Taking Flight

Lessons in music theory and artistry transcend Berklee’s classroom walls and sometimes beam across the musical spectrum. With direct and indirect help from experienced and compassionate professors, Berklee alumni continue to find their niches in the music world. Two cases in point are Kevin Ross ’09, and Alex Han ’09, who are making their respective marks in different quarters of the music industry.

After topping the adult R&B charts with “Long Song Away,” Ross, in a Billboard interview, characterized his first number one hit as a “gift from God.” The track is the lead-off single from his debut album, The Awakening. With his romantic lyrics, Ross is attempting to shift America’s perception of hip-hop culture. In the liner notes of the album, in addition to thanking friends and family, Ross made special acknowledgments to his alma mater. “To Berklee College of Music,” he wrote, “you gave me a sense of creative individuality in the midst of so much extraordinary talent. To Armsted Christian (RIP), Gabrielle Goodman, Donna McElroy, Bill Banfield, Karen Bell, Ken Zambello, John Kellogg, Roger Brown, George Russell, Dennis Montgomery, Prince Charles, and Damien B.: each of you were extremely vital in my music journey.”

Jazz saxophonist Alex Han balanced his Berklee studies with performances with faculty members, including gigs at Carnegie Hall with Joe Lovano and in Poland with Terri Lyne Carrington. Attending Berklee on a presidential scholarship, Alex Han graduated in just three years. He is currently working with bassist and jazz composer Marcus Miller. Han said that attending Berklee was “the right choice.” It was evidently crucial to his connection with Miller, whom he met when Miller did a 2006 residency at the college. Han continues to tour internationally and is steadily gaining recognition as a rising star among the jazz cats of his generation.