Students star in NU’s first music reality show

Paulina Firozi

Seeing many a cappella performances during this year’s Wildcat Welcome Week gave Communication freshman D.S. Shin an idea: Why not gather all of the “unrecognized” Northwestern musical talent into one program?

Debuting April 11, Jam Sesh, NU’s first music reality television show, is Shin’s answer to this question. Throughout six 15-minute episodes, four musical acts will each remix an original song, receive feedback from NU’s Bienen School of Music professors acting as judges and receive online votes from students before performing their final versions of the original song.

The series will premiere on

Jam Sesh will feature Dance Marathon Battle of the Band winner Jet Jaguar, Korean rapper Lenny Kim, pop singer and Medill junior Jackie Pober and one surprise guest artist. They will perform their original remixes live during the fifth episode. The musical act that receives the most votes will get its own music video.

The show’s spokeswoman, Communication freshman Emily Ryles, has been posting videos of the artists’ practices on social networking sites such as Facebook to promote the show. The original song, “Living in the Now,” is also posted on the show’s Tumblr. Co-Producer Max Kelley’s brother co-wrote the song.

Co-producer and Communication freshman Shivani Chanillo said people may be skeptical about the quality of a show that is run by students. Since many of the Jam Sesh staff members are Radio-Television-Film majors, they believe they have enough experience and the technology to film a high-quality piece.

“We’re no different than any other group,” Chanillo said about their production experience. “We’re better, even. We have more cameras than a lot of the other shoots here.”

Kelley said once a plan for the show was created, NU Channel 1, the website run by NU students that funds Jam Sesh, had to approve it. The team finally began filming in the weeks before spring break.

Matt Connolly, a guitarist for Jet Jaguar, said the show would be an opportunity to meet other musicians on campus.

“I thought we would all get to live in a house together,” Connolly, a Medill senior, said jokingly. “But we joined anyway.”

Communication freshman Lenny Kim said he knew Shin prior to the show. When Kim first suggested he join Shin’s show because he raps, Shin apparently didn’t believe him.

“He said, ‘Oh stop it, no you don’t,’ and I had to tell him I was serious,” Kim said.

Kim said he gave him a demo of his music and received a spot on the show. He said because he is a theater major, he enjoys being in front of the camera.

“At first I thought it was too much for my music and that I wasn’t really ready to show it off,” Kim said. “But apparently I’m really funny and I talk about weird things and they like it.”

Kim said he hopes viewers will enjoy his music, which he believes is a different approach to traditional hip-hop.

The final performance and last episode of Jam Sesh is scheduled to be hosted at JJ Java.

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