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S3: DIME Detroit #88

DIME Detroit

Time for another episode of the bonfires of social enterprise. Hear from the founders who took a chance, traded London for Detroit and began to engage with the young music talent of Detroit and then Denver. As usual, stay to the end and enjoy a full song from one of the student artists from DIME.




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Time for another episode of the bonfires of social enterprise. This is your host, Romy and I love our guests today! It is the Detroit Institute of Music Education that we abbreviate for DIME Detroit. We will hear from the founders who took a chance, traded London for Detroit and began to engage with the young music talent of Detroit and then Denver. As usual, stay to the end and enjoy a full song from one of the student artists from DIME.
Let’s check in with Natalie and see what she has for our fun fuel today.
Hello, I’m Natalie Hazen bringing you this episodes’ Fun Fuel.
Have you ever just drifted off listening to a song and let your mind wander and float with the melody? Great songs allow for just this to happen as our senses are taken on a journey with the Artist.
Notable musicians, scholars and presidents each have their own description of music.
William Shakespere said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”
Bono thinks, “Music can change the world because it can change people.”
Stevie Wonder eloquently stated, “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”
But I will leave you amazing listeners with one final quote from former United States President Ronald Reagan. He said, “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”
Thanks for listening, now on to our episode.
So….interesting! Natalie, you are so fun! Love it. Okay, let’s turn our ears to the interview with Kevin Nixon and Sarah Clayman of DIME Detroit. They begin by sharing some of their early success in England, their music label, and how they are empowering the kids of Detroit with music and production. Let’s drop in on the conversation now….

Romy: Okay, great well lets get started, let’s talk about DIME, and do you go by DIME or DIME Detroit?

Sarah Clayman: DIME Detroit here, we have DIME Denver, and we also have DIME online where we have students studying in 22 countries around the world.

Romy: Yah okay so what is DIME?

Sarah Clayman: So we are a music institute, we teach guitar, bass, drums, vocals, songwriting, and music industry studies at bachelor degree level. We are very focused on getting young people into the music industry, and giving them the skills, and the academic credentials to be able to earn a full time living in the music industry. So we’re about long-term sustainable careers in music.

Romy: Wow, that’s powerful, so how did it start?

Sarah Clayman: Sure.

Kevin Nixon: Okay so it began back in England, we moved from England in 2014, prior to that we originally started in 2001. So Sarah, and I have had our whole lives in the music industry, and in the millennium year music went digital. And so that’s when Napster came along, and the whole industry changed, and we were so brilliantly foresight that we thought we’d do something to help the next generation. Not really, we actually realized that there was a lot of change going on, and we kept, I kept getting phone calls regularly from people I’d come up through the industry with saying, “Do you know anybody who can do this job? And that job?” Some of these jobs were like really senior, like one of them was a managing director of Columbia Records in the U.K.

So we started to talk about this, and say what, “How come there is not another level of people coming up who are trained and being trained to take these jobs?” And we started doing some research, and the research within the industry was very easy for us because we were part of it. Well we went to a few universities and looked at their music departments, and low, and behold, no modern music, all classical, and all jazz. And so we actually thought, “Well let’s do something about this, and we kind of built a rock, and roll school.

Sarah Clayman: Yah and you know we realize that unless you have a connection to the music industry how do young people get in the music industry?

You know it’s such a closed shop, and we wanted to change that, we wanted to help young people understand that it wasn’t about selling a million records, or ten million records like the Foo Fighters, or playing guitar in your bedroom. There are many, many great jobs, and career opportunities within the music industry that young people don’t find out about. Like starting a merchandise company, being a tour manager, working in publishing, you know there’s so, so many that you can earn a really good living, and still do what you love, which is music. And the music industry beats getting a proper job so.

Romy: Yes right. What was your background, what was your time in the music industry?

Sarah Clayman: Okay, so I actually grew up in the music industry, my fathers a concert promoter and a theater promoter. He’s worked with artists like Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, Power Rangers, Prince, Julio Iglesias, Carpenters like forever.

Romy: Only those guys.

