IHM News

Carnival Cruise Line Makes Their Live Shows Count with Bram

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : April 17, 2018

Carnival Cruise Line Brings Bram Back to Work with Artists Across Six Ships in Two Countries

Carnival Cruise Line brings Bram onboard to make their live shows count This March, IHM founder and president Bram Bessoff returned to Carnival Cruise Line to continue their groundbreaking live performance work. Last November Bram led an artist workshop to break in the newly built Carnival Studios, a landmark 44,500 square foot production space, and guide dozens of Carnival artists in creating a better live show. The first session was such a success, Bram was invited back to expand upon what they started; a two-part initiative that began with build winning sets for the resident band of Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship, Horizon. Carnival Cruise Line artists prepare for their debut at Carnival Studios

The first week of work took place at Carnival Studios in Davie, Florida. There, Bram met up with the collective of musicians set to become the main band on Horizon, Carnival’s newest ship currently on its inaugural cruise around the world. The band brought together top musical talent from all over the world. To build the set and connect with the audience, they focused on creating moments that keep individual audience members engaged for different reasons across the entire set.

Carnival Cruise Line guitarist Tag jams with horn directror Aaron

Where the last outing with Carnival was a broad workshop to work on one song with many different artists, this week was a deep dive into a single ensemble perfecting their show. Working on two major sets, they dedicated upwards of three days to each giving them time to get deep into the details of each song, applying the first workshop’s lesson of creating moments in a song, but expanding the vision to create an experience across an entire set.

The Carnival Cruise Line Horizon band

The Horizon Band: SavannahTagKyle, TommyAaronBennyMartinRafael, Ronan,

The challenge was how to make cover sets original. For the ‘Hitsville’ set, Bram and the band got into building the relationships between the male and female fronting duo to provide new and engaging ways for the audience to see and hear songs they are already familiar with. The Boogie Nights set, aka ‘what happens in the 70s…’ was a disco set meant for cutting loose and having fun. So that’s exactly what they prepared with original “theme” music, antics, and tricks to involve the audience in the show.

“Carnival Cruise Line truly understands the importance music plays in creating amazing experiences for their passengers. While we at Indiehitmaker helped their artists and musicians create performances that engage the audience from to beginning to end, the whole experience taught us to think differently about the entire fan experience whether it’s four days on a ship or a lifetime of engagement once someone becomes a fan.”

– Bram Bessoff, IHM Founder & President
Carnival Cruise Line ships Visat, Valor and Fantasy

The second week brought Bram to Cozumel by way of Key West for a whirlwind round of workshops with dozens of artists across multiple ships in the Carnival fleet.

Carnival artists perform at sea

Bram sailed down to Cozumel aboard the Valor, undertaking a short cruise to see Carnival Cruise Line’s resident artists as they live and perform for a real audience.

Carnival Cruise Line Crew Only

Bram got to experience crew life firsthand. Artists work extremely hard, and as Bram says about the trip, “The payoff is immense both in dollars and the number of fans and relationships you establish around the world to build a lifelong career as an independent artist.” While at sea, Bram was able to check out all the artists’ performances; the soloists, the duos, the piano bar, the rock bands, the choreographed acts, and the main ensemble. “Seeing the ensembles play in real time with live audiences showed me how to further expand upon set moments and how to link engagement form show to show… I was definitely taking notes.”

Carnival Cruise Line port of call Cozumel, Mexico is filled with local musicians

The Valor docked in Cozumel, and after a day of soaking up the tropical weather and checking out the local music, Bram boarded Carnival Cruise Line ship Victory for a whirlwind day-long live performance workshop while the ship was docked. As Cozumel is a hub for Carnival, three ships’ worth of artists joined. The workshop followed in the footsteps of Bram’s first outing to Carnival Studios, breaking down a song and working on an intro moment, an audience participation moment, and how to know when you need those moments in your set and when to execute them. Bram got another day to enjoy the locale, then got up and did the whole thing over again on Carnival’s Liberty, with a total of just under a hundred artists from six ships (Vista, Valor, Victory, Fantasy, Liberty, Horizon) in two weeks.

“Bringing in talented individuals to support the skilling up of our teams and our leaders plays a central role in Carnival’s vision to create safe, fun, and memorable vacations at a great value. Within the music department, we do this by supporting the development of our leaders and our teams and focusing on perfecting execution – Indiehitmaker, and Bram, have helped realized that vision for us. Thanks, Bram!”

– David Brady, Manager of Music Direction, Carnival Cruise Line

Bram with artists from the Carnival Cruise Lines Fleet

“Carnival Cruise Line is in a unique position to help emerging artists,” Bram concludes, “this is an amazing opportunity for any artist just starting out to jump-start their career not only as a musician but performer as well.” Carnival Cruise Line recruits talent from all over the world through their website,


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