meta-scriptPhoto Gallery: GRAMMY U Spring Semester 2019 | GRAMMY.com

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Photo Gallery: GRAMMY U Spring Semester 2019

GRAMMYs/Feb 22, 2019 - 06:44 am

 

GRAMMY U members met with Wallows at the Fonda Theatre on the Los Angeles leg of their tour for a SoundChecks. Members got to observe the band’s process of preparing for a sold out show along with chatting about the tour overall. 

Photo: Darick Thomas

Julia Michaels joined Chicago GRAMMY U members at House of Blues on April 28 for an incredibly engaging SoundChecks program.

Photo: Matty Vogel

GRAMMY U members attended SoundChecks With The 1975 on May 15 at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tenn. After listening to the band play some of their hit songs, students were able to ask questions about the The 1975’s recent album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, life on an international tour, and how the band handles addressing political issues in their music.

Photo: Recording Academy

GRAMMY U SoundChecks with Ben Platt in New York was a blast! 

GRAMMY U members attended SoundChecks and Q&A With LANY on April 28 at the Ryman Auditorium. GRAMMY U memberswere able to listen to the band play three of their hit songs and ask questions about their career and recent album, Malibu Nights.

 

 Photo: Ridg Downs 

GRAMMY U members had the opportunity to visit X Ambassadors at Serenity West Studios for an exclusive MasterClass. The band discussed topics ranging from their humble beginnings to how they have evolved through creating music. GU members also got the chance to play their own original content for X Ambassadors and received insightful commentary.

Photo:Nicole Brown 

GRAMMY U members met with Sasha Sloan at the Troubadour on the Los Angeles leg of her tour for a SoundChecks. Members got to observe Sasha’s process of preparing for a show as well as spoke with her about her career and passion for songwriting.

Photos: Josh Behm

Nashville GRAMMY U members participated in GRAMMY U Week leading up to the 61st GRAMMY Awards. From January 28 to February 1, each day of GRAMMY U Week highlighted a different aspect of the music industry. Members attended events focused on “Behind the Artist”, “Behind the Studio”, “Behind the Video”, “Behind the Song”, and “Behind the GRAMMY Awards” which took place at Nashville universities and industry sites around Music City.

Photo of Steve Lane and Zayna JeBailey at the 5th Annual Florida Songwriters Association Workshop at Full Sail University.
Steve Lane and Zayna JeBailey at the 5th Annual Florida Songwriters Association Workshop

Photo courtesy of Steve Lane and Zayna JeBailey

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6 Standout Stories From The 2023-24 GRAMMY U Mentorship Program

The GRAMMY U mentorship program pairs members and experienced music industry personnel. Read on for stories from six successful mentors and mentees from the 2023-24 program year.

GRAMMYs/May 31, 2024 - 11:22 pm

With the newly expanded eligibility for GRAMMY U membership, the GRAMMY U mentorship program has also shifted significantly this year. For the very first time, the mentorship program timeline lasted for an entire year, rather than being split into two semesters. The longer timeframe allowed the mentorship pairs to meet more frequently, take on bigger projects, and develop deeper connections.  

Through the program, GRAMMY U members from around the world receive one-on-one guidance from seasoned music industry professionals. Mentors and mentees have the flexibility to select their specific track within the music business, including performance, songwriting/composing, marketing, or the general music industry. Pairs are aligned as closely as possible, and match mentees with mentors in roles that reflect their interests. 

With over 600 pairings across the 12 Recording Academy Chapters, hundreds of members had the chance to work on amazing projects or participate in once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, all thanks to their mentors. Read on to hear about six outstanding pairs from the 2023-24 GRAMMY U Mentorship Program. 

Andre Gibson | Mentor | Chicago Chapter 

Lylajean Bariso | Mentee | Chicago Chapter 

Lylajean and Andre GRAMMY U Mentorship 2023-24

Andre Gibson and Lylajean Bariso were paired to focus on songwriting and vocal performance. Gibson is currently the President and Owner of Chiat Records, while Bariso majors in creative writing at Northwestern University. 

During this year’s mentorship program, Bariso had the unique opportunity to advance her music career. Under Gibson’s guidance, she participated in her first professional studio recording session and registered with a performing rights organization, enabling her to copyright her music. 

Although Bariso is not enrolled in her school’s music program, music is one of her most passionate hobbies. After participating in this year's mentorship program with Gibson, her perspective has shifted. 

