Meet Your Chapter President, Ben Allison
New York Chapter
What do you do in the industry?
I’m a Jazz bassist, composer and producer. The word “Jazz” means different things to different people. This is partly because Jazz musicians are an experimental group by nature, and it’s an extremely diverse genre which is always evolving. But at its core, Jazz is about improvisation — having a spontaneous conversation through music.
What does being a member of the Recording Academy mean to you?
Music is a social business that’s about building connections. I’ve met and collaborated with many creative people. Also, the Academy’s has emerged as the leading voice advocating for the rights of music creators. It’s a great time to be a member.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the music industry?
As I tell my students, there are an infinite number of ways to build a career in music. No one has a magic formula for “success.” In fact, people define success in many different ways. For me, one measure of success is loving what you do for a living. Being successful also means being open to new directions and always looking for ways to branch out. It’s important to be flexible but never lose sight of who you are and what you value.
What makes the NY music community so special?
In my completely non-biased opinion (wink), New York is the music capital of the world. It has the largest and densest population of culturally diverse musicians and creative professionals of every conceivable style and genre. Over the years, it’s changed a lot (more development for sure), but it still has a crazy energy, where people from different worlds come together in surprising ways. There’s no place like New York.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve got a new album out called Layers of the City, which I’m busy promoting. It’s my 12th album of original music. I composed, produced and mixed it. And, I’m developing a new program at the New School, called Entrepreneurship In Music, which allows me to be creative in education field.
How do you spend your time when you're not working on music?
I guess you could say I’m a science nerd. I’m fascinated by the natural world and read a lot of science-related books and articles. Fun science fact, the human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs (3 Gbp), while common wheat has approximately 17 Gbp! Weird, right?