1. Introduce your talent and provide brief background.
  • My name is Claire Hawkins and I am a seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter based in New York City. Songwriting has been an integral part of my life since I was nine years old, writing songs on the elementary school playground. I started playing guitar when I was fifteen, and I now use it to write most of my songs. I perform regularly around the city and occasionally out of state as well. My music has an organic, acoustic feel. I am inspired by all kinds of music, namely folk, country, and indie. In everything I do with my music, I aim to make connections with people. I believe that is one of the most important things one can do as an artist.
2. Name your inspirations and influences, and explain why.
  • I am very inspired by Brandi Carlile. I admire her dedication to her music, which shows in everything she puts out. She knows who she is and that never changes, even through her consistent growing as an artist. She aims to blur the lines between genres of music, which I greatly appreciate. Described as everything from country, to rock, Americana, to folk, Brandi Carlile has proved that she can do it all, while keeping her audience invested and entertained. As a performer, Brandi Carlile shows us exactly what it is like to completely love what you do. Anyone who sees Brandi and her band live can tell you just how passionate they are about music. I hope that people will get the same idea when they see me perform.
3. Target your market: who’s your audience?
  • I aim to reach an older audience than teenagers and kids. I hope that adults will find what I have to say relevant to their own lives. My target audience would fall under the category of indie-folk and singer/songwriter fans who have a love for country and alternative music.
4. Make suggestions as how you plan to get there.
  • Because I know that online music followings are, for the most part, made up of teenagers and young adults, I aim to make more connections with music fans when I play live shows. While I do occasionally play venues with younger audiences, I usually play at clubs where other artists who are similar to myself play.
    Other steps I am taking to achieve my goals in the music industry are to release music and keep active on my social media sites so that people who cannot make it to my shows can still listen to my music and be involved in all that I am doing. I hope to branch out with my music by traveling and performing, and eventually going on tour. To get to that point in the future, I need to start by playing shows in different areas as often as I can to hopefully start gaining a following in these places. I plan to continue making connections with my music everywhere I go, so that later on I can build a career on these connections.

Big day, again, guys. Second Broadway show in the evening!

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 Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn!

In the afternoon, the A group is meeting with Bo Pericic for Fundamentals of Music Production and the B group is meeting with Eren Cannata for Songwriting Workshop Part 2.

In the evening, we are ALL going to see Once The Musical on Broadway!

Follow on twitter @rubbertracksnyc @oncemusical

Marat Berenstein

Ok, so first off, Motown was probably one of the best musicals I’ve seen. I mean it is something else. I also learned a few things about Motown, they are:

1. The scope of Motown. I knew the label was a big deal, but I did not realize the scope of it until seeing that show. I mean the show had 60+ songs that spanned decades, that is truly an impressive feat. 

2. The segregated shows. I knew segregation was still going on at the time, but I did not realize that some of the shows were segregated. Also, the scene where the crowd desegregated was very fitting and is probably one of the most powerful examples of how music brings people together. 

3. The overall story behind Motown. I knew there were some key figures behind the name, but I did not realize the story behind the label. I always assumed that it was more of a business and less of a personal investment by Barry Gordy. 

I admit that, prior to seeing Motown: The Musical, my knowledge about the record label and its work was limited. Names such as Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye were not unfamiliar to me, although I could not quite place which songs they had recorded and were most famous for. Needless to say, seeing the musical shed much light on the history and legacy of Motown and its lasting influence on modern day music.

What made the greatest impression upon me was the fact that Motown was responsible for such an impressive repertoire. Producing hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Superstition”, the label has, without a doubt, left its mark on American popular music.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn about the etymology of the term Motown. With American auto manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford headquartered in Detroit, I was aware of the city’s importance in the automobile industry, and therefore its associated nickname ‘Motor City’. However it had completely escaped me that ‘Motown’ was in fact an amalgamation of the words ‘motor’ and ‘town’, so this little tidbit of information in the musical definitely caught my attention.
Most importantly, I learned that Berry Gordy and his companions including Smokey Robinson, were the main driving forces behind Motown and soul music, especially during the 60’s. Motown has truly been influential in the development of modern pop music, which raises an intriguing question: what would music sound like today if Berry Gordy never got his start as a songwriter?

