Ready once again, to show the world how we ROCK.
The musical showcase with both brains and brawn -- Harvard ROCKS -- is BACK! Started in New York in 2009, Harvard ROCKS brings out the best of the best in Harvard’s undiscovered musical talent.
The performing acts will be chosen by a group of top tier industry judges including Robert Kraft (President of Fox Music), Tom Morello (guitarist for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and AUDIOSLAVE), Anne Preven (academy-award winning songwriter), Ben Weeden (COO of North American Music for Live Nation), DA Wallach of CHESTER FRENCH, and more (all names and bios listed below)! The performing acts will then compete for the ultimate music industry prize package.
The Harvard ROCKS showcase winner will receive:
- Performance consideration from Live Nation courtesy of Ben Weeden
- Soundtrack consideration at Fox Music courtesy of Robert Kraft
- A vocal recording session with hit songwriter Anne Preven ("Listen" from DREAMGIRLS) and acclaimed vocal producer David "DQ" Quiñones of The Writing Camp (Beyonce, Pussycat Dolls), recording the song chosen as the winner's most promising hit
- Worldwide digital distribution and marketing support from Fulsircle Entertainment
- A brand new track from producers C-Aye Purcell of PrazimProductions (Jodeci, Nate Dogg) and Skye Lewin (CSI: MIAMI, THE KARATE KID)
This Harvard ROCKS will take place in Los Angeles in early 2012*.
*Please note that a showcase is not guaranteed. It will depend on the number of qualified submissions and the judges' discretion.
**Please note that at least one person from your group must be a Full Member to submit. If you are new to Harvardwood and wish to join you can register here. If you would like to upgrade your membership you may do so here.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Midnight (PT) on Tuesday, Nov. 15th
Harvard ROCKS 2012 JUDGES
Robert Kraft (Harvard ’76) has been the chief executive of Fox Music Inc. since 1994, supervising the music for Fox Filmed Entertainment, including 20th Century Fox Films, Fox Searchlight, Fox Animation, and Fox 2000. Highlights include the scores and soundtracks from AVATAR, TITANCI, WAITING TO EXHALE, MOULIN ROUGE, ROMEO + JULIET, GARDEN STATE, WALK THE LINE, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, JUNO, ONCE, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and RIO. In 1992, Kraft was nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for co-writing "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" from THE MAMBO KINGS. In 1999, Kraft was nominated for a second Golden Globe for co-writing the song, "How Can I Not Love You” from ANNA AND THE KING. In 1994, he was nominated for a Grammy Award as the producer of "The Muppet Christmas Carol.” He also co-wrote the theme song for "Who’s The Boss.” In 1989, Kraft co-produced all of the Grammy Award-winning songs on the multi-platinum soundtrack, THE LITTLE MERMAID, including the Academy Award-winning song, "Under The Sea.” As a solo artist and with his band, Robert Kraft and The Ivory Coast, he has released four albums. His songs have been recorded by Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Diane Schuur, Manhattan Transfer, Bruce Willis, Los Lobos, and Kermit the Frog.
Tom Morello (Harvard College) is a founding member and guitarist of the rock bands RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, AUDIOSLAVE, and STREET SWEEPER SOCIAL CLUB. His rock bands are responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. Morello has also received critical acclaim as a solo artist known as THE NIGHTWATCHMAN. Widely celebrated for his unique voice as a master electric guitarist, he is recognized by ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE as one of the "100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).” He is also one of only two guitarists featured as a playable animated character in the overwhelmingly popular Activision video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Tom Morello graduated from Harvard University with honors as a Social Studies major (Class of ’86) and has been a widely recognized political activist throughout his career. With SYSTEM OF A DOWN’s Serj Tankian, Morello formed Axis of Justice, an organization whose purpose is to bring together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. His latest album, THE NIGHTWATCHMAN is available now at http://nightwatchmanmusic.com/.
Anne Preven (Harvard College) is an Academy Award nominated songwriter and record producer. She has written songs for many of pop’s finest including Beyoncé, Madonna, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Sinéad O’Connor. She has also written and produced for bands such as Teenager, P’Nau and The Hush Sound. As the singer of the LA alt-rock band Edna Swap (Elektra and Island Records) she toured with No Doubt and Weezer. With her longtime collaborator Scott Cutler, Anne co-wrote "Torn,” an international hit for Natalie Imbruglia. "Torn” spent 14 weeks on top of the US airplay chart and went on to become one of the most performed songs of the decade. In 2007 her song "Listen” was performed by Beyoncé in the movie "Dreamgirls.” "Listen” was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe and won a Critic’s Choice award for Best Original Song. In 2009 Anne co-founded Check Your Pulse, a boutique music publishing house that in it’s first year of existence has spawned four number one hits including Katy Perry’s "California Gurls” and "Teenage Dream.”
