Victor Nkwocha, 17, always has new ideas and tunes spinning in his head. He's found a home at the teen center of the Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club. You can often find him after school in the studio there working on a project. So, when he and three other LBGC members were tapped to help write a song and star in a music video, he drew from experiene.
The opportunity came through a Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta program designed to help high school students prepare for college and BGCMA alumnus, Mike Twum. The College Bound program helps students, ages 14-18, through the college preparation and application process. Participants get one-on-one academic guidance. "89% of students who go through the College Bound program not only graduate high school, but go on to college," said Kimberly Reaves, director of college and career development.
Twum, 28, approached College Bound and asked if he and his production partners, Nomineez Music Group, could produce a theme song for the program. "I pitched the idea and they loved it," said Twum. Victor Nkwocha, Elizabeth Golden-Bell, Korey Turner and Susan Garcia were chosen for the song. The teens wrote the lyrics with the help of the Nomineez Music Group. "Writing the song wasn't hard because I based it off me a little bit," said Nkwocha. "Moving Up" tells the story of a student who wasn't serious about school, but learned responsibility in the College Bound program.
"We took them to a studio to do the recording. Usually it takes several takes, but they did well in the first take," said Twum. The song was a hit. A video followed, filmed at the Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club. "I really credit the Boys & Girls Club for keeping me out of trouble. They reinforced what my parents did for me and this was kind of my way of giving back," said Twum.
The music video is just the beginning. Merchandise with the College Bound logo is in development. Eventually, Twum would like to expand scholarships to help BGCMA members through their first two years of college. "It's a real honor to have been able to do something like this," said Twum. “I’ve been able to look back on all that I’ve accomplished and I can pinpoint it to the day when my dad dropped me and my brothers off to the Boys & Girls Club (in Brookhaven).
Most of the Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club teenagers featured in the "Moving Up" video have moved on to college. Golden-Bell, 18, who helps sing the hook in the video, is studying psychology at Spelman with hopes of becoming an entertainment attorney. "That's just my fallback. I really want to be a singer," said Golden-Bell.
Nkwocha also has dreams of being in the music business and is not only writing songs, but filming and producing videos too. "It's important to learn everything…all the way down to producing and making your own music videos," said Nkwocha. "That makes you more marketable in the industry."