Levi’s Music Project brings in a lot of learnings for both the tutor and protégés
Growing up, we were all told to stay with the familiar, follow the rules and try not to stray from the “good” path—whatever that means. Surrounded by boundaries set since forever, we sometimes think these limits define us. But instead of sitting back and letting them dictate what we do, generations have gotten creative and inventive. May that mean circumventing the rules or finding unique spaces that allow us to thrive. Levi’s Music Project mentor Reese Lansangan claims, “Limits help creativity flourish.” It’s a saying reaffirmed as she spent time with the 16 lucky Levi’s Music Project Community Challenge winners, all of who added their own spin to What Is This Feeling?
One Sunday morning, Reese, with the individuals whose entries stood out, got together via Discord to take a deep dive into their creations. Throughout the session, they receive suggestions, comments and praise for going above and beyond for the Community Challenge. Up ahead, our chat with Reese and her mentees, in a peek into their mentorship journey through Levi’s Music Project.
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Wonder: Often, mentors also learn new things from their students. Do you have any important lessons you’ve learned from this experience that you’ll be bringing with you?
Reese Lansangan: I learned that there are so many talented musicians out there, and they have affirmed what I also knew from experience: limits help creativity flourish. What has been consistent with the LMP finalists was hearing them say that their entries were departures from their usual style. They took that as a challenge to color outside the lines and try something new—all the while staying authentic to their core identity. I also like to set boundaries as an experiment and see how that informs my art with my own creative work. If there are too many options, you kind of get paralyzed, and you end up not doing anything at all.
W: Why do you think it’s important to foster young talent, especially in the music industry?
RL: It is what will keep original Filipino music alive. Older artists learn new ways of approaching things from young blood. Somehow, they are less inhibited and less jaded. Their hunger is motivating.
W: Lastly, do you have any advice for young musicians who are hesitant or discouraged to bring their music out into the world?
RL: Just do it! Don’t look back, don’t overthink, don’t be too precious with your work. You can always edit, rewrite, improve, do it better. But the time to act is now.
Levi’s Music Project
Wonder: What’s the journey been like learning from Reese Lansangan?
Marian Carmel: Reese [Lansangan] has been such a great mentor. I really appreciate that she goes in-depth and puts in the time and effort to analyze our entries. [Reese] shares great insight and feedback on many different aspects of songwriting, production, vocals and the like. She has been so kind and patient [with] everyone and always has something nice to say.
Wiji-Kun: Having a chance to learn from Reese and the rest of the remix artists introduced different perspectives on creating music. This is cool because the more different ways I can look at things, the easier it is to keep things fresh!
Underdogpianist: I appreciate having participated in the workshop for this event. It not only taught me some important insights and mindsets, but also I got to know and listen to many other talented musicians' works.
W: What’s the most important learning from this experience that you will be taking to your future creations and projects?
MC: I think this project will always remind me to take risks and try new things. I almost didn’t enter the remix competition because I didn’t consider myself a producer. But I tried anyway and learned new skills. I never thought I’d actually get the mentorship! I also appreciate that there’s a budding community of artists and musicians. It’s so inspiring to be in the same environment as so many creative people.
WK: It's a piece of advice that I keep getting told over and over again, but I think it's still something I need to be constantly reminded of. You have to keep yourself focused on the goal and move forward despite failing over a hundred times.
UP: I learned a lot about joining the music industry in the future. Though, the biggest learning experience I had from Reese's mentorship is to keep composing and creating in your own style. You have to stay true to yourself and what you do best.
Safe to say, both Reese Lansangan and her protégés carry important learnings through this experience. Effective learning, after all, is a two-way street. Long-standing teachers impart knowledge, while young blood brings new takes to age-old concepts. It’s a give-and-take situation. And in the case of Levi’s Music Project, the mentorship journey reaffirmed long-standing principles while bringing new perspectives to the table.
Nonetheless, it’s still not too late to learn from different musicians and artists from all around the world! Join Levi’s Music Project’s Always-Live community on Discord. Take notes and discover tips from Reese Lansangan, Khalid, Mabel and the rest of the musical mentors by catching their Levi’s Music Project interviews and performances on Levi’s official YouTube channel. Who knows, you might just kick off your musical career when you start now.
Art Alexandra Lara