
"My Mentor Circle was pretty informative. My biggest takeaway was learning about how marketing teams process developing campaigns for releases, day-to-day content and events for artists. I also enjoyed analyzing the emerging tech that can be leveraged to strengthen an artist's fan base and community. My mentor, Mary Rahmani, brought in other guests that amplified the value and insight. Cassie Petrey, the founder of Crowd Surf, shared vital resources that keep her informed about how music marketing tools are transforming, which keeps me at the forefront of trends that impact my strategy." —EmmoLei Sankofa, NEXT 2021 Participant, Music Marketing & Technology Mentor Circle
"It was such a blessing to have constructive critical feedback from someone so accomplished. A lot of times, people won't want to say the hard stuff. I have really taken on the feedback and have been in the studio developing a new GEM project, blending genres ever since. When you are a producer, you work a lot in a solitary mode, so to have access and regular inspiration was really motivating for me.
I really connected with a few of the participants who I would now call friends. I moved to L.A. from a rural community in Australia to follow this dream. I had never met other female producers and other LGBTI-friendly artists, and to have that network here is everything." —Gem RPM, NEXT 2021 Participant, Production & Engineering Mentor Circle
The Recording Academy congratulates all of the Los Angeles Chapter NEXT 2021 participants and mentors!
Meet the NEXT 2021 Participants:
- Alvin Addo
- Kris Angelis
- Vanessa Angiuli
- Benjamin Bruce
- Lorenzo Carrano
- Tess Castro
- Raul Cubina
- Josh Cumbee
- Juan Carlos Enriquez
- Marco Flores
- Drew Fulk
- Justin Hergett
- Chris Hires
- Brittany Holloway
- Flaviya Kaklyugina
- Carlos King
- Clara "AZRA" Lee
- Samantha Morgenstern
- Cindy Nguyen
- Jaimie Pangan
- Amy Patton
- Colin Ramsay
- William Robillard Cole
- Jonathon Rook
- Gem RPM
- EmmoLei Sankofa
- Davetta Selma
- Shari Short
- Taylor Sparks
- Brandon Stansell
- Summer Swee-Singh
- Sidney Swift
- Elena Takmakova
- Ryland Talamo
- Dara Taylor
Applications for the 2022 term of NEXT will open to Los Angeles Chapter Voting and Professional members aged 21-35 this fall. The Los Angeles Chapter's Professional Development committee will announce selected participants in January 2022.