Photo by Shawn Jones
If you don’t think that professors at Pepperdine are well connected or doing great things, well, think again.
Professor Eric Allaman, who is also a professional film scorer and composer, worked on two movies with Randy Jackson, one of ‘American Idol’s’ original judges, for NBC. Allaman teaches a course titled “Scoring Visual Media” which he said “focuses on teaching directors, producers, editors and composers the art of scoring for visual media.” He went on to explain that he works with students on “temping scenes, music editing and music scoring and [that] it doesn’t not matter how much music background a student has.”
Allaman invited Jackson to speak to his class, and Jackson obliged, taking time to share his incredible career journey and offer some words of wisdom to students.
Center for Communication and Business classroom 100 was filled with students from both Allaman’s class as well as Ginger Rosencrants’ “Digital Strategy” class on Thursday, Nov. 13.
Allaman met Jackson will working on movies for NBC. Allaman was hired to do the score and Jackson was hired to produce the music.
“I was immediately taken with his energy,” Allaman said. “He is so accessible, so warm and what’s amazing to me is how smart he is about the music industry and everything that he’s been through.”
Although most people know Jackson for his role as a judge on “American Idol,” many don’t know about his background as a bassist for bands such as Journey. He was also a highly sought after session player who worked with the likes of Kenny G, Bon Jovi and Aretha Franklin. He later became a producer of artists and chefs.
“Two things will always be around until the end of time,” Jackson said. “Music and food.”
Jackson was born in Baton Rouge, which he described as being like the town in “Friday Night Lights.”
“I grew up like many of you, as a kid with a dream,” he said.
He played football and participated in track and field in high school and college, but says he got “hooked on music in the most natural way … with it just being played around the house.”
“Growing up in Louisiana, which is the heart of the dirty, dirty, dirty South … I got to experience blues, rock, soul, R&B, country, bluegrass,” Jackson said. He became “enamored” with all the instruments that his brother, who was a drummer in a band that used to rehearse in their garage, had around. He also explained that growing up in the hood of Baton Rouge, full of “creativeness and freedom,” gave him exposure to bands that would rehearse on their front porches, and that the whole neighborhood would gather around for the free show.
“I fell in love with the bass. I started playing bass and I started playing guitar and I started playing drums and I played saxaphone for a while, so I did all that coming up … and my brother and I used to play in the church.” Jackson credits the church with giving him so much experience early on.
He said that he started thinking of music as a possible career when he was senior in high school. He explained that he had many mentors growing up, which is why mentoring is so important to him.
Here are a few choice quotes from Jackson’s visit:
- “You’ve got to work hard enough to get good enough that somebody will pay you for what you do. If you’re not getting paid, you’re probably not that good at it.”
- “Your work, your talent, is going to speak for you.”
- “You’ve got to get in and work your way up.”
- “I say to artists, what makes you unique?”
- “It’s easy to copy, very hard to be original.”
- “Music is also about rebellion.”
- “The one thing I say to artists all the time, don’t read your own press, stay off the internet. Talk is really cheap. For the thousand million people that will love you, the artist only sees the three or four that hate them … and they don’t want to get out of bed, they’re depressed. But what about the thousand million that love you?”
- “You’ve got to live in your own skin.”
- “You better have really thick skin.”
- “How bad do you want it? Are you willing to get out there in your van? I equate it the spiritual sense, being a very spiritual guy, it’s you carrying your cross into the wind, tough wind. Are you ready?”
- “You have to say to yourself, is it good or not? If it’s not good, then work it until it’s good.”
- “Just saying you want it is just not enough.”
- “One of my favorite phrases in life: This is your mission should you choose — underline that word choose 8 million times — accept it — underline that 8 billion times. You say that you want this. Have you accepted what the job or the task is? Are you willing to work hard and put this first … are you really willing to walk the plank for this? And do you have the perseverance to stay with it because it’s not an if, it’s a when question.”
- “Everything is always God’s hour.”
Jackson said he will be reaching out to invite friends in his network to speak at Pepperdine.
Follow Breanna Grigsby on Twitter: @Bre_Louise