Dawaun Parker ‘05: Find Your Voice and Move Forward
Making a living in the music industry requires listening to yourself, finding your voice, and understanding your mission.
This was the advice imparted by alumnus Dawaun Parker '05 when he visited the campus in April to present a clinic, Art of Production. Parker, a dynamic rapper and Grammy Award-winning writer and producer, has worked with such artists as Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent.
He shared with students and faculty his experiences as a producer and record label owner. He talked about his first experiences in the industry; working with Dr. Dre; his future plans; and his new collaboration with another Berklee alumus, Phil Beaudreau '04. At the end of the session, he took time to answer student questions.
Parker attributed his success, including his Grammy wins, to his Berklee education. “Everytime I come back to Berklee I am reminded of the hours of music that I could really immerse myself in," he said. "The amount of exploration, study, of just listening and jamming, and being around people who really love music, who are really trying to figure it out—you will never get this opportunity again.”
Parker advised students to “maximize everything you can here, take all the classes, all the extracurriculars, take every opportunity you can to make this place contribute to that.”
He also emphasized the importance of choosing good collaborators.
“People want to work with who they are cool with, who they think works really hard, and who they think they can vibe with because they have similar ears,” Parker said.
Indeed, he's lived by that advice. Halfway through the clinic, he invited his new business partner, Beaudreau, to join him onstage to talk about their record label; one of their first releases will feature Beaudreau’s music.
But making music can also mean working toward a higher goal.
“What do you want to change as a result of being in the industry? Do you want to contribute to the culture, be famous, get respect from your heroes or peers? Do you want to do something positive for the world, or is this just a platform for you to get into politics?” Parker asked.
Both Parker and Beaudreau are testament to the very reason Berklee was founded, according to Jason Camelio, director of Berklee's Global Initiatives. "This institution, its faculty members, and community of students provide an environment for motivated, young musicians to prepare for working in the industry," he said. In that same spirit, Parker and Beaudreau encouraged students to continue forward and find their own voice within the industry.
Parker’s visit was sponsored by the Global Initiatives and Special Programs departments.