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Student Success July 2018: Sasha Brown, Sherika Sherard & Teddy Wong

Welcome back to another edition of Point Blank Student Success. In July we call on another three students/graduates to discuss their successes and hopes for the future. In a slight departure from our usual success stories, two of our subjects this month are singer-songwriters who have been gaining impressive traction, one with radio plays and blog hype, another via Spike Lee’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ remake on Netflix and SBTV. Read on to hear some more successes from our ever-impressive students.

We compile these every month showcasing students that have studied with us for any length of time and at any of our locations:  LondonLos AngelesIbizaMumbai and Online. If you’ve studied with us at all and have work you would like shouting about, please drop an email to describing what you’ve been up to.

Sherika Sherard (She’s Gotta Have It, SBTV) – Intro to Music Production

Could you start by telling me how you discovered Point Blank?

I actually started doing some research on Ableton Live performance and as a complete beginner, I wanted to find the best course to learn the foundations on. Everyone I knew personally and also the blogs I read recommended Point Blank Music School.

What was your experience in music like before that? What are the things that led you to pursue music?

I’ve always loved songwriting from an early age and as soon I was old enough to perform and showcase my songs I was able to find different opportunities and create a career for myself, I’ve been a full-time singer-songwriter for 3 years now.

What would you say was the biggest thing you’ve taken from your studies with us?

Learning not to overthink things when it comes to production, it’s quite overwhelming when you first sit in front of an empty project on Ableton, especially when you are used to just having a guitar and a notepad. My instructor Nick always said even if it’s shit just finish it and let it go, you never know what you might learn and bring to the next track. Now I feel more excited and free with experimentation.

Obviously you’re known as a singer-songwriter, but you studied using a DAW with us. How are you hoping to marry your new techniques with ones you’ve used for a while?

Well, I still love having the traditional singer-songwriter feel to my songs. It’s the foundation to my career so I don’t wanna lose it but, by allowing myself to be more technical when editing my songs on Ableton, I can experiment with so my different effects to give my tracks a more evolved sound.

Your track, ‘We Don’t Need a Reason’, was featured on the remake of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (great show). That must have been kind of surreal. What can you tell me about that?

It was such a random moment, I just got a random email from Spike Lee’s PA and then a phone call from Spike Lee saying that he loved the track and wanted to use it. It just shows you never know who’s listening and that your music doesn’t have to be force-fed to people in order to get somewhere. I’ve been asked to submit tracks for the show’s next season and I’m looking to collaborate with anyone who’s interested 🙂

What have you got in store – any gigs or releases on the horizon? 

I’m currently working on my next release which will be self-produced, I have absolutely loved being in the “producer’s” seat since studying at Point Blank, still got a lot to learn but I’m loving the journey.

Follow Sherika on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter.

Sasha Brown (Self-Released) – Essential DJ Skills

Could you start by telling me how you discovered Point Blank?

It’s the best music school for DJs and producers and your alumni are incredible. How could I not have heard of you?!

What was your experience in music like before that? What are the things that led you to pursue music?

I was pursuing music as an artist (singer/songwriter) but I’m also a radio DJ and was getting gig bookings as a DJ. I had self-taught myself a little on You Tube but just wanted to take it to that next level so I decided to do the 3 month DJ course at Point Blank. There’s a difference between someone who can play some tunes off a CDJ and an actual DJ.

In terms of making music my life, that was never any option for me! I’ve been singing since I was born and this has always been my absolute dream. I started playing the saxophone at 9 and was so obsessed with ABBA that I made my teacher write out all the notes on the score as I couldn’t read music at the time. So thanks to ABBA and their pop bangers for the inspiration and for where I am today.

What would you say was the biggest thing you’ve taken from your studies with us?

Technicality is important but music selection is what differentiates one DJ from another. Read your crowd and adapt. You’re not a techno DJ or a house DJ. You’re making the party but you need to connect with your audience if you want them to join it. Nobody wants to party alone…

So obviously you’re a singer/songwriter as well as a DJ, how do the two complement each other do you think?

