Adrian & Julian “Blackberry Jam”
School could not end fast enough for Adrian and Julian, 16 year old identical twin singing duo who prefer to spend their time making music.
After Rivenmaster announced a chance to win a scholarship to the 2013 Prodigy Camp Project, a summer program that brings together 20 of the most promising teenage songwriters and filmmakers to hone their craft, they actually got a call from the camp encouraging us to apply. Julian said,
“The chance to collaborate with other artists from around the world was really exciting to us.”
Blackberry Jam has come a long way since third grade where they got their start entertaining their classmates with comedic singing routines at “Lunchbox Special”. This past year, as high school sophomores they took a songwriting class and spent 90 minutes each day writing music and lyrics. For 6 weeks the twins work through the creative process, trying out different lyrics and riffs on their new song Seven Seas. Adrian said,
“Songwriting is hard! The music part is easy, but the lyrics just don’t sound right.”
A breakthrough came when their teacher suggested they collaborate with Desiree Hazleton, a classmate who was particularly skilled at writing lyrics.
“In the first session we had an entire verse and chorus written. Desiree would just crank out the lyric and it was so easy to put the music and vocals behind her words.”
Within a few sessions they had an entire song, and ideas for 4 more projects. Collaboration was the key to success. By the end of the semester, their latest song, “End of the Night”, was finished.
As soon as school ended, Blackberry Jam went right to work laying down a recording of “End of the Night”. They’d stay up until all hours of the morning constructing back tracks, working out the harmonies together and recording vocals. With a few new completed tracks in hand, they hopped a plane to the PRODIGY PROJECT where they met up with 20 highly talented new friends. The Camp’s agenda had an amazing line-up of seminars on story building and character development alongside regular campfires where each attendee could share their own personal story. Rick Stevenson, the camp’s director and veteran Hollywood filmmaker explained that songwriting is storytelling in another form, and so 6 of the 20 teenagers selected were actually singer/songwriters. Halfway through the week, the highly accomplished songwriting mentors Noah Gundersen and Kris Orlowski arrived to work one-on-one with each of the musicians. Adrian explained,
“Kris and Noah’s voices were each AMAZING in a different way. They could go from singing in a whisper, to the loudest riff and absolutely fill the room with sound. Whenever they sang, we were all melting.”
Prodigy Camp: Adrian & Julian with Dalton Cyr, Thilo Berndt, other artists and Staff
At camp, the songwriters had a rotating schedule of sessions and during their off-time the songwriters would help the filmmaker students as the film crew for various projects. Within the first day, Adrian and Julian just hung around outside the door of Kris and Noah’s room. When another songwriter would finish their scheduled session, the twins would rush back in so they could take advantage of spending every available moment working on music together with Kris and Noah. At one point, the twins managed to sneak in a 2-hour jam session together with their new mentors. Adrian said,
“We learned so much about vocal dynamics and how to change our voices to reflect the lyrics. We wanted to spend every possible moment with Kris and Noah.”
Each night a Prodigy Camp, a talent show would fill the Seattle lodge with music and laughter. Julian wrote a new song called “The Mountain” which was a lilting ballad, and their mentors Kris and Noah liked it so much, they decided to learn it and sing it for the evening’s talent show. This was one of the highlights of the week for Julian and a huge honor. He exclaimed,
“You should have heard what Kris and Noah did with my song! It was so awesome to hear how they interpreted it.”
On the last night of camp, Adrian and Julian stayed up all night to put their newly learned skills to the test. Together with Thilo Berndt, last years scholarship awardee and rising YouTube star from Germany, the boys collaborated to write their most complex composition yet. The three of them finished an entire song in one night and forged a friendship that will probably last their whole career. In addition to that evening of writing, Thilo spent nearly the entire month of August in Vermont with the twins, writing music, recording songs and shooting videos.
The friendships that have been forged through this site for some of the young artists that are featured here brings a lot of joy to everyone involved who helps make these connections possible.
Prodigy camp provided Blackberry Jam with one of the most valuable experiences of their lives. Julian said,
“I am so thankful to Rivenmaster and Rick Stevenson for selecting us. Words just don’t explain how incredible it was.”
Since first introducing the twins here last April, the boys have continued to grow their fan base and improve their musical skills. Rivenmaster’s Place is proud to have Adrian and Julian “Blackberry Jam” as part of our regular yearly line up and even prouder to have played a small part in their summer experience at Prodigy Camp!
Your going to want to keep your eye on Blackberry Jam’s YouTube channel. You’ll hear the echoes of Prodigy camp in their upcoming singles. With 8 songs already written, Blackberry Jam is busy producing a string of new originals that have higher highs, lower lows, and deeper story lines. Watch for Blackberry Jam’s first album by the end of the year. You can be sure it will be part of Rivenmaster’s collection of young artists music and I can promise that this site will continue to follow these two remarkable young men all the way to the top of the charts!
CONGRATULATIONS AND KEEP THE MUSIC COMING GUYS!
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