Before I go into what I learned while attending the musical “Motown,” I need to quickly explain how astonished I was by the production and performance. I was immediately captivated from the beginning of the show. The actors were excellent and sounded pitch perfect with the old school classics that they performed. To be completely honest I did not know what Motown actually was. Do not worry, I knew that Motown was not a place. However, there were three key things I did not know about Motown. 

1. I never knew how much of an impact Motown had on racial integration within America! The music that Motown produced helped cut the divisions between blacks and whites by relating to people all over the country. Black Americans at the time had a very tough time breaking into the music industry. However, with Berry Gordy’s persistence and dedication to helping his artists break through this barrier, Motown was able to produce a quality of music that was highly influential to the current music industry. 

  1. Another key thing I never knew was that Michael Jackson was first signed by Motown, with the Jackson Five. If Motown was not in the music industry at the time it might have been possible that Michael Jackson would have never been signed due to the prevalent racism at the time, as well as the fact that he was a little kid trying to break into the music industry. It is insane to know most of the Jackson Five songs, but not know they were backed by Motown. Though their experiences were very different at Motown from the larger labels they later moved on to, it is almost impossible to tell which songs came from each era. Motown created incredible music that was highly competitive with some of the other, larger labels that  had bigger budgets and more influence at the time.  

  2. The last thing that I learned about the musical was that Diane had to pay her audience to come watch her first performance. Diane is one of the most influential artists of all time and has brought unique artistry to the industry. With everyone knowing who Diane Ross is, and being fans of her legendary music, it is hard to believe that just because when she left her original group the Supremes, people did not want to give her the chance to be successful as a solo artist. 
Motown: The Musical

I had a great time watching Motown The Musical on Broadway last Thursday night. It was such an amazing show to watch and listen to. Just the amount of talent on that stage was phenomenal. Especially the little 13 year old Michael Jackson!

I was always familiar with Motown growing up, however I never knew any of its backstory. For one, I did not know who Berry Gordy was. I found it very interesting to hear Gordy’s story and see all the things he accomplished and struggled with. He did have troubles, but with the passion and drive he had in him, he went after something he truly believed in. Through his mistakes he was still very successful and changed the sound of music.

Another thing I learned about was the other artists that came from Motown. The main artists I already knew that came from Motown were the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. I didn’t know really know any of the other artists in the show. I didn’t know who the Supremes were or who The Marvelettes were. However, as I was listening to the music, I realized that I already knew a lot of the songs that were being performed. That just shows how great Motown is. Motown is present in so many people’s lives and those people, like me, may not even know it!

It was amazing to see the huge impact Motown has had on music and culture. Motown broke down the racial barriers between black and white communities. This allowed black artists to emerge into a predominantly white music industry. The show also made me think of how Motown has impacted music in general. Motown became its genre of music, with their records being known for having “The Motown Sound.” I can’t even imagine what music today would sound like if Motown never existed. The impact that it has made on music is immense.

Motown was such a fun show to watch. I learned so much from it and was so inspired by it!

I had heard stories about Hitsville USA from my dad since I was little and the legends of Motown but never thought anything of it. I never became a Motown enthusiest so I didn’t know much going into the show. I had known that Motown started in a house in Detroit and that it revolutionized the music world but thats about it. So here is what I learned!

  1.  I didn’t know much about the Berry Gordy, I didn’t know he was a songwriter and I had no idea how he started Motown. So this was a history lesson in the the life of the creator, Berry Gordy.
  2. I also didn’t know all the famous artists that belonged to Motown. Throughout the show I had flashbacks to when I was little and my dad would play me these songs. It’s amazing how one man produced this many celebrities that changed the world forever.
  3. I also didn’t know some of the evolutionary changes the artists went through. It’s amazing how they went from young bright eyed kids to professional musicians and performers to activists.

didn’t know much about Motown before the show so it was an educational experience. The entire show was a history lesson and after the show I started looking into more Motown and educating myself further as a musician and music lover. It’s a beautiful story about beautiful people who were excited about music and were given a chance to make it their life.


