BAYCAT San Francisco Nonprofit Social Enterprise Internship and Youth Programs

Not Quite Goodbye: Music Producer Jason Valerio Makes His Move

Member of BAYCAT’s Music Program Pursuing Music Full-Time

After an AMAZING 4 years at BAYCAT, Jason “Trackademicks” Valerio will be pursuing his music career full-time. Jason, a Bay Area native, will be splitting his time between the Bay and LA. Here’s a little insight into his future plans, plus what he will miss, and why this isn’t goodbye.

Where are you from? 

Alameda, CA.

So Bay *and* LA? Why keep both?

There’s nowhere with the Bay Area’s specific flavor. A true cultural Melting pot. A Lot of ethnically/culturally mixed folks, with equally diverse neighborhoods make for an awesome living experience. Never boring. Aside from the people, the nature here is amazing. The microclimates make it so that you can experience whatever weather you want, whenever you want. The mountains, trees, water, beaches, are all so picturesque. As a Bay Area resident, you pretty much have it all.

What will you miss most about working with youth?

The Youth keep you Young. I cherish the fact that I’ve gotten to see my students at that moment of epiphany where something “clicks”… It’s a constant reminder of my own journey and how those very same things happened for me. It’s a very rewarding thing to be able to demystify certain concepts and processes for youth. They’ll always remember how you helped their development. What I’ll miss most is the daily exchange of knowledge and ideas, as I’ve learned so much from them as well.

What is your most fun or memorable experiences with youth in your career?

There’s are too many to name. In general, the most memorable moments are when the students’ questions start to subside, and they shift from needing assistance with the music making process to being self sufficient. Aside from that, I remember working with one of my students, Thomas, and him saying that he’d never be able to do a beat in one day. Next thing you know he was producing 3-5 in one class sitting.

What has working with youth taught you?

I’ve learned that you can’t just explain something just one way. You have to convey the material you teach from almost every possible perspective/method, as each student learns differently. Also, I’ve learned that they’ll absorb as much as you throw at them. They’ll surprise you with how much they’re able to accomplish. They’ve also reminded me to always communicate.

What’s next for you?

Music, Music, Music. I’m going to continue to develop my company, HNRL Music, producing and collaborating for a range of different musicians. I’d love to get into film scoring too. I’ll definitely be DJ’ing out more, hoping to throw some great events in the near future. Also, hopefully exploring more of the Southern California “Fresh Coast”, as I’ve mostly been a NorCal person. And just more traveling in general. I’m definitely not planning it out… just going to go with the flow.

Is this the end of Jason and BAYCAT?

Definitely not! I love BAYCAT. It will forever be family. I’d love to come back and share what I learn during my time away with the interns and the youth!

Any last words?

My time at BAYCAT has been on of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I’m thankful to have had the chance to know everyone here! I’ll miss everyone deeply!

Always Our Way, All Bay, All Bay All Day. Forever Fresh Coastin’. Yeee!

Quickies:

Favorite album: N*E*R*D ‘In Search of…’

On Your iPod: Sade, Kaytranada, Prince, King, Trackademicks

Favorite movie: The Secret of My Succe$s

Favorite restaurant: La Penca Azul in Alameda… mostly because of the time had there

Favorite meal of all time: Too many to name… probably

music album, BAYCAT

Listen. Vibe. Share. Change Their World.

First Album Ever Produced by BAYCAT Youth.

Housing crisis.

Election fears.

Black Lives Matter.

Today, our youth are navigating a world with big questions and few answers. Empowering them to use their voice through music and media to confront these major issues is more important now than ever. BAYCAT works with kids as young as 11 years old to educate and train underserved kids in San Francisco and the Bay Area, combating gaps in social equity and education by placing young people on the path from education to employment in the digital media arts. BAYCAT creates a safe place where youth and young adults are able to gain the tools and platform to express themselves and advocate for world they want to see.

In the first ever BAYCAT album 3rd @ Twilight, the lyrics in “What’s Going On,” written by Angela, 14, and Ze’Vonte, 16, and inspired by Marvin Gaye, have an undeniable power: “It’s hard to fight a fear that will always fight back. … It feels like a modern day war. Haven’t we been here before? Back in 1954.”

The 3rd @ Twilight release party experienced a neighborhood-wide blackout, which could have been an event killer. For us, it became a testament to the strength of our youth. “The power is out on the block, but the power we need is in these youth and in each of you,” said BAYCAT Founder, Villy Wang.

BAYCAT’s youth first music album, 3rd at Twilight. 17 new tracks on social justice, displacement, election madness, Black Lives Matter, and more.

Make a Difference. Buy the Album to Support BAYCAT’s mission.

By purchasing their album, or gifting a tax-deductible donation, you make a difference by directly supporting BAYCAT’s mission to help low-income youth, young women and kids of color who have no access to the creative and digital fields. Together we can change the face of the media, have an impact on the messages we see and hear, and make a meaningful difference in the community.

That starts here. Buy 3rd @ Twilight today. Listen to their message. Share your favorite lyrics and songs. Change the world with their message.

Music album produced by BAYCAT youth

The cover of 3rd @ Twilight, first music album ever produced by BAYCAT youth.

Inside BAYCAT: Meet Alessandra Carter, Our Academy Manager

Getting to Know our Newest Team Member on Youth Education, Media + More

Meet Alessandra Carter, aka “Ms. C!”  An Oakland native, she recently returned to the Bay Area and brings a huge enthusiasm for youth, education and social justice.  Jumping right into the role of Academy Manager, she’s already on board leading our Academy for our first Summer Media Camp focusing on music.