"I've felt discouraged from pursuing music as a full-time career for most of my life, even though it's definitely a dream that's out there and high up for me," Bariso says. "However, I really appreciated that Andre took me seriously as a musical artist and supported the idea of me doing this as a career and following the same practices as professionals in the industry."

Steve Lane | Mentor | Florida Chapter 

Zayna JeBailey | Mentee | Florida Chapter

Steve and Jayna GRAMMY U Mentorship 2023-24

Zayna JeBailey, a music business and entertainment industries graduate from the University of Miami, was paired with Steve Lane, Executive Director of the Florida Songwriters Association. At the start of the program, JeBailey hoped to gain a deeper understanding about the industry through hands-on experience; with Lane as a mentor, she accomplished that goal. 

Over the past few months, JeBailey has worked on the Florida Songwriters Association podcast, assisting with everything from setting up equipment to filming. Additionally, she helped organize the 5th Annual Florida Songwriters Association Workshop, hosted at Full Sail University. The workshop offered networking opportunities and featured  panels with multiple industry professionals. 

"Graduating with my bachelor's back in December left me feeling a bit lost about where to go next," says JeBailey, who will continue to work for the Florida Songwriters Association on projects for youth and young adults in Central Florida. She'll also continue to work on the organization's podcast and next year's workshop. "My mentor's advice and guidance this year, and the connections I have made while working with him, have provided a space for me to discover my next endeavors."

Rachel Levy | Mentor | Los Angeles Chapter 

Joshya Gupta | Mentee | Los Angeles Chapter 

Joshua Gupta GRAMMY U Mentorship 2023-24

Joshya Gupta, a music industry major at the University of California, Los Angeles, was paired with Rachel Levy, the Executive Vice President of Film Music at Universal Pictures. Acknowledging the significant impact mentors have on shaping young minds, Levy reflects on how mentorship shaped her own early experiences in the industry. 

"I was also lucky enough to have a few mentors when I started out in this business that really had an effect on me," Levy says. “So, it’s been great to be able to do that regularly for the college students I have been connected with."

During the mentorship program, Gupta visited Levy's office at NBCUniversal and shadowed her during her day-to-day routines. During this experience, Gupta gained valuable insights into the world of film music and the various responsibilities associated with the role. Through Levy's guidance, Gupta successfully secured her dream internship at NBCUniversal. 

"My goal is to work in film music and my mentor has been instrumental in propelling me towards that aspiration," says Gupta. "Beyond mentorship, she has facilitated opportunities for me to connect with her colleagues, broadening my network and deepening my understanding of the field."

Corynne Burrows | Mentor | Los Angeles Chapter 

Jaida Brown | Mentee | Los Angeles Chapter  

Hoping to sharpen her skills as a confident content creator, Jaida Brown, a music business student at The Los Angeles Film School, was paired with Corynne Burrows, the founder & CEO of Midas Touch Management.  

"I have learned how important it is to surround yourself with people who have a constant desire to grow and to have fresh perspectives from others to be able to help you see all sides of situations," Burrows says.

During the mentorship program, Burrows and Brown focused on taking Brown’s career as a performing artist to the next level. Creating her press kit and logo were among the projects the pair tackled throughout the year, ultimately transforming Brown’s brand as an artist. 

 Ben Raznick | Mentor | San Francisco Chapter 

Jack Bunch | Mentee | San Francisco Chapter 

Ben and Jack GRAMMY U Mentorship 2023-24

Over in the San Francisco Chapter, Jack Bunch, a rising sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, Bunch was matched with Ben Raznick, a Governor for the San Francisco Chapter Board of the Recording Academy. With the help of Raznick, Bunch was able to realize that his aspirations within the industry are far more attainable than he originally believed. 

"Ben helped me realize the realities I look up to aren’t so far away. I listen to dozens of self-produced, prodigious, and seemingly thriving musicians, and I’ve felt far removed from them in the past,"  Bunch reflects. "Now that I’ve begun taking the time to develop skills, set goals, and take tangible steps, I know I can become the artist I want to be."

Raznick also gleaned insight from his mentee during the program. Upon listening to Bunch’s EP, Raznick learned about music tools that he had "never heard of before," which opened his eyes to some of the latest trends and techniques within the fast-paced industry. 

