Mason Gross hosts Q&A session with Jonas Blue
London-based musician Jonas Blue visited Rutgers students this past Wednesday at Mortensen Hall. The event, hosted by Music Technology at Mason Gross, featured a Q&A session along with a meet and greet.
The electronic dance producer, DJ and songwriter caught the industry’s attention with his reimagined version of Tracy Chapman's 1988 hit "Fast Car," and has since paired with artists like Galantis, Zedd, Ellie Goulding, Disclosure and more, according to the event’s page.
Blue had been in the United States for a week prior to the event, said Danielle Paxton, a college marketing representative for Universal Music Group. Blue's team reached out to Paxton's team while he was in the New Brunswick area looking to schedule an event at Rutgers.
As a marketing representative, Paxton promotes artists who perform at the University and deals with distributing marketing tools, concert coverage and providing music labels with tour recaps, she said. Q&A’s like Blue's are some of the tasks she handles at the University.
“The turnout was great, we had about 20-25 people in the recording studio in Mortensen Hall at Mason Gross School of the Arts. Due to the space restrictions in there, it was the perfect amount of people for the small space,” she said.
Once the event began, Steve Kemper, a professor in the Music Department of Mason Gross, prepared a set of questions for Blue, Paxton said. From there, students were free to ask their own questions and meet with Blue after the event.
The event was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in order to work around Blue's schedule, she said. Coming from New York and leaving for Philadelphia right after the event only left the artist a small window in which he was able to meet and speak with students.
“The event was very small, which gave a very intimate and personal vibe,” Paxton said.
Blue shared raw details about his personal life that resonated with students, she said. He spoke with music students and aspiring DJs about the drive and passion required of a successful musician.
“He has a very driven personality, and the way he talks about his music shows his passion for what he does,” Paxton said. “After the event ended I talked with the students who attended, they appreciated the feedback they got from Jonas Blue and felt inspired.”
Blue gave personal insight for students looking to step into the music industry, she said. Music has always been a huge factor for him as he learned to play the flute before progressing into other instruments.
“He believes melody is the most important thing when it comes to music creation,” she said. “Not only is he a DJ, but he is a producer and a songwriter. Jonas Blue has an immense passion for what he does and I believe he is only going to become more and more successful over the next few months.”
The event made it easy to see and hear Blue and kept the audience close for a personal vibe, said Josh Friedman, a Mason Gross School of the Arts first-year student. He first saw flyers for Blue while walking around campus and heard about the event through his music technology teacher.
Friedman had not heard Blue's name before but recognized some of his song like "Perfect Strangers," he said. During the Q&A, Blue talked mainly about his life as a musician and answered questions anywhere from the kind of gear he uses to his personal favorite song.
Students should keep an eye out for these activities, Friedman said. Events like this happen once in a lifetime — those who could not make it to this one should make sure to look for another one, as Mason Gross has some great acts for people to see.
“I think events like this allow students like myself who are interested in music technology to have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful,” he said. “The ability to have such a popular figure answer questions is a rare insight. This type of event is also great for fans of his as it allows for such a close connections.”