Sarah Clayman: But my dad was from a generation that didn’t need education, so my dad left school at 13, he grew up in the East end of London. And just threw a series of coincidences met Gordon Mills, who managed Tom Jones, who’s a big singer from whales, and he got into the music industry. And my dad is a brilliant mathematician, and he promotes concerts, so he’s all about risk-taking, and making money, and understand the risks in deals.

So I grew up in that environment, and when I was 14 I said to my dad, “I want to be in the music industry,” and he said, “No way it’s not an industry for a women.” So I said, “Well that makes you want to do it even more dad.” So I started to just do some kind of internships with my dad in his office from the age of 13, 14, and then I went on the road, and I learned on tours, and production assistant, and things like that. And then I happened to meet the chairman of Sony music one day, and he offered me a job, so I worked with Sony music in the UK for four, and half years. And that’s where I met Kev.

Romy: Yah so Kevin you were there, what’s your background then?

Kevin Nixon: I was the manager’s son; he’s biggest UK act at the time, a band called, Kula Shaker, ew we got a feel of this up here. That’s one of Sara’s, there’s loads around, but I was also from a music family, but I’m a musician, so my grandfather was a bandleader, and he was a jazz guitar player. Phenomenal jazz guitar player, there’s many jazz guitar players, very few as good as him. And so all of his kids, my mom was the eldest, my mom is an expert on Sun Ra and composers. And then she’s got five brothers, and they’re all professional jazz musicians as well.

And I was the first of the next generation, so I got to learn from all my family, and we’ve all been brought up on the best music. So the first music I was exposed too was Django Reinhardt, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington. And I grew up with that until the Beatles exploded, and because I was the youngest, I became the one who loved all rock, and roll. And in our house, everybody went to work at 6 pm, and so I’ve only ever known about that really. My dad was a soccer player, and a professional soccer player so in our family you can either play music, or play soccer, and actually, we’re all unemployable outside of that.

Romy: So you guys met and somehow came up with the idea when you saw the gaps it sounds like?

Sarah Clayman: Yah.

Romy: So did you start it right in London first?

Sarah Clayman: No, we started in a seaside town called Brighton on the south coast of England, and the reason we did that is because it is within 50 minutes of London. So we knew that the colleagues and friends we had in the music industry would be able to come visit the college and meet with the students. Because we realized quite early on that young people are super smart, and they started to learn from the Internet, and not just from being in a classroom. And we wanted young people to hear from professionals, and that was really the biggest thing, I think you can only learn so much from teachers. You really need to learn from people who are in the industry doing the work you know?

So bringing colleagues, and friends down from the music industry to talk about their experiences. What they were doing that week was really important to the thoughts of the company and what we were trying to do. But when we opened in Brighton we opened to 180 students in the first year, it grew to 360, 480, 720, and before we knew it within five years, we had 1000 students. Which took us completely by surprise because we only had a business plan to have a maximum of 300 students in Brighton. But we really kind of captured the imagination of young people, and we created an environment that didn’t feel like a university, or a college, it felt like the music industry.

So young people felt very safe in our building and felt very supported through the creative process because music can be torturous as well. You know if you’re a songwriter you’re writing a lot about your personal feelings and your experiences. But then the other side of it was the parents really understood what we were doing because they had a guitarist kid who was slightly social awkward in their bedrooms. A mom and dad just scratching their heads going, “What am I going to do with johnny upstairs?” And we come along, and we can say well through what we’ve created here, not only can your child play what they love doing, which is guitar all day long, but they can also get academic skills, and credits for it. So mom and dad were really supportive, and that’s why this thing just grew and grew, so.

Romy: And then how did you make the decision to jump over?

Kevin Nixon: So in our years, pre-music education, we both worked in the U.S. music industry as well as the UK, in fact in the international music industry. But I had an office in New York for a while, and I lived there in 94, actually Sara lived there in 94, we didn’t know each other then. But I’ve been working it over here since about 79, and we obviously had a good understanding of the music business here, but it’s actually quite different to the UK. And one of the problems with the UK is that there’s only about 8000 people working it.