Ben Weeden (Harvard '98), Chief Operating Officer, North American Music - Live Nation (bio coming soon)
DA Wallach is one-half of Chester French, a critically-acclaimed duo signed to Interscope Records. An '07 graduate of Harvard College, D.A. has been featured in GQ, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and countless other publications, and has appeared on the Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel shows. He has toured with Lady Gaga, Blink 182, Weezer, and Pharrell Williams, and has collaborated on recordings with Diddy, Common, and Janelle Monae, among others. Apart from recording and touring, D.A. is a recognized social media pioneer, having been the first artist to ever use facebook and among the most successful artists on twitter. He runs an active blog that covers a wide range of political, philosophical, scientific, and artistic topics. Visit D.A. online at www.DAWallach.com and www.twitter.com/DAChesterFrench.
Harvard ROCKS 2011 Winner! - Rachel Brown (Harvard ’10) is a singer, songwriter and musician born and raised in New York City. Brown’s music fuses pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country, hip-hop and world sounds into a captivating groove. In solo recordings, with her guitar or ukulele, Rachel’s unique voice combines sweetness, sultriness and vulnerability, enchanting the listener. When coupled with her band of talented African musicians, Brown’s Bermudian and Ethiopian heritage shines. She was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award for songwriting as well as a 2011 recipient of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting. She also received a very coveted audition slot at the National Association for Campus Activities’ national convention. Brown’s music also caught the ear of one of her favorite musical influences, Wyclef Jean. Last summer the singer received a surprise when Jean brought her up on stage to perform an impromptu duet of Bob Marley’s "Redemption Song” at an iMentor fundraiser.
Russell Graham (Harvard '95) has had the incredible privilege, over the past several years, of working as keyboardist, guitarist, and/or vocalist for a staggering list of artists (highlights include Ashford & Simpson, Patti Austin, Mary J. Blige, Roberta Flack, Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Michael McDonald, Nile Rodgers, Jessica Simpson, Sting, Rob Thomas, and Stevie Wonder), in both live and television settings. Russell first showed an interest in the piano at age three, and began his formal musical training a year later. A professional musician since his early teens, he has been a member of Ray Chew & The Crew at the Apollo Theater in Harlem since 2003, and under Ray Chew's musical directorship he has been part of the house band for such shows as Showtime At The Apollo, The Singing Bee, the BET Awards and BET Honors, and the Neighborhood Ball (broadcast on ABC for President Obama's inauguration); he has also worked as a part-time member of Nile Rodgers' band CHIC since 2006. As a writer and producer, Russell has created recorded music for several of the television shows for which he has also been an on-screen musician. Most recently Russell and his wife Tanya Diona have completed Tanya's first full-length CD, "Nothing To Prove... Something To Say." You can follow Russell's sporadic tweets on Twitter as RTGMusicMan, and find his complete artist list at
Brenda Walker (Harvard College) former Director of A&R, Virgin Records, DJ and Harvardwood Seattle Chapter Head (bio coming soon)
As a collaborator, songwriter, producer and engineer, David "DQ” Quiñones (Berklee) interjects upbeat energy and technical finesse into the high intensity realm of recording. His patient and positive studio demeanor is reflected in his major contributions to recent songs and projects with Beyoncé, Jason Derülo, Kristinia DeBarge and the Pussycat Dolls. Quiñones’ studio prowess has been utilized on platinum projects with producers including Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, J.R. Rotem, Ryan Tedder, and Midi Mafia among others. As a founding member of The Writing Camp (TWC), the Los Angeles based songwriting and production collective, DQ is an integral part of ongoing collaborations with a forthcoming slate of major artists. He has also served as producer on PLATINUM HIT (Bravo) and MAJORS & MINORS (Hub).
Originally from Philadelphia, PA – Jeriel "Jerry” Johnson (Berklee ’05) has been in and around music since his early childhood. After receiving several scholarships and graduating from Berklee College of Music, with a BA in Music Business Management – Johnson toured the Philippines, and would move to Los Angeles shortly after. Since moving to LA, Jeriel has played drums in recording sessions for Patti LaBelle, Chrisette Michele, Om’Mas Keith of Sa’Ra, and more. Johnson has also managed artists, producers and songwriters, and on the record label side - Jeriel has gained valuable insight, working in Radio Promotion and Finance for Warner Bros. Records. Jeriel is the President of Fulsircle Entertainment, Digital Music Distribution. At Fulsircle, Johnson spearheads the business development and artist relations of this forward-thinking digital music brand. Jeriel has this to say about Fulsircle Entertainment: "Fulsircle is a creative haven for world-class artists and musicians to call their creative home. We want the world to be a better place through our contribution of keeping positive, innovative, and outstanding music alive and thriving.”
