Even Better Together: Tracking The Evolution Of GRAMMY U Representatives
GRAMMY U Representatives, Director, and Project Manager at GRAMMY Week 2023 in Los Angeles

Photo Courtesy of the Recording Academy

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Even Better Together: Tracking The Evolution Of GRAMMY U Representatives

Applications for next year’s GRAMMY U representatives are open through June 30. Learn how the role of GU rep has evolved over the years, and the ways student members have developed their skills in the music industry as part of the program.

Recording Academy/May 24, 2023 - 04:36 pm

GRAMMY U has wrapped up its annual programming for the summer and said goodbye to the class of 2023 representatives. Over the life of GRAMMY U, the reps' roles have grown and flourished, embodying the soul behind the program as a whole.  

This year's GRAMMY U reps have been busy hosting and co-producing events across the country, from the GRAMMY U Masterclass with Jacob Collier during GRAMMY Week to chapter-based industry insight events focused on topics such as album release day and next steps after graduation. Amidst all these programs, the reps have been hitting the road to experience GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles, hosting interviews at SXSW in Austin, and contributing to the GRAMMY U Conference in Miami. In between events, GU reps evangelize about the program, while working internally to maintain its public-facing day-to-day aspects, including the GRAMMY U Mixtape monthly member playlist. 

There are a total of 14 GRAMMY U reps: one for each of the 12 chapters, and two national representatives. These positions are part of an intensive mentorship program as part-time staff at the Recording Academy, where reps work closely with both their chapter and national teams to represent the GRAMMY U program while receiving career development opportunities. 

Reps must be full-time students pursuing a career in music, and their time in their role can range from one to three years. Reps who have completed the GRAMMY U program have gone on to pursue successful careers at SiriusXM, "Saturday Night Live," SXSW, Spotify and even the Recording Academy. 

Ahead of GRAMMY U's 17th year, take a trip down memory lane to learn about the beginnings of the GRAMMY U representative position, and how the role has evolved into its current iteration.

The Beginnings Of GRAMMY U's Representative Role

The representative role began with the creation of the GRAMMY U program in 2006 as a way to help recruit new members to GRAMMY U and provide networking opportunities. GRAMMY U representatives exist across all 12 chapters and has become one of the most coveted roles for students starting a career in the music industry.

Initially, the majority of the rep role centered on recruiting other members through in-person outreach and involvement in on-campus events. The reps also focused on hosting programming within their local chapters, providing membership benefits and networking opportunities for current and prospective student members. The qualifications to be a GRAMMY U member were also more exclusive: prospective members had to be full-time students pursuing a degree in the music industry.

As GRAMMY U broadened its reach to allow any full-time student pursuing a career in music to join, the rep role also developed. GRAMMY U Reps could now major in business, communications, marketing, journalism, visual arts, law, and more, providing a wider lens of the path a GRAMMY U member could take to join the music industry. 

GRAMMY U programming has always been exceptionally in-depth and educational. Becca Zagorski, a former Chicago Rep (2017-2019) and current Recording Academy Chicago Chapter Project Manager, recalls the GRAMMY U Lollapalooza Backstage Tour, where students were able to meet people from all walks of life at C3 Presents and see the show come to life. Zagorski praised this popular event's "incredible insight to how a major festival is built and what positions are needed to ensure it runs efficiently." 

grammy u soundchecks with jason mraz

Reps and members at GRAMMY U SoundChecks with Jason Mraz in 2018, Nashville Chapter | Recording Academy

Early-days reps were also responsible for encouraging attendance at GRAMMY U events — among them, the popular GRAMMY U SoundChecks — and assisting with on-site event duties such as check-in, networking and volunteer communications. Members could also participate in speed networking events, performance opportunities, industry panels and contests. Reps were constantly out representing GRAMMY U by tabling at other events and creatively presenting in classrooms and forums. 

By 2017, Zagorski and reps in the later classes began growing signature programs within their local markets, such as the Nashville Songwriter Showcase, the Florida GRAMMY U Conference, Up Close & Personal conversations featuring major artists, and establishment of the mentorship program. SoundChecks became more streamlined across all chapters, where local reps were now so involved in the process from facilitating the recruitment of student attendees all the way to leading conversations onsite with artists and their crews. 

