FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE – LESSONS LEARNED
Fun fact: I went to two high schools at the same time – Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS) and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
I went to BFHS for academics.
Then at lunch I would take the bus across the city to study jazz at NOCCA.
I'm going to be honest for a second. I was already playing gigs early on in high school. In other words, music was already such a big part of my life, so I wasn't really part of any crowd at BFHS.
I was so influenced by older musicians and teachers with whom I played gigs. I would be excused from school to do tours and would be out until midnight a couple nights a week playing in music clubs around New Orleans.
With everything I was doing, it's a miracle I graduated high school! Inviting my teachers to my gigs let them see where my heart was and why I do what I do.
Basically, I mainly prepared for college by consulting with teachers, and people I looked up to. Some of them even told me things before I even got to talk with them. The biggest thing I was told was:
"You're from New Orleans. DON'T LOSE WHAT MAKES YOU YOU."
And for a spell when I got here, I admit, I lost a bit of my New Orleans edge. But through serious reflection and going home a few times, I learned to appreciate where I come from a lot more.