How Berklee College Of Music Prepares Budding Artists For Major Music Festivals

Jackie Foster

Photo: courtesy of artist


How Berklee College Of Music Prepares Budding Artists For Major Music Festivals

Learn how the Berklee Popular Music Institute uniquely prepares its students for life post-grad in the music industry

GRAMMYs/May 13, 2019 - 10:57 pm

Singer/songwriter Jackie Foster may have graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music just last year, but she's already preparing to make her music festival artist debut, at Lollapalooza 2019. She was one of the six artists the students of the Berklee Popular Music Institute course selected, from over 200 applicants, to work with and send to music festivals this year.

We spoke to Foster to learn more about her experience so far, and to Jeff Dorenfeld, the professor who launched the program about 10 years ago. We also asked experimental hip-hop performer MKULTRA, another artist selected by the students, who will be performing at Governors Ball, about his forthcoming festival debut, along with Jourdan Washington, one of the BPMI students working directly with MKULTRA to prepare him to the fest.

"The goal is to find artists we think match up and we think are interesting and current that we can bring and put on a festival stage. That is the ultimate goal," Dornfeld, who used to manage classic-rock heroes Boston, told us over the phone. "For the students, it's all the work and experience for them that they've gotten to work with these festivals, to understand the contractual relationship of them and making sure the logistics are done and the artist gets from point A to point B."

Foster, who was a semi-finalist on "The Voice" in 2018, shared over email how she's feeling around her forthcoming festival debut at Lolla.

"Lollapalooza will be the first music festival I have ever played and I feel beyond excited, I can't put it into words. This is something that I have dreamed of doing and worked hard towards pursuing since I really began my music career a few years ago. I am thrilled about getting to be on such an iconic stage in front of new fans, old fans, and incredible artists. I will be honest, I am so nervous because I know this moment has the potential to really push my career to new heights so that pressure sinks in a lot more than I am willing to admit. I just want to walk on that stage confident of myself and confident in my music!"

MKULTRA is one of the other young artists (all of whom must be current Berklee students or recent grads) working with the BPMI students to hone his performance skills for his first-ever festival performance. He reveals that it will also be the first music fest he's ever attended, which is a pretty good way to start!

"I'm most excited and nervous about the fact that I've never played on a stage this big, most of the shows I've done up until this point have been in smaller venues, so preparing for a show like this was a challenge," MKULTRA said over email.

Get Fest Ready: Your 2019 Guide To The Best Summer/Spring Music Festivals

As Gov Ball is happening at the end of the month, he and his BPMI student team, who act as an all-encompassing management and PR crew for him, have been busy helping prepare him for the event. "I think it helped me grow a lot as a performer; I love constructive criticism, and so it was awesome to rehearse with my BPMI team and really hone my set," he says.

Foster echoed the advice and support she's gotten from working with her team of BPMI students.

"BPMI has already placed a huge dream of mine on my plate. I feel like I need to be pinched knowing that Lollapalooza is just around the corner. BPMI is innovative and new and is giving artists like myself an experience of a lifetime. They help push your engagement, I am coached on my set and performance skills. They really take the time to fine-tune their artists. Their job is to make us look as good as possible."

Jourdan Washington, who would like to pursue a career in A&R and music marketing after graduation and is working on MKULTRA's team, spoke to her experience as a BPMI student.

"The biggest thing I learned while being in BPMI, is how to be a team player. We are all navigating spaces that some of us are more comfortable in than others, and it's important to give constructive feedback to your peers, while being respectful at the same time," she wrote to us. "Working with MKULTRA has been a great experience because he has been very receptive to our feedback when it comes to his performance. Each week he gets better and better, and it has been great to work with an artist that knows he’s not perfect, but is willing to put in the work to get there."

Dornfeld also told us a moving story about the first student artist he helped bring to Lolla, and how the experience built her confidence as performer.

"I had an artist, Julia Easterlin, who played the first Lollapalooza that we did…We worked with her and she did her performance and at that point there I remember it was download cards, so we printed up all these download cards for her to hand out. She did her show, she walked off, she came out front, started handing out cards, people started asking her for her autograph; she was a student. She came up to me and said, 'I can do this.' That was it, that's all I had to hear. She walked off the stage and said, 'I really can do this. I really feel like I can do it now.'"

A Gentle Mind And An Iron Spine: St. Vincent's 'Actor' Turns 10

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

Seattle's Museum Of Pop Culture To Host Pearl Jam Exhibit

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

Gibson Guitars Names Slash Global Brand Ambassador

Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images


Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

Beyoncé Releases International Day Of The Girl 'Freedom' Video

Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards


Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.