Internally, the reps were also able to contribute more to the Recording Academy as a whole. They even received opportunities to write articles for GRAMMY.com, which Zagorski notes, "helped develop [her] writing skills as publishing on GRAMMY.COM requires a high caliber of proficiency."

Though the reps were busy all across the country, they had limited chances to speak to each other or learn much about each other’s Chapters, and received few opportunities to work together on various programming. 

Uniting Reps Nationwide

The COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of the music industry, including GRAMMY U, which canceled all in-person programs and limited their typical outreach methods. 

Through much discussion on how to shift programming during these times, former GRAMMY U Director Virginia Faddy and current GRAMMY U Director Jessie Allen, shifted the once local Florida Chapter GRAMMY U Conference into the first-ever national GRAMMY U Conference. The 2021 virtual GRAMMY U Conference provided an opportunity for GRAMMY U members from across the nation to attend. All 12 student reps were able to work together for the first time ever to build this national event by creating introduction videos, writing scripts, moderating the panels, helping with outreach and marketing, and producing it all live.

Sierra Dudas, Former GRAMMY U Rep (2020-2021) and Recording Academy Sr. Project Coordinator, Creative Services, explained her experience as a rep in a virtual world. "It was the first year that events were shifting from local, Chapter-based programs to bigger national events with a wider audience. We were still figuring out the perfect blend of maintaining an intimate Chapter feel, while being as accessible as possible." 

Evolution of GU Rep Role virtual conference screenshot

Former Reps Sierra Dudas (L.A. Chapter) and Allison Lapinski (Chicago Chapter) host the 2021 GRAMMY U Virtual Conference Recording Academy

Prior to Dudas’ time as a GRAMMY U Rep, GRAMMY U's social presence was represented solely through the Recording Academy's platforms. Her class worked hard to create the look and feel of the first-ever GRAMMY U Instagram and TikTok accounts, and ensure it is sustainably run by GRAMMY U reps going forward.

GRAMMY U reps continued to actively create content by making trending music industry videos, highlighting members and events, and interviewing artists. Their involvement in the accounts resulted in rapid growth, and resulted in the opportunity to host a media lounge during SXSW 2022. Dozens of artists attended for interviews and various content captures, while reps curated all questions onsite and edited the content live for a true peek inside the world of music industry publicity.

The New GRAMMY U

Collaboration continues to thrive across all chapters in the most recent class of GRAMMY U reps, with two more positions added to the team: a national membership rep and national projects rep. Internally, the GRAMMY U reps work together daily, providing feedback and assistance to each other as they continue local chapter events, all the way to brainstorming and working together on teams for national initiatives and programs. 

The reps now spend their time working on both chapter and national initiatives equally. Within their chapter markets, the reps oversee local outreach and recruitment, lead a team of campus ambassadors, host events like panels and the GRAMMY U SoundChecks, and manage the mentorship program. The rest of their time is spent building events and benefits for all members, while developing the GRAMMY U's online presence. In this past academic year alone, reps have written more than 20 articles and actively grown the GRAMMY U social accounts.

The 2022-2023 academic year was also the first time the national GRAMMY U Conference was held in-person. The GRAMMY U Conference Presented by Nike was held in Miami and featured unique co-branded activations, a networking mixer, and a packed afternoon of educational panels — all produced by the reps. They worked in teams to bring the conference to life, whether they attended in person, or contributed from their individual cities remotely. 

Evolution of GU Rep Role behind the scenes

Reps helping prepare for the 2023 GRAMMY U Conference | Recording Academy

Other national programs the reps contributed to included our GRAMMY U Masterclass with Jacob Collier during GRAMMY Week, our Masterclass series, Presented by Mastercard, at SXSW and during the HBCU Love Tour in Atlanta, and a curated week of opportunities during GRAMMY Week. 

This year at GRAMMY Week, our Reps received the first-ever opportunity for the reps to attend the MusicCares Persons of the Year Gala. They also produced social content from behind-the-scenes all week long, including participating in a guided production tour of the Crypto.com arena. "Meeting so many people at all the different events [during GRAMMY Week] was incredibly exciting and eye opening," says Sam Merkin, National GRAMMY U Projects Rep (2021-2023).

While the reps were in awe of these opportunities, the feeling of meeting the other reps for the first time was still one of the most notable highlights of the week. This year’s Memphis Chapter GRAMMY U Rep (2021-2023), Emma Hampton, called it a "homecoming." 