And we’d have 10,000 graduates after 10 years, so we started to get concerned that the business was getting too big for the jobs to study ratio. And so we thought, “Well we want to keep doing this, this is such a great rewarding thing to do,” but we couldn’t just keep going in the UK. So we decided to sell our UK business, and actually kinda used the money to come here, which meant that we’ve only got one investor, and he’s a friend of ours. So it meant that we could keep control of the business, which is …

Kevin: Sebastian, he’s a friend of ours so it meant that we can keep control of the business, which is very important.

Romy: Yeah

Kevin: … because once businesses get big, you know, everybody wants to have a piece of them. So we kind of went back to where we started, and it was a brave thing to do, and we were going to go to Brooklyn and start there, but we got invited to Detroit by a couple of people, one of which is Charlie who is our investor. He tried to get involved with us when we were in the U.K.

Romy: Oh okay.

Kevin: We had not worked out a deal, but he was like well come to Detroit you know and we also American Idol actually called us, and they wanted to partner with us too, but their short term-ism and our long term-ism was always going to be a bit of a clash.

We came here, and we met Charlie, and we took the brave step of saying no to Brooklyn and coming to Detroit.

Romy: Yeah we are so glad. So when was that?

Kevin: 2014.

Romy: 2014 okay. Just to repeat that so we are doing this interview in November of 2017. This really isn’t even been five years.

Sarah: No, it feels like a startup still. We are still learning about Detroit. We are still finding things that we hadn’t even thought of. You know it’s a really special city. The musical talent here is incredible, but it’s a forgotten city.

Romy: Yes.

Sarah: You know in terms of education and the young people come to us to study. They really low level and its hard work.

Romy: I am a music fan, but I’m not in it that it’s a bit underground. You got to find where everybody is. Is a little bit of flushing out, who the talent is, kind of getting them to trust you to be a part of the [crosstalk 00:11:53]

Sarah: And when we first came to Detroit, we realized that Detroit is city that was built for 1.5 million people and there’s only 700,000 people here, so everything is really spread. We were trying to find the music scene, and we realized within a couple of weeks that there was actually five, ten music scenes and everyone was working in isolation. As we were kind of finding out the venues and meeting the bands and everything. We say to them ‘well why are doing this, you know, what’s next?’

And they’re like what do you mean what’s next? Well, are you going on tour? You going to try and get a record deal? You gonna release music and everyone was like what’s the point? There’s no point in us doing that. No one ever comes to Detroit; we just do this because we wanna jam and we love it. We looked at each other and thought that’s a big problem because the lack of belief and the belief in the opportunity that actually it could be you that makes it is not here for a lot of people in the city or wasn’t. I think it is changing slowly.

Romy: A little bit.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s going to take time because you know 30 years of bankruptcy and blight and you know all the issues that Detroit’s been through. They don’t disappear overnight just because people are investing in the city and new businesses are coming. It’s a real ingrained attitude.

Kevin: I also think to the establishment; music becomes a low priority. When you get a city like this with so many problems, it can be the last thing probably my duty list being very low priority.

Sarah: But its also a lifesaver for some people.

Kevin: Well, I was going to say if you look back over the generations, if you took more time out of the city, you know, that’s a massive [inaudible 00:13:35] taking a limb off and[crosstalk 00:13:38]

Romy: Oh yeah.

Kevin: Then the number of jobs Motown provided and the not [inaudible 00:13:44] but mine probably inspiration that it created is still going on today these 50 years ago. So it’s not just Motown if you look at how big Eminem got and Kid Rock and now Big Sean. There’s a whole generations of kids who look up to these guys, and they can say ‘Okay well if they can do it, we can do it’ but actually they can’t without help.

You look at all those people, to Berry Gordy, Eminem, Kid Rock, [inaudible 00:14:18]

Sarah: [inaudible 00:14:18]

Kevin: Trackings will be good. [inaudible 00:14:22]

Sarah: Big Sean yep

Kevin: None of them made it without help.

Romy: Right.

Kevin: I’m sure he might assume that documentary about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Eminem’s big thing was without meeting Dr. Dre; he would never have gotten out of Detroit.

