Last year, we announced that we were partnering with the Berklee College of Music to launch the Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship. This year, we’re beyond thrilled to announce/introduce the inaugural recipients of the program’s scholarships, including the annual four-year, full tuition award given to a talented musician.
An exciting partnership not only for its investment in aspiring, young artists, the scholarship marks the joining of Lollapalooza, a festival dedicated to new music discovery, and Berklee College of Music, the leading college for contemporary music.
“The essence of Lollapalooza is about artist discovery and providing opportunity for emerging bands to reach new audiences,” said Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell. “This partnership provides young musicians with a chance to polish their skills on their way to performing on the main stage.”
Ranging from Berklee scholarships to a Lollapalooza performance opportunity, the partnership has four distinct awards. The first, a four-year, full tuition scholarship endowed by Goldman Sachs Gives to attend Berklee College of Music beginning this fall has been given to vocalist and guitarist David Stewart.
After an exhaustive search process that included auditions in 20 cities across the U.S., Berklee chose Pompano Beach, FL –based Stewart based on his outstanding musical abilities. In the spirit of Lollapalooza, the school was looking for a student who not only possessed exceptional musical talent but who had the charisma, energy and ambitions of a career performance artist — and a healthy love of rock music.
David came to the U.S. from Lima, Peru at age 9 and learned about Berklee from Peruvian music star Gian Marco early in high school. He then attended the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he excelled and was awarded a scholarship to return the following summer.
For David, many of the bands that have rocked Lollapalooza’s stages have been an inspiration. “It’s because of people who perform there like Jack White, Foo Fighters, Jane’s Addiction, and so many other great bands, that I do what I do, and write how I write,” he said.
At 18, he has already written over 80 original compositions in genres spanning rock, pop, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, reggae, and instrumental film scores. He recently released Red Lipstick, a self-produced EP on which he played all of the instruments. “I hope this helps me perfect my craft for when the opportunity arrives to do bigger and better things in the music world.”
In addition, as part of Lolla’s commitment to fostering young talent, the scholarship program also awards one Chicago area high school student with the opportunity to attend the Five-Week Summer Performance Program — just like David once did. Jenny Dinh, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter and guitarist from Lake In The Hills, IL, will spend five weeks of her summer in Boston studying at Berklee, where she’ll be joining more than 1,000 teens from all over the world, sharpening her skills in private lessons, ensembles, and concert performances.
At 13, a Death Cab for Cutie song inspired Jenny to learn to play. “I looked down at my hands and thought, ‘there are six strings on the guitar and I only have five fingers,’ I had no idea what I was doing,” she said. Jenny taught herself to play guitar and ukulele primarily via YouTube tutorials. Many gigs and songs later, she was nominated for Best Folk/Acoustic and Best Female Vocal Artist – Hollywood Music In Media Awards 2012, and Best Singer/Songwriter and Best Folk/Acoustic Artist – All Indie Music Awards.
Jenny is excited to make the most of the opportunity to learn and connect with other musicians. “I hope to become a better artist all around, improving my writing and performing skills to grow and become the best artist I can be,” she said.
The partnership also gives one Berklee student band the chance to perform at Lollapalooza. This year’s recipient, Red Oblivion, is a Boston-based rock band comprised of Berklee students and alumni whose backgrounds span a multitude of styles including classical, metal, world music, pop and electronic. The group’s evolving collaboration blends a traditional rock band lineup with the heaviness of amplified cello — in other words, you won’t want to miss it. Red Oblivion plays Lollapalooza on Sunday, August 5, at 12:00 p.m. on the BMI Stage.
In addition, the unique arrangement between Berklee and Lollapalooza makes it possible for four students at the College to intern at Kidzapalooza, Lolla’s family-friendly fest-within-the-fest. This year, the selected music business/management students are in charge of bringing back the successful silent concert attraction from last year’s Festival, facilitating and engineering the headphones-based performance. This multi-pronged partnership is the first educational initiative of its kind for Lollapalooza.
“It’s been in the works for so long, it’s nice to see it come together,” said Berklee Professor Jeff Dorenfeld, who developed the partnership between Berklee and Lollapalooza producers C3 Presents. “It’ll be exciting to see what happens the next few years as they grow as artists, it’s like planting seeds.”