At a recent master class cosponsored by Red Bull, keyboardist Greg Phillinganes worked with students in real time to help their performance skills and musicianship, as well as offer career advice. Berklee blogger Chandler Dalton shares her reflections about this special event.
Greg Phillinganes (front, center) poses with the student performers who participated in his Red Bull master class.
Before anyone even stepped out onto the stage, there was an air of childlike excitement in the David Friend Recital Hall. Greg Phillinganes, the charismatic Toto keyboardist with a history of working with household names such as Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, was about to impart knowledge onto an audience of hopeful composers and performers, and play in a full band of Berklee students. I couldn’t help but feel the pure thrill from some of my classmates that were about to watch their hero play alongside their peers, and it was yet another reminder of the symbiotic relationship between performers and their audience.
In early 2018, alumna Eva Cassel answered the call of the muse and left a steady restaurant job in Nashville in order to take her songwriting skills and habits to new heights. What follows below is part two of a series chronicling her experience.
By Eva Cassel B.M. ’17
The artist in her natural habitat.
Results are in folks: there is nothing like a little bit of unemployment to spark some inspiration. While reveling in freedom, I’ve thought “I would be happy if I never had to work again.” Fortunately, that’s a lie. I am working. I spend my days learning and exercising my writing muscle, working to improve my craft. I may not be getting paid, but I am investing in myself.
By Katyayani Krishnan
Natalia Nastaskin, head of U.S. music operations for United Talent Agency
Natalia Nastaskin moved to the USA from the Soviet Union with her family at the age of 8. Her family was extremely poor, but every Friday, her parents would give her and her brother a treat: a dollar for pizza slices. Her brother spent his 50 cents on slices and soda, and she’d save hers to buy records. She’d play each record on repeat, and with her English-To-Russian dictionary, learn the translation and pronunciation of every word on the record – teaching herself how to speak English; albeit at first, her vocabulary was somewhat limited to love and heartbreak.
Nastaskin was this year’s featured guest at the 25th Zafris Lecture series, sponsored by the Music Business/Management Department, and it was an absolute honor to get to hear her story firsthand. As she spoke of her life and professional journey, all I could notice was how resolute and unswerving she was, whether it was about her struggles or her successes.
I have been a member of the Berklee Indian Ensemble for 2 years. They have been like a family to me. They have always brought out the best in me, and I will be forever grateful to them for all the opportunities. This time, I was honored to perform with the one and only Shreya Ghoshal.
The Berklee India Exchange have hosted famous artists from India such as:- Clinton Cerejo, A.R Rahman, Vijay Prakash, Shankar Mahadevan, Raghu Dixit etc. This year, in their fifth year artist residency, they hosted none other than Shreya Ghoshal. It was sold out 2 weeks after it was announced.
As soon as our group began the uphill ascent to the Skywalker ranch on I realized how blessed we all were to be on this trip. We were given an opportunity to visit some of the most well known yet exclusive tech companies in the United States, perhaps even the world. One evening before the end of our trip we went to an evening reception, and while there I began talking with a member of our group about our experiences. In the middle of the discussion they mentioned that the price we paid was totally surpassed by the companies and people we were able to visit.