As a program director, I would alway be a little envious when I would hear other directors talk about “magic moments” that they would have in the studio. A couple weeks ago, I met 2 sets of brothers from the neighborhood adjacent from my studio. Days prior to me introducing myself to them, I overheard one of the Boys and Girls Club employees fussing at them pretty loudly. As I was walking into the studio, something made me stop and introduce myself to them. “Hey You guys ever saw a recording studio?” They all looked shocked, confused, and excited at once. As I walked them into the studio, we made small talk and they instantly became overwhelmed with excitement. They started exploring and then I heard them mumble some lyrics and a melody. “Hang on, do that again!” I ran to the beat bar and made a quick 4 bar loop…. THEN my moment happened. Check out the photos and video below. Great feeling knowing a simple gesture can change the outlook of our futures entire day.
If you are from New Orleans, when you meet someone new, one of the first things that they will ask you is “What High school you went to?”
I take pride in answering this question because my Alma mater just happens to be the best school in the city (Totally non biased opinion). Last year, I had the privilege of meeting and now mentoring 2 seniors at St. Augustine high school… Home of the Purple Knights. Byronne and Nigel. Nigel, a budding engineer, rapper, and Hype man, and Byronne, not only a great singer, but a super talented songwriter. Ive been working with them the last couple of weeks in between their band practices (when you have a second, Youtube St. Aug “Marching 100” and then thank me later) and we were able to record “late night”. Check it out below, and be on the lookout for more great things coming from things guys and the NOLA studio as a whole. #Purple
As things continue to develop for Kodie… I find myself always making the “O man that was dope!” face every time Kodie comes to the studio with a new verse. The crazy thing is, literally EVERYTIME he comes to the studio he has multiple concepts, verses, or full songs he’s worked on in the days leading up to his session. Check out something he “threw together” called “tRees”, trust me, you’ll instantly become a fan.
So, towards the end of last school year I was at the beginning stages of what is now a super solid partnership with the house of blues Music Forward Foundation. I met Kodie right after his performance. I honestly feel that was a turning point in his life. He forgot his words, got off pace with the instrumental, and overall just bombed his performance (his words not mine lol)
I had never met Kodie until that night, but that allowed an opportunity for he and I to have some honest conversations, and fast forward six months, he sees me as part of his family now. Getting him out of his comfort zone really showcases how talented he is. Because of us carving out and starting to highlight more of himself, his confidence has skyrocketed and we’ve already started working on 2 songs to have public by months end! He’s brought along some friends with him who have become members of the Notes for Notes program, Jazmin and Anthony (Aka AJ) they both are very ambitions, Jazmine in relearning recording techniques and AJ who is a super dope lyricist. As their bond continues to grow I will keep things updated here so you can see the greatness I’m privileged to be around on a weekly basis. I always leave our sessions inspired.
One of my favorite things to do is meet new people. They bring a different perspective and outlook on life. With working as a Notes for Notes employee for a little over a year now, I have gained an even bigger appreciation for this…. Mainly because of people like Tremaj. For the longest, I was so focused on curating a teen population in my studio, that my attention somewhat deviated from the younger group of youth in my studio. Tremaj was a strong reminder that great things come in small packages. We met briefly during summer camp a few months back because he expressed interest in music, but he is also a football player. Now that the school year has started ,Tremaj is the first kid to get dropped off at the boys and girls club so thats given us an opportunity to really develop not only a relationship, but a friendship. He’s my homie! for the last couple weeks, we have been going over counting time, different rhythms, and finally, applying that all to making beats. This week we were able to actually put something together that was really cool. I let him pick the sounds, the tempo and direction of the beat in its entirety, and just helped him glue it together. End result was great! As the week ends, we will work on sequencing and song structure and have a finished product to play for everyone.
Being a program in New Orleans, my biggest hurdle thus far was curating a teen population. The teens are here, it just took some creative outreach to finally get them in our studio. I’m so happy to finally be able to present my first piece of work to come out of Notes for Notes Nola. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Brianna, who is by far one of the most talented teenagers I have had the opportunity of meeting. This was her first time recording anything. She wrote this entirely on her on and I was able to help bring her vision to life.
Brianna – Wishing (Produced By Justen Williams)
Listen and enjoy, we only get better from here!
As I approach the one year mark with working for this organization, by far my biggest hurdle has been gathering teens to consistently take part in what we have to offer. I’m super thankful for the opportunity to introduce Brianna. She is a junior at one of the high schools that I had done some outreach at last year. Her mom reached out to me as summer camp was ending and we set up a meeting. From our very first session together I could tell this would be exactly what not only she, but i needed as well. With a modern R&B sound similar to the likes is Jhene Aiko and Rihanna, it’s extremely exciting to take part in help to develop an artist who is already super talented. Be on the lookout for new music coming in the next few weeks!
As summer came to an end at the Boys and Girls Club in New Orleans, I was able to take away a huge sense of fulfillment. Two of the youth who were completely obsessed with being a part of what Notes for Notes is doing, not only became better artists, but also became new members of our program. To show what they had been working on the last few weeks of camp, we put together an invite only concert (because who doesn’t want to feel exclusive right?) I shot and edited this video to show how much fun we had throughout this journey! Looking forward to seeing what the fall semester has in a few weeks.
As summer camp comes to a close at the end of next week,I wanted to take an opportunity and introduce the world to 2 of the most enthusiastic youth I have had the privilege of meeting. Monteco and Deshawn. From the first time we met, they have shown nothing but commitment towards being great as performers. Monteco (Photo in booth) is a budding soul singer, with an incredible talent. And Deshawn… Never in my life have I met someone that young, with that much passion about what they plan to do. It goes so much further than an imagination, you can tell at 11 years old that he plans on making his dreams a reality. I have been documenting some of their work in the studio, and next week they are putting on an invite only concert for some of their friends to attend before camp ends for the summer. (More on that Next week!)
I’ll be the first to admit. With summer camp, and 150 kids all under the age of 12…. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Top this with the fact that almost all of them want their turn in the studio, things can get hectic super fast. On the other hand, I will also admit, its really hard to say no to a young person who wants to be a part of what we are doing. In an effort to appease the wants of all, I think I struck gold. Prior to our scare with the tropical storm that was headed toward New Orleans, every Wednesday we set up a pair of our speakers and let youth have a break from the norm, partying in the hallway during lunch. It has been incredible to watch how music makes such a big impact in bulk! So many youth laughing, smiling, dancing and genuinely enjoying themselves all in a place where they normally wouldn’t. Taking every opportunity I can with the resources I have to make an impact.