Why the Bay Area? 

In late 2015, I was living in Harlem New York. I had been there for 6 years and decided that I wanted to return to the Bay. Now that I’m home, I look forward to contributing to the educational space, specifically educational program design and college access and career readiness efforts for low-income and underserved populations.

What made you want to work with youth?

I’ve been in the educational field for 6+ years. I enjoy their energy, honesty and am constantly inspired by their resiliency.

What is your favorite part of working with youth?

Building relationships and creating opportunities for them to learn more about career and college options.

Have you had and fun or memorable experiences with youth in your career so far?

I’ve had quite a few. While working at a start-up in Manhattan, NY, I managed a 6-week Computer Science and leadership intensive for Black and Latino boys. My work included recruiting the students, reviewing applications, planning exposure trips and supporting the lead Computer Science teacher. It was a whirlwind experience!

My favorite parts were getting to know the boys and taking them on the career exposure trips to awesome companies like Google.

What has working with youth taught you?

That students can be learners as well as teachers.

Why is youth media important?

Well, I think it’s important for two reasons.

1-  It’s important to empower the traditionally disempowered and disenfranchised because their experiences are valuable.

2- Youth media, especially in the current social and political climate, has value because they tell stories from a viewpoint that can be overlooked by adults.

What do you do when you’re not at BAYCAT?

Spend time with family, dabble in digital photography and (re)explore my hometown, Oakland.

Quickies:

Last book read? Soka Education, By Daisaku Ikeda.

On Your iPod? I’m more of a Spotify/Google Play kinda girl.

Jill Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Anita Baker, Anderson Paak and Frankie Beverly and Maze are usually in rotation 🙂

Favorite movie: That’s hard! Top 3: The Lion King, Sister Act and Steel Magnolias.

Favorite restaurant: I just moved back to the Bay. I don’t have a favorite just yet. Recommendations?

Favorite meal of all time: Southern style smothered chicken over rice and collard greens. Sweet potato pie and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

“Hard Times” – New Youth Music Explores Incarceration, Discrimination

Song to be a featured part of Zoom In: Episode 34 – Is This Justice?, examining juvenile justice, incarceration, and the role of community

This semester, four Bay Area youth in BAYCAT’s Music Production class wrote, performed and produced this song as part of a bigger piece exploring incarceration in the US from a youth perspective, to be released later this month. They were mentored through the process by Jason “Trackademicks” Valerio. The song is a reaction to recent attention on violence against young people of color in this country. Hear the song and read the lyrics below.

If you’re in the Bay Area, you can see the premiere of the entire piece, including the music video for this song, at the World Premiere of Zoom In: Episode 34 – Is This Justice? on December 8th at Z Space in San Francisco.

Youth Explore Hard Times


BAYCAT MUSIC PRODUCTION CLASS

FALL 2015

“Hard Times” feat. Angela, Amir, Zevonte, & Isaiah (Palindrome).
Produced by Palindrome

LYRICS:

Intro
(Angela)
I wear hoodies when I want, I eat Skittles when I want
I can breathe when I want, I can breathe, I can breathe

Verse 1
(Amir)
Have you heard of a kid with the mindset of a grown up, well sho ‘nuff,
I’m livin’ proof, so upchuck. I’ve thought of things that you need and about things like why do I breathe
To see another one of me get thrown in jail or left to bleed? (You see?)
I’m giving you food for thought so feast, At least
I’m not one of the peeps who stuck fighting a war that’s worth a penny
Have you seen these cops? They like wild packs of dogs
Killing anything that’s brown and walk
It’s been kept a secret
But now we see it, but now is the hard part

Chorus
(Angela)
In these hard times, you have to know that it’s gon’ be all right
And even when things go wrong, you have to know to just stay strong

Post Chorus
(Angela)
I wear hoodies when I want, I eat Skittles when I want
I can breathe when I want, I can breathe, I can breathe

Verse 2
(ZeVonte)
I ain’t playing these games, ain’t playing these games
Discrimination and hate they all feel the same
Get some money in your pocket and the whole game change
Stop putting down, ever thought that for a change?
Cause I do what I do, never stop it for what
Typing on a computer acting hard because
You can’t see the real me being fake for what
I think that’s crazy swearing up and down that you a thug
Like its so F.A.K.E. — fake
Barbie and Ken on aisle 8 I live on the block that never changed
I got my pride can you say the same?

Chorus
(Angela)
In these hard times, you have to know that it’s gon be all right
And even when things go wrong, you have to know to just stay strong

Verse 3
(Isaiah)
Do not take me to jail, I don’t know nothing
I just wanna a good life to be worth something
Help me please, help me please, I can not breathe
Shoot me down or bring me up, it won’t phase me
21st up next, you know we is the best
You gave me life cause I’m young and I made a lil’ wreck
Get it, that’s young and reckless, I’m in my zone so please respect it
I got hit with a baton, why don’t you get it
Boom boom bang bang making videos
Said 1 min but it was 11 yo, oh oh
Heart full of gold, dead on the streets 4 hours really yo
Y’all real crazy fire shots
Dat don’t amaze me
Reppin’ 21st and this record
And y’all squad going crazy
Palindrome on this beat, no guns no clips
So much heat, more danger than my scripts

Jason helps Nailah find her sound.

Alex works on his beats.