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MSLCE Student Went from the Israeli Army to the Music Industry

By Jacob Nelson

Benjamin Levine took an unconventional route to jumpstart his creative career. He joined the Israeli army. After graduating in 2011, he moved to Israel and soon found himself driving a tank.

“That was a very transformative thing for me in a lot of ways,” Levine said with a laugh.

A couple years later, Levine returned home with a wider perspective of the world and a desire to pursue a career in art and music.

“I came home and still wanted to work in entertainment in some way,” he said.

His sister was working at Vogue and connected Levine with someone she’d met who worked for a management company. But Levine, perhaps excited to get things going, moved to Los Angeles even before any job opportunity had yet presented itself.

“I just started contacting people,” Levine said. He was looking specifically to work in a managing company that oversaw musicians.

“Management in music seemed like the perfect thing for me.”

Soon Levine got a job at Virtue Music Group, a boutique music company. He oversaw a couple different bands, including the enigmatic Black Tiger Sex Machine, a group that runs its own record label and wears black tiger helmets when they perform. Levine called this “a really fascinating experience.”

He got to talk to top agents and see how music is made behind the scenes. Eventually, he left to take an opportunity managing a different musician in Chicago, as well as a visual artist. Combined, these professional experiences have encouraged him to learn more, which is how he arrived at MSLCE.

“When you do something independently it reveals areas of knowledge you don’t necessarily know,” Levine said. “The experience I’ve had of working independently made me see how much there was left to learn.”

Levine hopes that MSLCE will allow him to “upgrade” himself as a professional.

“A place like Northwestern and a program like this is so fresh and modern and so specifically focused on what I’m doing, it just seemed like a no brainer,” Levine said.