Lady Gaga and Barry Manilow might seem like an unlikely pair, but this is no bad romance. They are among the most educated of nominees expected at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Los Angeles Staples Center.
Gaga and Manilow both went to school in New York City, where they grew up. She has described herself as a straight-A student from Manhattan, and the alumni site for a university in Greenwich Village suggests that she graduated in 2009 with a degree in drama. He grew up in Brooklyn, went to a performing arts school on the upper west side. According to the biographychannel.com, he paid for his education by working in the mailroom at CBS.
It’s not every day that talented, ambitious performers make it to the Big Time. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists careers in the arts and entertainment with those of recreation and reports that the work is often seasonal and part-time. Among those most likely to work the fewest hours: Musical groups competing for limited engagements. Because of the appeal of performing arts jobs, however, the agency anticipates that the supply of entertainment workers is to keep growing – and keep fueling competition.
Some of this year’s Grammy nominees actually trained for careers outside of entertainment. Carrie Underwood reportedly graduated magna cum laude from an Oklahoma university with a degree in mass communications and an emphasis in journalism. Johnny Mathis attended a college in San Francisco with intentions of becoming an English and physical education teacher. Grammy nominees with college and university experience also include Alicia Keys; Norah Jones; Sade; Eric Clapton; Kenny G; Jeff Beck; John Mayer and Herbie Hancock.
Many of the latter, like Gaga and Manilow, studied the arts, but there are options to train for entertainment work beyond center stage. An Aug. 2009 article in The Telegraph in London told of a Guildford, Surrey music school opened by Bruce Dickinson of the Little Angels, a band that toured with Bon Jovi and Van Halen. A director of the school mentioned the business side of the industry and the potential for success in publishing, merchandising and project management.
Retired musicians in the United States also are finding work in education. The Associated Press on Feb. 7 reported that Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band and Rob Leonard of Sha Na Na are two of them. Miller is an artist in residence at a Southern California university’s school of music, while Leonard runs the forensic linguistics department at a university on Long Island, NY, according to the Associated Press.
*guest blog post by Michelle Sheldone