"We spend so much time talking over the phone so it was incredibly rewarding to finally all be together actually getting to know one another," she says. "It’s like seeing old friends for the first time in forever." 

The reps' editorial committee also launched the GRAMMY U Mixtape, a monthly member playlist for GRAMMY.com. Reps rotate listening duties every month, and decide genres and titles to highlights on official Recording Academy playlists. 

New Opportunities On The Horizon

Today, the GRAMMY U reps are exposed to a wide variety of programming and opportunities. While the SoundChecks and Mentorship remain flagship programs for GRAMMY U, each new class of reps will have more opportunity than ever to curate new experiences within their Chapters and nationally. 

Evolution of GU Rep Role embed

GRAMMY U Reps with GRAMMY U Director Jessie Allen at the 2023 GRAMMY U Conference | Recording Academy

The GRAMMY U Reps are exposed to a countless amount of skills to prepare them for the music industry after program completion. These include anything from social media, writing, and public speaking, to production, events, and design.

GRAMMY U hopes to build off of this momentum from the work of the previous Reps and is excited to welcome a new class of reps in the Fall. Applications for next year’s GRAMMY U representatives are now open for the Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Memphis, New York, Pacific Northwest, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington D.C. Chapters, including one National Membership position.

Visit here to learn more about each position. Applications close June 30.

GRAMMY U Conference Timeline: How The Student-Run Con Changed GRAMMY U For The Better

Meet GRAMMY U's 2023-2024 Student Representatives

Meet GRAMMY U's 2023-2024 Student Representatives

GRAMMY U has kicked off its program year. Meet the latest class of GRAMMY U Representatives, who work together on events and benefits including behind-the-scenes production tours to masterclasses.

Recording Academy/Aug 22, 2023 - 09:27 pm

Carlie Anderson contributed to this story.

Following GRAMMY U’s recent membership expansion, the Recording Academy is thrilled to welcome the 2023-24 GRAMMY U Representative class.

These 14 college students are rising leaders in the music industry, dedicated to pushing forward inclusivity and creativity. Serving up to three consecutive years, each GRAMMY U Representative works closely with their local Chapter as well as the national GRAMMY U team to support membership projects and diverse programs for creators.

Founded in 2006, GRAMMY U has been supporting college students pursuing careers in music for nearly two decades — and now, as of Aug. 15, the program’s membership is extended not just to college students, but to those between 18 to 29 hoping to work in the music industry.

This exciting expansion means that GRAMMY U’s year ahead will offer more opportunities than ever, and the program’s latest class of Reps is ready to be your guide. Read on to get to know the 2023-24 class of GRAMMY U Representatives.

Jasmine Gordon

Jasmine Gordon | Atlanta

Jasmine is studying at Spelman College as a comparative women’s studies major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

My favorite genre of music is R&B because this genre has a unique ability to evoke deep emotions and create a powerful connection between the listener and the artist. R&B’s remarkable versatility seamlessly blends elements from gospel, jazz, funk, pop, and more, ensuring it caters to a wide range of musical tastes. This genre consistently offers me a diverse spectrum of musical experiences, making it an endless source of enjoyment.

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is the opportunity for boundless creativity, allowing me to translate a multitude of ideas into expressive realities. As a person driven by creativity, it was crucial for me to find an industry that allows me to express my creativity in multiple different realms. 

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would center the event around Sylvia Rhone, discussing the evolution of the music industry in honor of hip-hop's 50th anniversary. Sylvia's influential role in shaping the industry, fostering talents like Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Busta Rhymes, Travis Scott, and more, makes her a remarkable choice. Her impact on artists spanning generations, from Lil Wayne to 21 Savage, reflects her enduring significance and wisdom of the music industry.

Connect with Jasmine:

Email: grammyu.atlanta@recordingacademy.com

IG: @jazzy.gord

Rachel Owen

Rachel Owen | Chicago

Rachel is studying at Columbia College Chicago as a music business major with a focus in artist management. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

Why did you become a GRAMMY U Representative?