"I felt inspired by Jack’s engagement in our meetings," says Raznick. "It was rewarding to spend time with a young artist that reminded me of myself when I began exploring music as a career." 

Jake Roggenbuck | Mentor | Nashville Chapter 

Anisa Utilla | Mentee | Nashville Chapter 

Anisa Utilla, a human and organizational development major at Vanderbilt University, joined the GRAMMY U mentorship program to gain hands-on insight into the music business, which her formal education lacked. She was paired with Jake Roggenbuck, the Senior Manager of Production at Universal Music Group in Nashville. 

"Music acts as a universal language, bridging people together. I knew I wanted to be a part of that with more of a business lens," says Utilla. "I have a dream to become a record label executive, but through my classes and internet research, it was hard to understand what the day-to-day work in a label is actually like. Jake showed me that. Through his mentorship, I learned things I couldn't learn in a classroom setting." 

Roggenbuck has been actively involved in the GRAMMY U Mentorship program since 2022. He notes that serving as a mentor is a reciprocal experience, as he gains valuable knowledge from his mentees as well. 

"I have learned so many lessons from my mentees and can honestly say I get as much out of the program as I give," says Roggenbuck. The biggest takeaway for me is the enthusiasm and passion that my mentees have. It brings me back to a time when I dreamt of working in the music industry and is a reminder of how lucky I am to have a career I’m passionate about." 

The GRAMMY U mentorship program allows members to gain invaluable guidance from an experienced music industry professional from multiple tracks within the industry. Results from the program include expanded networks, newfound industry advice, career opportunities, and more. If you are interested in becoming a mentee or mentor for the 2024-25 GRAMMY U mentorship program, be sure to keep an eye out for applications opening in Fall 2024. 

Meet 5 GRAMMY Nominees Who Started At GRAMMY U: From Boygenius Engineer Sarah Tudzin To Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying 

Tori Kelly
Tori Kelly

Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Tori Kelly Gets “Unwrapped” For 'TORI' At GRAMMY U Event Showcasing Production & Recording Techniques From Her New Album

The singer stepped out for GRAMMY U's first "Unwrapped" event to give fans a look deep inside her new record, TORI. Joined by producer and collaborator Tenroc, the pair walked guests through the making of several tracks including "missin u" and "oceans."

GRAMMYs/May 21, 2024 - 10:11 pm

GRAMMY U members got a special treat from Tori Kelly when the singer (and Sing-er) took the stage for the first ever GRAMMY U "Unwrapped" event on May 15. Held at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles, the event brought together fans, music industry professionals, and students for a night that dove deep into the creative process behind Kelly’s brand new record, TORI. Amazon Music and Mastercard were participating sponsors for this event. 

Joined on stage by producer and collaborator Tenroc, Kelly took fans through a journey of several tracks from her new record, from inception to completion. Kelly discussed each track, aided by a video presentation and using stems to highlight special production techniques, musical intricacies, and cool little Easter eggs. The showcase was followed by a round of live questions from the audience, where Kelly dished about everything from her voiceover work to her pre-studio rituals, before grabbing a guitar and performing two new tracks: "High Water" and "Oceans." 

Here’s a glimpse into all the songs Kelly and Tenroc featured, from "Missin' U" to "Spruce."

"thing u do”

When it came time to make Tori, Kelly told the audience that she wanted to focus on "songs that make [you] wanna dance," and "songs that [anyone] can belt out in the car." Mainly collaborating just with Tenroc, Bellion, Clyde Lawrence, and Jordan Cohen, Kelly put together a record that's strongly influenced by late '90s and early '00s pop, with references to chirping Sidekick phones and plenty of nostalgic vocal effects. 

"missin u" in particular is interesting, not just because it was inspired by Craig David and the U.K. Garage sound — with Kelly taking special care to pronounce "garage" in true British fashion at the live event — but also because it was released in both its original form and as an R&B edit. The latter version is the one Kelly and Tenroc highlighted at the event, going through Kelly's vocal tracks, and really digging in on the remix's bridge, which Kelly wrote just for that track and recorded in her home studio.

Getting to see Tenroc's Logic Pro work on the big screen seemed to mesmerize everyone in attendance, with most marveling at the ease he seemed to have flicking through the dozens of stems, layers, and plug-ins. 

