FARMINGTON, Maine — What Devin Ferreira received while a student at Mt. Blue High School has inspired him to want to give back.
Now a performing rap musician, who combines rap and the saxophone, and a full-time teacher in Boston, Ferreira, 24, has started a scholarship award for a student at Mt. Blue.
“They inspired me to pursue a music career and once I started to be more successful, I wanted to give back to the people who gave me so much,” he said Friday.
Awards Night for senior students begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, in the high school gym, according to the school’s guidance department.
Ferreira will come back to present the first scholarship Tuesday night. He graduated from Mt. Blue in 2007 and wants to say something to the seniors.
“It’s the biggest reason for the scholarship,” he said. “When you’re growing up, you have a dream but sometimes it can get lost in reality. I can go back and say I was in your shoes. If I can achieve my dream, you can too.”
As a youngster growing up in New Sharon, Ferreira began rapping at age 6 and playing the saxophone at age 8.
“While in elementary school, the music program embraced me,” he said. “I was too young for the formal program but they allowed me to move up and play with the older kids.”
During his high school years, the music teacher, Karen Beacham, “took me under her wings and gave me extra tutoring in music theory and concert band,” he said.
Beacham has helped choose the recipient from this year’s class; it’s a student who also plays saxophone and plans on a career in music education, he said.
Ferreira has decided, no matter how much he earns, to give 10 percent of everything he makes back to kids. It’s something he’s done from the first check he made.
The Mt. Blue award will continue but he hopes to extend that and create a network of scholarships.
As a teacher of music at the Boys and Girls Club in Boston, he works with inner-city youths ages 10 to 18 five days a week. Ferreira teaches recording, song-writing, music production and performance, all the things he does when he performs and records.
“I want to continue that way,” he said of the dual positions. “As a teacher, I must continue to learn and be a student to teach kids.”
He said he enjoys the teaching, mostly because he can help inspire kids to overcome their challenges and fears.
Ferreira performs around the Boston area. He writes his own lyrics. He believes music has the ability to bring people together, support people and build community. The lyrics promote that, he said.
He was able to fuse his two passions, rap and the saxophone, together.
“A lot of people think rap is a certain way,” he said. “When they see what I do, it opens their minds to it.”
His work is what he calls rap/soul with lyrics that are message driven.
Many hometown friends have traveled to his shows in Boston.
“I feel their support,” he said. “It’s really special to me.”
Ferreira has written a song “Hometown.” This July he plans to come back to Farmington to do a show and film a video on July 27, one that includes local people and represents the things he loves about his hometown.
The Internet has expanded his audience. One video went viral in Farmington in one day, he said. He cherishes the virtual audience and friends and family in Farmington.
“I want them to support me first. That’s where it all began,” he said.
Ferreira earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Business at University of Massachusetts at Lowell and recently completed a master’s in education at Lesley University.