Benji Rogers launched PledgeMusic based on the idea that music fans want to give more—not less—to support their favorite artists. The company now employs more than 40 people and launches two to three albums a day.
Award-winning jazz trombonist, composer, and former Berklee professor Hal Crook ’71 has been playing music for more than 60 years. He took up the piano at 5 years old, started composing original pieces at 8, and moved on to trombone at 12. He attended Berklee on a scholarship from DownBeat magazine and received a Bachelor of Music in arranging and composition.
A board certified-music therapist, Ian Wilkerson '07 is the founder of Bay Area Music Therapy, an organization offering individualized music therapy programs and wellness services throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
Through her work at The Center for Teen Empowerment, Samantha Hale '06 conceptualized the intersection of the professional arts, music therapy, and social justice. In collaboration with fellow alumnus Matt MacArthur ’10, director of The Record Company, Hale conceived Boston’s only youth-run and adult-supported record label, B4 Records.
Gillian Welch '92, celebrated for her spare but beautiful voice and lyrics expressed in Americana, bluegrass, and Appalachian music, has singled out the rewards of a simple exercise she learned at Berklee. Asked the most important takeaway, she answered without hesitation: “Object writing, no question.” A 10-minute morning exercise as a tool to stimulate creativity helped this acclaimed singer-songwriter find her unique voice.
Panpipe virtuoso Damian Draghici ’98 swapped a celebrated music career for a seat in the European Parliament to campaign for Roma rights.
Aimee Mann discovered her voice in punk rock during her years at Berklee College of Music in the late 1970s. The iconoclastic singer, who also plays multiple instruments, enrolled at Berklee in 1978 but left a few years later to join the Boston punk band the Young Snakes. Her singing, performing, and recording career spans decades.
A native of Mumbai, India, and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Clint Valladares serves as the managing director of the Berklee India Exchange. Since joining Berklee as a staff member in 2009, Valladares built capacity within the Berklee City Music Network®, a network of community organizations across the United States and Canada committed to delivering high-quality contemporary music instruction to youth from underserved communities, to create a richer consortium of like-minded organizations.
Exposed to music early on through his legendary father and namesake, Latin Grammy-nominated Cuban tenor saxophonist Carlos Averhoff Jr. '11 is a contemporary Afro-Cuban jazz composer and educator described by All About Jazz as "a dynamic, fresh new voice on the saxophone," and now teaches woodwinds at Berklee's City Music Program.
Abraham Laboriel Sr. '72 is one of the most legendary bass players of his era, having thousands of album credits to his name playing for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, and Madonna.
A member of the class of 1999 and an entrepreneurial visionary in the business of creative music and education, Prasanna was voted among the top 50 creative Indians by Open Magazine.
Kevin Doucette '05 enjoys a thriving career in Los Angeles and India, working with A. R. Rahman and other notable Indian musicians.
An eclectic, whimsical, inventive performer and personality, Rushad Eggleston is a cello player with a difference. Calling himself the Ambassador of Sneth and Wild Cello Goblin, Eggleston improvises in fiddle styles on the cello. Now touring the world—from Italy to Belgium and beyond—as a solo performer on cello, vocals, and kazoo, he wears a jester costume and sings in his own imaginary language.
A native of Carmel, California, he attended Berklee on a full scholarship after winning a competition.
In an earlier era, musicians came to prominence in smoky clubs in the big cities. Now online vehicles provide other channels. For Charlie Puth, it was YouTube. Already a dedicated singer-songwriter, at age 18 he started his own YouTube channel, Charlie Vlogs. Ellen DeGeneres and others noticed, and soon Puth’s songs such as “Someone Like You” became mainstream.
One year after earning a bachelor's degree from Berklee, where she majored in music therapy, Krystal Demaine founded North Shore Music Therapy Services in Beverly, Massachusetts. A board-certified music therapist, Demaine works with adults, adolescents, and children to address physical, emotional, and developmental challenges through musical exercises like drumming, singing, songwriting, and moving with music.
Norwegian-born jazz clarinetist Felix Peikli '12 released his expansive debut album, Royal Flush, in 2015; the album features an all-alumni quintet and appearances from Lee Hogans, Marcus Miller, and Albino Mbie '13.
The daughter of Donny Hathaway, the late soul legend, Lalah Hathaway has forged her own way in music, using a lovely contralto to pursue various styles that mix R&B, jazz, and pop. She's also a pianist who won three Grammys in three years: best R&B performance for “Something” with Snarky Puppy in 2014; best traditional R&B performance for “Jesus Children” with Robert Glasper in 2015; and best traditional R&B performance for “Little Ghetto Boy” in 2016.
John Mayer has had several musical lives rolled into one: a pop star, a renowned guitarist, a heartthrob, a serious student of the blues, and a gritty comeback artist who returned from a two-year hiatus because of vocal cord problems to develop a passion for the music of the Grateful Dead.
Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer has built a successful career by creating unusual and compelling music with a wide range of artists, from singers like Diana Krall '83 to bassists like Christian McBride to rock stars like Sting. Since his teenage days playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Wisconsin native Keezer has toured all over the world, playing with giants of jazz like Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny '96H, and Wayne Shorter.