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Culture, Music

Master Class

by Andy Davis / 21.03.2011

What has a brand done for you lately? I mean apart from urge you to spend your money on them? It’s generally a one way street. The sum total of brand interaction: You pay for what you get. And they spend their substantial marketing budgets trying to persuade you that you need or want what they’re selling. Sometimes they deliver what you want, but you always pay for it. That’s why the Red Bull Music Academy is such a unique project. Imagine a free university for talented, young, wannabe professional musicians. Kind of like an intensive 2 week crash course MBA for the music industry. And all you have to do is apply.

This is how it works. If you’re selected to attend the Red Bull Music Academy, you get flown to the international destination (this year the meltdown is in Tokyo, in November – far enough in the future for them to have cleaned up all that tsunami mess and radiation), you get accommodated and given a per diem to feed and clothe yourself. In return, you’re expected to show up each day (at the reasonable hour of 11am) and participate in a series of lectures from global music industry luminaries. Over the two week curriculum, they’ll pretty much cover every aspect of the music industry from recording, song writing, lyricism to production, distribution, marketing and leveraging off the new technology like social media. Better yet, this is all done in a conversational style by a stellar cast of music industry heavyweights. Imagine chatting about the intricacies of lyricism with hip hop luminary Prince Paul. Production techniques with King Britt or Carl Craig. How about a lecture on innovation from Bob Moog about how he invented the synthesiser. Learn about the global rise of Brazilian music with Gilberto Gil or the UK’s bass culture from Aba Shanti I, Dennis Bovell and the Mad Professor. Or check out Hugh Masekela, below, talking about the pitfalls of becoming successful through your music.

After the lectures and open-mic Q and A sessions, you should be suitably inspired to hit the studio and work on your own shit. Colab with people in your class, and if you’re persuasive enough, you might even get the heavyweights to come and drop a joint on your track. The Academy provides all the latest and most technologically advanced recording and production equipment, for you to play with. Later in the day you can drop your recently created masterpiece on the Red Bull Music Academy Radio station, or play it live in club gigs across the host city. That’s the Academy experience in a nutshell. Root to fruit.

Here ?uestlove from the Roots downloads his knowledge on the Red Bull Music Academy students.

At no stage will anyone ask you to drink or endorse an energy drink. But if you want one, they’re at the back in the fridge, just help yourself. This is the ultimate kind of marketing because it’s not marketing at all. It’s taking the considerable power of a massive international brand and leveraging off that to create real and meaningful opportunities for young musicians, without trying to sell them an energy drink. By removing the bald sales pitch entirely, they win over these edgy creatives by just giving them what they want. An opportunity to learn from the best, network with like-minded, creative individuals from around the world and showcase their skills on a global platform. Emboldened, warm and fuzzy associations between Red Bull and the music industry ensue. Marketing is achieved, but that’s just a spin off. The main focus is the music, the knowledge and providing opportunities for talented young musicians.

If you’re interested, apply for the Red Bull Music Academy here and hit up the info sessions in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban this week to learn more.

Durban-born Nkosinathi Maphumulo – aka Black Coffee – has been on the music scene for over a decade.

In 2003 he was selected to represent South Africa at the Red Bull Music Academy where his elegant style of House was first exposed to the world.

Since then, his smash hit remixes and productions have dominated the airwaves all over the globe, receiving numerous awards

Collaborations with the likes of Hugh Masekela have won him both local and international acclaim with audiences both young and old.

Having played at prominent clubs all over the world we invite you to come appreciated one of South Africa’s finest, as Black Coffee continues to define true African House music

Black Coffee wil be hosting a short discussion on the art of the remix at the beginning of each event so get there early if you would like to learn a little more about him and his production and some tips on applying for the Red Bull Music Academy to be held in Tokyo this year

Cape Town

Date : Wednesday 23rd March
Venue: Chrome
Discussion Starts 20H00
Party Begins 21H00
Featuring Black Coffee , Thibo Tazz


Date : Thursday 24rd March
Venue: The Bank
Discussion Starts 20H00
Party Begins 21H00
Featuring Black Coffee, Sisco Umlambo, T-Man, Julian Gomes


Date : Sunday 27rd March
Venue: Max Lifestyle
Party Begins 12H00 Midday
Featuring Black Coffee, Blque Soul, Bhaskar

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