Artistic talents of youth are shining this summer through the MCH Spiritual Development’s (SD) summer music project. SD Minister Ahmad Washington, who is also a musical artist and producer, is sharing his knowledge and expertise of the music industry with youth as they create songs during the first phase of the summer music project. Once the songs are created, the second phase of the project, led by SD Minister Ron Britton, will bring in visual artists who will design and create the album covers for their peers.
Recently Washington helped an MCH youth create an album of her own music and several other youth expressed the desire to also share their talents and learn about music production. With such a high level of interest in the project, Washington held auditions and conducted interviews with youth to form the music production class. During the process, youth were selected based on their talent, attitude, work ethic and willingness to work as a team. Six youth from the Waco campus and three from the Boys Ranch were selected to be a part of the music project. The youth from the Waco campus are all songwriters and vocalists/rappers and include Alex (vocalist), Kristen (vocalist), Nadia (rapper), Xavier (rapper), Jesse (rapper/vocalist), and Jayden (rapper). Youth from the Boys Ranch are music composers and include Prince, Ramero and Yacci.
Washington said in the class, the youth are learning about developing song concepts, focused creative writing as well as what it takes to create a radio-ready song including the preparation, practice and process of recording. The group came together to follow a common theme of “hope” and brainstormed for ideas and concepts for a collaborative song. Youth at the Boys Ranch are learning how to compose and record music and beats which they will present to the Waco group.
Many of the youth have faced hard circumstances and challenges and music is giving them a way to express themselves, Washington said.
“They are learning that music is more than a technique and sound, but about your heart coming through in your sound,” Washington said. “The goal and the purpose of this project is to make both the student and listener feel like no matter what they’ve gone through, they can make it.”
Once the group song is complete, the youth will also have the option to record their own song. Britton will interview and hold auditions for artists who are interested in creating the graphic design or illustrations for the album covers. This experience will provide students with an avenue to grow in their craft as well as an opportunity to share their talents and build their self-confidence.
“I am excited, impressed and incredibly proud of them,” Washington said. “During this experience, there are certain things that you see at work spiritually.”