I had the immense pleasure of being a GRAMMY U Ambassador for two years before I had this position. As an ambassador, I got to experience all the wonderful events we had in Chicago. I was inspired to become a GRAMMY U Representative because I felt the desire to become involved in the national programs as well as the Chicago chapter programs. I saw the Representatives before me traveling to different places for conferences and meeting other like-minded music lovers across the country, and I felt really inspired to take the leap to becoming a representative to connect with members in other parts of the country.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Although the song could be perceived as sad, I want "You’re Gonna Go Far" by Noah Kahan to define my time as a GRAMMY U Representative. A song about having big dreams, moving away from home to pursue them, and validating the bittersweet reality of growing up into who you were always meant to be, "You’re Gonna Go Far," feels like a perfect anthem for this period in my life. 

Being the GRAMMY U Representative has been a dream of mine for a few years now, and that song reminds me of my biggest supporters back home who helped me get where I am.

Who is a music industry creator or professional that inspires you?

I am very inspired by musician Chappell Roan. She is a queer artist who has built herself authentically and unapologetically. She has a keen eye for artistry and has learned to adopt many personas while remaining simply and purely herself. She also makes music that I believe to be profound, beautiful, and masterfully made.

Connect with Rachel:

Email: grammyu.chicago@recordingacademy.com

IG: @rachelgraceowen

Sam Kopec

Samantha Kopec | Florida

Samantha is studying at the University of Miami as a music industry major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

Classical music will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve played piano and clarinet for over 10 years, and being a classical musician was how I got my start in the industry. I’m always intrigued by genre-blending compositions, and I've performed pieces that incorporate electronics, DJs, rappers, and vocalists into a traditional wind ensemble setting. 

As a listener, I gravitate towards indie and alternative music since it gives artists the freedom to experiment with different production styles and arrangements while still getting melodies stuck in your head.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I can’t wait to strengthen the sense of community among GRAMMY U members and the team of GRAMMY U reps. As a Florida native, I am particularly excited about engaging members across the state through informative events, mentorship, and networking opportunities. By sharing experiences and resources, we can all grow, gain new perspectives, and inspire each other to make an impact in the music industry.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream job is to work in entertainment law. I’m passionate about advocating for artists and strive to empower, support, and educate them. The dynamic and fast-paced environment of the legal field would give me the opportunity to work on different tasks and challenge myself every day.

Connect with Samantha:

Email: grammyu.florida@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sam_kopec

Jade Bacon

Jade Bacon | Los Angeles

Jade is in her third year at the USC Thornton School of Music as a jazz voice major. This is her second year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Going into my second year in this position, I'm excited to use my skills and experiences to innovate this program even more. I've been able to see how much our work at GRAMMY U impacts the young minds of the music industry and gives them the platform needed to follow their passions. I see it as a privilege to have this opportunity and I'm excited to keep pushing the envelop to see what's possible.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Can't Get Out of this Mood" - Samara Joy

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would make an event around Tyler, the Creator. He has been able to cultivate such a specific brand around himself that surpasses his music. This allows his fanbase to really feel within a community as a follower of him. His artistic influences in all his creative endeavors are so specific to himself but also full of ingenuity. I think he's a great person to inspire young artists and entrepreneurs.

Connect with Jade:

Email: grammyu.la@recordingacademy.com  

IG: @jadembacon

Shannon Conte

Shannon Conte | Memphis

Shannon is a business management major at Tulane University. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream is to be managing some of the biggest musicians in the industry. Being that I am studying management, legal studies and music, I am hopefully preparing myself to be able to hold such a position in music. I have always loved music, but never been musically inclined myself so being able to take what I am good at and still pursue my passion for music is my ultimate goal. 

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

I love neo-soul music. I think the genre completely changed the music industry during the mid 90s and to this day has a lasting impact on the industry. I love listening to modern R&B and hip-hop music and being able to hear elements of the neo-soul genre peaking through. 

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

I love how versatile the industry is. A professor of mine told me that every musician needs a manager, accountant, lawyer, etc. This opened my eyes to how many opportunities there are in the music industry no matter what you are interested in. I admire how anyone, no matter their interest or musical abilities can find their place in music if it is something they love. 

Connect with Shannon:

Email: grammyu.memphis@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sconte_

Della Anderson

Della Lewis | Nashville

Della is studying at Belmont University. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm most excited to connect with members and facilitate a positive environment for creativity, community and fun. One of my favorite things is to connect people who have similar interests, and can help each other. I can't wait to bring this energy into GRAMMY U this year! Overall, I'm excited to watch relationships form and go from strangers to friends throughout the course of the year. 