A seasoned music production professional, C-Aye Purcell has over 15 years of experience in pro level music performance, direction, production, and engineering. He has worked for and with many successful music producers and artists such as Hip-Hop and R&B hit writers Nate Dogg, Jodeci's Devante Swing, Ron "Neff-U" Feemstar, Devine Evans, and Mary J Blige, and has also been in the studio with artists such as Christina Milian, Jamie Foxx, and Eve. In addition to his work in Hip-Hop and R&B, C-Aye is known throughout LA’s gospel community as a talented music ministry leader and musician. He has been on stage, played for, and worked with such Gospel greats as Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, John P. Kee, Tonéx, and more. C-Aye does it all, from music direction, production, engineering, arrangement and performance, to vocal production, arrangement, tuning, and engineering. He is also a gifted songwriter, vocal trainer and coach. He is a veteran pianist, keyboardist, and organist with a working knowledge and experience in orchestration, harmonic arrangement and composition. C-Aye is the principle and founder of PrazimProductions (www.prazimproductions.com), offering quality service in all areas of music as well as professional photography for its clients.
Skye Lewin is a songwriter, record producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and music editor. He is a co-founder of the music and sound company Sound Chemistry, through which he writes, produces, composes and records music for a wide range of projects and clients. Skye regularly records and performs live. His musical contributions can also be heard in several television shows and films, including Entourage, The Karate Kid (2010), How To Make It In America, and CSI: Miami. He has received two Golden Reel Awards and two Emmy nominations. Samples of Skye's music can be found at www.soundchemistry.com and www.skyelewin.com.
Jason Carpenter (Berklee) is a world-class drummer, currently on tour with the legendary rock artist, Edgar Winter. Jason has also been seen playing for new pop act Jupiter Rising, who's been featured on many Disney and Fox shows, as well as performing with artists such as Andre Crouch, Kim Burell, John P. Kee, Neena Freelon, Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes, Solange Knowles, Roscoe Umali, and singer Akon's new artist Colby Ddonis, to name a few. A multifaceted musician, Jason is also an up and coming producer, singer, and songwriter with placements on such shows as CSI CRIME INVESTIGATION, TENNIS KID, and TOP MODEL.
Aydin Abdollahi, young entrepreneur, began his journey in Tehran, Iran; a land with minimal opportunity and high barriers for following dreams. He and his parents moved to the US when he was 12 to pursue "the American dream." Always a lover of music, Aydin fell in love with the business side at the age of 16. He graduated from Cal State Northridge with a marketing degree in 2008, and earned an MBA at Cal State Northridge in 2011. He started his music career by working with Berry Gordy's son, Kerry Gordy, as a creatithe coordinator. He worked in the business affairs department at Warner Bros Records for more than two years and is currently working in the worldwide artist services department at Warner Music Group. He runs a live music and poetry show with an attendance of over 150 people every first Friday of the month and is currently also working on forming a marketing/branding company.
James "Cashmere” Robinson was born in St. Louis, raised in the Bay Area, and moved to Los Angeles in 2000. The quintessential artist/entrepreneur, following in the footsteps of such greats as Sean "Puffy” Combs and Sean "Jay-Z” Carter, James has proved himself a successful business leader and an inspiring entertainer. As an artist he has worked in the studio with the Isley Brothers, performed with India Arie, and has performed at a long list of various landmarks around LA including BB Kings Café Universal CityWalk, The Legendary Whisky, and more. As an entrepreneur he started INSTALLutions in 2005, developing a client list of over 200 people that include such celebrities as Katt Williams, Duane Martin, Tisha Cambell and Black Thought of The Roots. He also started producing and hosting the Red Light Lounge in March 2009, a talent showcase that has quickly grown to be one of the most popular in the LA music scene today. In addition to his work as an artist and entrepreneur, James is an activist who believes in the power of hip-hop to make a difference in the community. He presented the Hip-Hop School Workshop on the campuses of CSUN and CSU Dominguez as an avenue through which to inspire and inform students about the true origins of hip-hop, and to present hip-hop as a positive form of self-expression.