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The Berklee Visiting Artist Series is a live, interactive forum featuring some of today's most innovative professional performers and creators. These moderated discussions will focus on the topics of artistry, entrepreneurship, and social justice, and students will have the opportunity to actively participate by posing questions directly to guests. This event features a live interview with Jac Ross and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins moderated by Brian "Raydar" Ellis, assistant professor in the Ensembles Department.
Jac Ross sings upbuilding lyrics that advocate for cultural, social, and political issues. Raised in Live Oak, Florida, Ross was exposed to an array of iconic soul and R&B singers. A self-taught pianist, Ross gave himself seven years to make it in the music industry after graduating high school.
His break came when his cowriter, Mezo, encountered R&B savant Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins at a mall in Florida. After an exchange of emails, Jerkins asked for the singer to come visit him at his Orlando home. There, Ross delivered a riveting rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and an original song, "Freedom.” Jerkins signed Ross to his label Darkchild Records and work with him on his debut EP. After recording 88 songs, Ross and Jerkins began shopping around at different labels in hopes of finally finding a home. In 2019, Darcus Beese, president of Island Records, signed the singer.
Now, Ross looks to shake the world with his debut project. Off to a speedy beginning, Ross has captured the attention of Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Urban One; she picked Ross to open the televised special Urban One Honors. His performance received a standing ovation from cultural heavy hitters such as Jamie Foxx, Billy Porter, Missy Elliott, Brandy, Chance the Rapper, and others. With more to come from Ross, he has already begun to cement his place as the premier artist to watch going into the next decade.
—Adapted from Jac Ross's official bio
Grammy Award–winning super-producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins is an urban legend in the flesh. An acknowledged virtuoso in the music industry, Jerkins began his career as a prodigy at the age of 15. Tireless in his work ethic, the prolific young Jerkins quickly established himself as a formidable musical force, with a trail of outstanding accomplishments. A successful producer/songwriter/musician, Jerkins has been an in-demand producer since his beginning; megastars line up to work with him to ensure their next smash. He has added to the hit lists of artists such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, and countless others. These artists know that having the Darkchild touch on their song puts it on the fast track toward reaching number one.
—Adapted from Rodney Jerkins's official bio
How to Participate
RSVP in the Berklee Career Manager. Once you are registered, we will send you a link to access the Zoom webinar 24 hours before the event.