Yeah! So I’ve had a mad Summer releasing my new single ‘Boom Boom (She Got That)’ which was premiered by Clash magazine and playing a load of incredible festivals. I had so much fun playing at Citadel and El Dorado festival. I was also the DJ for Sigrid’s official after party as part of the Somerset House Series, which was incredible.

Being a singer/songwriter and also a DJ feed into each other. As a DJ I’m constantly discovering new music and figuring out what gets people moving. My music is more pop than straight up dance but the DJ side has definitely had a massive influence over the style and development of my sound.

Tell me about the track ‘Fix of You’, it’s had some great traction. How/when did you write it?

Thanks! Yeah so that was the last single. I guess I got lucky! Spotify picked it up for a couple of New Music Fridays around Europe which is just mad. Mr Revillz who has 2 million subscribers also picked it up for his You Tube channel so it has hit over 400,000 plays on that.

BBC Introducing also picked it up as their Record Of The Week. I was like whatttttttt. I got in the studio with a guy called Benjamin Totten who is actually Jorja Smith’s guitarist and we just vibed.

What have you got in the pipeline – any gigs or releases on the horizon?

So I’m going to be playing Wilderness festival this week. I’m stoked about that!

As I mentioned, my new single ‘Boom Boom (She Got That)’ came out last week. The reaction has been really sick.

I was featured in Music Week’s playlist, alongside Sigrid and 21 Pilots and the track was premiered with some really great reviews by Clash Magazine. I was also interviewed on London Live TV. It was like mummmm I’m on the telly!

It has only been a week since release and ‘Boom Boom (She Got That)’ has already been supported by the likes of BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, Hoxton Radio and Vibe Nation radio in Australia, as well as being added to some cool in store playlists. I’m excited for what’s coming next!

Follow Sasha on Instagram and Soundcloud

Teddy Wong (RNGDS) – Intro to Music Production and Sound Design

Could you start by telling me how you discovered Point Blank?

I discovered Point Blank through an article I read a couple of years ago and not long after that I attended an open house at Mack Sennett Studios in Los Angeles, I was really impressed by the knowledge of the instructors; I also had the chance to talk to Patrick Topping a little bit about his experience with Point Blank. 

What was your experience in music like before that? What are the things that led you to pursue music?

I had been making house music for a couple of years before Point Blank, but at one point I felt I was stuck and I wasn’t making any real progress with my music so in order to develop my skills as a producer I decided to enrol in a music production course.

Music has always been a big part of my life. My brother, my cousins and a lot of my friends are musicians too, we share the same love and passion about everything that has to do with creativity, so it was a natural path to follow.

What would you say was the biggest thing you’ve taken from your studies with us?

Every course was important to me, I’ve learned a lot from each one, but sound design has to be my favourite course, Joe aka “Computo” really helped me out to understand how synths work and how I could come up with my very own sounds from scratch.

Tell me about RNGDS. How did the label come about?

One day Jay Blakk (Climbers) and I were talking about making music together and also about starting a record label. We felt that the best approach to start the record label was to form a team, so Jay Blakk talked about the label to  Chaty, Tacko and Mar Moody who are some of the most talented producers from Mexico, and we started to develop a plan to launch our label RNGDS Music.

What are your aims for the label and what would you say is the crux of what it’s about?

We want to be the best platform for upcoming talent and well-established producers, through careful selection of music. RNGDS Music is all about being yourself to express what you really feel, your unique view of the arts, to rebel, in other words to be a RNGD of music. 

What have you got in the pipeline, with regards to future RNGDS releases but also your own music – any gigs or releases on the horizon?

We have upcoming releases from really great artists like Tone of Arc, Jozif, James Teej, Alex Galvan, Alex Arnaout and many more. We also have our first RNGDS tour in Mexico in November. With regard to my music I have new music in collaboration with Jay Blakk coming out on Desert Hearts, Nervous and other labels, and I’m also currently working on my EP for our label.

Follow Teddy Wong and RNGDS on Soundcloud.

Successes such as these are common among our students and alumni. We can teach you how to DJ like the best of them at any of our schools. If you’d like to learn how to produce, then we can build your skills from the ground up with our range of degree programmes, including the latest addition, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice. All of our degree programmes are quality assured by Middlesex University, including our online BA (Hons) course. For more information you can contact us here.

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