Societies and industries exist because groups of people cooperating can achieve vastly more than what a person can do on their own. The people who’ve advanced humanity throughout time fearlessly led by example, pushing to do their best so hard that they pushed beyond expectation and caused some type of change in the world.
Realizing your full potential comes from education and practice. There is an absolute best version of everything and everyone. Fear and jealousy, which is the fear of not feeling/being as valuable as someone else, are enemies of success and imagination. Creativity is the idea we aim to teach and quality/luxury is the theme (or language) we use to communicate that message.
Excellence comes from a sense of urgency, not a rush! So we need to constantly self-examine and pace ourselves to accomplish our goals. Our mission is to create a culture of high achievement and excellence through our example and message.
Music Education Institution
1500 Sound Academy is a trailblazing music education institution that strives to produce passionate sound creators through mentorship, positive mindset, and professional development.
Movers and Shakers
1500 Sound Academy’s founders consist of the legendary musical ensemble, 1500 or Nothin’ - James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson. Both are Grammy award-winning industry leaders who have worked with many high-profile artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Nipsey Hussle, and Justin Timberlake. Twila True is a renowned entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist.
Learn more about their backgrounds and what they bring to the academy.
James Fauntleroy II is an American singer, songwriter and record producer from Inglewood, California. He is best known for featuring on tracks by high-profile artists such as Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, J. Cole, Vince Staples and Big Sean as well as writing songs for artists including Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. In 2014 and 2018, Fauntleroy won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.
Larrance Dopson is a Grammy Award Winning producer / instrumentalist known for singer Ella Mai’s song “Boo’d Up” that charted at number one, further winning ‘Best R&B’ song. Dopson also won Grammys for “These Walls” and “To Pimp A Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar. He was nominated for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton’s, “Say Something” and Nipsey Hussle’s “Victory Lap”. He’s been musical director for Usher, Khalid, Jay-Z, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Migos, Rick Ross, and others. He has written and composed on several records including Mi Declaración which resulted in Maluma’s first Latin Grammy for ‘Best Pop Contemporary Pop Vocal Album’.
Twila True is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Twila has become a business powerhouse, owning and operating, investing and incubating, multi-million dollar companies in beauty, entertainment, fashion, fine jewelry and real estate. Currently the co-founder and CEO of True Family Enterprises, a privately owned family office she began with her husband, Alan True, to manage their portfolio of companies, invest and incubate new ventures. In addition to her businesses and investments, Twila’s charitable ventures include the creation of an orphanage assistance foundation in China, and a Native American personal development foundation in the U.S.
Mike PackerVice President
Mike Packer is the Vice President, Education at True Family Enterprises where his responsibilities include oversight of the 1500 Sound Academy in Inglewood, Ca. Mike earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Northern Colorado and his Master’s in Education, Leadership and Policy from Boston University.
As a drummer, Mike performs regularly both domestically and abroad. Performance credits include Wilson Phillips, Diane Reeves, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nils Lofgren and Lorna Luft.
Mike’s teaching experience consists of 30 years of private and classroom instruction and several clinics throughout the USA, Europe, and Asia.
Doug FenskeDirector of Education
Doug Fenske upholds a Grammy-nominated, six-time platinum, 16-year career in music engineering and production. He has worked on a string of commercially and critically successful albums, including Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE, Chris Brown’s Exclusive [The FOREVER Edition], Jamie Foxx’s Intuition, and Jordin Sparks’ Jordin Sparks. Doug has also spent time in the studio with Bruno Mars, Andre 3000, Ne-Yo, Ryan Tedder and LL Cool J.
Fenske earned his B.A. in Speech Communication from Eastern Illinois University, then graduated from The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. He has passionately held various roles in music production education since 2012 and currently serves as the Director of Education at 1500 Sound Academy.
Andy AlmadaDirector of Student Services & Industry Relations
Andy Almada got his start in music at Golden West College learning and recording big band jazz with composer great Tom Kubis. In addition to completing his education in the audio program, he graduated from UCI with a BA in Sociology. Returning to Golden West College as a professor, Andy was a school representative for the Grammy U Los Angeles chapter and expanded the program to Orange County. He is a studio owner/operator and a member of AES and NAMM.
Jeanette TampanDirector of Enrollment Management
Jeanette Tampan was raised in Inglewood, California and fell in love with music as a dancer and varsity cheerleader. She graduated from Concordia University with a BS in Business. Jeanette is experienced in relationship building and helping others succeed in their career paths. She is proud to be a part of the 1500 Sound Academy family and passionate about helping each student build a solid foundation that leads them to finding their way through the music industry.
Jamie Blake is a producer, songwriter, performer and music educator. As a musician, he specializes in playing drums and using the Ableton Push as a chromatic instrument. He has shared the stage as a DJ and live performer with artists such as JMSN, Smino, Joe Kay, ESTA, Sango, Snoh Aalegra, Dave B, Flamingosis and more.
Jamie is an Ableton Certified Trainer, has a B.A. in Audio Engineering from The Evergreen State College and earned a Masters in Music from Berklee College of Music.
Lauren catapulted into her first career job in the industry with Ne-Yo's Compound Entertainment production and management company. Lauren's primary focus lied within the A&R and Creative Realms while taking on some artist management duties. She received her first credit on Ne-Yo's 6th album "Nonfiction”, and second from her work with soundtrack from the hit show “Empire” and several Motown acts within the label. From there, she went on to work at ASCAP as the Associate Director of Urban for two years. Currently, Lauren is the Director of Urban Marketing at Interscope Records.
