Kishi Bashi '99 is a multitalented musician whose years at Berklee infused his music with cinematic lushness. He composes on violin, and sings and writes songs blending Japanese and English, and his performances include guitar, keyboard, vocal looping, and beatboxing. His solo albums, 151a and Lighght, demonstrated his versatility. On 2016's Sonderlust, he continued to showcase his talent, with NPR’s All Music Considered, descirbing the album as a rapturous mix of '70s soft rock, disco, and synth pop.
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.
Matt Nakoa came to Berklee on a scholarship, and studied with songwriting greats Pat Pattison and Livingston Taylor before graduating in 2006 and continuing his career as a folk singer-songwriter.
Alyosha Barreiro '01 recently caught our attention when he performed in Mexico City in front of over 120,000 people for their Day of the Dead festival. We caught up with him after, and it turns out he is no stranger to huge crowds and incredible stories.
"I learned more about creative thinking at Berklee than I did at Harvard Business School,” Cassidy said, referencing the time he spent studying jazz piano at Berklee and his graduate work at Harvard.
A globally acclaimed Palestinian cellist, Naseem Alatrash is a sonic product of his upbringing in the Middle East. An accomplished classically trained musician and improviser in diverse styles, Alatrash has earned a reputation for fearlessly broadening the horizons of the cello on the world stage.
When clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen is described in performance, “joy” is often the attribute mentioned. This Berklee College of Music graduate’s lyrical virtuosity and her habit of dancing, shouting out encouragement to band members, and generally having a good time are infectious. Her many awards from DownBeat magazine, the Jazz Journalists Association, and others attest to her talents.
Trumpet and flugelhorn player Ingrid Jensen ’89 came to Berklee by way of Nanaimo, British Columbia. An award-winning musician, she has been considered a standout jazz trumpeter since the release of her first album, Vernal Fields (ENJA, 1995), which won a Juno Award. Jensen subsequently made two more acclaimed albums with ENJA and found herself in demand as a leader and a session musician.
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.
Grammy-winning trumpet player Roy Hargrove ’89 studied at Berklee just as his career was taking off. Although best known for his jazz skills, he excels at any genre he touches, working with diverse artists such as Angelique Kidjo, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, and John Mayer '98.
Meghan Stabile's visionary and trailblazing work as an impresario has led to a number of unusual first-time collaborations, including one between Roy Ayers and Pete Rock and another between Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and the Robert Glasper Experiment. Her Revive-Music.com is a leading platform for promoting new jazz.
Trumpet player and arranger Rashawn Ross ’00 is probably best known as a touring member of the Dave Matthews Band, but his range of experiences is not confined to one group. Hailing from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, he knew while he was still in high school that music was his calling. He took to performing with local dance and calypso bands, and after high school, he came to Berklee to study. After graduation, he was working as a session musician when he played on stage with the Dave Matthews Band for the first time in June of 2005.
Tariqh Akoni '91, a session guitarist and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California, is the musical director for multiplatinum recording artist Josh Groban and has toured or recorded alongside artists as diverse as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, and Bette Midler.
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.
Accomplished guitarist, bassist, and producer Angie Swan ‘05 has toured with David Byrne, Cirque du Soleil, Fifth Harmony, CeeLo Green, Will.i.am, and many others. Learn about Swan’s experience as a female artist and how her education and network at Berklee continually allow her to make valuable professional connections.
After bowing out of the spotlight as a lead singer for a behind-the-scenes role as a songwriter, Justin Tranter '01 has written many songs that have become fixtures on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Contemporary dancer Ebony Williams B.F.A. ’05, contemporary dance, has done everything from train with the Boston Ballet to perform commercially with the likes of Rihanna, Fergie, and Beyoncé in her 2009 “Single Ladies” music video.
"A lot of my gigs came about just by showing up and offering to help people. I love what I do so I just try to wake up and pursue the things that I care about. That’s definitely something I got from Berklee—just living music. It’s not something you just ‘kind of’ do, and it’s not something that you have to try to do. It just comes out of you because you love it.”
We first encountered Hannah Christianson B.M. '13 at a meditative yoga class, tipped off that she may be a Berklee alumna as her ethereal vocals and soulful ukulele ushered the packed class at the Boston YMCA into a state of zen. Christianson, who also works as a teacher, producer, and performer, talked to us over the phone in June 2017 during an apprenticeship in upstate New York.
Maddie Rice has proven to be a young musician to watch. As a 2014 Berklee College of Music graduate with a burgeoning pop-rock career in electric guitar, she was chosen in 2015 to be part of the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. As a member of Stay Human, Jon Batiste’s band, Rice adds to the group’s unique blend of jazz, funk, and pop.