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R-J enrolled in the Diploma in Contemporary Music with the goal of refining his raw talent. And the experience led to more success than he ever imagined.
After being sponsored to travel to the United States, R-J and his band Shotgun Alley opened for rock legends Alice Cooper and Slash, and played at iconic live music venues in LA’s Sunset Strip. They also won Best Rock Video at the NZ Juice TV Awards.
R-J believes he has has the course to thank for his success. “None of these things would have happened if I hadn’t gone to Unitec. I wouldn’t have done anything if it wasn’t for this course - I would have just stayed stuck in my little bubble. I know personally and have been told that I'm a far better singer now.”
Because the classes are quite small, R-J says he was able to get to know his lecturers. “They dedicate a lot of time to one-on-one, which was really helpful. They were always encouraging us and always there for us.”
The course helped R-J fine tune both his vocal ability and his competence as a performer. He learned vital skills including how to apply for funding and sponsorship, and innovative ways to market himself as an artist. “There’s a big difference between being able to play guitar and being a guitarist, or being a vocalist and fronting a band,” he says.
R-J’s advice to other people considering a music career is to seize the moment. “If you want to follow a dream that’s in music, be open minded, be a sponge and soak up all the information and all the knowledge you can get. Don’t put it off.”
Watch out for R-J's new band DBS who released their debut single in February 2014.