Watch out GRAMMY Camp...

Every summer, the GRAMMY Foundation brings teens from across the nation together at four different locations: Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; Brooklyn, NY; and St. Paul, MN. For just over a week, they are fully immersed in an environment that will prepare them for success in the music industry profession of their choice.

16-year-old Claire Carruthers is a GRAMMY Camp hopeful and an aspiring singer/songwriter. For her audition, she performed two of her own beautifully-crafted originals and two covers of popular songs. Ivory Sky Media's Allen and Tori were onsite to help create an audition video that would be sure to impress the admissions panel. Check out the action below!

An interview with Claire that delves into her musical background and motivations for attending GRAMMY Camp (with a sprinkling of her original music)

Claire performs her two original songs ("Your Love" and "I Will Stay"), accompanied by her music teachers

"Shark in the Water" by VV Brown and "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele performed by Claire Carruthers

Written by Danika Lam

"?uestion Love" by Dshyne Phresh (Official Music Video)

"I put my trust in you, I gave it all to you..."

Ivory Sky Media's Allen and Tori had the pleasure of working with Bay Area artist Dshyne Phresh on his latest music video: "?uestion Love". An all day experience, our team had such a fun time with this shoot, as everyone involved was already good friends. The leading lady in the video was played by Chardé Walker, Tori's sorority sister while the "other man" in the video was played by Derek's (Dshyne Phresh) best friend Joseph Frederick. Even Tori herself was featured in the video: you can catch her at the end rolling up in the Escalade, toting a glass of "champagne" (which was really apple cider).

The day started just before noon at Tori's house where Tori's cousin, Toni Cisneros, did the girls' hair and makeup. It was different for Chardé to be wearing so much makeup, but she took it in stride, and after two hours, the girls were ready to hit the runway!


So after "forever" (according to Allen) getting primped and beautified, the team drove to Santa Clara Central Park and the cameras started rolling. This was where all the scenes from "the past" were filmed, with additional shots of Derek rapping along to the track. It was such a gorgeous day for filming and at one point, a few kids came up to watch Allen and Tori operate the cameras. They were filled with questions. "What's he doing? Who's that?" they asked in reference to Derek. "Is he famous?"

Once they were all wrapped up at the park, everything was packed up and moved to the parking structure on 4th Street in Downtown San Jose. It was time for the night shots atop the garage. Thanks to Tori's initiative for planning ahead, the University Police Department (from SJSU) were well aware of the shoot and were on the lookout for any random wanderers that might interfere with the video. The team had the rooftop all to themselves.

And it was here that they really had some fun. Chardé and Derek had to get all riled up for the "fight" scene, and as one might expect, it was hilarious to see Chardé really get into character. It was hand-waving, pointing, and shouting galore. Allen and Tori couldn't stop laughing, and they even worried that the authorities might show up for disrupting the peace. Even Derek couldn't stop smiling despite the fact that he was supposed to be having a heated argument. Beyond that, there was plenty more fun in store for our team. No shoot would be complete without at least one thing going wrong. This time, the battery of the white Lexus died. They had to jumpstart the car and then get right back to filming. Speaking of which, while Tori wasn't acting in the video itself, she was behind the camera shooting. Believe it or not, she did this while still clad in her tight dress and six-inch heels. It's hard enough just to walk around in an outfit like that. Imagine having to run around filming, trying to get different angles, in heels that high.

In the end, however, our team couldn't be more pleased with the experience and the finished product. The shoot didn't end until 1:00 in the morning, but it was well worth it and everyone walked away proud of what they'd accomplished. And of course, we hope you enjoy the video!

Written by Danika Lam

Spotlife: Music in the Bay

Allen and I decided it would be fun to start filming local artists and musicians at Bay Area locations. We decided to create "SpotLife" which gives a short sample of some of the amazing performances happening around us all of the time!

Some of the artists include Grammy award winning artist Kanetic Source (formerly of Ozomatli), and So Timeless.

Episode 1: So Timeless

We had the opportunity to film So Timeless as they performed in San Jose at Rosie McCann's Irish Pub & Restaurant at Santana Row. The band performs old school and current hip-hop and R&B every Monday night from 9p-12a.

