Berklee Musicians Team up with Grammy Winners OK Go
Berklee students and faculty worked with Grammy-winners OK Go on the band's virtual collaborative project Art Together Now, creating new renditions of OK Go’s pandemic-inspired single, “All Together Now.” The videos can be viewed on the band’s YouTube channel.
OK Go recorded “All Together Now” virtually, releasing the single in May 2020. The band's lead singer, Damian Kulash, and his wife both were diagnosed with COVID-19 early in the pandemic, suffering from severe symptoms but eventually making a full recovery. Kulash and OK Go were inspired to continue to create virtually during the stay-at-home period while also raising money and awareness for the ongoing health crisis. The release of “All Together Now” helped raise money for Partners in Health, a global health organization that brings quality health care to the most vulnerable communities around the world.
Watch the video for OK Go's "All Together Now":
A Global Collaboration
As the stay-at-home period continued, a high school choir from Long Island, New York, reached out to the band for the sheet music. It wanted to work on the song in the same socially distant way that the band did, which gave OK Go the idea to use the new single as a means to virtually collaborate with students and young artists. The Art Together Now project sought socially distant collaborations with artists across the globe, creating new music videos and renditions of the band’s single remotely. The OK Go Sandbox, an online resource that provides educators with access to OK Go’s music videos to use as starting points for teaching and learning, helped the Art Together Now project grow to include 15,000 students from 35 states and 21 countries, with numerous Berklee students, alumni, and faculty contributing as producers, arrangers, and performers to multiple versions of the song.
“Art Together Now (Kids Version)” featured nine Berklee musicians. Produced by Grammy-nominated engineer and mixer Luke Tozour B.M. ’03, the track was coproduced by Michele Darling, assistant chair of the Electronic Production and Design Department, and mixed by Richard Mendelson, assistant professor in the Music Production and Engineering Department. Brooke Villanyi ’12 wrote vocal arrangements and students Bryan Borders, Jondren Hwang, Suiping Kong, and James McKernan supplied additional music production. Rachel Alina B.M. ’03 provided mixing on other versions of the “Art Together Now” project, and student Shalyah Fearing sang on “Art Together Now (Nature Version).”
Watch the video for "All Together Now (Kids Version)":
The song really resonated…. We will always remember this experience, getting to collaborate during such a unique time with this incredible team on the things we are passionate about. It was truly special.
—Michele Darling, assistant chair, Electronic Production and Design
“The pandemic made us realize how important togetherness and human connection is right now,” said Darling. “Even though we miss being with each other in person, OK Go's global art project was an opportunity for us to collaborate. The song really resonated, and it was a great chance for the students to add their creativity and to witness it all coming together with such a beautiful result. We will always remember this experience, getting to collaborate during such a unique time with this incredible team on the things we are passionate about. It was truly special.”
“Working on the OK Go project during midterms was a challenge, but it was worth the time and energy,” said student Amy (Suiping) Kong. “The fact that we got to hear how other producers deal with the same song also inspired me to hear music in ways I have never thought of before.”