I have always had a love for music but I never knew much about it’s deep history. I didn’t even know what Motown was.  While we were walking to the show, I remember thinking, “what is Motown?” After seeing this show it has really opened my eyes to music that I remember hearing and even iconic music that I never knew about. 

1. Motown is a cultural icon

Motown is one the most successful recording labels in the U.S. Starting out in the late 1950s—in the booming motor town of Detroit—Berry Gordy, a businessman who failed at every business before Motown, took a loan from his family in order to open what would become the most successful African-American owned recording studio of all time. Berry Gordy produced iconic artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Diana Ross, and many more.

2. Artists that influence future generations 

The number of successful artists and bands who where discovered and came from of Motown is unbelievable. Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and so many others have influenced our music and culture today. 

3. Selling a soul movement

Berry Gordy sold Motown in 1988 to MCA and the Boston Ventures for 61 million. It wasn’t through choice but because Motown Records was losing millions. Gordy knew Motown Records was an institution at that point, but losing millions, gave Gordy no choice. After the sale, Motown never recovered. 

Growing up with 4 older siblings I was introduced to a variety of music. Of all the music I was being shown, the most prominent artists were legends such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. Until recently I was unaware of the fast these iconic names had any correlation with the ‘mysterious’ Motown. Frankly, I thought Motown was the name of a Country music record label… After seeing “Motown the Musical” I was appalled at my lack of knowledge towards Berry Gordy’s indie record label that was a great inspiration for a majority of todays music. I learned so much from seeing the musical; however, here are three things that stuck out to me…

1. As embarrassing as it sounds, like I had stated in the previous paragraph, I had confused “Motown” as being a country record label. I learned that Motown launched the careers of some of musics biggest names… Artists like Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Rick James, and the Jackson Five. These artists wrote, co-wrote, and performed a majority of the hits during Motown’s thriving era.

2. Prior to “Motown the Musical” I had heard Berry Gordy’s name before, however, to me Gordy was RedFoo, of LMFAO’s, father. I learned that Gordy had a deep connection with singer Diana Ross. I also learned how Gordy’s entrepreneurial ventures, sincerity, and hustle helped him succeed in the long run.

3. The final thing I learned, which kind of upset me, was how Gordy’s artists began to leave him as they got offered better deals. Gordy had put such hard work into his talented cliental and in the end they chose the money. I didn’t think these iconic artists would betray such a sincere man; however, I do not think that the artists could see Gordy’s true intentions.

Overall I learned a great deal about Berry Gordy, Motown, and the rise of African-American culture in the Music Industry. Motown’s existence is vital in the music world because Motown has greatly inspired many of todays largest artists, and will continue to inspire future artists.

Even though I grew up listening to a lot of Motown artists and songs around the house, it wasn’t until I heard we were going to the show that I realized I really didn’t know anything about Motown.  I knew it had something to do with Detroit, but I had originally thought Motown just referred to the style of music they were releasing, and nothing more.  Motown: The Musical, in turn, taught me not only what Motown was, but also about it it’s lasting impact on the music industry.

1. The first, and in my mind, most important thing I learned from the musical was who Berry Gordy was.  Like I said before, I thought Motown was just the overall Detroit R&B movement, but learning that one man was responsible for each hit that came out of the era was just astonishing to me.  What I found even more incredible was the fact that songs were put up to vote by the board and that a song was either created or denied just on majority rule.  Compared to today’s industry where very few label executives ever have their opinion swayed by outside influences, it is very intriguing to a label owner that had so much trust in his colleagues.  It makes me wonder how much of that trust led to the label’s immense success.

2. Something else I learned from the show was how Motown directly compares to indie labels today.  Even though we revere it for the world renowned hit factory it undeniably was, Motown, just like many indie labels today, could not meet the financial requirements it needed to in order to sustain itself.  While it is interesting to see how indie labels still struggle to meet these demands today, it is even more so unsettling that even though a label can make the best music in the world, and a plethora of it, it can still fall at the hands of major labels.

3. The final thing I learned about Motown from the musical was its influence in social and political activism.  I knew that people loved Motown because the music was entertaining, but what I learned was that they also loved it because the music gave them a voice.  Songs such as, “War” by Edwin Starr and, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye had significant influences on the political and social spheres.  I really enjoyed how Marvin wanted to use his voice and influence not just to be a celebrity, but to also be an agent for change and progression.  I think it is genuine beliefs such as these that set the foundation for Motown and are ultimately what led to the label’s success.