"missin u"

When it came time to make TORI, Kelly told the audience that she wanted to focus on "songs that make [you] wanna dance," and "songs that [anyone] can belt out in the car." Mainly collaborating just with Tenroc, Bellion, Clyde Lawrence, and Jordan Cohen, Kelly put together a record that's strongly influenced by late '90s and early '00s pop, with references to chirping Sidekick phones and plenty of nostalgic vocal effects.

In particular, "missin u" is interesting, not just because it was inspired by Craig David and the U.K. Garage sound — with Kelly taking special care to pronounce "garage" in true British fashion at the live event — but also because it was released in both its original form and as an R&B edit. The latter version is the one Kelly and Tenroc highlighted at the event, going through Kelly's vocal tracks, and really digging in on the remix's bridge, which Kelly wrote just for that track and recorded in her home studio.

Getting to see Tenroc's Logic Pro work on the big screen seemed to mesmerize everyone in attendance, with most marveling at the ease he seemed to have flicking through the dozens of stems, layers, and plug-ins. 

"shelter"

Talking about "shelter," Kelly described a sort of shorthand she'd developed with Tenroc, after working closely together over the past few years. She said they're at the point where they can communicate with "sounds" and "telepathy," a benefit she attributes to not switching producers throughout the making of her record.

Tenroc and Kelly used "shelter" to talk about the comping process, or the act of combining the best parts of different takes into a single track. Kelly said she typically does about five takes of a vocal track, all in different personas: one normal, one shyer, one wild, one with a lot of vocal runs, and one that's sort of a wild card. She can keep each take separate in her mind that way, remembering how she recorded a vowel slightly better in one take or gave a line a little grittier vocal texture in another. It's not something everyone can do, though, and Tenroc said it's truly amazing to witness in person — a fact the live audience could attest to. 

For Kelly, a lot of making TORI, was about exploring different tones and textures of her voice, she said. She'd sometimes start by doing an impression of a singer like Rihanna and Willow in one run, and then blend the inspired version with her own, stretching herself vocally. She demonstrated that kind of thing live at the show, doing off-the-cuff runs of bits of "Shelter" to talk about how they changed the way the word "plate" in the chorus. 

Tenroc also showed off how he used the Little Alterboy plug-in to alter Kelly's voice, turning the rap in "shelter," as well as the "you, you, you, you, you" bit into what sounds like a deep masculine voice, even though those lines were originally laid down by Kelly herself. 

"spruce"

When "spruce" was first being envisioned by Kelly and co-writer Casey Smith, it was a song called "truce" about making up with your loved one before going out on the town. Kelly had been wanting to make a "getting ready, girly song," though, and Bellion came into the studio one day with the idea of merging the two ideas in what became "spruce." 

Written over a loop made by Tenroc, "spruce" — featuring Kim Chaewon of K-Pop group LE SSERAFIM — is emblematic, Kelly said, of her effort to let go, change, and try new things in the studio. The production was inspired by Jai Paul and uses sidechain compression, which is when the level of one instrument or sound triggers a compressor to control the level of another sound. The crowd clearly seemed taken with the sound when Tenroc played examples of how it was used in the track, which he said he made in part with the Serum plugin. Kelly said the result feels fully "3-D," like you're "inside" the track rather than just listening along.

"same girl"

The last — and most personal —song on the record, "same girl," was mostly written by Kelly while she was on a plane. She wanted something that felt like it could close the record, and she recorded it live with Tenroc in her studio, where he also played piano. 

Kelly said the song was inspired by her love of various music styles and genres. She explained, "Coming up as an artist, I always felt a little insecure about trying to stay in one lane and be in one box. I love so many different genres. I'm inspired by so many different things." She continued, "And so finding my sound I always thought that was a bad thing... But I'm grateful for all these different genres I've been able to dabble in. This song was me being overwhelmed by people's opinions and letting it get to me a little bit while thinking of my career as a whole."

Kelly said that while she worried when she was writing that the lyrics would be too personal and too specific, she's had great feedback about the track, something that reminds her that, "Anytime you write about your own experience, someone else out there is going to be able to relate to it." 

5 Takeaways From The 2024 GRAMMY U Conference In New York City

grammy u monthly member playlist updated look

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: In Bloom Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from our talented members. This month's mix of pop, indie and jazz-influenced tracks are the perfect jams to turn on as spring takes full bloom.

