Sean Garrett Gives Back
To an uncommon degree, Sean Garrett is using his success to inspire and assist young people.To an uncommon degree, Sean Garrett is using his success to inspire and assist young people.
"He's a dedicated father to his son, and has tremendous feeling for children and their needs," says his attorney, Peter Lopez. "He's such a wonderful, kind and compassionate person. That's really special, and hard to find in this business."
Garrett joined numerous artists and music industry professionals in offering career close-ups and candid insights on the realities of the music business to public high-school students during Grammy Week's Grammy Career Day, presented Feb. 6 by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy at the University of Southern California.
He has likewise lent his songwriting expertise to numerous BMI-sponsored events, including last year's Songwriter101.com panel at the DIY Convention and the 2005 Kauai Music Festival.
Even well outside the music industry mainstream, Garrett has stepped forward for schoolchildren. This spring, The Daily Dispatch in Hendersonville, N.C., reported how Garrett donated funds to the special needs program at a local middle school, where a friend's mother is a teacher.
He now looks to extend his involvement with students with an original program deriving from the nickname he was given by Jay-Z. "Jay-Z named me 'the Pen,' so I want to go around to different schools and speak to kids in reference to finding something within themselves that can be expressed through creative writing," Garrett says. "They don't know it, but any one of them could be the next big songwriter, or the next great poet. It's basically all about believing in yourself, and reaching within yourself and realizing that you, too, have something special inside you, and you have to find that talent within you and nurse it and work on it as hard as you can, and one day present it to the world."
Garrett observes that so many kids today "are in a bad situation." "Their parents say they'll never be nothing," he continues, "or they may have friends or family members who say that. That they're no good at school or sports, or something of that sort. And a lot of kids out there get lost and have nowhere to turn, or a way of finding direction for being something.
"So I want to go around and tell them that I'm someone who found something within myself and stayed in school - but no one thought I'd be a songwriter other than God and me. Basically, it's all about believing in yourself and getting the confidence you may need to get over the hump of everyone else not believing in you."
Taking his concept a step further, Garrett seeks the participation of pen manufacturers in developing a special pen as a memento for the students, "to show they've accomplished something they never thought they could do."
All this, he adds, is part of "giving back," in appreciation of his success and his understanding of "so many obstacles that we all go through." More personal, though, is his interest in aiding the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, having benefited from the Boys Clubs programs as a young boy growing up in Atlanta.
"The Boys & Girls Clubs help shape America," Garrett says of the organization, which is celebrating its centennial this year. "It's so important just being able to go to a Boys & Girls Club and socialize with people who may not do as well as you - or may do a little bit better - and having the opportunity just to associate and have fellowship with different kids enriches your mind."