Funding for arts education is at risk across the globe, leaving many of today’s youth without this valuable outlet for personal development and creative expression.
Since 2015, the Levi’s® brand has partnered with respected artists and local community partners around the world to develop the Levi’s® Music Project – an initiative that brings music education resources to community-based programs and the next generation of young musicians. Over the years, Levi’s® Music Project has teamed up with 15-plus artists and community partners in seven different countries, including Alicia Keys, Skepta, Rosalia, SZA, and Snoop Dogg, to provide music resources in communities that need them most.
This past August, the Levi’s® brand joined forces with Justin Timberlake to bring the Levi’s® Music Project to Stax Music Academy. Located in the singer-songwriter’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee – and adjacent to what was once the legendary soul record label Stax Records – the music institute trains the next generation of artists in music theory, composition, business, and leadership.
Wanting to pass along his experiences, Justin surprised the Stax Music Academy students by showing up on-site for two days of songwriting and performance workshops. Joined by his closest collaborators Timbaland, Danja and Rob Knox and Elliot Ives, Justin helped students polish the songs they had been working on the weeks prior, culminating in a concert for their friends and family inside Stax’s iconic Studio A.
“Learning how to write songs taught me about myself,” Justin said in a video spotlighting the project. “I’m so grateful to be able to come back here and share that with them.”
But the giving didn’t stop at the workshops. Justin also collaborated with Levi’s® and Stax to develop a new songwriting program for 30 of the academy’s 9th through 12th grade musicians. Every Friday afternoon, students meet for two hours with instructors to hone their songwriting skills.
Those lessons were part of a larger investment by the Levi’s® brand and the pop star. A remodeled facility renamed the “The Song Lab” was established. The space, designed to hold songwriting workshops, features stage-ready instruments, as well as recording, audio, and production equipment that was kindly donated by Guitar Center, Gibson, Native Instruments, Shure, Universal Audio, and Korg.
As an ongoing commitment to Stax Music Academy, Justin established a $100,000 scholarship fund so more Memphis youth can take their talent to the next level. “This music academy is so important to me, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish in the future together,” Justin said.