Meet intern Charlton Taylor II

charlton When I was first introduced to Charlton, an HCA intern who attends Herron High School, I found him in the Sound Cave, a recording space tucked under the stage in Gallery No. 2. It was here that he found inspiration to become a member of the team.  I interrupted him editing a track for a new song that he was working on. He told me that he had put a lot of feeling into this song, “The Story”, which he describes as dark, but very meaningful to him.

I asked about his inspiration, which he said comes from his parents. He recalls a fond memory of his time with his father, who used to pick him up from kindergarten. His father had CD cases full of music from all genres in his car, and the music was very uplifting and exciting. He also drew inspiration from his mother, who would sometimes bring out their cassette and vinyl players, dig into their basement and pull out her old music. He tells me that her tastes were smoother and calmer than his father’s, and that she liked R&B.

His other inspiration has been his music teacher at Herron High School, Mr. Horgeshimer, who got him interested in jazz. Charlton’s favorite artists are John Coltrane, Buddy Rich and Max Roach. He had been using a keyboard on his current track, and it seems that’s where his talents lie.

Perhaps that is why he is so keen to write music using all of those influences, since the keyboard is such a versatile instrument. At the Harrison Center for the Arts, he helps make tracks with anther student artist named “Big Mike” and the two collaborated for the local #LOVEat38th 5x5 competition earlier in the school year. Charlton produced all of the beats for Big Mike’s tracks. He also collaborated with Luke Tuttle (Dream Chief) during his internship. The work that they produced serves to celebrate the local community and neighborhoods.

As our conversation went on, it was obvious that he was truly enthusiastic about these projects, but he also has his eye on the future.  A senior at Herron High School, he is planning to study audio production and technology at the Illinois Art Institute of Chicago this fall.

It was obvious to me that Charlton has big dreams for the future, and is working very hard to accomplish them. He is not only excited, but driven and inspired. He is definitely on his way to doing great things with the support of his family, teachers, friends and, without a doubt, the Harrison Center. As an intern, he has gained valuable skills and motivation that he will take with him to college and beyond.