Featured Alumni

Alumni capture the heartbeat of American music

Marie Sul­livan

With grad­u­a­tion fast approaching last fall, Eric San­ta­gada and Marie Sul­livan asked an age-​​old ques­tion: “What’s next?” They set guide­lines for their future plans, agreeing to pursue a fun-​​filled endeavor that would com­bine their pas­sions and fur­ther their careers. From there, they arrived at their answer: the Amer­ican Music Project.

“North­eastern gave us the drive to create our own oppor­tu­ni­ties, instead of waiting for a job to come to us,” said Sul­livan, who grad­u­ated in December with a bach­elor of arts degree in com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies with a con­cen­tra­tion in media pro­duc­tion. “We wanted to go out there and make it happen for our­selves, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Sul­livan and Santagada—who grad­u­ated in December from the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness with a con­cen­tra­tion in entrepreneurship—quickly launched a Kick­starter cam­paign for theAMP. To raise even more money, the duo hosted two ben­efit con­certs in Boston fea­turing North­eastern bands. More than 200 people pledged some $10,000 to sup­port their cause, and their dream of doc­u­menting vibrant music around the country became a reality.

The project com­bines Santagada’s busi­ness knowl­edge and Sullivan’s video skills with their mutual pas­sion for music. The team is cur­rently in the midst of a three-​​month road trip through Nashville, New Orleans, and Austin, where they are doc­u­menting fes­ti­vals, pop­ular venues, bands, and more, to tell the story of each city’s unique music scene. While on the road, they are sharing what they find through videospho­tographsblog posts, and social media.

“We wanted to cover unique cities that we could com­pare and con­trast,” explained San­ta­gada. “New Orleans has an estab­lished feel and tra­di­tion, Austin is up and coming and growing every day, and Nashville is a pro­fes­sional music industry hub.”

San­ta­gada and Sul­livan are on the road with two other North­eastern alumni, Charlie Treat and James Metzger. Aside from the crew, a major player in this project is the AMP­mo­bile, a con­ver­sion van com­plete with instru­ments, micro­phones, and an audio inter­face. The mobility of the van gives the team the poten­tial to accom­plish a lot more than many other film crews: With their equip­ment in tow, they can drive to any loca­tion and set up a pro­fes­sional recording studio.

“This expe­ri­ence is more about our per­sonal growth than any­thing else,” said San­ta­gada. “I want everyone to see how we’re fol­lowing our pas­sions suc­cess­fully, and we want to inspire people to do the same thing, what­ever their pas­sion may be.”

This article was originally posted by news@Northeastern.