Romy: Mmm-hmm (affirmative)

Kevin: So we see ourselves as just a bit of a catalyst. People can come here and feel connected to music industry that we been in all our lives and if it’s noting more than that, that is something. Actually, it’s such a great environment that kids start to over perform, almost immediately and so you get many examples of kids who would otherwise never be in higher education who are suddenly in the position where they’re the best at it. That’s where the inspiration comes from for us.

Romy: Wow, so there are so many things [inaudible 00:15:15] I’m probably going to have to come back but we are in this really cool space, and I saw the kids upstairs, got to see all the kids. So let’s talk about how many kids are here right now and what kind of programs you’re offering right now here in Detroit.

Sarah: We have just over 90 students starting full time with us, and they’re all on a Bachelor degree program either in Creative Music Performance, Creative Songwriting, or Music Industry studies that is validated with Metropolitan State University of Denver in Colorado. We also run short courses and part-time programs, non-accredited that anyone can come to so we have student from 12 years to 80 years old come and study in some of our programs.

We have about 200 students a year come through those non-accredited classes. We also have a program that we are running at the Detroit School of Arts which is down at DSA; it’s an after-school program where we are introducing high school students to three areas of the music business: songwriting, beat making, and music industry studies as well.

Romy: Wow. So the typical age that I guess would be your target student would they be high school, college ages?

Sarah: 18 to 26

Romy: OK

Sarah: Typical student but musics for everyone so we don’t turn down anyone

Romy: Alright, let’s talk about the record label

Kevin: So what Sarah was saying about when we got here, and kids had given up hope, and you know when you building a music college, this is the seventh we have done in 16 years and we’ve got one in Denver by the way so [inaudible 00:17:00] Fantastic.

Romy: Shout out to Denver, sister city for us.

Kevin: When you come to take a degree in America it takes four years, in England, it’s only three. In fact, you can cram it in England and do it in two. Music business hires young, so we are very pro getting these qualifications truncated into a short space of time but its still a long time. So if you’re in a band in Detroit and you decide to come here, you don’t want to put your career on hold for two or three or four years. You got to keep advancing.

Romy: You got to survive right; you have to make an income

Kevin: So we have a look around the city, and there are some labels here, but they are specialist labels, for instance, Machaven Records is a jazz label, fantastic label but these kids are not into jazz. These kids are into their own music, and we couldn’t find a label that actually if you’re into Big Sean, say, or if you are into Ed Sheeran as many kids are, there wasn’t a label where you could just go and talk to me or get discovered by. We thought well we will start a label but then label not necessarily about [inaudible 00:18:23] its actually just for Detroit.

We did a distribution deal with Capital Records. Capital at the moment, the President of it is an English guy we work with. Same with Universal. So right now there is a lot of English influence in global music industry. We thought well we’ll just start a little label with Capital and then if somebody great comes along we can say to come and have a development deal, start putting a few records out. So far we’ve got six acts, and we’ve put out four debut albums.

Romy: Wow

Kevin: Six EPs I think.

Romy: Are you able to talk about the acts?

Kevin: We can play it, you can see it

Sarah: So the biggest acts we’ve got is a young girl who was actually runner-up on Season 14 of American Idol from Farmington Hills in Michigan. Her name is Jena Irene Asciutto. We met her when she just finished; she was on the show when she was 16 and 17 years old, so we met her when she was 18. She decided she got record deals and offers in Las Angeles and New York, but she really wanted to come back to Detroit and represent her city.

So we made a record, and it was out this year, and she’s fantastic. She is very young, she’s very opinionated, and she swears a lot. So we have to send you some clean versions

Romy: [crosstalk 00:20:00]

Sarah: Big voice. She’s got an incredible voice. And then there is a young girl called Charity, and she is from Detroit, and we’ve released her EP, and Kev just finished recording her debut album, which we’re really excited about. And she’s played shows with Stevie Wonder’s band and Eric Benét, and-

Romy: Wow.

Romy: So, she’s on her way.

Sarah: She’s amazing, this girl.

