It’s Friday and the work (and fun) continues…

In the morning, we’re meeting with Lauren Davis for Foundations of Music Business.

In the afternoon, the producers are meeting with Clive Davis Institute faculty and legendary hip hop producer Bob Power for the Production Workshop Part 1, while the performers are meeting with Clive Davis Institute faculty and performance/vocal coach to the stars, Kenn Hicks for Performance Workshops Part 1.

In the evening, we are hosting another Friday Night Fun, and this one will be a special talk and session with the one and only DJ D-Nice! On the 1s and 2s…

Follow on twitter @kennhicks @djdnice

Marat Berenstein

Two field trips to world-renouned recording studios, production class in the lab, and BROADWAY!

In the morning, the B group is meeting with Bo Pericic for Fundamentals of Music Production and the A group is heading over to visit MSR Studios.

In the afternoon, the A group is meeting with Bo Pericic for Fundamentals of Music Production and the B group is heading over to visit Stadiumred Studios.

In the evening, we are ALL going to see Motown The Musical on Broadway with a talkback moderated by the Motown catalog expert and Clive Davis Institute faculty Harry Weinger!

Follow on twitter @msrstudios @stadiumred @motownmusical @harryweinger

Marat Berenstein

James Yancey, otherwise known as J Dilla, a hip-hop producer from Detroit, is one of the most exceptional creators of our time. His influence on hip-hop music is undeniable, as his signature sound has been sought after by so many artists after him. Kanye West even stated in an interview for a new documentary that he believes that Dilla was one of the best producers to ever make hip-hop. So, just know that J Dilla is your favorite producer’s favorite producer. Dilla also produced for many hip-hop stars of his generation, such as De La Soul, Common, Busta Rhymes, and A Tribe Called Quest.  His own work in the hip-hop trio Slum Village was also gaining traction in the early 2000s, before he died tragically of a rare blood disorder called TTP in 2006. However, what was so amazing about J Dilla was that his music was pure art. Other producers of the era were able to make beats that people could bob their head to, but Dilla was able to express his truly deep emotions without even saying a single word. He was truly a master of his craft who was able to present his work in a way unlike anybody else at the time, and he didn’t even stick to a singular style of production. While Dilla never found any extreme mainstream success, his legacy remains as one of the most forward-thinking, most versatile, and most skilled producers in hip-hop history.

During the last decade of the 20th century, a musical and cultural revolution took place during a time when avid music listeners were starving for a new artist to rise and change the landscape of the music industry. An answer arrived when Nirvana released their hit song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” in 1991. Nirvana became a global phenomenon, inspiring artists from all over the world. Kurt Cobain and his band mates set an example for bands like Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Sonic Youth among others. Nirvana produced a change in culture. The grunge genre even influenced how people dressed, and ultimately affected their overall attitude. As the music was soaring in popularity, audiences across the world were enjoying a return of highly influential music, and this was déjà vu for many people that lived through the British invasion in the 1960s.

In 1994, a devastating shock to this era transpired: the suicide of Kurt Cobain. While the death of this cultural icon was shocking, it actually helped to grow Nirvana’s image and spread their music. Millions of records have still sold after his death, and upcoming artists are still appreciating his work and using it for inspiration. It is extremely interesting to follow what happens when artists die at the peak of their fame. The phenomenon of crowds growing around a young dead icon is strange because the icon often becomes even more of an famous post-mortem. This is true for Cobain, and overall it helped to influence a larger crowd.  Nirvana did not try to appeal to a certain crowd or hide their personalities from the media. They sent a message to their fans to stay true to their beliefs, rather than alter their messages to appeal to larger audiences. 

The Queen Humanitarian

Beyoncé has become one of the most popular and influential artists in the music industry today. Since Destiny’s Child, she has showcased her talent, hard work and has become a great role model for not only young girls and women, but everyone around the world.

