So one year later my official time as an undergraduate Berklee student and Editor-in-Chief of Berklee Groove draws to a close.
It’s been a wild journey, one that I am incredibly grateful for; for all the people I’ve met and worked with, and in all the ways that the process of essentially building a startup alongside the final year of college classes challenges you - with transformation, mindsets and efficient workflows.
When previous Editor-In-Chief Dom Jones hired me at the end of last year, I was left a huge stack of documents, google file documents, ideas and 10+ years of work to make Berklee Groove the voice of the student body. And most of all I discovered a huge pot of gold in the contacts and professional relationships that had been built up over the years under the Berklee Groove name.
Right off the bat my first job was reviewing 2019’s Boston Calling festival and spending the majority of my weekend backstage, interviewing acts like Easy Life and sitting on sofas that had been occupied minutes before by musical giants like Hozier and Anderson .Paak.
It was a jump in the deep end - for a music student who had saved money by not attending shows and instead relying on streaming services and YouTube - having a limitless pass to attend live concerts in return for written articles - this was the first gift I discovered this job offered.
I made it my course from that moment on to dedicate all summer to rebuilding Berklee Groove to establish it as a new, professional and cutting-edge publication and brand, representative of the unique tastes of Berklee students and Alumni. Upon meeting with many of the heads of organisations within Berklee’s communications departments, we discovered a mutual desire to build a stronger connection between alumni and students. So through multiple drafts of a mission statement and business plan, I settled on refining the student platform to simultaneously promote and connect students and alumni with successful artists and music professionals - in order to keep myself and my peers inspired and informed.
I worked with a digital artist to design the new logo; drafted the new website, inspired by vanityfair.com’s visual simplicity; and was fortunate enough to work with a talented intern, Rafal Zacharevič at Wix, to make the website functional.
Come September, I hosted over 30 interviews to find my team of talented writers and fellow grad and social media director, Isabella Ramos.
Then we spent days (literally!) in the windowless dungeon of 150 Massachusetts Avenue, forgetting the time and day as we worked on the structure of managing content workflow, planning the socials and reaching out to PRs for interviews and press passes.
On December 5th, the website and Instagram feed went live. We sent out an official press release to 2000+ people in our mailing list.
Since then, we’ve had the fortune to have interviewed Julia Michaels, Emily King, KSHMR, Alice Merton, Jónsi & Alex, Sam Feldt and Mary Lambert to name a few. We’ve attended countless shows, festivals, gathered a whole bunch of #wordsofwisdom clips and promoted an equal amount of student and alumni music releases. More importantly we’ve helped promote the freshest upcoming Berklee artists and individuals, and support aspiring writers through our contributing writer team.
We’ve published everyday since, totalling 152 blog posts. We have gotten multiple daily submissions from students and alumni requesting us to feature their music or to interview them. And we’ve launched a Podcast (#getinthegroove) interviewing famous industry professionals alongside notable students and alumni - including Bryce Vine, JoJo and Armada CEO Maykel Piron.
Any advice that I can pass on from my experiences is this: If you don’t take the risk you’ll never know. You can have crazy ambitious dreams, but the only way to create the reality is persistence, trusting your gut and surrounding yourself with the right people. This is advice that, in some form or other, every interviewee gave - and it manifested itself throughout my year in the successful creation of the thriving platform we manage now. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity, the incredible support and talent of Social Media Director Isabella Ramos, Staff Writer Kirsten Roussel and Associate Editor Kaylee Ellis - alongside the contributing team of Alana Amore, Alexis DenBoggende, Nadya Kelly, Trinity Escobar, and a host of other guest writers. I am also incredibly grateful for Meagan Hart-Molloy, Stefanie Henning and Padriac Farma’s support and advice. Last but not least, I could have never achieved all of this without the constant support, advice and intuition of my genius wordsmith Mum and rock of a Dad. I know that whoever takes over in September will be able to benefit from the passion, inspiration, challenges and endless innovation that this gift of a hot-seat teaches.
I’d like to leave you with a few quotes that inspired me throughout this process.
“Content is King” - Stefanie Henning
“There will always be people better than you, but if you just stay on the treadmill, opportunities will come to you." - KSHMR
“I had someone tell me one time, if you’re in the studio and you don’t feel it that day, and you want to go to the movies, go to the movies. If you want to go for a massage, or you want to go to the beach, just go to the beach. At the end of the day you’re human." - Julia Michaels
“Don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing.” - Alice Merton
“I think long term … I focus on my tangible goals as part of my larger goal, so I love that time right before sleep … when my eyes are closed and I’m thinking about what I want to have happen.” - Mary Lambert
“Music is meditation and I find that the truth comes through you whether you know it or not”, and “Lead with kindness.” - Emily King
“Be super individual and weird, and don’t give up on it.” - Alex Somers
“The things people tend to fall in love with in a song often start out as seem[ing]… quite boring when you’re writing them, but when you set them in the right context it becomes profound.” - Donovan Woods
“I feel like at the end of the day that’s what’s going to get you somewhere: integrity, perseverance, and being a good person.” - Mack Loren
“If you let yourself be successful, you shall be successful” - On the back of a Yogi teabag label.
“Just do it” - NIKE, and my Dad!!
For now, stay safe, keep doing what you love and get in the groove. We'll be going on a brief hiatus in the coming weeks - but feel free to continue to reach out about interviews, music features and podcast features, as we will still be collecting content to publish later this year. Sending so much gratitude and love.