Motown the musical was inspiring. It gave an inside look on how Motown developed as a label and the scenes continually kept the audience on their toes. The talent was unreal; it was almost like watching a live concert of each Motown artist. The musical taught me so much about Motown’s music history and cleared many of the misconceptions I had.

1.)  Walking into the venue I did not realize just how many artists were signed to Motown.  The only artist I knew that signed to the label at the beginning of their career was the Jackson 5. Finding out that Rick James, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and many more were all apart of this label’s history was incredible. Throughout the musical I continued to recognize the songs and connect to the characters. I could not get enough of Motown the musical.

2.)  Berry Gordy started Motown and had a relationship with Diana Ross. Sadly, I did not even know who Berry Gordy was until I saw Motown the musical. The Broadway musical explained how he started the label and the many struggles he faced trying to keep its success high and authenticity strong. I was amazed by the passion he had in his work and how he was willing to risk his love for his business.

3.)  It is obvious that Motown is a large part of history and played a huge role in the development in music. Throughout my childhood Motown has always been talked about it, so I assumed it was always successful. I did not understand the struggles the label faced when bigger corporations wanted sell it out. If Motown never existed the music industry and culture would be altered and many lives would be drastically impacted. The perseverance in Berry Gordy and how he kept the music strong was very inspiring.

Many people take the modern music we have today for granite. It is important to understand the history the music has gone through to create the sound and culture it is today. The culture Motown created was substantial in the development of many dance moves, culture shocks, and of course incredible music. The cast did an amazing job of playing the parts of the extremely talented idols of Motown. My admiration for Motown has grown exponentially and I know its legacy will live on. 

Sadly I really didn’t know much about Motown. I had heard it mentioned before but I never actually knew what it was. I think that a while ago someone told me it was the town Marvin Gaye grew up in and gullible me just decided to roll with that. From having the opportunity to go to the show I learned that Motown was a record company that Berry Gordon started in his home. I found it incredibly impressive that he was able to harness a vision, and create such an influential business entirely from scratch. I think that it would be merely impossible today to build a record label from scratch and find as many emerging artists as Motown Records did. 

 I also had absolutely no idea that Michael Jackson started his career with Motown Records. I did know that Michael Jackson was eventually signed to Sony Records, but it was so interesting seeing the story of The Jackson 5 and their journey with Motown Records. I think that Motown in general just exemplifies the contrast in the music industry from back then until now. Today it would be extremely rare for such a successful label to sign such young artists, but Motown Records did and became even more profitable from that decision.

 I think the most valuable thing I learned about Motown was that its influence is still extremely relevant today. Regardless of labels being much different, and of the scarcity of labels as successful as Motown Records in the current music industry, the culture of Motown is what helped create the music business we see today. Hearing harry weinger tell us about how much work and precision Berry Gordy put into the show made it apparent at how important Motown was to people in the audience. These were songs that changed people, and made the public fall in love with a different type of music. I think to understand where music is headed you need to be familiar with its past ventures, and learning about Motown definitely helped make the current industry seem more clear to me. 

Overall I was extremely excited when we went to see Motown on Broadway. Personally, I feel as though having your story made into a Broadway play is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon anyone,  especially in the case of a music business. The fact that Motown had influenced so many peoples lives allowed for the show to pay tribute to many of the amazing artists and songwriters that came from Motown and have an extremely large impact on the artists, songwriters and their families.

1. The first thing that I had not realized going into was how the company had come into creation, and the fact that Berry Gordy was so influential in the songwriting process. I thought it was amazing and inspiring to learn about how Berry Gordy turned his frustrations with songwriting and the way “race music” was perceived by everyone, both in the industry and consumers, and turned them into the creation of both Hitsville U.S.A. and Motown. The reason I find this so inspiring is due to the fact that throughout this program we have been learning about being entrepreneurial in our approach to all aspects of the music business, and Motown is an amazing example of great entrepreneurship.  