Today Twitter has become a great part of an artist’s career and branding. Artist mainly use it to connect with their fans, however Beyoncé takes that to a whole new level. She only uses her Twitter account to advocate for charities. Beyoncé uses her popularity and fame towards a great cause. She has supported over 25 of charities and is continuously an active advocate for them. She shows people that even with fame and fortune, still being a humanitarian is very important. A great cause that Beyoncé directly supported was the Survivor Foundation. Along with her former bandmate Kelly Rowland, she founded the Survivor Foundation to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She raised millions of dollars for the families in need and organized food to be sent to food banks to help the struggling families. Another charity that Beyoncé advocates for is another one she co-founded called CHIME FOR CHANGE. This charity is designed to “empower young girls and women through education, health and justice.” She reminds young girls and women of their power and importance. Some of the other charities she has supported is Feeding America, American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Save The Music Foundation.

Beyoncé shows people that even with the wild amount of success under her belt, she is human and cares about the world.

Pete Seeger was iconic with his American folk and political singing and songwriting. He played a major influential part in music from the 1950s to the 2000s. He shaped and impacted the lives of many during the Vietnam War, with songs such as Where Have All the Flowers Gone and We Shall Overcome.

Winning three Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Seeger has built and dedicated his career to folk music and being an activist for anti-war movements along with civil and environmental rights, whose contributions as an artist made him highly appreciated by listeners of all ages in the music industry.

Seeger was a powerful voice during the Vietnam War and his lyrics were relatable to many Americans who also had the same feelings about the war during that time period. Pete Seeger’s thoughts of the Vietnam War are best illustrated in one of his songs Where Have All the Flowers Gone—“Young men, they’re all in uniform; soldiers, they’ve gone to graveyards everyone”—A shared view of the American public.

The strong protest song made popular by Seeger was We Shall Overcome. This song became the anthem in the 1960s African-American Civil Rights Movement. As the title suggests it became the anthem because it was focused on non-violent civil rights and rallies. We Shall Overcome soon became the “unofficial” anthem for the movement.

It is clear that as Pete Seeger made a dramatic and significant impact on society during a period in the nation when there was confusion and mixed feelings of peace vs. war; segregation vs. desegregation; women’s rights and liberation vs. anti- feminism; black vs. white. His songs became anthems for those movements. His songs and personality were the same- quiet yet powerful; humble yet proud.

Among the many successful female singers who have reached “icon” status in the history of country music, the name Patsy Cline stands out from the rest. That name represents not only a strong, unique voice, but also a great example of what it means to be a leader of women in country music. In many ways, Patsy Cline paved the way for future female musicians and singers in what was considered to be a male-dominated genre. At the time that Cline was getting started in the music business, female performers were only thought of as opening acts for the more well known male musicians. Cline broke this norm by headlining her shows, something that had never been done by a female artist before her. She was the first female in country music to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City and to headline shows in Las Vegas and at The Hollywood Bowl. In this way, she made it possible for future generations of female talent to realize their own possibilities and potential in the music business.

Cline’s successful career is admired and envied by aspiring singers from all genres and her fanbase is not limited solely to country music fans. One of her most well-known songs, entitled “Walking After Midnight,” did so well on the country music charts that it ended up expanding past her country fans, and reaching #12 on the pop charts. While Cline is more widely known for her work in country music, she is also considered a crossover artist because she was so successful in both genres.

Patsy Cline’s accomplishments throughout her career demonstrate her entrepreneurial mindset that drove her to achieve so much during her time working in the music business. She is the only artist to have ever been added to the Grande Ole Opry cast through a request to join. The fact that her request was granted shows how powerful she was, not only in talent, but in ambition.

Despite having passed 33 years ago, Bob Marley’s influence can still be felt in all genres of music. Bob Marley is the face and defining voice of a nation, a culture, and a generation.  When Marley and his band, The Wailers, were the first reggae group to reach, and captivate audiences outside of the Caribbean.  Marley was able to catch the attention of the world through the lyrics in his songs. The “rebel rock” Marley created revealed many lessons to all those who listen, and still to this day listen, about life, love, and self-knowledge and discovery.

Without Bob Marley and the Wailers, the beliefs and teachings of the Rastafari movement, or belief that Jesus had returned in the form of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I (Jah), would not have spread to America, or have accumulated the following, in Jamaica and the rest of the world, that it did. Bob Marley is attributed to being one of the most influential Rastafarians to have ever lived.

