SHS student selected to participate in Grammy Camp

Starkville High School senior Kayleigh Thomas was selected as one of 88 high school students from 75 different cities and 24 states to participate in the 14th annual Grammy Camp.
Staff Writer

Starkville High School Senior Kayleigh Thomas avidly watches the Grammys every year when the ceremony is broadcast on televisions across the nation.

Ever since she can remember, Thomas would see the advertisement for Grammy Camp applications during the commercial break, encouraging high school students to apply.

“I was too scared to apply last year,” Thomas said. “This year I finally applied.”

After submitting the application, Thomas and her mother continued getting phone calls from the Los Angeles area.

“This is obviously someone who has the wrong number,” Thomas said she thought to herself.

Then, her mother picked up the phone and it was a representative from Grammy Camp, announcing Thomas was accepted.

“I was very shocked, because there were a lot of kids who applied,” Thomas said.

Thomas was selected as one of 88 high school students from 75 different cities and 24 states for the 14th annual Grammy Camp. Thomas will be the only high school student at the camp from Mississippi.

The camp will be held in Los Angeles from Tuesday, July 17 through Saturday, July 21, 2018, at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

The immersive summer camp is for high school students interested in a career in music. The program gives young people the opportunity to study with music industry professionals, including some Grammy-winning creators and to collaborate with their peers.

The program features eight music career tracks: Audio Engineering, Electronic Music Production, Music Business, Music Journalism, Songwriting, Video Production and Motion Graphics, Vocal Performance and Instrumental Performance.

Thomas said the application process included two small essays and a video interview process.

One essay Thomas had to focus on was what media platform she would change to better the music industry. Her focus was to better streaming services like Soundcloud to help independent artists.

The second essay was for Thomas to choose an artist and explain what role she would have to promote their business.

Thomas said she has always been interested in music, but once she got into high school she began redirecting her interests toward the behind the scenes work.

“I realized I was more interested in the business side,” Thomas said. “Like helping other artists grow and doing publicity for other record labels.”

The interest in the business focus of music sparked from Thomas being an avid concert goer. She said that’s when she realized there is more than just the artist.

“That’s when it hit,” Thomas said. “There’s other positions other than just being an artist in the industry.”

Thomas’ favorite musicians focus on popular singer songwriters like Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Vance Joy and Taylor swift.

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies. Singer-songwriters often provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition or song, typically using a guitar or piano.

As for advice for high school students applying for different programs, Thomas said to stay positive throughout the entire process. She said having a positive outlook can help applicants focus on what sets them apart from others.

Thomas said she feels her focus on the business aspect of the music industry is what made her stand out among other applicants.

“I think it was also the fact that I am extremely passionate about the music side and the business side of it,” Thomas said. “I was very adamant about mixing those two together when I was doing my interview process.”

Thomas is hoping to attend Belmont University after graduating from Starkville High School to study music business. She also hopes to work a marketing and management internship with a major record label.