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

Growing up going to open mic nights has made my favorite aspect of the music industry the supportive community within it. I was lucky to be surrounded with kind people who welcomed me into the world of performance and live entertainment. I look forward to returning the same encouragement and acceptance that I was once given to the GRAMMY U community. 

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream job has a lot of aspects to it. I would be a medium-sized artist that also manages and produces a female-focused studio that creates a safe and welcoming environment catered to female artists. I would also create a clothing line based off of my albums as a separate stream of revenue to harness my love of fashion design. 

Connect with Della:

Email: grammyu.nashville@recordingacademy.com

IG: @dellalewismusic

Sara Hudson

Sara Hudson | New York

Sara is studying at Pace University as a business admin in arts & entertainment management major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career in the music industry is somewhere in touring and live events. Since my first concert when I was 11, I always wanted to be more involved in live shows; the inner working of it all always intrigued me. There’s no better feeling than being in a room with 20 or 20,000 people and getting to sing the music you love with the artists you love, and there's no better feeling than getting to be a part of the team that makes moments like that happen. 

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Long Live (Taylor's Version)" by Taylor Swift 

What is your favorite genre of music and why?

One of my favorite genres of music has to be alternative rock music. This genre has paved the way for many independent artists and labels over the years. But most importantly, this genre allows many artists to push boundaries when it comes to making music.

Connect with Sara:

Email: grammyu.ny@recordingacademy.com

IG: @sarahudson__

Chloe Sarmiento

Chloe Sarmiento | Pacific Northwest

Chloe is studying at University of Washington as a journalism and public interest communication major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm eager to form meaningful connections with other students in the industry, as well as aid those who are looking for a way into the industry. Also, I'm looking forward to working alongside my other representatives to create impactful experiences and to share insightful resources.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career is to be a tour manager! I'm at a concert at least once (if not more times) a week, and there is no other feeling like being surrounded by a bunch of strangers who share the same love of an artist and their music. It is also infectious seeing the joy that other people hold at concerts, so being a tour manager would allow me to take part in the behind the scenes of these shows while helping create a memorable show for others.

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would pick Jai Paul. His path in the industry was marked by setbacks, including the unauthorized leak of his debut album. With these challenges, he maintained his artistic integrity and eventually released his official debut album, which received praise all around. He has also been said to have influenced a generation of artists and producers, making an overall mark on popular culture.

Connect with Chloe:

Email: grammyu.pnw@recordingacademy.com

IG: @chloe.sarmiento

Tamara Tondreau

Tamara Tondreau | Philadelphia

Tamara is studying at Drexel University as an entertainment and arts management major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What is your dream career in the music industry? 

I always wanted to have a creative side of my career and a business side of my career for duality! For the creative side of my career, I aspire to continue songwriting, as I have been doing it since middle school. For the business side of my career, I hope to dabble in brand partnerships, A&R/artist management, and eventually own my own record label.

What is your favorite genre of music and why? 

My favorite genre of music I would have to say is rhythm and blues. Rhythm and blues, or R&B is so versatile and has been the foundation for popular genres such as rock and roll. Just in the R&B genre alone, I have been exposed to many other genres and subgenres such as alternative R&B, hip-hop, and soul. Some of my favorite artists are in the R&B genre!

What skill(s) are you looking forward to gaining as a GRAMMY U Representative? 

The leadership aspect of the program is the biggest skill I hope to gain. Being able to represent all of Philadelphia for one of the largest music companies in the world is extremely rewarding! While being a Rep, I hope to gain and enhance skills such as digital marketing, public speaking, graphic design, artist discovery, public relations, data analysis, business management and more. 

Connect with Tamara:

Email: grammyu.philly@recordingacademy.com

IG: tuneoftheyear

Taila Lee

Taila Lee | San Francisco

Taila is in her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley as a media studies major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I’m most looking forward to fostering a close-knit community with my fellow Representatives and with my Chapter. I’m beyond excited to see how we can all share resources and insights to build a supportive, inspiring network within the music industry!

What is your dream career in the music industry?

