MILWAUKEE — Out of 200 applicants, four lucky Milwaukee musicians have been given the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Those four musicians are:
- Maxwell James, a singer-songwriter who spent several years in Nashville honing his craft.
- Leosha Stones, aka The Oshi. She is an artist, dancer, model, and producer. She released an album in 2021.
- Marcus McFarlin, who goes by the name Elder Mac. He is a gospel singer and has a music production business.
- Valerie Lighthart is a folk-pop singer who released multiple singles in 2020.
It's all part of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's new Amplifier program. It teaches local musicians how to navigate the music industry from some of the best in the business.
"When you’re a beginning artist, what the sign of success is when you finally get your opportunity to get into the business: you don’t make the wrong decision, and it could affect you for the rest of your career," Chad Roper, the program director of the Amplifier program, said. He was also nominated for Grammy for his work with Rhianna on her album Loud.
Some of the other notable musicians that are guiding these young artists include Justin Vernon, who won a Grammy with his band Bon Iver; Butch Vig, who is known for his work as a producer on Nirvana's album Nevermind; and Marcella Araica, who worked with Britney Spears and Timbaland.
The four chosen are already skilled musicians. However, this program will give them the edge they need to break out. They will learn about contracts, touring, agents, branding, and anything else about the music industry.
"In about eight or 9 nine months, I really want to be better at navigating the music business," The Oshi said.
Plus, each artist gets a $10,000 grant to invest in their career.
"Personally, I'm going to use it for more recording equipment, stuff like that, but I mean anything to just help us get our music career going. It's just a little music stimulus package for us," Maxwell James said.
While they are still on their way to making it as a musician, don't be surprised if you are surfing through radio stations and you hear one of these artists.