GRAMMY U MasterClass With Jerry Wonda
By: Molly Chapman / GRAMMY U New York Student Representative
On November 17th, New York GRAMMY U members were given the exclusive opportunity to attend a MasterClass at Platinum Sound Recording Studios led by songwriter, composer, and producer Jerry Wonda. The event began at 2:00PM as all the GRAMMY U members were escorted into the main mixing room to watch Wonda’s sizzle reel. Following this, everyone migrated to the live space where the rest of the MasterClass took place. Wonda gave a brief introduction; he was charismatic and engaging, and made the students feel right at home.
The first part of the MasterClass involved Wonda listening to and critiquing songs by five lucky GRAMMY U students: Dasha Akelin, Zoe Berg, Colin Cha, James Dai, and Matthew Wang. Wonda’s critiques of these songs were knowledgeable and helpful. By directly addressing specific aspects of the production, Wonda was able to give critiques the students could actually implement in their work. There was even one point, after listening to Colin Cha’s song, “Hurry,” where Wonda picked up his acoustic guitar and began physically playing the new chord changes he would write into the song.
After the song critiques, we entered the Q&A portion of the event. Students asked Wonda questions about his career, his production method, and his advice for artists trying to break into the industry. Wonda stressed how important it is to keep the passion for music alive: “If you love it, it’s going to happen.” Wonda also mentioned the importance of getting out there and being seen: “There’s the stage. I’m on that stage.” Go to those open mics; you never know who you’ll meet.
After the event, Wonda took a group photo with GRAMMY U members. It’s clear that Wonda cares about young artists and helping them find their voice; he even shared his contact info and stressed his willingness to help any of the GRAMMY U members in the room. Students left the event with production advice, new friends, and more beneficial insight into the music industry.