2. Another thing that I had not known about Motown was the fact that they had so many musicians that I had never associated with them. While I knew that Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Supremes and The Jackson 5 were developed in Motown, but I had no idea that Rick James or Stevie Wonder were even involved with Motown and I think it was just amazing to see how large of an Impact Motown has had on the music we still listen to today.

3. The third thing that I had never really know about Motown was how bad things got towards the end when they ended up selling. I had no idea that so many artists had ended up leaving the label and then suing Motown even though they were responsible for the artists initial success.

All In all I thought that seeing Motown on broadway was not only amazing because of the caliber of the show, but also that it was an extremely educational experience. It allowed for us to truly gain a respect for the entrepreneurial spirit and for the business as a whole. 

When I found out that we were going to see Motown The Musical I was instantly excited. I knew the basics of Motown and its foundation but seeing the musical opened my eyes to the little details that truly made Motown even more incredible than I thought.

1. I’ve always known that Motown was famous for it’s clientele but I had no idea how many truly amazing hits/ artists came from Motown. The musical’s great implications of top hits helped me realize that there are so many musicians who were apart of this time. The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder are only SOME of the incredibly talented artists that were with Motown. Not only do these artists have extraordinary hits, but they are considered musical legends that will never be forgotten in the music world. It’s amazing to think that all these artists were under one label and it is very rare for a group that legendary to be under the same “roof” ever again. 

2. I was able to see the strong influence that Motown music had on today’s music styles and genres. When Berry Gordy started Motown, he knew his vision and he wanted to change the way that music was listened to. This vision turned into a revolution, giving colored artists opportunities at having the most popular hits while being able to express themselves however they wanted musically. The vibe and sound that Motown created was brand new and unlike anything else- pop music that had a unique twist and was able to be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what race or culture. Without Motown, who knows what music culture would be like in modern society.

3. The main thing that I loved learning about through the musical was Berry Gordy’s drive and determination to create something he truly loved and believed in. All he had was a vision and if it weren’t for his hard work and passion, Motown would have never been successful. Especially during a time of segregation and racial inequality, the fact that Berry Gordy’s motivation was only stronger made me appreciate every aspect of Motown and all that was put into it. The whole process of building Motown was shown as being a long and bumpy journey, but with the help of his strong desires and his collaborative team, Mr. Gordy was able to form a revolution with the label. This reinforced an important lesson that anything is possible if you really put in all the effort and desire that you can. As an aspiring performer, it was amazing to watch the success stories of going from an aspiring artist to a successful musician and gave me even more longing to push for what I want to accomplish in the music industry.


I found “Motown the Musical” to be incredibly inspiring. I left the theater buzzing with excitement about all that I had learned just by sitting in the theater and watching the incredibly talented actors on stage.

One particular thing I learned that relates not only to Motown, but to the music business in general, is how quickly and easily things change, especially in the world of independent music business. Of course I knew beforehand that trends in music change all the time, but it was fascinating to watch such a legendary part of music history (Motown) from its beginning to its end, all in one Broadway show. I felt like I wasn’t only watching the story of Motown being retold, but I was experiencing what it was like for Berry Gordy to build Motown up from nothing as an independent business, and then lose it to a major corporation.

Another thing that I’m sure many people learn when they go to see “Motown the Musical” is just how huge an influence it has had on the music world. Though I did say in my last paragraph that we see Motown “end” during the show, that is not exactly true. We see the end of Motown as an independent record label, but even the fact that there is a “Motown the Musical” is proof that Motown is still very much alive. There are so many songs that I grew up listening to and that I still love listening to that I never knew were part of Motown. Even right now, listening to the Motown Pandora station, I am surprised each time a song comes on that I know all the words to.

One of my favorite things about the musical (and there were many!) was being able to get an “inside view” of the relationships that existed between the different members of the Motown music world. Berry Gordy and Diana Ross’ scenes together were among my favorites. I also loved seeing Berry Gordy’s character interact with his family. I found Berry begging his sister to loan him money to start Motown particularly amusing. I also thought that seeing the Supremes as high school seniors (our age!) was really cool.

I really did have an amazing time at “Motown the Musical.” Every single person on stage impressed me immensely with their talent. I have to say though that meeting Nathaniel Cullors after the show was one of my favorite parts. :)