Sarah: She is incredible.

Sarah: When you hear her, you won’t believe how good she is.

Sarah: Yeah. She’s incredible. And then we have a young solo artist called Adventures With Vultures. We’ve just released his first EP. Four song EP. He’s from Plymouth in Michigan. He’s got Rap and Hip Hop in his heart, but he actually sings singer-songwriter folk music. He’s got an incredible voice and-

Romy: Oh, how interesting.

Kevin: He’s awesome.

Sarah: Then we’ve got a duo called A PLUS-

Romy: A PLUS?

Sarah: Who are actually songwriters and they’ve had an amazing career? Yeah, one of them’s right here. ‘Cause she’s ahead of a course. So, they’re two sisters, Aneesha and Antea. And they have written songs for …

Sarah: Hey, come in?

Sarah: Beyoncé.

Romy: So.

Antea: Hi.

Romy: We’re just talking about you.

Romy: Yeah, come on in, hi.

Female: How are you?

Female: [crosstalk 00:21:16].

Romy: We’re doing a podcast interview, and we’re talking about A PLUS.

Antea: Oh.

Sarah: [crosstalk 00:21:19] come in.

Romy: [crosstalk 00:21:21] putting you on the spot.

Romy: Yeah, do you wanna say something about …

Female: Yeah.

Antea: What would you want me to say? What are we talking about?

Sarah: Tell them who’ve you written songs for.

Antea: I’ve written songs for Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Ciara, who am I missing?

Kevin: Jen … The other one.

Sarah: Timberlake.

Antea: Who?

Sarah: Timberlake.

Kevin: No.

Antea: Oh, no, not that one. Recently-

Sarah: Candice Glover-

Antea: Candice Glover won American Idol Season 9. Recently, there’s a new R&B artist that’s this big thing; her name is H.E.R. Teyana Taylor, Keke Palmer, the TV show Fox. I mean, TV show star in Empire on Fox.

Romy: Wow.

Romy: Is that it?

Romy: I need to know [inaudible 00:22:08], which would be incredible.

Antea: Antea.

Romy: Sorry to put you on the spot, but it’s always [crosstalk 00:23:31] to do that.

Antea: No. No, it’s all good. I’m just in between classes; it’s raining so I can’t walk for food, so … Lunch.

Romy: Well, enjoy your chips.

Romy: Wow, talk about giving some credit and pull for the students around here.

Sarah: Yeah-

Romy: She’s so passionate as well.

Sarah: So, this is it. Antea’s a classic example of everything we’ve ever done in the 16 years because she’s the real deal. One of the problems, even if you do find a university that does a modern music course, finding people who are delivering that course, who have really made it in the music industry, there is none. And these kids are paying a fortune to go [inaudible 00:24:09] these courses, and they come out of it, and they’ve no idea what to do. So, what we do is, we show them. We actually let them be involved in the music industry.

Sarah: It’s like a development deal. You know, a lot of our students start, and they’re heavy metal guitarists, and then they get into jazz and funk, and then they become a singer-songwriter. They can do all their development in the four walls of our building, so when they do leave, and they try and get in the music industry, they’re developed as artists. They’ve made all their mistakes when they’re with us.

Romy: Yeah, nice.

Sarah: So, they’ve got more chance of being successful, but it’s really about realistic and attainable goals because where we started this conversation is it’s not just about being on MTV, getting played on the radio, and selling 10 million records. There are so many jobs in the music industry that are amazing jobs that you get paid well for; you can pay your mortgage, you can have a lovely standard of living. So, it’s about educating young people to understand those available jobs in the industry.

Romy: Yeah. And we learned on the tour that you offer some other classes too, like how to protect your ears, I think? Is that right?

Sarah: Yeah, yeah.

Romy: Yeah, [inaudible 00:25:18].