However, Marley spread more than just the way of the Rasta and his “Rebel” music. Reggae may not be as popular worldwide as it was when Marley was still living, but Marley’s image is still being printed on countless numbers of shirts and posters, and his records are still being sold. In the thirty-three years that have passed since his death, Bob Marley and the Wailers are still selling records, and are among the top grossing Reggae musicians. Musically, an incalculable amount of artists credit Bob Marley as being one of their biggest influences, and his works are still being sampled and his lyrics are still being quoted. Culturally, Bob Marley is, and may always be, the “King of Reggae,” and whether it’s through advertisements for Jamaica based entirely around his songs or his face and individual voice coming to mind whenever someone mentions the West Indies or the Caribbean, Bob Marley is a name that will never be forgotten. 

It’s not about the artists identity… it’s about the art. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are the two anonymous French musicians that make up the robot duo, Daft Punk. Thomas Bangalter, of the electronic duo once stated, “We did not choose to become robots. There was an accident in our studio. We were working on our sampler, and at exactly 9:09 am on September 9, 1999, it exploded. When we regained consciousness, we discovered that we had become robots.” An artists identity is a large distraction from their work. Daft Punk’s robotic transformation gave the duo the ability to evade the general public, and let their music speak for itself. Also, Countless electronic artists praise Daft Punk and deem their work an inspiration for the current generation of producers. Daft Punk has a distinctive sample driven electronic funk sound that young producers strive to emulate.

Another notable artists that conceals his identity is street artist Banksy. The masses take great appreciation towards Banksy’s unique art, yet have no idea to whom the man responsible is, and may not even care… Maybe Banksy was a Daft Punk fan.

The television show, “The Voice,” takes influence from Daft Punk’s artistry. During the preliminary auditions, judges blindly listen to the singers to avoid any possible distraction that the performers appearance or mannerisms may bring .

Daft Punk’s genius decision to conceal their faces would lead the band to prosper, while their identities and personal lives could remain secret.


It has been almost 40 years and Prince still ceases to amaze the world. Prince is an artist who has had a profound effect on pop society and culture beyond the scope of the music industry. He is one of the greatest performers of all time and one of biggest modern influences on the music of today….

It has been almost 40 years and Prince still ceases to amaze the world. Prince is an artist who has had a profound effect on pop society and culture beyond the scope of the music industry. He is one of the greatest performers of all time and one of biggest modern influences on the music of today. Prince has a unique way of reaching his audience, he speaks in a futuristic manner, he is a perfectionist, and his music is timeless and universal!

Prince is a musical genius! He is never afraid to think outside of the box, be curious about new ideas, and do the unexpected. He has made music ranging from genres Rock, to Funk, to R&B, to Disco, to EDM, etc. He is well respected and admired by his followers because of his bravery and confidence that is presented through his music. Prince has a creative style that is unlike any other, that crosses over all racial and ethnic barriers.  He only releases music that he feels is up to par; music that is relatable and that people of all ages and in the future will be able to enjoy.  He is great at keeping up with the changes of time, while also staying true to himself in terms of music. Most of Prince’s songs either convey a message through a metaphor or tell a story. He writes songs relating to love and relationships, politics, hopes for the future, life experiences, and overall feel good music. He is also involved with many philanthropic foundations around the world. Prince isn’t afraid to hit on controversial topics and to be open and share his opinion through his music. 

With his seductive moves and the messages that he conveys, Prince will forever be a looked at as an icon who has set untouchable bars in terms of the music industry. Prince is a true artist; he one of the greats and is clearly an important factor in culture and society.

The sixties was the decade for the creation of rock and roll, however it was still an undeveloped medium for expression. Moving towards the next decade of Rock, it matured as artists such as Lou Reed created songs that were more than about peace and love and began to more fully integrate poetry into their songs and introduce new subject matter to address in rock music. Additionally he was open to homosexuality and addressed other arising issues about identity during the seventies, which also expanded the rock and roll community. Reed began in The Velvet Underground, who are responsible for the punk movement and were apart of the first rock bands to sing about darker topics such as crime and drugs, different from many classic rock and roll bands. Though singing about darker things doesn’t make music better, The Velvet Underground broadened the amount of possible themes in rock music. But because they wrote about such advanced subjects, The Velvet Underground’s songs were forced to be more poetic. They had to conceal their more controversial messages under seemingly innocent lyrics, adding multiple layers to their songs and more room for interpretation. The Beatles’ lyrics carried strong messages, but were straightforward, such as “All You Need Is Love.” The song “I’m Waiting for the Man,” by the Velvet Underground, is about waiting for a drug dealer, but never once do the lyrics mention drugs or a dealer. This creates a different experience for the listener, allowing them to decode the lyrics as if they were decoding a poem.  Reed was also known for spreading his acceptance of all identities, mainly pertaining to sexuality, as the American gay community was battling heavy discrimination at the time. Many of his songs, such as “Walk on the Wild Side,” openly told stories of gay Americans and he himself often claimed he was apart of the gay community. Overall, Lou Reed was key in the maturing rock because he made major progress in using the idea of multiple layers in rock lyrics. Simultaneously he made the rock community accepting of all people, which is what makes it such a diverse and understanding following. 