Lauren graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism - Public Relations, African American Studies minor.
Ray MedinaTeaching Assistant
Raymond Medina is a music producer, songwriter, tracking engineer, and mixing engineer from Orange County, CA. He is a graduate of the Los Angeles Recording School and is an alumnus of the 1500 Sound Academy. He is proficient with both Ableton and Pro Tools and has worked in multiple studios in the Los Angeles area. He is currently working and assisting behind the scenes with a few of the top charting songwriters and music producers in the music industry today.
Yilun (Jason) Zhang, born and raised in Beijing, China, came to the United States to pursue his dream in music. After attending Berklee College of Music, he came straight to Los Angeles where he met 1500 or Nothin’. He is now a gold selling producer, recording engineer, mix engineer and guitarist. He has worked with several chart-topping artists around the world like Chris Brown, Ant Clemons, Jack Harlow, Jesse Reyez, and Jay Chou.
“Pops” Lawrence DopsonFacility Manager
“Pops” Dopson started his career in the Music Industry in 1967 professionally. He was Lead Singer in the group The “5” Wagers in Chicago. For 15 years he worked with artists like The Temptations, Earth, Wind & Fire, Emotions, The Impressions, Barry White and Smokey Robinson.
He loves teaching vocal and harmonic training to both new artists as well as professional artist’s in todays industry. He truly enjoys his position at 1500 Sound Academy as a mentor to all who works there. “Pops” and his wife Brenda had a vision for his family’s future and that has translated in his son’s Rance endeavors. He is proud of all of the accomplishments 1500 or Nothin’ has achieved and the success of their new location in Inglewood.
IZ AvilaGeneral Manager
IZ Avila is a 5x Grammy Award Winner and has sold over 60 million records to date in pop music. He has traveled the world as Usher’s official DJ for the last 11yrs, capturing numerous memorable performances such as 5 sold-out nights at the O2 Arena, Obama’s 2013 inauguration in Washington DC, Bill Clinton’s Charity event at the Hollywood Bowl with Bono of U2 & Stevie Wonder. IZ has produced and written songs for superstars such as Janet Jackson, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Anthony Hamilton, Trey Songz, and Earth, Wind & Fire to name a few. In 2008, IZ started his involvement with the “Grammy in the Schools Program,” speaking at various career days at local High Schools. That then led to IZ creating his own weekly webinar / streaming show called “Connected” which focused on providing education, mentoring and jobs in the fields of music, recording, film, radio and culinary. Today, he has introduced over 650 jobs to aspiring musicians, producers, directors, engineers and chefs through “Connected”. In 2016, IZ joined the Turnaround Arts program, adopting Standing Rock Middle School in North Dakota and encouraging local leadership, teachers, and students around the country.
Dave HamptonEngineer/Technical Director
Dave Hampton is a 40+ year Grammy Award winning veteran of the audio recording industry. In addition to engineering, He still consults with manufacturers on new technology, lecturers on survival in the industry, and continues to design custom studios and creative spaces for some of entertainments top artists. Dave has authored 4 books for Hal Leonard Music Publishers. In the summer of 2001 Dave was the first engineer to use Pro Tools to live mix a concert in surround sound, for Herbie Hancock’s Future 2 Future World Tour. Dave served as Technical Director of Paisley Park Studios as well as the other residences in California for several years. While at Paisley Park Dave would design and build several special one of a kind machines just for Prince’s use.
Among his list clients you will find generations of talent from every genre of music. Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Maxwell, and Babyface, NeYo, RZA, Too Short, Chicago, Bill Withers and more. He also serves as Technical consultant for the Estate of Jazz great Miles Davis and is now part of the design team for Volume Ventures Studios.
Giancarlo FiscoFacility Coordinator
GianCarlo was born and raised in Culver City, California. His interest in the music industry really began to grow back when he would DJ at my high school at lunchtime. This lead to interest in production software such as Ableton Live, as well as the various ins and outs of recording music in studios. “I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of the 1500 team for a handful years now, and the knowledge I’ve gained truly is priceless. With how much 1500 has grown since I started, the possibilities for the future seem endless.”
Dylan Del OlmoRecording/Mixing Engineer
Dylan is a mix/recording engineer, producer and guitarist from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. He has mixed multiple chart topping projects including Meek Mill’s Platinum album “Championships” as well as various Latin Grammy-winning artists among them are Reik, Sin Bandera, Lali, Pedro Capo and Jhay Cortez. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Dylan holds a BA in Music Production & Engineering.
Industry Insight and Experience
More than big names - these talented teachers and leaders have years of industry experience to share with the students at 1500 Sound Academy. They offer a wealth of knowledge on a myriad of vital topics, from writing, producing, and mixing to recording and negotiating contracts. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to learn from highly celebrated guest lecturers - we are honored to have hosted some of the industry’s most famous artists and insiders.
Mike & Keys
Jean Marie Horvat
“Pops” of 1500
Andres “Andy” Almada
Growing The Next Generation
Our brand-new facilities in Inglewood, CA provide students with ample access to technology and talent. Our innovative facility features four private training rooms on the first level and an SSL recording studio. The two second-floor classrooms each welcome 30 students.
As Fender and Roland partners, we are able to provide our students with access to top-of-the-line equipment, as well as discounts on the gear that has inspired greatness for decades. We strive to innovate the industry and help our students lead the charge, and using the latest technologies allows us to continue adapting our curriculum on the fly.