Sarah: Yeah, we talk a lot about mental health and music, we talk a lot about looking after yourself. RSI, repetitive strain injury, is a big one for musicians because just while you’re learning, you’re often doing the same thing over and over again. So, it’s helping young people understand that. And then, what these young people have to deal with growing up in Detroit is not like anything I have ever dealt with in any other city that I’ve lived in, in Europe. So, there’s a lot of support that’s needed, and a lot of compassion that’s needed with the students. Generally, when the going gets tough, young people’s first reaction is just to run away, and we’re trying to hold onto them and say, “Look, you need to understand opportunity. You need to understand if you work hard, you will get a job in the music industry.”

We had our first graduating class last summer. We had nine students that graduated from the bachelor degree program, two of them are working full-time in the music industry earning all their money from the music industry, and the other seven, their income is like a piece of pie, they’re earning some from being a corporate band, some from being in a singer-songwriter band, and then other elements of teaching, etc.

Female: [inaudible 00:26:37].

Sarah: It’s helping young people understand they can do what they love and they don’t have to leave music or just have music as a hobby, they can make a career and earn money out of music.

Romy: Yeah, and this place, too, can [inaudible 00:26:53], so let’s talk about highlights. So, you just opened up the Denver school, right?

Sarah: Yeah.

Romy: And you said one other? You had one other?

Sarah: Well, there’ll be a third one.

Romy: Oh, there will be a third.

Sarah: Yeah.

Romy: But we do have DIME Online-

Sarah: But we’ve got DIME Online.

Romy: Okay, that’s what it was, DIME Online.

Sarah: So, DIME Online came first. We sold our UK colleges, and we decided to start up online immediately, and one of the reasons for that … We had a number of young students come out of our UK colleges and went on to be hugely successful. So, I think we had five that sold debut albums over a million sales. And, of course, when they get record deals, and they’re in the middle of their degree course, they’ve got to leave. Especially if they have a hit, because, you know, they’re on the road all around the world. So, we realized that this was a bit counter-productive, and so we started the online program so that if someones gets a job in the music industry, they can take the job and keep going.

Romy: Powerful. Yeah.

Sarah: It’s already happening here. There’s one drummer, he only did a year and a half here, and he got a job touring, and he’s hardly ever in Detroit now, so we switched him onto the online program, and he’s gonna pass his degree.

Romy: Oh, very good.

Sarah: So, that was the reason why we did it online, but actually, we started to find out that it’s one thing coming to America, but everywhere is like America, and everywhere is struggling to find the information about how you get careers in the industry. So, we started to develop DIME Online now, and Sarah’s saying it’s in 22 countries.

Female: Wow.

Sarah: And, in fact, next year we’re gonna develop it even more.

Romy: Let’s flip it around and talk about how people can support your program, because I think one of the running themes about doing social enterprise in Detroit, you could be doing the most amazing amount of good, and everyone wants to come and talk to you, but not a lot of people fund the investment or grants, and that’s real for everyone, and I know usually we bump into people because they are trying to scale that wall somehow and we rarely have an answer. We eke out something every now and then, but fortunately, or unfortunately, it’s a problem that everybody’s trying to solve, but you guys are starting to … You’ve got a lot of potential funders here ’cause they like what you’re doing, right?

Sarah: Well, it ticks the boxes for arts and education.

Romy: Yeah.

Sarah: But ways people can help is currently, students, they can apply for financial aid, but the maximum they will get is about 70%. So it means the students each year have to find somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 at least, and that’s just to pay for tuition. A lot of our students have problems with transport. They can’t even get to college. We have a young student who sits outside from 7:30 in the morning, ’cause that’s when his uncle drives past on his way to work, and then he picks him up at 7:00 at night. It’s the only way he can come to DIME, and he does it every single day. There are some students that can’t afford instruments. We have students that say, “Well, I’m homeless now. I don’t know if I can come to college for three weeks.” There are a lot of drug problems within the families as well, so young people are dealing with the harshest things that life can throw at them in this city.

Romy: All at the same time.

Sarah: All at the same time, and they’re trying to do something for themselves, they’re trying to learn, they’re trying to educate themselves, and it’s tough. It’s really tough. If people out there can take away a little bit of the financial burden, then that would mean a lot to a lot of our young students.

