Berklee YouTube Hack Day brings together a group industry experts and alumni who have succeeded at making videos that have attracted massive viewership. They'll teach students exactly what they need to know to produce high-quality, compelling content.
Every now and then, a new artist comes along who seems to effortlessly capture the imagination. Singer/musician Alyssa Bernal, a relatable girl with an unforgettable voice, is just that artist. Bernal was your everyday American teenager, busy with classes and cheerleading practice, when her heartfelt, acoustic YouTube clips caught the eye of Pharrell Williams. Raised in a music-steeped household in San Antonio, Texas, Bernal taught herself how to play guitar. Currently, she’s in the studio with Williams cooking up a new brand of playful pop music that’s both edgy and sweet.
Nils Gums is a Berklee alumnus and CEO and president of both the Complex Group—whose artists include the YouTube smash alumni duo Karmin—and RAWsession, an artist development tool for breaking artists. Since graduating from Berklee, he helped launch the careers of fellow alumni Dawaun Parker and Tiwa Savage and worked in the digital departments and on the business development side for several music industry companies before crafting a promotion strategy fusing search engine optimization and A&R that helped Karmin build its massive audience. He negotiated a deal with Epic Records for Karmin, who recently appeared on Saturday Night Live. Gums, who graduated from Berklee in 2006, is a member of the college's board of trustees.
Ryan Nugent is lead strategist, partner development at YouTube Next Lab and oversees the YouTube Creator Playbook, a valuable resource that compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies to help creators build their YouTube audience. Within YouTube, Ryan not only educates creators on the tools and strategies to build an audience on the platform, but works to make YouTube a better place for people making great videos. Before joining YouTube in 2011, Ryan worked at Next New Networks supporting producers with audience and online video strategy. Follow Nugent on Twitter: @clevermoniker.
AJ Rafael is a Berklee alumnus, recording artist, and YouTube sensation whose YouTube videos have been watched by nearly 100 million. His social media following includes more than 400,000 YouTube subscribers, 200,000 Facebook fans, and 129,000 followers on Twitter. Since January 2011, Rafael has been consistently recognized in the Top 20 on Billboard’s "Uncharted" chart. Rafael released his album, Red Roses, in June 2011 in U.S. stores nationwide and digitally on iTunes, charting in the Top 10 pop albums and peaking at No. 13 on Billboard’s “Heatseeker” chart. Rafael has performed throughout the United States and internationally, in countries such as Australia, Canada, Austria, and the Philippines.
Ben Meyers is a Berklee student, professional videographer, founder of 21Summit Productions, and recording artist with pop band Me vs. Gravity. His reason for coming to Berklee sets him apart. After working as a music video director and cinematographer in high school, he decided to avoid film school and the typically stiff competition for field work. At Berklee, he would have the advantage of being one of the few students at the college focusing more on video more than music. He has learned a majority of his craft from doing—a concept he feels strongly about. He has worked with student bands, professors, architectural companies, yoga pants companies, colleges, and more. He was the lead cinematographer on the feature film, The Guide.
Charlie Puth is a Berklee student, recording artist, and Ellen Degeneres Show regular with more than 40 million YouTube views. Hailing from New Jersey, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter is majoring in music production and engineering at Berklee. He attended the Precollege division of Manhattan School of Music—majoring in jazz piano with a classical minor—from seventh grade through his senior year of high school. Puth appeared on Ellen twice after his version of Adele's "Someone Like You" went viral. He arranged, produced, and sang the cover with Emily Luther.