I aspire to work full-time in the music industry’s editorial space, whether that be as a music journalist or digital content producer. I’m a writer at heart, though I love taking on any creative role, and one of my favorite things in the world is speaking with musicians about what’s special about their work.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Green Light (Chromeo Remix)" - Lorde

Connect with Taila:

Email: grammyu.sf@recordingacademy.com

IG: @taila.lee

Pierson Livingston

Pierson Livingston | Texas

Pierson is studying at University of Texas at Austin as a public relations major and media and entertainment industries major. This is his first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I am most excited to really connect with everyone and meet so many new people. I can't wait to get to meet with all the members in my chapter and build more relationships with my peers. I also am super excited to be able to get new perspectives on the music industry and learn from those already in it.

What is your dream career in the music industry?

Right now, my dream career inside the music industry is to work in the publicity sector of music. I have always had an interest in writing and the creativity behind journalism and publicity, so combining that with my passion for music has led me down this path where I see a way to have both. 

I am still unsure the exact route I want to take — working for an agency, at a label, with one artist or at another music focused organization — but I think there is still time for me to learn and narrow it down.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

Even though it’s hard for me to narrow down to one song that I want to define my time as a GRAMMY U Representative, I think my pick would be "Don’t Stop Me Now" by Queen. As I enter into my senior year and this role with GRAMMY U, I am so excited for everything that is happening and the places it will take me. Plus, this song is super fun to jam out to!

Connect with Pierson:

Email: grammyu.texas@recordingacademy.com

IG: @pierson.jl

Shaneel Young

Shaneel Young | Washington D.C.

Shaneel is studying at Howard University as a business marketing major. This is her first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I’m looking forward to sharing resources and career development opportunities to my local community. I want to make the music industry more accessible to students just starting out in their careers and wanting to get their foot in the door by creating further awareness around what GRAMMY U has to offer. I’m also looking forward to the mentorship and professional development that I will receive as a Representative.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Persuasive" - Doechii

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is watching artists grow, develop, and transform throughout their careers. I am an avid music listener and have witnessed so many of my favorite underrated artists "blow up" and reach mainstream success. Also, the creative aspect of the music industry is something that I am obsessed with. I love the fact that anything is possible and the next big thing could be something (or someone) that no one was able to predict. 

Connect with Shaneel:

Email: grammyu.dc@recordingacademy.com

IG: @seasonsofshai

Roy Gantz

Roy Gantz | National Membership

Roy is studying at University of Southern California as a public relations major, along with minors in songwriting and theatre. This is his first year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What are you most looking forward to this year as a GRAMMY U Representative?

I'm excited to use my creative talents to find ways to make GRAMMY U membership even more exciting and enriching. Coming off a dream-come-true year as a GRAMMY U ambassador, I'm looking forward to expanding my prospects and deepening my involvement as a representative. 

I can't wait to sink my teeth into creating huge national programs and finding opportunities for GRAMMY U members to experience everything music has to offer!

What is your dream career in the music industry?

My dream career in the music industry is to be an artist. I want to continue using my voice to tell stories. I also want to continue fostering myself as a multi-hyphenate — someone who can handle all aspects of the industry, whether it be business or creative, to build a brand for myself and what I stand for.

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

I would plan an event centered around Lady Gaga because of her hustle, commitment to social justice, and unique perspective. I think Lady Gaga is one of the greatest artists alive, and her perspective on not just the music industry but the world at large is worth listening to. I'd love to hear her opinions on how young artists should be using their voices and hear about how she found her own.

Connect with Roy:

Email: grammyu.membership@recordingacademy.com

IG: @roy.gantz

Carlie Anderson

Carlie Anderson | National Projects

Carlie is a music business and entertainment industries major at University of Miami. This is her third year as a GRAMMY U Representative.

What’s your favorite part about the music industry? 

My favorite part about the music industry is how it is constantly changing and so fast-paced. It forces you to stay updated on what is trending and current events. I also love how much more inclusive the industry has become in recent years and the idea that there is no set mold of someone who wants to be a music creator or professional.

What song do you want to define your time as a GRAMMY U Representative?

"Speed Drive" - Charli XCX

If you could plan a GRAMMY U event centered around any music creator or professional, who would it be and why?

My dream GRAMMY U event with any music creator or professional would probably have to be an Up Close & Personal with Sampha. I think he has so much knowledge and insight to share with up and coming music creators as someone who is not only an established artist in his own right but is regularly featured on large-scale artists' music.

