As Dawson grew he was constantly videoing his own commercials and shows, building forts and objects out of whatever he could find, writing and illustrating mini-books, etc. It took everything we had to just keep up! We soon realized that the prevailing thread through it all was music. In elementary school he began to take guitar lessons and write orginal music. He even recorded the music (eventually teaching himself to use Pro Tools and other recording software), produced it and performed it.
When Dawson was in the 5th grade, his brother Braden (who is an amazing drummer) and a couple of friends formed a band. They were called "A Day of Disaster." They performed orginal music and cover songs around the DallasFt. Worth Metroplex and across North Texas. They were doing shows with guys in their early to mid 20's while they were just becoming teenagers. They gained quite a following, and Dawson served as the catalyst, spending countless hours recording and producing their orginal music. He also taught himself how to get music up on ITunes and other outlets.
As Dawson continued to evolve musically and creatively, he began to grow as an artist, writer, and producer. He was only 15 years old! He was constantly playing with his band, with the youth band at church, and he traveled with our family leading worship and singing. He began recording and producing songs for other artists too, but most importantaly he began to explore his own musical depth. Our family would listen as he worked on one measure of an original song over and over again for hours. He would only emerge from the garage studio, that he developed and equipped on his own, for only a few minutes to get a peanut butter sandwich before heading back in and shutting the door. Before he ever finished high school, Dawson had recorded multiple original songs, EP's, and began working on his first full length album.
Dawson knew music was his purpose in life. "Love what you do and do what you love for the rest of your life" has always been a key quote for our family, so he moved to Austin, Texas, and enrolled in Austin Community College to pursue a degree in "Music Business, Performance, and Technology." He is heavily influenced by singer/song writers like Bob Dylan and John Mayer (who attended Berklee), as well as professors at ACC who also attended Berklee. He read Dylan's autobiography, and was challenged to continue selling out to his life's passion and purpose...music. Over the next 3 years, Dawson weathered storms of doubt, the negativity of naysayers, and played shows for as few as 5 people. He has now finished his degree and worked his way through school as a Barista at Summer Moon Wood-Fired Coffee in Austin. In December of 2016 we made our way to Boston so he could take the next step toward his dream by auditioning for Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Berklee is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. They have a student body representing 96 countries, and alumni who have collectively won more than 250 Grammys. Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for music and they accept less than 30% of the thousands who audition each year. Out of all the thousands who auditioned, Dawson was accepted!! The evening he called us to let us know, we all screamed!
Here is a small excerpt from the letter of acceptance he received: "A new door has opened and a new chapter begins in the pursuit of your life's passion. Your acceptance to Berklee College of Music is a privilege reserved for those we determine have what it takes to be, rather than to seem to be."When we walked the streets of Boston and toured the campus back in December, my wife Donna and I knew Dawson belonged there. The amount of growth and opportunity that awaits him there is beyond anything any of us could ever dream or imagine. This is Dawson's next step toward his dream.
Dawson is scheduled to move into the dorm at Berklee on August 26th and begin school August 28th. After walking by faith as a family for 7 years, and after some unexpected issues with financial aid, we face the challenge of getting the resources together for his first semester.
We were honestly hesitant to do a "Go Fund Me". Our thought was "everyone has college expenses". But after being urged by some of Dawson's teachers, mentors, co-workers, friends, and family members, we decided it needed to be done. They told us, "Yes, everyone has college expenses, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime. He can't miss this chance." As a family, we believe that too. This is the next step toward the world getting to hear and see what we've been blessed to see and hear since he was born. We believe that the education, experience, and exposure that Dawson will receive at Berklee will more than greatly enhance his abilities, gifts and talents. This opportunity is the "open door" that will allow him to impact thousands, if not millions of lives. Every penny raised on this Go Fund Me will go to Berklee for Dawson's tuition, room, and board. The total cost for the 2[phone redacted] school year is $60,000. He was able to get some financial aid, but because of the prestigious nature of the school it doesn't even come close.
Dawson paid the housing and initial deposits himself with money he earned. We have begun to make payments to Berklee with the funds that have been raised, and we will continue to make payments as more donations are given to this campaign. The first payment of $16,000, plus travel to Boston this week, must be made by August 21st, so that he can move in and enroll August 26th.
With your help, we can secure Dawson's spot at Berklee, so that he can follow in the footsteps of John Mayer, Quincy Jones, and Meghan Trainer just to name a few. This would mean more to us than we could ever express and be a huge blessing to his life and future. Please feel free to share this with people who have a passion for dreamers and love to help dreams become reality. Share it with other creative souls, and music lovers who love to help promote the arts and music around the world.
Thank you for helping our son see his dreams come true.
- Sharla Mills
- Matt Camp
- TJ and Tim Stampley
- Robert & Suzanne Smith
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