Marquee producer Julio Reyes Copello (Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Alejandro Sanz) is an educator at heart. Sit with him in his studio and he’ll enthusiastically walk you through the fine points of recording, arrangement and technology.
The Colombian-born Reyes Copello, who has long mentored up and coming talent from in and out of the studio, has now formalized his second passion with Art House Academy, a music performance, production and sound engineering school launched in partnership with Abbey Road Studios and housed in Reyes Copello’s Miami studio.
On June 23, the program presented its first batch of “graduating” performers: 21-year old Colombian pop songstress Ela; 17-year-old singer/songwriter Joaquina; Riza, a 25-year-old Filipino/Cuban R&B singer; Teo Bok, an 18-year-old half Italian, half German pop singer who is fluent in Spanish, and singer songwriter Paola, winner of The Voice Kids in 2013.
All have distinct musical styles but boast impressive vocals and stage presence. Each performed one song for a room packed with family and industry VIPs, including Jesús López, the chairman/CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Penninsula, and Universal Music Latino president Angel Kaminsky, who have partnered with Reyes Copello to release their music commercially via Universal Music Latino.
“At least one of these five kids with talent will become a big star,” said López during a pre-show chat with Reyes Copello. “Not all of them. Because this business is not just about talent.”
The notion of connecting the dots between education and chops and the hardcore reality and challenge of real-life music business are what led Reyes Copello to seek out the Abbey Road franchise, which was developed at Abbey Road studios and is built on a hands-on curriculum created by producers and engineers, and awards a one-year diploma in music production and sound engineering.
Reyes, who believes in mentorship, wanted to create a boutique program that also took advantage of his many connections and clients, including sessions with the many artists who record in the studio. Students learn both in the recording studios and in an upstairs classroom where each of 15 gleaming new desks comes equipped with an Apple desktop computer.
“I didn’t want classes of 100 people. I designed a format for 10 songwriters and producers and and five artists,” says Reyes Copello. “Each artist has to release en EP at the end of their year.”
But what to do so those EPs don’t get lost in the fray of thousands of releases?
“I have to admit I prayed to God for help, and he sent me Jesus,” quips Reyes Copello, motioning to López.
“Universal’s involvement is the result of our long friendship, and Julio’s love for education is something I’ve heard him espouse for 20 years,” says López. The partnership further made sense because Abbey Road is part of the Universal family.
“I think those of us who work in the music business have social responsibility. And although I create trends, my goal is that with the help of Julio and my team we can show that what seems impossible is possible.”
Although each artist will have their individual contract, López says the music will be released and marketed as part of a single project to further raise awareness and traction, with Kaminsky helming the releases.
As far as advice for the budding stars, López says: “Believe in yourself. That’s it. What works for one person may not work for another. When you have faith in yourself and you have a team that supports that faith, you have success. Believe in yourself.”