Berklee's Top News and Stories of 2023

From AI in the classroom to music licensing 101, 50 years of hip-hop to the next great American jam band, take a look at where the last year brought us. 

December 20, 2023

How do you tell the story of a year? 

The short answer, of course, is that you can't. Who can predict how many students will look back at a class they took in 2023, for example, and say, yes, that was the moment my career began? And while this year marked the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the genre's clearly not done evolving, so it's not for us to try and understand this year's beginnings and endings.

Instead, we collected just a handful of moments from the Berklee community that inspired, that challenged, that brought recognition, that expanded minds. Take a look below to get a sense of where we are, and imagine what stories may come next. 

Career Advice from Donald Glover

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How Donald Glover Built a Career as a Multi-Hyphenate Artist

"Make sure that your point of view is sharp and that you know who you are, and you know who you're speaking to.”

Donald Glover

Berklee SVP Featured on Reuters and NBC

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Lacretia Johnson Flash's Ancestral Journey Is a Call to Stay Connected to History

"This story gives the world a vivid example of the intergenerational consequences of systemic racism carried out through routine policies and practices."

Lacretia Johnson Flash

corook Goes Viral on TikTok and Beyond

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Viral TikTok Song 'If I Were a Fish' Is a Joyous Call for Acceptance

After their ode to being different went viral, Corinne Savage B.M. '17, who performs as corook, expanded on their savvy blend of humor and sincerity on a new EP

Advancing with the Latest Technology

What Does New AI Technology Mean for Artists?

"I can only imagine AI will get more powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility."
Ben Camp

Everything Is Music to Instrument Inventor Akito van Troyer's Ears

"I want to create the most original sounds. Original sound counts when you're making new music."
Akito van Troyer

How Generative AI Is Change College Classes

"I am concerned about [AI] not making its way into classrooms fast enough. I think we need to first engage with it before we can understand its risks and downfalls."
Sherry Li

Artistry in the Algorithms: Music in the Age of AI

"It used to cost a million dollars to create an album, then $10,000, and now $1,000. To me, generative AI is just . . . the next evolution of enabling more people to be creative."
Jonathan Bailey '08

Pathways to the Industry

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Music Licensing 101: How to Sync Your Music

"The person that you're sitting next to can be tomorrow's executive that you need a favor from, that can put you onto your next opportunity."

Dom Jones B.M. '19

EA Scholarship Helps Composer Katie Rupinski Close the Gender Gap in the Game Industry

"This scholarship has been an absolute fever dream of just amazing opportunities. I feel so prepared."
Katie Rupinski B.M. '23

Inside the Ever-Changing Job of a Talent Buyer

"[At C3 Presents] we have the opportunity to dive into all these different areas we want . . . so you can kind of jump outside of your job and get experience in other areas."
Nicol Kuburoglu B.M. '22

Alumni Shape the Cultural Landscape 

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Podcast: Both Sides of Goose, America's Premier Jam Band

"It’s such a different energy in the studio than it is live. And often times we’ll get into the studio, and we’re trying to track a song that we played live hundreds of times, and you realize very quickly that what works live does not necessarily translate the same way we work in the studio."

Ben Atkind

Illuminati Hotties' Sarah Tudzin Sings in Star Wars: Ahsoka First Episode

"I was of course excited to help, but when I knew the cue was all about going full-gremlin mode, I knew I could crush it[.]"
Sarah Tudzin B.M. '14

Hong Kong Indie Artist cehryl Faces Her Fears

"I just navigate my fears and doubts by precisely cataloging them. When I read them back, I realize how silly or hypocritical some of them are."
Cheryl Chow B.M. '17

Faculty Experts Spark Conversation

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From Turntables to Samplers: The Gear That Made Hip-Hop

Marking 50 years of hip-hop, Prince Charles Alexander's new book explores the role new technology played in helping hip-hop become a global juggernaut.

Why Are Fans Throwing Things at Artists?

"I think it's okay to say, ‘Hey, can you stop throwing chicken nuggets? You're hitting my friend in the back of the head.’"
Morgan Milardo

Podcast: What Does Science Sound Like?

"This is this incredible age of discovery. And I think music and art can open that up, and make us more curious, more reflective, and hopefully more grateful as well."
David Ibbett

Lost Coltrane Album Still Sounds Like Freedom

"[This lost album] offers another example of the power of courageous musicians to inspire hope, innovation, and empowerment through sound."
Emmett G. Price III

Berklee Today: A Legacy of Her Own

"The guitar is my instrument and there is nothing I do with it that is not deeply felt."
Berta Rojas

Curated Playlists

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15 of the Best Cover Songs (and Why They Work)

From “Fast Car” to “Ring of Fire,” there’s no formula to making a successful cover song. But the best covers answer two important questions: why this song, and why this performance?

Queer Artists Who Made Music History

This playlist pays tribute to the queer roots of genres ranging from classical to electronic dance music to hip-hop.

Why Some of Us Can't Stand Holiday Music

Listen to a playlist of winter songs that ditches the festive baggage.

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