My name is Devin Miguel Woodson. My true stomping ground is, and always will be, the west side of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is my favorite city in the world. I may move away one day but this will ALWAYS be my safe-haven. Detroit has played a huge part in the soundtrack to my life. These songs speak to the pain I’ve experienced in Detroit but also the triumph. My soundtrack is all about me realizing its okay to not be okay, to not fit the ‘norm’, or conform to others’ standards. These songs and events mean so much to me and represent life-changing and pivotal moments in my life so far. My goal is always to let anyone that I meet know that they are not alone in this life.
Track 1: Lean on Me, Bill Withers
I was fourteen years old and I barely knew what the word mosaic meant, let alone what a company with ‘mosaic’ as its name could do for me. I first became aware of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit when they performed a show called “Crossing 8 Mile”, and from that moment on I was hooked! The music in the show was so beautiful, filled with peace, love, joy, and happiness. The actors in the company made you laugh and then cry. It was at this moment I knew I had to be a part of the group – I had never found a place where I truly felt free to express myself but I found it at Mosaic. Who knew this would be the place I call home for the next 4 years? When I auditioned and was successful, that was exactly what it felt like too. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and it was all so new and slightly overwhelming, especially for someone like me, who had never experienced love like that before. There was so much support and I felt able to express myself musically and personally in ways I had not been able to previously. The song which expresses my discovery of Mosaic is “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. This song represents the love and spirit of community I found there. It was also the first song I ever learned as part of the group.
Track 2: Count on Me, Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans
There was a particular moment at Mosaic which stands out as key moment in my life. We were performing our annual concert for singers (Singsation) and there was a woman in the audience who I recognized – I had been noticing her at Mosaic all the time. After the concert had ended, the lady approached me and gave me a bunch of flowers. She said: “My husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I told him I wanted to hear Devin sing. Your voice has the power to change the world and the way people view it.” It was at that moment I realized that my singing was not only something I loved and wanted to do for the rest of my life, but that it affected others too; through my singing I could be there for those that do not have a voice; to let them know they have a friend and someone to count on. For this reason, I think it is only appropriate that a song on my soundtrack is “Count on Me” by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans. Whenever I listen to the lyrics of the song I always think that they are so fitting for the feelings of pride and joy I experienced at that very moment I spoke to the woman from the audience. I was there for her, as she was there for me.
Track 3: I’m Here, Fantasia (from The Color Purple)
The final song of my soundtrack is “I’m Here” from the Broadway musical The Color Purple. This song represents the long, three-year journey that got me to DIME. After a year of applying to schools with no success, a friend of mine told me about a school he had been accepted into. He said it would be the perfect place for me so I got in contact with the school, auditioned, and was successfully admitted onto the Vocals program. But there was a hitch – I could not afford it. I came back a few times and auditioned again, but there was still no financial aid, which broke my heart as I knew I could not make it work financially. When I found out that DIME had partnered with MSU Denver I was finally able to apply. I got my financial aid, attended the orientation session and one semester later I am at the top of my class! I have made the best friends I have ever had and I am pulling inspiration from every nook and cranny of my life to pour into my music. People are recognizing my gifts, and realizing there is potential for me to succeed and make my dreams come true. The song ‘I’m Here’ signifies my journey: the highs and lows I’ve been through to arrive at this moment.
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