Here’s the scoop for tomorrow…

In the morning, we’re meeting with Lauren Davis for Foundations of Music Business.

In the afternoon, you’re meeting with me for Arts + Culture of New York City, where Yvette Noel-Schure, Beyonce’s Publicist at Parkwood Entertainment, will pay us a visit!

Follow Yvette on twitter @yns1118

In the evening, we’ll be jamming in the studios and production lab, and doing team check-ins with me and Lauren… Team Werk! (yep, that’s work with an “e.”)

Marat Berenstein

Stevie Wonder is an American musician and singer-songwriter who became one of the most creative musical figures of our time.  He showed people that even though he was blind and he was a minority he could still have a successful career in music. He overcame stereotypes and used his soulful music to promote positivity, fight social issues, and highlight personal hardships that people deal with in their lives.

 Mr. Wonder at the age of 12 was a musical prodigy who proved that age was no factor in determining how good you can be at something. He knew who and what he wanted to be and he did not let a disability hinder him from continuing to pursue his dreams. He created hits such as Superstition, I Was Made to Love Her, and Higher Ground which helped lay a foundation to where true soul music began. He had incredible composition skills and he tried to tell stories through his music about issues that people would go through in their lives. In his song Village Ghetto Land he highlighted issues about drugs and with songs such as As and Isn’t She Lovely he talked about what it means to share a undeniable love for someone. He also played a prominent part in helping with the civil rights movement as well. In 1966 his cover of Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the wind became the theme song for many black and white activists. His song Living in the City in 1973 described what it was like for blacks to live in poverty, and in the 80s, he created a rendition of Happy Birthday, which helped launch a campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday. What made Stevie Wonder such an important cultural figure was that he was able to connect and relate to people on every level. He truly believed in the messages that he was trying to convey in his music which lead people to believe in him. 

In today’s vast music world, there is an abundance of artists that have  powerful influences on society and culture. Frank Ocean emerged as a nationally recognized artist after his release of Channel ORANGE. It was a type of music no one had previously been exposed to. The production was new and refreshing, the lyrics were dreamy and touching, and the listener could tell the album really reflected Frank Ocean as an artist. But, what really makes Ocean influential can be heard in his song “Forrest Gump”. Throughout history, Ocean’s genre of music has been predominantly dominated by straight men who really haven’t taken a stand on gay marriage and this song is a love song Ocean wrote to another man. Even though this song may have not been extremely popular, it definitely impacted his influence on culture. Not to long after this release, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released their hit song “Same Love”. Frank Ocean opened the floor and broke the barrier for artists to convey their true feelings. 

One other key impact Frank Ocean has on the culture is that he takes pride in his craft and focuses on his music. He is not concerned about fame, popularity, being seen in public, or coming across as a star. He concentrates on what is important to him, not the flashy stuff that other stars care about. Society respects this because they realize that this man actually has talent and isn’t auto-tuning his voice to sound like a robot or doing this to get rich. Ocean does what he does because music is his passion. Society takes this message, processes it, and begin to change their mindset on music culture. Maybe it’s not about money and fame when it comes to Frank. Maybe it’s about pure talent and music. 

With Frank Ocean flying under the radar, people realize that even though he isn’t “public”, he still has a huge impact on music culture. Him and his Odd Future friends bring a whole new cultural aspect to music. Fashion, television, lyrics, and more.

His influence on culture makes people appreciate music more through understanding him as an Artist and as a person. This opens the door for people to take their craft to a whole new level, allowing them to reinvent themselves as a whole new person without being afraid of receiving criticism.