INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle and The Game have all recorded at 1500 Sound Academy, but the founders of the Inglewood studio are doing more than making music — they’re helping to create tomorrow’s hit makers.
“We had the opportunity to go to Hollywood, anywhere,” Larrance Dopson, a music producer, said. “But it had to be in Inglewood, just because this is our culture, and we want to let people know they can do it.”
On the outside, the building at 8729 Aviation Blvd. still holds remnants of the customs inspection station it once was. But on the inside, musicians of the future are learning the ropes, the hits of 2020 are being created and the elements of the revitalization of Inglewood are starting to take shape.
“There were a lot of important things people don’t know about how to get into the music business,” James Fauntleroy, a songwriter, said.
Dopson — who has collaborated with Sam Smith and Justin Timberlake — and Fauntleroy — who has written songs for Rihanna and Beyonce — are hoping to turn 1500 Sound Academy into a success incubator for a community that has seen more than its share of challenges and tragedy.
“My personal goal is to make like 500 millionaires in like four years,” Dopson said.
In order to do that, students learn not only the importance of understanding the basics of music, but also computer literacy, emotional intelligence and resilience.
“Before I sold my first song, I wrote 300 songs,” Fauntleroy said.
Fauntleroy said he has quit dozens of times in the course of his career.
“I quit right before I did the Justin Timberlake album,” he said. “I quit right before I did the Bruno (Mars) album. What I’ve learned from it all is I quit, but I also start again.”
Most recently, the duo found themselves starting again after the death of Hussle, a close friend and collaborator. And instead of withdraw from the music community, the pair chose to lean in, weaving tragedy and triumph into the fabric that makes 1500 Sound Academy what it is.
“The best music is just honest music,” Dopson said. “It’s just the soundtrack of our lives, and that’s why it sounds so real.”
Both Dopson and Fauntleroy got their start as children making music in the church.