Berklee Student Monica Fernandez Wins 2014 BMI Peermusic Latin Scholarship
Porfirio Piña, director of the BMI Foundation's peermusic Latin Scholarship, has announced that Monica Fernandez is the winner of the 11th annual peermusic Latin Scholarship, a competition for original Latin songs and instrumental compositions. Fernandez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, received the $5,000 scholarship for her song “Sepia.” The scholarship was presented at a private award ceremony at the BMI New York City office on July 9, 2014.
The scholarship competition was established in 2003 through the generosity of Ralph Peer II and the peermusic companies. It is awarded annually and is open to students between the ages of 16 and 24 who attend colleges and universities in the United States or Puerto Rico. Piña, who also serves on the BMI Foundation Board of Directors, oversaw the selection and judging process. Piña said, “It's an honor to serve as the peermusic Latin Scholarship director; for the past 10 years we have seen the winners go on to work on TV, film, record labels' A&R, and performing as solo artists or part of a band.” Piña continued, “We are proud that the scholarship can help those students that are in need to continue their music education.”
Fernandez said, “I am filled with gratitude for the financial assistance to fund my college education. This award gives me the confidence to continue studying music and doing what I love by bringing value to my musical ideas.” She continued, “I am so thankful to have the support and encouragement from the BMI Foundation, which gives a space for Latin music and aspiring composers like me.” Fernandez’s song “Sepia” is a love story that speaks to the uncertainty of love; she says that the song is meant to reflect a dream.
“Peermusic is proud to support writers like Monica at the earliest stages of their careers,” said Mary Megan Peer, president of Asia Pacific and Strategic Markets at peermusic. “In today’s music market, it is important that songwriters have a deep understanding of arrangement, performance, production, and composition. Monica’s exposure to all of these areas at Berklee will be an asset to her as she develops her craft. Many of our successful Latin writers, including Prince Royce, Alcover, and Xtassy (“A&X”) and Chayanne, have developed their careers as BMI songwriters.”
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1992, Fernandez grew up surrounded by music. She began writing songs at the age of 12 and started taking singing and piano lessons at the age of 14. Fernandez has explored different singing styles from classical to R&B. She was an original member of the a cappella group Cantorama, which focuses on Latin and Mexican music. With this project, she recorded one album and had several performances on local TV, radio stations, and national venues. She then spent five years studying classical music student at the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey. Fernandez was determined to record her EP Condemned to Dream, a collection of music born from stories destined to live as mere dreams, with music and lyrics composed entirely by her. The EP was recorded at Audiexperts studios, where she studied audio engineering under the instruction of producers Gerardo Rocha and Jheiva. Fernandez took her songs to Berklee’s Songwriting Workshop in the summer of 2012. A year later, she began studying at Berklee, where she as participated with the Audire Soundtrack Choir, which specializes in the performance and arrangement of music from movies, TV shows, and video games. Together they have presented many concerts in addition to creating music videos that have been very successful on the internet.
The BMI Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985, is dedicated to encouraging the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, internships, grants, and commissions. Support for the foundation comes primarily from BMI affiliated songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees, and members of the public with a special interest in music. Many donors have chosen to contribute to the foundation in the spirit of "giving back" to the field of music, which they feel has been generous to them. Because all members of the foundation's staff and the distinguished members of the advisory panel serve without compensation, over 91% of all donations and investment income is available for charitable grants. Contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Throughout the year, the foundation works to administer the various competitions for awards, scholarships, internships, and commissions. The final selections for these programs are entrusted to panels made up of some of the world's most distinguished artists and musicians, all of whom volunteer their time and knowledge. The focus of these programs is on American music; however, there are several opportunities open to international students. The foundation also awards grants on an annual basis that are directed primarily to not-for-profit music organizations from around the country. The foundation's advisory panel reviews and makes recommendations for these awards, which range from the support of classical music groups specializing in contemporary works, to musical theater programs for inner-city youngsters, to programs designed to preserve and continue indigenous American music such as jazz and blues.
Founded by Ralph S. Peer in 1928, peermusic is the largest privately owned music publishing company in the world. With well over a quarter of a million titles in its catalogue, peermusic works in all genres, including pop, Latin, country, classical, jazz, blues, and rock. Peermusic is known for its global presence and worldwide activity, having six offices in North America, nine in South America, nine in Europe, and six in Asia. Latin music has been a focus for peermusic since its founding, when Ralph S. Peer was one of the first to bring Mexican music across the border. The company has offices in 30 countries yet still gives its writers personal, boutique attention, and service.