Levi’s® Malaysia kick started the local chapter of Levi’s® Music Project back in October, a programme that supports community-based music collaborations and education.
Following the notable success of Levi’s® Music Project across the globe, featuring music luminaries like Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake and Vince Staples, Malaysia now has its own programme that engages with the local music community and empowers the next generation of homegrown talents.
A continuation of the support provided through Levi’s® Music Week 2019, Levi’s® takes on the initiative to keep the music alive and thriving with Levi’s® Music Project.
“Given that music is very much a part of Levi’s® DNA, we are very excited to bring Levi’s® Music Project to our shores. The programme which comes at a trying time for our local musicians, aims to serve as a springboard for these talented artists to take their music careers to the next level,” says Imran Butt, Levi’s® Malaysia Country Manager.
Selected musicians undergo a 3-phase journey over the course of 3 years for an immersive experience in music education and be given a voice to celebrate their authenticity while inspiring others.
Making It A Music Community Project
Levi’s® has teamed up with local industry veterans Jennifer Thompson and Tang Eu Jin (aka “Jin Hackman”) to see through various touchpoints of the programme, including producing, mentoring, and guiding participants along the way.
With 35 years experience in the Malaysian entertainment industry, Thompson has worked with artists — both local and international, major or unsigned. She has been actively involved in coordinating and managing numerous live recordings, producing and event managing concerts, national and international launches, awards, international fashion weeks, music festivals and live broadcast shows.
“In a competitive, fast-moving, ever-changing creative environment of the music industry, understanding the business side is as important as the talent. The Levi’s® Music project is exciting for all of us as it offers our own talent the opportunity and platform to assist their creative journey,” Thompsons says.
Joining Jennifer at the mentors’ table is Jin, who established himself as a promising rap artist in 2009, but found his true calling in identifying and promoting local talents. Besides running Malaysia’s most successful live hip-hop series Raising The Bar, Jin also manages This Way Up Records, the emerging music label responsible for developing and breaking the likes of Airliftz and Lunadira. In September 2019, Universal Music Group recruited Jin to lead the marketing division of Def Jam Malaysia, overseeing a roster of hip-hop luminaries including Joe Flizzow, SonaOne and Abubakarxli.
“At a time when more and more artists are achieving commercial success independently, it’s imperative for a musician to be hands-on with every single aspect of his or her craft. Levi’s® Music Project may very well be the platform to equip solo artists and bands alike with the knowledge and tools required to help them cut through the noise and eventually have a sustainable career in music,” comments Jin.
The first phase of the project has since seen 200 original music productions submitted whittled down to four finalists who are now working alongside the two industry mentors to create original material that will culminate in a live virtual performance later this month to be hosted on the Levi's® global YouTube channel.
Besides funding the four original tracks, from production to market release, Levi’s® is awarding one winner, an RM20,000 grant to produce a music video to complement the newly produced track and RM2,000 worth of Levi’s® wardrobe per person. The chosen one will also get to proceed with a once in a lifetime chance to elevate their profile through a collaboration with Levi's® Music Project mentors.
Finalists were selected based on their authenticity, unique talents, individual merits and credibilities with the four chosen - indie band Alien Lipstick Fire; rock band Margasatwa; rapper Dato’ Maw and solo artist MAYABAYU.
“Choosing only four out of an extensive list of artists at various stages of their journey was extremely challenging, but it is not about winners or losers, it is all about recognising and working with the independent music community as a whole. We are so looking forward to assisting and mentoring the chosen artists in their careers any way we can,” says Thompson.
"The chosen acts will be moving forward because they ticked all the right boxes and are the perfect fit for phase one of the project,” Old Head Jin adds.