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Bringing Out the ‘Inner Glow’ With Alexander Star

Updated: Sep 23, 2023


A Creative Collaboration with the Florida Youth Leadership Academy



THE PROJECT This summer, Alexander Star led a creative collaboration with the Florida Youth Leadership Academy (FYLA) – a program initiated by the Florida Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) to teach essential life & leadership skills to youth who happen to be living in foster care.



This 8-month program sends youth on multiple trips throughout the state that give the teens real-life experiences to equip them with tools for a successful future…


So in addition to touring the state capitol in Tallahassee, camping in Ocala National Park, and visiting college

campuses in Miami…FYLA spends an entire day in the studio with Alexander Star creating an original song about their lives.



THE REASON

Cal Walton III, Deputy Director for the Office of Continuing Care at DCF, has worked alongside Star on the FYLA project every year since 2017: “Songwriting collaborations led by Alexander Star are genuinely impactful and pull heartstrings through music.” He added, “And because Star is so transparent with himself, he has the ability to pull out that essence from the teens as well.”



THE RUNDOWN

FYLA’s sessions with Star began around 9:30am at Audio Vision Studios in Miami.


Star and one of Audio Vision’s recording engineers, Gio, gave a tour of the space and shared history about who's recorded there (e.g. Jay Z, Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, Jamie Foxx, Rick Ross) and what the multiple rooms of the space are used for.


As an ice breaker, Star spoke to the group in-depth about his journey and what led him to become an Impact Artist. He then performed an unplugged set backed by two of his Golden People bandmates - Jordan James on guitar and BX The Musical Jenius on piano. This performance allowed the teens to see Star in his element as an artist, granting them license to do the same.




Star gathered FYLA into the studio’s A-Room, played two instrumentals, and had the teens vote for which one the group would write to. The writing topic Star proposed was to creatively highlight personal quirks and unique traits that give each of them a one-of-a-kind “inner glow.”




With the help of Star and his curated team of creative professionals, the teens were empowered to write and record lyrics & melodies that painted their quirks as remarkable attributes.


One of Alexander Star’s gifts is finding light within people, no matter how dimly its been diminished by the world, and helping them amplify it.


“Authentic writers explore inner-self and share what they discover. Sometimes that can be a dark and difficult place to visit, so I write metaphorical 'flashlights' to help people find pieces of themselves that they thought were lost.” - A. Star



Alexander Star’s BTS videographer, Zemi, was there to capture the intimate moments of personal growth & magic in the session. By 5:30pm that day, all the teens' verses had been recorded and FYLA had to hit the road again.



THE FOLLOW-THROUGH

Star spent the next few weeks mixing the teen’s vocals, recording his own choruses around the teens’ lyrics, and editing Zemi’s footage into a documentary-style music video.


This video, entitled “Inner Glow,” debuted in front of 2,500 child welfare workers today at the DCF’s Child Protection Summit in Orlando.


It’s now living on Star’s YouTube Channel, and you can watch it by clicking here :)



TESTIMONIALS



"It feels amazing to work with Star. I didn’t think I would come up with anything but I had Star and his team’s support. I wasn't as nervous, and the music seemed more free flowing than I initially thought."

-Naomi: FYLA 2023




"I was scared at first, even before the trip. When I got to the studio, the support system made me feel more comfortable to open up and speak my mind. It was a great experience."

-Jermaine: FYLA 2023




"I was beyond nervous of letting people hear my artistic voice. I went straight into thinking, “I don’t want to sing” and after connecting with Star, I wrote my thoughts and spoke them on the beat instead."

-Lasean: FYLA Alumni




Words From Alexander Star


1. What were your expectations going into this experience?


“The goal was to meet, connect with, ice break, help, record and vocal guide thirteen strangers – all within eight hours. We (Star and the teens) needed to be friends very quickly, so I shut off all expectations and simply met each teen where they were at.”


2. What tactics did you use to help the teens open up?


“The number-one way to get a kid to open up is to show them you know how to be silly. So I'll just be ‘talentedly silly’ while I show them how I do what I do. I have them write bullet points around our topic, and if they need help I'll turn those bullets into lyrics. that tell their story.


3. How would you rate the outcome of this experience?


This experience is so much bigger than the song, and I'm honored that the teens let us capture these moments of vulnerability. Seeing the energies at play before, during, and after creating their pieces – especially the look on their faces when they realize what they've just created – is the most affirming outcome we could ask for.








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