1500 Sound Academy has landed: two state of the art classrooms, equipped with a recording studio with mini stage, four sleek training rooms adorned with impressive cultural memorabilia, a lobby with futuristic design principles, and creative spaces provided by legendary brands Fender and Roland. Welcome to 1500 Sound Academy, LLC, a subsidiary of Volume Ventures- an independent multi-faceted entertainment company that provides comprehensive music & video production, publishing, and education services to aspiring and established recording artists, songwriters, musicians & music videographers.
If you guessed this immaculately arranged space to be an A-lister’s ultimate home studio, you would only be half correct. It is home to a vision of creating better, smarter music, and industry professionals. Larrance Dopson and James Fauntleroy II, the artist and producers behind it, alongside Orange County-based business incubator Twila True, have opened it to a new generation of artists (some as young as eight!), producers, engineers, and other creators determined to think far outside the textbook.
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.
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.”
“This endeavor stands apart from the other businesses I have grown in that most are based on finding audiences to support a consumer product,” True explains. “What 1500 Sound Academy produces, on the other hand, is not a tangible consumer product or service but a creative music movement product that transcends demographics by producing successful music industry professionals. Those who endure 1500 Sound Academy will always have their fingers on the pulse of what the public wants in its music and entertainment (and) have the business skills to create and maintain their successes in the industry.”
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 in order 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.