Music changed the life of rapper Beau Young ’13.
His resume includes more than 263,000 views of his XXYYXX remix of “About You” on YouTube, a record deal with GalaMusic, two performances at the SXSW Music Festival and concerts with Wale and Nelly.
Now, the Washington, D.C. native hopes to change the lives of others through his own music.
Beau was a budding high school artist whose music garnered the attention of his peers, and earned coverage on several music blogs. He was primed for a music career and success was imminent.
But he knew he couldn’t fully develop as an artist until his mind was mature enough to understand the world around him. He never imagined his maturation process would begin with an email from Guilford College.
Beau had never heard of the College until he received that email.
“Guilford was featured as one of the Colleges That Change Lives and I wanted to see if the institution lived up to those words,” he says. “If I want to engage the people of the world, I need to know and understand different viewpoints and lifestyles.”
When he arrived, Beau realized Guilford was unlike the community he had been used to. “People were not afraid to be themselves,” he says. “People seemed to have a type of freedom that I wasn’t used to.”
Beau’s career quickly evolved while he attended the College.
“My education gave me the fuel to truly believe that I have the brainpower to do whatever I want,” Beau says. Although Beau, a criminal justice major, didn’t study music, a liberal arts education enabled him to take music classes such as jazz appreciation and history of rock.
Through music, Beau quickly acclimated to the Guilford community.
His sense of community grew larger than he ever imagined. He was a sophomore at the College when he opened for Wale during a Charleston, S.C. show in December 2010.
“That’s when I realized I had the juice,” Beau says. “This was my first real show, it was in front of a sold-out crowd and I absolutely destroyed the stage.” Promoters approached him after the show to find out who he was. It was just the beginning for Beau Young.
With a promising career, Beau could have left the College and devoted his life to music alone, but he was determined to finish what he started.
Justice and Policy Studies professor Sanjay Marwah says he’ll never forget when Beau told him about his career and potential to be famous.
“He took me off guard with his humility and being grounded really came to the fore,” Sanjay says. “I will always remember his passion for his education above the potential to be famous.”
Jordan Clark ’14, Beau’s classmate and longtime friend, says Beau is the kind of person who means what he says. “When everyone was out on the weekend, Beau was working on music, making connections, learning a new skill, talking to a different person and crafting the perfect lyric,” Jordan says.
It was his work in the classroom that helped him keep his promise to his family, his friends and himself.
Months before graduation, Beau signed his record deal and began thinking about his future in music. It’s evident that Beau knows where he came from, where he’s been and where he’s going.
“I’m a rapper who advocates education, spiritual freedom and progression,” Beau says. “These are all values I built upon during my time at Guilford. Guilford helped me understand the power I have to go into the world and carry out the mission I was destined to embark on.”