What instrument do you play and how long have you been playing?
I play the violin and have been playing for almost 9 years.
How long were you in Austin Soundwaves?
I started playing with Austin Soundwaves in 6th grade all the way up until graduation last year.
What are you currently studying?
I am studying Architecture at Texas A&M College Station.
Why do you think programs like Austin Soundwaves are important?
It’s a special way for students to express themselves and it can open doors for so many. It’s also a much needed safe space. Austin Soundwaves started in East Austin which was so great because the east side is very underrepresented and its good to have a program that kids could go to.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy the little things now, because whether you leave for college or not, you’re going to have so many changes in your life. And don’t stop playing your instrument even if you just play once a month after high school!
What does music mean to you?
There are so many things that help people grow. It can be meditation, running, working out, photography, church. And for a lot of people, that’s what music is. Music to me is a beautiful thing. Every time I play now I get flashback memories to my time in Austin Soundwaves. Playing makes me happy because you can almost always connect with people instantly through music. When I play now, it’s a stress reliever. It’s a way to be creative and clear my mind.
What was your favorite part about being in Austin Soundwaves?
My favorite part about being in Austin Soundwaves was the people I got to meet. We are like a big family. The faculty is amazing, they put in a lot of their time into us because they genuinely want us to do better. And I think they really do a good job in grinding in our heads that no matter our background or where we come from, we can do great things.
With teachers like Dr. Camacho and Mr. Slevin, you’re able to connect with them. When other teachers didn't take the time to figure out what was going on with you, or why you might be behaving a certain way, Austin Soundwaves teachers did. They understood and never judged us.
What do you plan on doing after college?
I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet, but I've been thinking that I eventually want to create a concert hall and name it after Draylen.
Can you tell us more about your friendship with Draylen?
I loved his positivity. When he came into a room, people noticed. He also made everyone feel comfortable. He was dedicated to music, but also so dedicated to his friends. He was a handful, but a good one. I’m really grateful for the fellowship program because It’s able to show other students that like Draylen, you can do anything if you have the dedication and passion. He really showed and embodied that through his music.