Music professional turned professor inspiring students with new project

By Douglas McCulloch | Jun 19, 2018
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Joe Carrier makes some adjustments on computer-controlled musical equipment in his home recording studio.

From his basement recording studio in his Dartmouth home, Joe Carrier pressed the play button and listened to one of his latest works. Brazilian music filled the soundproofed room and the vocals of one of his former students shined through, but it’s not quite perfect.

It is a computerized approximation of what Carrier hopes will become his next major project: a set of multicultural songs produced with a live orchestra, all to help forward musical education. It’s a niche project, but it is one the 30-plus year music professional turned educator is passionate about.

Carrier’s affinity for music began at a young age thanks to his parents, who are both music professionals. At 13, he entered the music business professionally, performing in New Bedford-area disco bands.

“I always wanted to be a writer,” Carrier said. “Playing was sort of a secondary thing. It was a way to start off in the industry and a way to earn some money in college.”

It was when he entered Berklee College of Music that his musical taste was broadened with an introduction to jazz. He majored in film scoring, and pursued his passion for writing music.

He has spent 36 years in the music industry. He has written jingles and songs for advertising agencies and major corporations, composed scores for film and TV shows, and even wrote hit pop songs, all the while keeping up his musical talents with performances six to seven nights a week.

A golden cassette award in his home recording studio honored his work with Joey McIntyre. He co-wrote and produced Stay The Same, one of McIntyre's biggest hits after leaving the pop band New Kids on the Block to pursue a solo career.

“It was busy, I have to say, and in all that time I had zero interest in teaching, absolutely no interest,” Carrier said. “It was completely off the radar.”

When he was invited back to his alma mater as a visiting artist in 2008, his very first lecture solidified his next career move: teaching.

“All of a sudden something just happened," Carrier said. "I’m just finding myself extremely joyful and passionate talking about this stuff.”

He became a professor at Berklee in 2010 in the Contemporary Writing and Production department, and has been at it ever since.

That has led him to his latest musical passion: Inspired By Joy. Named for the happiness he found and the times he’s been moved to tears inside the lecture halls and recording studios of Berklee, his hope is to produce songs with a live orchestra, and carefully document the entire process to use as a teaching aid to students in high-level classes — and produce some amazing music.

“I just don’t think there is enough of that out there, and that’s what I am looking to create here for people who donate to the project, and for the students,” Carrier said. “The students will be the ultimate benefactor for this.”

It’s an expensive project, however, which is why Carrier has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the nearly $45,000 necessary to fund the trip and full orchestra setup in Budapest where the process is cheaper.

For more information about the project, visit gofundme.com/inspired-by-joy.

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