PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Ken Zambello and the Singers Showcase

Kimberly Ashton
March 17, 2017
Ken Zambello, musical director and associate producer of the Singers Showcase
Image by Phil Farnsworth

Ken Zambello has been the musical director of the annual Singers Showcase concert since 1985, two years after it started. In its first years, nearly a quarter of those who auditioned won a spot in the show. These days, upward of 150 vocalists vie for eight to 10 spots in the annual concert. And this year those singers will be crooning the tunes of Elvis Presley as part of a tribute to the icon 40 years after his death. 

"He was the first international superstar of rock 'n' roll music. He was the one that helped to bring it widely into the mainstream. I mean, it started to creep in there by 1955, but he was the one that made rock 'n' roll a household name. And in 1956, he just slaughtered the competition everywhere," Zambello said of Elvis and his legacy. 

The concert, which will be at the Berklee Performance Center on April 6, will be part of Elvis Week at Berklee, marking the anniversary of his death. The week will include workshops, panels, and guest speakers sponsored by Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, and each day will be dedicated to different themes, including the Style of Elvis, the Legacy of Elvis, Building the Elvis Brand, and, of course, the Music of Elvis.

In this episode of Inside Berklee, Zambello talks about what it takes to get into the show, how Elvis made rock famous, and what students today know of Elvis' music. 

Producer: Kimberly Ashton
Engineer: Andres González Cardona
Recorded at the BIRN Studios