I am Alutha Taho, a singer and songwriter. I was a low-self-esteem child who grew up in a township in Cape Town. I had no support and had to do things for myself. My childhood was tough on me and I faced depression. I decided to take a different direction and teach myself how to be a good woman and singer. I always had music as my run-to place. One of my audition songs for Berklee was 'Rise Up' by Andra Day because it speaks to me. This song is about how I give myself love. When you love yourself you can give love to the world. I relate to it, especially this lyric, “When the silence isn’t quiet and it is getting hard to breathe. And I know you feel like dying, but I promise, we’ll take the world to its feet.” I am also inspired by Rihanna, the artist who wrote 'Diamonds'. I relate to her. She grew up in a violent home and look where she is now. She is a successful singer with a clothing line, she brought healing to her family and can support her mom. She has taught me if you believe and work on your craft you can make it, no matter what. Another musical hero for me is the late, great Miriam Makeba, who sings in my beautiful native language, Xhosa. I am a proud Xhosa woman. Xhosa people are singers from South Africa. I learned about Berklee from friends in America who believe in me. I applied, something I never dreamt could happen. I was always told I was loud and felt ashamed to sing. But now I have made five professional recordings, performed at the Zimibalabala Festival, and been interviewed on radio and television. I am making beautiful noise. At Berklee I can get proper training and performance skills to share my noise with the world. Thank you for supporting me!
My name is Thulani Marks, a pianist and keyboardist from Cape Town, South Africa. This application to Berklee is a dream that most people from my background do not even dare to speak loud about. To most it is close to impossible, but I believed and saw myself one day learning with the best. I love jazz music and the deep history and discipline it carries. I would love to learn the deep history and somewhat contribute my piece in such a legendary genre. I also love Gospel songs that talk about how great and faithful God is. In my life I have wanted to give up many times, or give in to peer pressure, or the negative voice that keeps saying, “You are not good enough". BUT when I look back in my life I can see that God has been faithful to keep and protect me, and preserve my dreams and talents for such great times as these. I was raised under harsh poverty conditions in a community called Khayelitsha, an township of about 1.5 million people living in poverty, under very low wage, unemployment and poor service delivery. A place where many young people resort to gangsterism, crime and substance abuse. A few like myself find their escape in Music. Music has been my place of safety, a place of joy and comfort, the only space I can dream and believe that all is possible. When my step father realized that I loved music, he bought me a second hand cheap model keyboard and night after night I would hide out in my room and teach myself how to play and wouldn’t leave the room until I got it right. Not long after that I became one of the best young keyboard players in my community. I get invites to play for and collaborate with many bands and artists in South Africa. I play mostly in churches, local jazz events, live events and various performing arts projects. I am very excited about this opportunity, to learn, grow and explore music deeper, and what better way to learn if not from one of the best music schools ever.
Thank you for considering support for our dream.
Alutha and Thulz
& their fans, Team WORK
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