“Music doesn’t discriminate
The problem with the world is all this hate
I know we don’t have the same race but our blood is the same
All over the world.”
Camya Bradley, 10th grade, Hill-Freedman World Academy
From the song “All Over the World”
WAKE UP EVERYBODY is the third album created from the partnership between LiveConnections and Philadelphia public high school Hill-Freedman World Academy (HFWA).
The collection of 21 original student songs (and a cover of the 1970’s classic title song) takes its inspiration from the mission, songs and style of Philadelphia International Records. The influential label, founded in 1971 by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, produced the renowned “Sound of Philadelphia.”
The album is the culmination of a year-long project led by HFWA Music Technology teacher Ezechial Thurman and a team of LiveConnections teaching artists: Andrew Lipke, Kristal Oliver, Luke Carlos O’Reilly and LiveConnections Founding Director David Bradley.
Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, as part of the school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum, all of HFWA’s 10th graders and a cohort of 11th and 12th graders dug into the Philadelphia International catalogue. Students drew inspiration from the label’s focus on “music with a message,” while also drawing on contemporary R & B, pop and hip-hop.
With guidance from Thurman, Lipke, O’Reilly and Grammy-nominated songwriter Oliver, the students wrote lyrics, individually and in whole class collaborations. Many tracks feature original student musical composition and production, a hallmark of the Music Technology program led by Thurman.
Other tracks feature LiveConnections artists and special guests, including Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia William R. Hite Jr., as well as notable Philadelphia musicians Laurin Talese (winner of the 2018 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition), rapper Chill Moody and keyboardist Eric Wortham II, a Hill-Freedman alumnus who has toured with Adele and Jill Scott. Eric Westbrook, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement, and Frank Machos, Executive Director of the Office of Arts & Academic Enrichment for the District, also appear on the record.
HFWA 10th grader Jaelynn Pearson said of the process, “Writing is a way to be heard when you feel like no one is listening. And with our LiveConnections artists, I knew I was being listened to; they’ve encouraged me so much to push myself harder and listen to myself. We have a story that is important to listen to and we can shine light where you can’t see.”
The original songs follow the title’s exhortation to “wake up” to what the world, and the students, are facing today. The album moves from the personal to the global, with students singing about love and family, social justice, their futures and the need to come together in a divided world.
Hill-Freedman World Academy is a special admission middle and high school in Northwest Philadelphia. We proudly serve students with a variety of backgrounds, talents, and needs. Hill-Freedman World Academy provides a rigorous academic environment that inspires individuality and fosters lifelong learners who are committed to being knowledgeable, caring, internationally-minded global citizens. Hill-Freedman is a school where “All Means All” and where students are challenged and encouraged to develop their talents, even those yet to be discovered.