Bradley’s Latest (and Greatest) Hits

Students record music in Hilltop Studios' spacious performance area. (Photo by Duane Zehr)

Additional images

Matt Hawkins
January 4, 2016

After several years of dreams and plans, budding Bradley musicians have long-awaited space to develop and share their creative talents through Hilltop Studios. The student-run production company enables students to take their music from the dorm room to the world with help from students interested in music production.

Hilltop Studios, which opened at Homecoming 2015, is the dream of music business majors Scott Dean ’16, of Fruitland, Iowa, and Amy Thomason ’14. They wanted to shine a light on Bradley students’ talents and create more opportunities to explore the production industry.

“In the lives of young recording artists, there is nothing more exciting than jamming for a while and getting music down,” Dean said. “There is a lot of talent on campus we want to showcase, and we now have a convenient place to piece that material together.”

The studio is outfitted to meet a wide range of needs. Beyond music, it can accommodate live theater and sound effect production for students involved in Bradley’s interactive media program. Organizers hope the studio eventually hosts a recording arts class that currently meets off campus.

Dean’s vision brought a friend, music business major Kelsie Chapman ’19 of Letts, Iowa, to the Hilltop for college. She said Hilltop Studios was the only student-run production venture she found during her college search.

“I didn’t expect to see this at Bradley, but it’s good we can do something like this that can make a big impact on campus,” she said.

Hilltop Studios is organized to maximize opportunities for student engagement as all students interested in production or recording may participate.

As a result, it’s a creative outlet for hidden talent and a new learning opportunity for those interested in the recording industry.

“I’m learning what it takes to be in the industry and I’ll have four years of experience when I graduate,” Chapman said. “I’ll know what I’m doing when it’s time to get a job.”

Beyond these new opportunities, the studio space offers an added value: relaxed creative space. Students meet weekly to brainstorm projects, experiment with instrumentation and try lyrics or harmonics with a group of peers.

“This is the perfect place to hear pieces and connect on a different level,” said Hilltop Studios co-founder Charlie Jacobs ‘16, of LaGrange, Illinois. “It’s easier to share music in this setting because we don’t feel the pressure of performing like we would if faculty offices were next door.”