Epic Records/Berklee Collaboration a First
Berklee and Epic/Sony have announced the release of their collaboration, Shekinah 13 Artists. The CD is the first commercial recording ever to be jointly released by a major record company and a college label. This compilation of songs by female Berklee student and alumnae artists was put together by Heavy Rotation Records, Berklee's student-run record label. The disc was released in stores nationwide on February 5. A concert in the Berklee Performance Center on February 6 marked the occasion.
Stylistically, Shekinah (pronounced shuh-KEE-nah) covers a lot of territory with original songs rooted in rock, hip-hop, folk, r&b, and metal. The music reflects the breadth of artistry at Berklee as well as Epic's commitment to young talent and excellence in popular music.
The artists featured on Shekinah are Clare Muldaur, Rhea, Polina, Mariam, (with her band Mancain), Cami, Anne Chandler, Kristin Cifelli,
Adrianne, Valerie Brinker, Kyler, Amanda Williams, Antje Zumbansen, and One Elle (aka Alison Notkin).
The opportunity to appear on a major label is one that these artists did not take lightly. "It was like the American Dream," said Polina, one of the Shekinah artists. "I was looking for a chance like this. It's a really, really good thing for all of us."
"This project has been a labor of love," said Jeffrey Dorenfeld, associate professor of Music Business/ Management and faculty advisor for Heavy Rotation Records. "It showcases some exceptional Berklee-educated performers and will also introduce the industry to our talented Music Business/Management majors who worked so hard on the project. I look forward to its success and can't wait to start the next one."
Heavy Rotation Records student codirectors Alex Sartakov, Melissa Axel, Natasha Bishop, Mark W. Hunter, Matthew Strzyinski, Christina Almeida, and Jennifer Link are the Music Business/Management majors who spearheaded the teams that worked on the record. The teams were involved in every step of the process from choosing the artists and songs, doing concert promotion, creating the website, assisting with the packaging and marketing of the CD, and other issues with the full support of Epic executives. "This was not at all an amateur hour," said Chris Poppe Epic's vice president of marketing. "They are very professional."
Impressed by the efforts of the Berklee students, the Epic Records Group, a division of Sony Music, made a scholarship endowment of $100,000 to Berklee, the proceeds of which are to be awarded to promising Music Business/ Management majors. The first scholarship will be awarded this spring.
Also pitching in on the project were members of Berklee's MP&E and Music Synthesis faculty. MP&E Professor Stephen Webber produced four tracks and was an integral part of the production process. Other faculty members sharing their expertise and time included Carl Beatty, Mitch Benoff, Bill Scheniman, Kurt Biederwolf, and Mark Wessel.
The album title Shekinah has its origins in ancient teachings about the feminine presence of the divine. The name was chosen to symbolize the creative power and vision of these 13 female artists. The student-run label chose to compile music by all-female artists for the project because of the legacy of success created by Berklee alumnae such as Paula Cole, Gillian Welch, Susan Tedeschi, Melissa Etheridge, Aimee Mann, and many others.
For more on Heavy Rotation Records, visit their website at www.hrrecords.com.