Mercer musicians make connections with Grammy U

Every year people tune in to watch the Grammys as the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awards the music community for their musical achievements. Grammy University Network (Grammy U) is a program created by the Recording Academy for full-time college students who are passionate about music and want to pursue a career in the music industry. The Recording Academy offers an array of hands-on opportunities for students in the program to network, learn, grow, and perform in the music world.

At the beginning of the month, Grammy U representatives hosted an information session for Mercer students. The speakers of the hour were Michele Caplinger, senior executive director for the Recording Academy of the Atlanta Grammy Office, and Steve Moretti, a professional musician and a previous Grammy nominee. They explained that the Recording Academy produces the Grammy Awards and is composed of twelve chapters across the United States, including the Atlanta chapter. The Recording Academy hosts events for its members year round. Whether a musician is interested in disk jockeying, music education or performing, there are many options for students to explore through the Grammy U program.

Grammy U hosts events called “soundchecks,” during which students get a chance to talk to artists like John Mayer, Jamie Foxx and The Skins. Other events include professional-development workshops, night-viewing parties, speed-networking events and film and documentary screenings and panel-style discussion events with producers, engineers and songwriters. Students can learn new techniques, different tools, music business, intellectual-property law and music placement. Grammy U members are invited to all events that the Academy hosts. Events differ between chapters but they all offer many opportunities to students.

Caplinger said Grammy U is all about “networking” and offers access to the entire industry. Meeting the right people can take students to the next step, allowing them to “connect the dots.” The key to success is forming connections with people. Caplinger and Moretti both profess that this is a great opportunity to take advantage of and it definitely launches the trajectory for students to meet influential professionals. The Atlanta chapter of Grammy U is a large music and business hub for Mercer-student members. Every genre of music is represented in Atlanta and all of the board members at the Atlanta chapter are voting members who are current and relevant in the industry.

Moretti believes much can be done in the Macon area in connection with the Atlanta chapter. He shared that all of the members want to educate and mentor students in order to sustain and further the industry. Moretti also wants to make Macon a music town like it was in the past. They want to invest in students because student will soon shape the music industry. Caplinger told the session participants, “You all are tomorrow’s Grammy winners,” and Grammy U wants to bring their relationships to Macon.

According to Caplinger, the next step for Mercer students is to take control of their future and take advantage of this great opportunity.

Sophomore Vocal Performance major, Dominique Wil- liams, who attended the information session, said, “This is a great opportunity for aspiring and serious students who want to move forward and make connections. It will be a great learning experience and will allow you to improve your skills. You can get the most out of this experience.”