As a steady stream of Berklee alumni continues to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue professional dreams, the overriding question for graduates is “How to begin?” For film scoring graduates, the path often involves becoming an assistant to an established composer. These assistant positions are usually given to candidates with the strongest technology skills. Making connections with established composers can be challenging, and a good measure of creativity can make the difference.
Film scoring graduate Thanh Tran ’00 came to Los Angeles and decided to use his extensive music copying skills as the key to connecting. His recent success as a copyist indicates that he made a great choice.
In April, he was the supervising music copyist for recording sessions at Fox studios for Seal’s new album. Tran was part of an A-list team that included producer and arranger David Foster, arranger Bill Ross, and orchestrator Brad Dechter. Through his company, Global Music Copying, Tran has also worked with Harry Connick Jr., Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli, Mychael Danna, Earle Hagen, and Joey Newman ’98. For more information, visit www.globalmusiccopying.com.
Tran’s scoring career has also taken off. He just finished composing a Vietnamese TV miniseries and is now working on a feature film starring James Caan, Ving Rhames, and Mark Hamill.
Placing songs in film, television, advertisements, and video games continues to generate energy and traction. The new series of alumni song showcases “The Beat Goes On” began in April at the Hotel Cafe, a renowned Hollywood showcase venue. The goal of the series is to connect Berklee songwriters with music supervisors, publishers, and producers, who are always in search of emerging songwriting talent. More than 250 attendees enjoyed strong performances of original songs by Femke Weidema ’06, John Rode ’04, Marga Lane ’09, Mike Schmid ’01, Manda Mosher ’97, and Ernie Halter ’97.
On the performance front, vocalist Jodie Kennedy ’91 has worked with John Fogerty since May 2008, when she began singing backup for him at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA. She appears on Fogerty’s recently released concert DVD Comin’ Down the Road: The Concert at Royal Albert Hall and can also be heard on his new album The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again. Kennedy is featured on 10 of the 12 tracks, including “When Will I Be Loved,” which features Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen.
Kennedy also appeared with Fogerty on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She also appeared on the PBS show Live by Request with Fogerty and his band. Her credits also include a recent performance with Barry Manilow at the Hollywood Bowl. For more, visit www.jodiekennedy.com.
Congratulations to all the Berklee alumni honorees at the recent 2010 BMI Film & TV Music Awards in Beverly Hills. Winners included Alan Silvestri ’70 for the Christmas Carol soundtrack; Juan Carlos Rodriguez for Más Sabe el Diablo; Michael Suby ’00 for Make It or Break It; Bill Brown ’91 for CSI: NY; Kevin Kiner for CSI: Miami; and Phil Garrod ’92, Reed Hays, and Scott Schreer for The O’Reilly Factor.
Music editor Curt Sobel ’78 has been working with Jodie Foster on her new film The Beaver costarring Mel Gibson. Sobel also served as supervising music editor alongside composer Teddy Castellucci on The Lottery Ticket starring Bow Wow and Ice Cube. The single “If This Is Love” by recording artist Leah Driscoll ’03 is on the Billboard Dance Charts. The track has scaled the charts among some impressive names in the dance-club world.
Bassist Jesse Stern ’92 is currently on a U.S. tour with pop and R&B singer Jordin Sparks, who won the sixth season of American Idol. To catch all of Stern’s latest news, go to www.jessestern.com/live.
That’s all for now, stay in touch,
Peter Gordon ’78 Director of Berklee Center in LA