The AMA Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide the resources to sustainably empower the people of Anguilla and the Caribbean region to compete on an international stage in the areas of the arts, media and technology. Originally established by Founder Darius James as the Anguilla Music Academy in 2015, The AMA Center’s 2020 expansion into its state-of-the-art 11,000 square foot facility allows The Center to greatly expand its scope and reach. To continue the mission of providing transformative programming, scholarships, equipment, and facility enhancements to The AMA Center and those who benefit from its existence, we encourage donations from all sources, institutional and individual. The AMA Center has been made possible by the extraordinary philanthropy of the Sheth Sangreal Foundation.
The revenue generated by AMA Recording and other AMA entities goes towards enabling the programmatic and operational capabilities that The AMA Center provides for the people of Anguilla and the broader Caribbean region.
Anyone who knows The AMA Center’s Founder, Darius James, knows that he is a man of many talents; equally adept with a pair of drumsticks as he is with a hammer and saw (or a mixing console, motorcycle engine, video workstation or mega-construction project for that matter).
Darius’ love for music brought him to Anguilla where he married the love of his life, they built a family together, and he conjured a “mere vision” of a small recording studio and music academy on this beautiful island he now calls home.
With a little help from some rather extraordinary friends, and through 7 years of Darius’ unwavering determination and leadership, this vision evolved, transformed and manifested into an 11,000 square foot, non-profit innovation center – unlike anything the Caribbean has ever seen.
With the emergence of world-class music, art, technology, and talent stemming from The AMA Center, we now begin to witness the fruits of this labor, the mission of this vision. Join our evolution.
The AMA Team
Dominican born Darius James taught himself to play the drums on a kit bought for him by his father by listening to the radio and patterning music genres. He played in church and was a member of the local gospel group Genesis. After graduating high school, Darius became the drummer for Versatile, a Calypso Band for Carnival Cruise Lines.
Relocating to Anguilla in 2008, Darius formed True Intentions Music, functioning as the Drummer/ singer/ Manager. In 2012, Darius embarked on another venture, The Young Meterz Lap Recording Studio (YML) which was at that time, the only live performance recording studio on Anguilla. YML studio birthed a new passion in Darius as he discovered a love for Audio Engineering, Mixing and Mastering.
In 2015, Darius collaborated with The Sangreal Foundation and founded The Anguilla Music Academy (AMA) in response to the growing interest in music as a career in Anguilla.
James McKinney is an experienced administrator having spent nearly 20 years as an executive manager with various telecom and music companies. He is also an accomplished engineer, producer, songwriter, arranger, film-scorer, keyboardist, vocalist, musical director, educator and philanthropist. In James’ cast music experience as producer and music director he has worked with Doug E. Fresh, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, , Faith Evans, Chuck Brown, Wale, Rachell Ferrell, Kenny Lattimore, Raheem Devaughn, Bankie Banx, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, and more. In addition his performance, co-writing and co-production contributed to two Grammy Nominated Performances.
In addition to these accomplishments, James has scored for film, television and web and most recently contributed to the score and sound-track for the award winning films “My Last Day Without You” and “S.O.U.L Of A Black Woman.” His scoring credits also include commercial scores for Discovery Channel and Johnson & Johnson to name a few.
McKinney currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Eusonia Records, and also owns and operates Infinite Icon Enterprises, LLC, his production company. James also uses his skills to enhance the human condition through philanthropy and education globally. In fact within the last few years, James has performed concerts, educational workshops in music and music business in 7 countries including China, Taiwan, England, Papua New Guinea, Anguilla and Haiti. He recently completed several terms as a National Co-Chair of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Grammys; and as a Trustee of the Board of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, (also know as The Grammy Association).
James counts his musical talents, business savvy and experience as a blessing and looks forward to continuing to use these gifts for the betterment and empowerment of people needing and seeking positive inspiration around the world, as he continues to share his and other’s music globally through live performance and recorded music.
Grammy Award-winner, Scott Jacoby, is a Writer, Producer, Engineer, Mixer, Musician and Recording Artist. His work, spanning virtually every genre of music, has garnered awards, graced platinum-selling albums and topped charts throughout the world. John Legend, Coldplay, Janelle Monae, Rachel Platten, Jason Mraz, Vampire Weekend, Sia, Stormzy, Aloe Blacc, Kelly Clarkson, Jose James, Vanessa Hudgens, Fabolous, Ben l’Oncle Soul, Jackie Evancho, SZA, Chimene Badi, Naturally 7, Ronnie Spector and Cory Henry are a few of his diverse and notable collaborations.
Yet while his rise to prominence has been in the music industry, Scott’s roots are firmly planted in the non-profit, international development sector. Before leaving Albert Einstein College of Medicine while in pursuit of his Medical degree, he traveled extensively in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana) and Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador) working with and volunteering for several local non-profit organizations, including the Peace Corps.
At The AMA Center, Scott has found a perfect balance of his interests – merging the musical arts with international economic empowerment programs. A die-hard, life-long New Yorker, Scott and his family proudly consider Anguilla their second home.
Joe has been a strategic advisor for many years to a diverse array of entities to include: philanthropic foundations, non-profits, Fortune 500 companies, start ups, private equity firms, associations, academia, government and leaders at all intersections of American commerce. Mr. Watson’s background as an operating executive in both large and small company environments as well as within numerous settings provides him a unique foundation upon which to provide strategic guidance.
Joe’s book – “Where The Jobs Are Now” was published by McGraw-Hill. His previous book – “Without Excuses: Unleash the Power Of Diversity to Build Your Business” was published by St. Martin’s Press. He has provided analysis on leading media outlets such as The Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, FOX News, PBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fast Company, USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy amongst others.
The Sheth Sangreal Foundation is committed to ensuring that no one stands alone in our changing world. The Foundation provides significant support to educational and environmental initiatives and collaborates with like-minded partners through a unique systems approach to philanthropy keenly focused on empowering others to effectuate change – while consistently achieving outsized outcomes. The Foundation remains highly active in projects that leverage the collective strengths of disparate entities to create extraordinary opportunities for exponential impact.
Board of Advisors
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Artists In Residence
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