GRAMMYs/May 8, 2024 - 12:50 pm

Did you know that among all GRAMMY U members, songwriting and performance are some of the most sought after fields of study? This playlist dedicates a space to hear what these members are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that members are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 15 to 25 songs that match each month’s theme. This month, we’ve crafted the perfect mix of pop, indie, and jazz-inspired tunes to jam to as the sun comes out and spring takes full bloom. Highlighting our Nashville Songwriter Showcase Finalists, alongside lively songs from our members, we're confident you'll discover a new track to freshen up your current rotation. So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our summer playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify, Apple Music and/or Amazon Music link to the song. Artists must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects aspiring professionals and creatives ages 18-29 with the music industry's brightest and most talented minds. We provide a community for emerging professionals and creatives in addition to various opportunities and tools necessary to start a career in music. Throughout the program year, events and initiatives touch on all facets of the industry, including business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

Former GRAMMY U Reps Heather Howard and Sophie Griffiths contributed to this article.

15 Must-Hear Albums In May 2024: Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Sia, Zayn & More

Billy Porter at the GRAMMY U conference in New York City
Beanie Feldstein with keynote speaker Ben Platt at the GRAMMY U Conference

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for the Recording Academy

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5 Takeaways From The 2024 GRAMMY U Conference In New York City

GRAMMY U’s 2024 Conference presented an action-packed, motivating slate panels on everything from Broadway to studio albums with Ben Platt, a performance workshop with Billy Porter, and live music production on late night television with Remi Wolf.

GRAMMYs/Apr 30, 2024 - 02:45 pm

On April 20th, GRAMMY U members and industry professionals gathered at the Times Center in New York City for the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference presented by Amazon Music. 

The GRAMMY U team prepared an action-packed and motivating day of panels "Live From New York," focusing on topics from live performances to the business behind Broadway productions. Keynote speaker Ben Platt talked about the transition from a Broadway star to recording his solo studio album, followed by a performance workshop with Billy Porter, and live music production on late night television with Remi Wolf.

Once members arrived, they took advantage of professional development opportunities and mingled with other GRAMMY U members before attending the conference panels. Attendees visited the robust Career Center which included a professional headshot station, resume review station, and a dedicated speed networking hour with industry professionals within the Recording Academy, Amazon Music and more. These collaborations allowed for the next generation of music creatives and professionals to gain first-hand experience with mentors across various business sectors and musical genres.

Below are five impactful takeaways from the 2024 GRAMMY U Conference.

Shed Your Armor To Embrace Vulnerability 

After a two-year performance run on Broadway starring in "Dear Evan Hansen", Ben Platt shifted his priority toward making original music and sharing personal storylines.

In "Live! With Ben Platt," moderated by actor and long-time best friend of Platt's, Beanie Feldstein discussed Platt's bold choice of stepping back from portraying fictional characters on stage, to now releasing original music with his upcoming album Honeymind

"The gratification of connecting with your own experiences and seeing people really use the songs in their lives is so infinitely beyond the worries," Platt shared. 

Crossing over from a Broadway stage to pop music, Platt suggested that a key to success is trusting one's vocal technique and individual sound to translate your perspective.  

Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt on stage at the GRAMMY U conference

Beanie Feldstein with keynote speaker Ben Platt at the GRAMMY U Conference | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Consistently Perfect The Fundamentals 

During the performance workshop "Standing in the Spotlight with Billy Porter," GRAMMY, Emmy, and two-time Tony Award-Winner Billy Porter sat down with SiriusXM Program Director Julie James. They discussed the importance of performance critique in helping artists perfect their craft and captivate audiences, as well as strategies for maintaining overall health while on tour.

Porter mentioned that while critiques are important for artists to continue improving their vocal abilities, knowing how to meet personal needs and goals is just as important.

"As you sift through [critiques], you have the right to choose what's right for you and what isn't," Porter said before posing the question, "What notes are good for your vision, and which aren't?"

Billy Porter stands to deliver advice to the audience at the GRAMMY U conference

Left to Right: GRAMMY U Performer Roy Gantz, Billy Porter and moderator Julie James | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

This marked the first time GRAMMY U included a performance workshop in its programming, and it provided a fresh perspective from the best in the business. GRAMMY U National Membership Representative Roy Gantz sang "Someone to Watch Over Me," accompanied on piano by Tedd Firth, and received real-time feedback from Billy Porter in front of a live audience. 

"From the minute you hit the stage, to when you get to that mic[rophone], it's about your presence. Keep connecting with us [the audience]," Porter told Gantz.

