BPMI Showcases 2019 Artists Headed to Summer Festivals
Berklee Popular Music Institute (BPMI) presents its 19th annual Epic Event on Wednesday, March 6, at The Sinclair, showcasing artists chosen by students in the program to perform at some of the country’s most popular summer festivals. BPMI takes students from the classroom to the stage, providing an immersive experience in every aspect of artist development and touring—important preparation for a career in performance and in the music industry.
This year’s BPMI artists—students and alumni Jackie Foster, Jobi, Roy Juno, MKULTRA, Goldspace with Trey Kams, and Alx, artists whose music spans genres including pop, rock, Americana, hip-hop, electro-pop, and R&B—will have the opportunity to appear on the main stages at the Governors Ball, Essence Festival, Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and Country LakeShake.
BPMI’s Epic Event returns to The Sinclair in Harvard Square (52 Church Street) on Wednesday, March 6, at 7:00 p.m. The show is $5 with any student ID. General admission is $10. For tickets and information, visit BoweryBoston.com.
Under the guidance of Jeff Dorenfeld, founding managing director of BPMI, students reviewed more than 250 submissions in the fall and narrowed the field through a combination of factors, including recordings, videos, and live audition showcases, to select the final artists. Each artist is paired with a group of three BPMI students who serve as the artist’s management team. Preparing for the summer festival season, the teams work with the artists throughout the spring on artist development, marketing, promotion, digital presence, merchandise, sponsorships, and tour budgets.
“This year we really wanted our artists to reflect what’s popular in mainstream music. Since hip-hop dominates the charts, we focused a lot of our attention on those artists,” said Illeana Acevedo, a BPMI student. “It was very tough narrowing it down to just seven artists in a community that is filled with so much talent. It has been an incredible process so far and a great way to get a glimpse into the music industry.”
About the Artists
Jackie Foster B.M. ‘18 is an award-winning vocalist from San Diego, California, and a graduate of Berklee, where she attended as a recipient of the Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship. Foster distinguished herself as a semifinalist on season 14 of NBC’s hit show The Voice, and was mentored by three different coaches: Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine, and Alicia Keys. Whether it’s pop, rock, R&B, or jazz, Foster’s warm, rich tone and powerhouse vocals can fill up a room and leave audiences wanting more. She is currently writing and ready to release new original music in 2019.
Jobi (Jobi Riccio) is a student songwriter and performer from Denver, Colorado. Inspired by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, and classic country and bluegrass, she writes songs with a folk and roots sensibility. Jobi has received acclaim for her writing, including being selected as a finalist in the 2018 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter's Showcase. She also appeared on the Women n Music Spain chapter’s compilation Sincerely, Women. Jobi’s EP Strawberry Wine came out February 5.
Roy Juno is the collective name shared by three Allston, Massachusetts–based producers/instrumentalists. Led by lyricist/frontman Sayak Das B.M. ‘18, Roy Juno blends themes like struggling with identity, glorifying false heroes, and celebrity ego death, with sound design that transports the listener to an era where synthesizers were the vanguard of sensible pop. Rhythm section Henri Young B.M. ‘17 (bass/synthesizer) and Josh Parra ‘17 (drums, auxiliary sampling) pride themselves on seamlessly blending a wide range of backgrounds, resulting in a truly modern pop sound.
What is MKULTRA? Think of MKULTRA as the name of a cinematic universe, with the Milk Man as one of the many characters in this universe. The Milk Man, Green Guy, Meat Man, and the Brain Child are all characters in a very complex mythology. On the album THE MKULTRA SHOW, the protagonist that speaks throughout most of the project is the Milk Man. MKULTRA draws listeners into his crazy universe of experimental hip-hop and a world of new sounds and feelings. Bring on the Milk Man.
Goldspace is an electro-pop/hip-hop duo composed of students Maia Quin and Andre Samuel. Their sound could be described as a blend of future R&B and hip-hop, although style and genre don't prevent them from using all kinds of sounds and influences. Goldspace’s first two singles have appeared multiple times on Spotify’s biggest playlists, including Fresh Finds and Poptronix. The duo plan to release a series of singles and EPs throughout 2019. The performance will feature producer/DJ Trey Kams, also a Berklee student.
Alx (Aaron Gregory) is a student singer-songwriter from Jacksonville, Florida. “I used to be that nerdy kid that would spend his weekends watching Dragon Ball Z,” said Alx. “Now I'm that nerdy kid that spends his weekends watching Dragon Ball Z and making music.” He began following his passion at 14 and has since opened for T.I. and ELHAE. His creative lyricism, intricate beats, and influences—such as Trey Songz, Big Sean, Eric Bellinger, Omarion, and Ty Dolla $ign—are reflected in his music.
BPMI is an immersive education program at Berklee that takes students from the classroom to the festival stage. Under the guidance of Jeff Dorenfeld, former manager of the band Boston, the students work in all facets of the music industry, including A&R, artist development, recording, booking, promotion, social media, sponsorship, and live shows. BPMI’s label, Heavy Rotation Records (HRR), has released 18 albums since 1995, including Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic; Apollo Sunshine’s eponymous second album, co-released with spinART; Dorm Sessions 1-13; and Under the Influence.
Many up-and-coming artists have appeared on HRR albums, including Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Christopher Barnes (Gem Club), Shea Rose, Nini & Ben (HAERTS), Big D & the Kids Table, and members of Passion Pit (as the Peasantry). The label presents events and artists in the Boston area and at some of the music industry’s largest festivals, including Lollapalooza (Chicago, Chile, Argentina and Brazil), Osheaga, and SXSW. The label also serves as a springboard for careers in the music industry. HRR alumni have gone on to work at Interscope, Capitol, DreamWorks, BMG, Universal, Live Nation, AEG Live, Oak View Group, DWP, YouTube/Google, CAA, ICM, Paradigm, WME, Billions, Snapchat, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Red Bull, Spotify, Stem, Republic, Red Light Management, Songkick, and C3.