Connect with Carlie:

Email: grammyu.projects@recordingacademy.com

IG: @carlieanderson

GRAMMY U Membership Expands: How The Program Increases Inclusivity Beyond College Enrollment

GRAMMY U Membership Expands: How The Program Increases Inclusivity Beyond College Enrollment

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy

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GRAMMY U Membership Expands: How The Program Increases Inclusivity Beyond College Enrollment

GRAMMY U membership no longer requires college enrollment. In an important and expansive change, the Recording Academy has opened GRAMMY U membership to anyone between the ages of 18-29 who's going after a career in music.

Recording Academy/Aug 15, 2023 - 01:02 pm

Since its inception in 2006, GRAMMY U has been an avenue for college students pursuing careers in music to achieve their dreams. The program has been so successful that it's time to open the floodgates.

As of Aug. 15, the Recording Academy membership program no longer requires college enrollment in its application guidelines — which extends the magic of GRAMMY U to everyone from 18 to 29 who wishes to work in the music industry.

"For many years, GRAMMY U has invested in the development of emerging young music creators and professionals by providing resources and a supportive ecosystem committed to helping them thrive in the music industry," said CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason jr.

"With this expansion, GRAMMY U is ensuring that membership will be more inclusive and accessible for the next generation of music creators and professionals," he continued. "No matter their career path."

Adds Jessie Allen, the Senior Director at GRAMMY U, "As a student member of the first GRAMMY U membership class in 2006, I have had the opportunity to watch the program grow over the years and see the impact it's made on the music community. With this new eligibility change, we are thrilled to support even more professionals and creators on their journey into the industry."

The updated eligibility requirements can be found below:

Option 1: Full-Time Student

  • Students must be currently enrolled in an accredited college, university or trade school full-time (nine credits) and pursuing Associate, Bachelors, Masters, or PhD degrees.

Option 2 (NEW): Professional / Creative, 18-29

  • Professionals or creatives between 18-29 years old pursuing a career in music.

  • Students between 18-29 years old studying at college part time or taking any certificate course or program.


A crucial component of the Recording Academy, GRAMMY U was founded in 2006 to bridge connections between the music industry and aspiring professionals raring to be part of it. Over the course of its existence, it's had more than 32,000 members.

For more information about GRAMMY U, expanded membership and how to apply, visit www.grammyu.com.

Congratulations to all prospective GRAMMY U members for whom this new provision opens doors — and keep watching this space for more GRAMMY U news!

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A GRAMMY U Mentorship Program Success Story: From Mentee To Marketing Specialist
Erick Bohorquez (left) and mentee Caleb Larsen

Photo courtesy of Erick Bohorquez and Caleb Larsen

interview

A GRAMMY U Mentorship Program Success Story: From Mentee To Marketing Specialist

Oklahoma State University student Caleb Larsen was paired with musician and record label founder Erick Bohorquez for an experience of a lifetime. Read on for an interview that follows the growth journey for both mentor and mentee.

Recording Academy/May 30, 2023 - 08:08 pm

Additional reporting by Emma Hampton

GRAMMY U has wrapped up their spring 2023 mentorship program, which matched more than 1,000 pairs of mentors and mentees between the fall and spring programs. Members from more than 200 schools and 38 states participated, as well as applicants from Ireland, India, Colombia and Canada.

All GRAMMY U members can apply for the mentorship program, and selected participants are matched with mentors who are Recording Academy voting and professional members. Pairs are matched based on career interest in the music industry, and can range anywhere from songwriting and audio engineering, to music marketing and tour management. 

This spring, mentee Caleb Larsen was paired with voting member Erick Bohorquez for an experience of a lifetime. Larsen, a sophomore at Oklahoma State University and music industry major, worked closely with Bohorquez, co-founder of Colombian funk band Superfónicos, and Founder & CEO of Culo Malo Records.

The pair collaborated on a wide spectrum of projects, including a marketing campaign for Warner Music Latina artist Le Coco in preparation for SXSW. Other highlights of the mentorship included attending networking events like the Texas Chapter Block Party, resume and LinkedIn profile building, and overall professional development. Larsen and Bohorquez will continue working together at Culo Malo. 

"One of the most transformative lessons I learned from Erick was the importance of agility and adaptability in the music industry. He demonstrated that ideas can rapidly evolve into projects and highlighted the need to respond quickly to emerging opportunities," Larsen says. "This experience taught me to be proactive, seize opportunities swiftly, and efficiently execute projects to capitalize on favorable circumstances."

Read on for an interview that follows the growth journey for both mentor and mentee.