Porter emphasized the importance of mastering the original melody and musical notations of a song before incorporating riffs and embellishments of popular pieces, and praised Gantz for his advanced technique and interpretation.

"Believe in what you have to offer. In honoring your authenticity, you teach people on the outside how to receive you," Porter advised the audience. 

Stay Vocal, Relationships Are Everything

"On the Screen: Performing On Live TV" featured panelists Yeji Cha-Beach, the Music Associate Producer on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers Show, Marnie Stern, former member of the 8G Band on the Seth Meyers Show, and pop recording artist Remi Wolf. Moderated by Siobhan Schanda, the panelists discussed the intricacies of playing on a live TV set including lighting, sound, and design choices. Wolf mentioned her preference for performing with her touring musicians and a live band. 

"Put the music first and try to develop your own style," Wolf said. "The most I've ever felt proud of my work was when I followed my gut." 

Stern remarked that although socializing and navigating the music industry network did not always come naturally, connecting and playing with other musicians was vital to her success as a live TV musician. She described one of the biggest differences between playing on live television and working on her own recording artistry.

"You're selling a commercial product and your job is to entertain," Stern said. "With your own work, your job is to present your feelings and emotions. Everyone is working to further not only the artist but the network." 

Cha-Beach offered guidance for aspiring TV music producers, stating, "Be curious, try as many things as you possibly can. Knowing when to say yes is just as important as knowing when to say no."

The “Sounds of the Stage” panel at the GRAMMY U conference

 Left to Right: Siobhan Schanda (moderator), Yeji Cha-Beach, Marnie Stern, Remi Wolf; Close-up photo of Remi Wolf | Photos: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

A Great Musical Takes Time 

The "Sounds of the Stage" panel conducted a candid conversation about the behind-the-scenes process of composing and writing music for musicals. Kurt Deutsch (Senior Vice President at Warner Music Entertainment and Theatrical Ventures) was joined by David Lai (Co-Founder Park Avenue Artists), Kathy Sommer (Composer, Conductor, Producer), and moderator Thomas Winkler (Head of Publisher, Songwriter, and Society Relations at Amazon Music). 

These panelists conducted a candid conversation about the behind-the-scenes process of composing and writing music for musicals. They focused on how Broadway theater experience translated into the process of recording live studio albums.

"You can't bring it to the stage until the bones are set, until things are solidified," Lai said. It's worth spending the time to use the resources we have to work on your material."

Deutsch described the nuances of recording a pop album versus a cast performance record which has quick turnaround times. Often, they are recorded in a single day-long session due to budgeting costs for the orchestra and cast members involved. 

The main goal of a cast album is to allow audiences to relive the emotional experience they had in the theater setting, and for newcomers to still be able to relate to the show's characters and themes through a sonic medium. 

Left to Right: Thomas Winkler (moderator), David Lai, Kurt Deutsch and Kathy Sommer | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

'Content Is Queen': Prioritize Meaningful Storytelling

"Side Stage: The Team Behind the Curtain" featured Erich Bergen (Producer, Actor, Director, 6W Entertainment); Pete Ganbarg (President of A&R, Atlantic Records); Adam Hess (Executive Producer, DR Theatrical Management); Christen James (Tony Award-Nominated Broadway Producer); and Michael Kushner (Founder and Creator of Michael Kushner Photography & Dear Multi-Hyphenate).

Together, these creatives explored the business of Broadway and discussed the roles of producers and managers who bring the shows to life. James spoke about what she's most drawn to when beginning a new theatrical project.

"Meaningful storytelling is key [and] music absolutely makes the difference. Content is queen, the story as well as the music," she said. "Art is supposed to change what you're doing to the point where you're thinking about it, it's influencing you." 

Left to Right: Michael Kushner (moderator), Erich Bergen, Pete Ganbarg, Adam Hess and Christen James | Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Presented by Amazon Music and with participating sponsorship from Mastercard, GRAMMY U's 2024 conference "Live From New York" engaged members through an exhilarating two-day summit.

From the Friday showcase with GRAMMY U performers to Saturday's slew of panels covering all things show business, the GRAMMY U Conference in the Big Apple helped inform, connect, and inspire GRAMMY U members across the nation. 

Relive the experience and watch all the panels again here

5 Takeaways From GRAMMY U's Masterclass With Andrew McMahon: Be Bold, Build Bonds & Embrace Your Fears