High schoolers debut second album inspired by Motown

CD includes 23 original student-written songs

Mike Dougherty
June 07, 2018 - 12:51 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While most high schoolers are still working on studying for finals or mastering how to drive, students at Hill-Freedman World Academy just put out their second album.

The Motown-inspired album, "What's Going On," includes 23 original student-written songs, which was debuted during an album release party featuring live performances.

And this is no amateur album. It's professionally produced and funded by LiveConnections, a nonprofit from World Cafe Live.

Teaching artists guided the students, including songwriter/producer Andrew Lipke, Grammy nominee Kristal Oliver, Kimmel Center jazz resident Luke Carlos O’Reilly, and past Philadelphia poet laureate Yolanda Wisher. 

Ezekiel Thurman, Hill-Freedman's music technology teacher, said the creativity helps students prepare for the future.

"Colleges and universities are looking for this now," he said. "They're looking for students that are well rounded who don't just have book smarts but also have found ways to make a real impact in their communities, give back, serve and even develop other aspects of themselves."

During the party, students went wild when junior Zak Allen left the stage and performed in the crowd. He's thankful the school provides this artistic outlet.

"We all have the ability to go in and make whatever you want, say what you needed to say, leave a message and have fun with it," he said. "Just bring positive vibes to everybody."