Episode 2: Kanetic Source

Anthony Stout, AKA "Kanetic Source" releases his album and performs in tribute to his son Noah Stout. 

Kanetic Source won a Grammy award while performing with the Latin group Ozomatli. in 2003, Ozomatli released a 6 song EP through Concord Records featuring the rap vocals of Kanetic Source on "Cumbia De Los Muertos" and a collaboration with The Kumbia Kings on "Mi Gente.

The Pagoda Lounge in the Fairmont Hotel has seen artists such as Bilal, Robert Glasper, Talib Kweli, and others. 

Written by Tori Green

"I Will Be" (Cover) by Casey Rico (Music Video)

Myself and Allen's first adventure in video came with a music video shoot in gorgeous Half Moon Bay, CA of high school senior, Casey Rico singing a cover of a lesser known Christina Aguilera song, "I Will Be." 

Memorial Day weekend, we had the pleasure of shooting in beautiful Half Moon Bay, CA. On this trip Allen and I found out we had many similarities, especially our passion for videography. While on the shoot, I was really excited about all the many different aspects of shooting a music video and just how creative we could be with them. I was able to share different ideas with Allen on different shots we should do. Because of the gorgeous scenery, we were able to create a great video for Casey and her family to enjoy. 

Written by Tori Green

"Joyful Rain" by Tracy Cruz (Official Music Video)

"You loving me, I feel like flying..."

Tracy Cruz's Joyful Rain music video was an endeavor for Ivory Sky Media, a real jumping off point for our company that we strived to make a mark with. As the first serious music video we produced, we wanted all of the technical aspects of it to be done correctly and it was paramount that every scene show off our different skills.

That being said, a lot of time was put into this video, and shooting spanned across several days. Just as the video itself begins with the piano scene, so did the shooting process. Filmed at Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Jose, CA, the director of the video--Allen Ross himself--was featured on the piano. Setting the camera up in multiple locations to capture a variety of angles, Allen both managed the camera and played the piano. Even after all this, he was able to get a ton of B-roll footage to spice things up.

Then, a night of shooting took place at a VTA station and park near Allen's home. This time, Tracy was a part of the action, singing for the camera and bringing out her charm. Because the whole theme of the video was "concepts of joy", the team wanted to create a juxtaposition between the happiness derived from love and the loneliness that one experiences without love. The relatively empty railroad tracks were meant to represent the lonely side of this dichotomy. There had been additional clips filmed at the park as well, but they were eventually cut from the video.

Another day led Allen and Tracy to the home of Mike Thomas, specifically his backyard, 


for the shots of Tracy under the tree of lights. Here, they really just wanted to play around with the lights to see what they could get. It was an idea they'd had for a while, and originally it was mean to take place in a really secluded location but the question of what they'd actually plug the lights into came into play.


The last day of shooting found itself in Allen's garage. Equipped with a green screen, Tracy invited her three backup singers (Phaedra Jones, Anthone Jackson, and Megan Richofsky) to sing their hearts out in front of a green screen. Everyone had a fun time when the confetti rolled in. Allen got to throw it in the air above everyone's heads as they sang.

So with all the shooting complete and plenty of footage, it was time for editing. This was where Allen learned a few valuable lessons about the importance of makeup and wardrobe. With the new HD DSLR cameras, every little detail was visible in the footage. "Face acne and every stray hair" becomes visible, so Allen had to spend time in editing "covering up things that we could've gotten right when we shot." In retrospect, more attention should be placed on all those little things during shooting. Also in regards to shooting, Allen learned just how difficult it is to get motion shots without accessories. It takes a lot to get smooth footage without any shaking while you're walking or running around with the camera.

In the end, shooting and editing Joyful Rain was a great learning experience for everyone involved. Check it out above if you haven't seen it yet. Enjoy!

Written by Danika Lam

"Love's Galaxy" by Tracy Cruz (Official Music Video)

This shoot was pure fun.

It was never our intention to be overly ambitious with the Love's Galaxy music video. For us, it was just about exploring what we could do, playing around with different things, and having a good time. As you'll see at the start of the video, we used footage of space captured by the NASA/ESA Space Hubble Telescope. It was a simple, green screen operation in Allen's own home that featured his whole family. His two kids are cute, little additions to the video. All around, the video is just a fun time!

Written by Danika Lam