How did you find hands-on ways to engage with a topic during your mentorship? Did you collaborate on any projects or do you plan to after the program ends?

Bohorquez: My primary focus has been on providing Caleb with real hands-on work to maximize artist visibility. From the start, my goal has been to help facilitate a pathway for Caleb to achieve his aspirations in the music industry, particularly in artist marketing. I'm delighted to say that our efforts have yielded remarkable results.

During the SXSW festival, we worked together to execute a meticulously planned guerrilla marketing campaign surrounding a certain artist that garnered significant attention and engagement. The campaign was a resounding success, capturing the interest of both industry insiders and the general public. By thinking outside the box and embracing unconventional strategies, we were able to make a lasting impact on the artist's visibility and create a buzz around their music. 

Furthermore, I'm excited to share that we had the opportunity to partner with [lifestyle and jewelry company] Kendra Scott's marketing team during SXSW as well. By tying in fashion with the artist's brand, we created a unique and compelling narrative that resonated with a broader audience. The collaboration proved to be a perfect synergy, effectively combining the worlds of music and fashion to enhance the artist's image and reach.

Caleb Larsen with artist Le Coco

Mentee Caleb Larsen with artist Le Coco | Courtesy of Erick Bohorquez

Building upon our accomplishments, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of our newly classified company, Culo Malo Records. With headquarters based in Austin, we are excited to embark on this fresh venture and make a significant impact in the industry. As part of our growing team, Caleb will be joining us in the artist marketing department. His skills, dedication, and unwavering passion for music make him an invaluable asset to our company. 

Did you learn anything transformative from your mentor that changed your outlook on your career or helped you find your way in the industry? 

Larsen: During my mentorship with Erick, I had the privilege of learning transformative lessons that not only changed my outlook on my career but also helped me find my way in the music industry. Erick's mentorship was characterized by a strong emphasis on quality and attention to detail, which had a profound impact on my approach to projects.

Erick consistently stressed the importance of delivering high-quality work. We revised projects multiple times, ensuring that every aspect met the highest standards. Through his guidance, I learned the significance of meticulous attention to detail and the positive impact it can have on the final outcome.

Erick played a pivotal role in familiarizing me with the language and vision of the music industry, including industry jargon, trends, and best practices.

Through these invaluable lessons and experiences, Erick guided me in refining my skills and developing a new perspective on project management and execution in the music industry. His mentorship allowed me to gain practical insights and hands-on experience that were instrumental in shaping my career path.

How have you seen your mentee grow over the course of the program? 

Bohorquez: I have personally witnessed tremendous growth in my mentee, Caleb, on a professional level. It brings me great joy to see his dedication and hard work paying off. Throughout our mentorship program, Caleb has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to his professional development. We have worked closely together to enhance his skills and improve his prospects in the music industry. I'm proud to say that his efforts have been truly remarkable.

Caleb has embraced every piece of advice and guidance, applying himself wholeheartedly in every aspect. I have witnessed his growth in several areas over the course of our program. Notably, he has excelled in creating high-quality reels that showcase his talents and capabilities. As a mentor, it has been incredibly fulfilling to witness Caleb's progress and achievements. His unwavering commitment to his own success and his receptiveness to guidance and feedback are qualities that will undoubtedly lead him to great accomplishments in the music industry.

What did you learn about working with others in the music industry over the course of your mentorship? 

Larsen: I learned that while people may have different professional backgrounds, the goal is always to help others be successful. Oftentimes the projects can be long, time-consuming and tedious to complete, but they are rewarding and enjoyable in the end. 

Some people radiate positivity and calmness, which is something I truly enjoyed about working with Erick. At the end of the day, being a team player and collectively maintaining a forward-thinking mindset will make any project enjoyable.

What was something you learned from your mentee that you didn’t expect? 

Bohorquez: It is truly a rewarding experience as a mentor to witness unexpected qualities and strengths in a mentee. His responsiveness, professionalism, and organizational skills during the mentorship were great. Caleb's ability to step up to the plate and consistently deliver showcases his dedication and commitment to his career development. It's wonderful to see mentees like Caleb demonstrating these qualities, as it reflects their drive and potential for growth in the music industry.

Applications for the GRAMMY U mentorship program will be available in fall 2023. To be eligible to apply for the program, you must be a member of GRAMMY U. Apply now to become a GRAMMY U member. 

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