Grammy Award Winners, Larrance Dopson, and James Fauntleroy II along with business incubator visionary Twila True unite business, technology, and performing art fundamentals in a groundbreaking facility.
Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, and The Game have all recorded at 1500 Sound Academy, but the founders of the Inglewood studio are doing more than making music — they’re helping to create tomorrow’s hitmakers.
The Inglewood, CA-based 1500 Sound Academy, a private non-degree-granting institution, has been in operation since June 2019. For this groundbreaking institution, Dopson and Fauntleroy have curated an adept faculty of music industry veterans and top tier guest instructors—including colleagues Kendrick Lamar, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Master P, Snoop Dogg, and Bruno Mars—to instruct courses in such areas as business management, music production, recording engineering and performance. These disciplines are woven together on the macro and micro levels through an ambitiously holistic approach to music industry education. This, in turn, has attracted some of the best sponsors to support those future careers, including Fender and Roland.
“We had the opportunity to go to Hollywood, anywhere,” Larrance Dopson, a music producer, said. “But it had to be in Inglewood, just because this is our culture, and we want to let people know they can do it.”
On the outside, the building at 8729 Aviation Blvd. still holds remnants of the customs inspection station it once was. But on the inside, musicians of the future are learning the ropes, the hits of 2020 are being created and the elements of the revitalization of Inglewood are starting to take shape.
“There were a lot of important things people don’t know about how to get into the music business,” James Fauntleroy, a songwriter, said.
Dopson — who has collaborated with Sam Smith and Justin Timberlake — and Fauntleroy — who has written songs for Rihanna and Beyonce — are hoping to turn 1500 Sound Academy into a success incubator for a community that has seen more than its share of challenges and tragedy.
1500 Sound Academy goes above and beyond academic training and industry insight to provide students access to the minds behind some of the biggest chart-toppers in their music catalog, such as Drake’s record-breaking “In My Feelings” (10 weeks in Billboard’s ‘Hot 100’); Ella Mai’s Grammy award-winning ‘Best R&B song’ “Boo’d Up” (peaking at #5 on the ‘Hot 100″); and Roddy Rich’s “The Box,” which stayed at #1 for 10 weeks and in “Top 10” for 27 weeks. Other Volume Ventures luminaries stepping in include Justus West, whose most recent credits include Alicia Keys’ “Raise a Man,” John Legend’s “Always.” and Quintin Gullege, whose most recent credits include Ella Mai’s “Trip,” “Sauce,” “Close” and “Everything.”
In early June 2020, Dopson and Fauntleroy announced the future rollout of Academy’s newest program in light of current world events: An online version of the school, fully licensed by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education of California. 1500 Sound Academy’s online program is designed as a synchronous (real-time) program that offers the same curriculum and benefits of its in-person program in an online/distance education format. In addition to guest lectures from the founders, enrollees will receive lectures and educational guidance from The Avila Brothers, who have worked with Usher, Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige, and Gwen Stefani.
Dopson affirms that their original goal was to create a “Xavier’s School for Gifted Children” (of X-Men fame) for the best young creators in the world.” In the distinctive, almost futuristic environment they created that in some ways is reminiscent of the films, their team would incorporate real-world requirements for success with necessary business training and artistic development.
“We are not only teaching them skills in making music but how one should negotiate business deals write hits, do media interviews, how you should manage artists, and how one can manage his or her career as I did. In other words, we are teaching students the secrets (people at our level) are not supposed to tell you and everything we learned the hard way back in the day. We teach them about critical thinking and the importance of knowing all the rules to break them.” says Dopson.
Fauntleroy, meanwhile, details that the non-traditional, real-world based structure of the 1500 Sound Academy’s workshops and courses allows students the opportunity to learn about the industry from a variety of perspectives regular instructors and guest speakers with quantifiable success in their music industry careers. Their experiences, successes, and even misfires can’t be properly captured in a textbook.
“The 1500 Sound Academy allows us to give back to the music community as well as the communities where we came from. Beyond technical and financial literacy, we want to pass along the importance of emotional intelligence and the value of having a broad range of information in a variety of different areas– all of the tools they will need to survive and thrive in the music business.” says Fauntleroy. For additional information and Academy curriculum please visit 1500 Sound Academy.
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