Romy: Yeah, so they can contact you guys and see what’s … They can help you their support in the form of a grant, or see, maybe, with instruments or whatever they might be able to do to support.

Sarah: For sure, for sure.

Romy: Okay.

Sarah: We also want to start running events in some other cities, like going up to Flint for example and taking … Because we know that there’s young musicians in Flint that won’t ever be able to afford the gas to come down to any of our events. So, we wanna go and set up a day’s workshop or a week’s workshop and actually go to some of these communities, and say-

Romy: That’s so great.

Sarah: “This is out here for you.” It’s not about us; it’s about the next generation of musicians. And these guys also, they’re meeting the next generation of the music industry, because the collaboration and the relationships that they’re building whilst being at DIME, they’re gonna take into their careers and the rest of their lives, so the bigger and stronger that community, the more it works for everyone, really.

Romy: Being the ever planner that I am, I would love to see some sort of continuum of corporations that wanna hire some of these students-

Sarah: Students, absolutely.

Romy: Come back and give you guys support for tuition to keep it all going, ’cause you guys took the brave step, and are filling in the awkward gap, that’s the hardest, hardest part. You’re obviously great at it.

Sarah: We have a lot of student debt here, we just try and support every young person the best we can. We have students that are on a payment plan, and if they can only afford $5 a month, then we accept that. We believe that if a student is responsible for their own debt, and they’re trying, it’s building character for their future careers anyway. But what happens is corporations, especially around holiday time, come and say, “Well, do you have a band? We’ve got this kind of event,” or, “We want a guitarist in the corner of our cocktail party,” or whatever it is, and we try and give that opportunity to students with debt first, so we can say to them, “Look, if you concentrate, you work hard, and you create something that the public want, you can start earning money while you’re at college.”

Romy: Yeah.

sarah: And it’s an important life lesson for a lot of these young people.

Romy: Yeah. Plus it’s real-

Sarah: It’s real.

Romy: Experience.

Sarah: It’s real life.

Romy: And it’s a win for everybody.

Sarah: Yeah.

Romy: We have a lot of things we want to talk to you offline of the podcast about, hiring your folks. Well, how would they real you, learn about DIME Online, maybe start with a website?

Romy: Yep, so-

Romy: Yeah.

Sarah: DIME.

Romy: Go on.

Sarah: DIME Online is And then we have And then, also. And you can contact us through the website, there’s info, email addresses, and there’s phone numbers. So, we’re all available-

Kevin: You can also just walk through the door.

Romy: Yeah.

Romy: Right, if you’re in Detroit, walk in.

Kevin: Just come to Detroit and come and see us. And there’s always somebody available to talk. We use these rooms here for recruitment, and we like it if they bring a parent, because it’s important to educate the parents about what we’re doing as well. Especially ’cause we’re English, people are like, “What the hell’s this [crosstalk 00:33:53]? Who are you?”

Sarah: And there’s just one more thing I’d like to mention, and that goes back to the tuition thing, ’cause if you look at a lot of other colleges that are teaching music, whether they’re jazz and classical programs, their tuition fees are about four or five times higher than ours, so it’s really important for us to keep tuition lower and affordable. We know how to do it because we’ve been in this industry for 18 years, and we know it is possible, and we have validating partners, but our campuses will never get beyond a thousand students, so we know how to streamline our classes, how to be cost-effective, and that enables us to keep the tuition down, so whilst we have some students that do want to come here that can’t afford to, no one ever says, “Your program is unaffordable,” or, “Not worth the money.”

Romy: That’s amazing, what you guys are doing.

Sarah: Yeah, so we’re trying.

Romy: Just amazing.

Sarah: Yeah.

Romy: Thank you so much for being on here.

Kevin: Thank you for listening.

Romy: First, of many, I hope.

Sarah: Yes, absolutely.

Romy: Maybe we can keep doing-

Kevin: We could do it forever.

Well, this closes out another great episode of the Bonfires of Social Enterprise. What a great interview thanks so much guys from dime Detroit you guys are so amazing. It’s time to meet one of the artists that have come from Dime. Please meet Constantine Jajas with the funky instrumental Stellar.



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