Mililani Students Live Grammy Dreams

“One thing I love about Hawaii’s concentrated musical community is its vibrant atmosphere — its closeness, intimacy, generosity and immense talent,” wrote Lauren Padilla in a blog post for GRAMMY Camp St. Paul 2014.

Padilla never thought she would feel that same collaboration upon landing in Minnesota, but said she’s “happy to have been proven wrong.”

“It was beyond words,” she explained. “The biggest thing was getting to meet all these people from all over the country, and they’re super talented. We all had this passion for music, which helped us bond.”

This June, Padilla attended the 10th annual GRAMMY Camp along with more than 170 other students from around the U.S., China, Japan and England. About 30 participants, including Padilla, attended the camp in Minnesota, while others joined camps in Tennessee, California and New York.

Padilla and fellow Mililani High School Trojan Carthi Benson were at the June 13-21 camp, and Padilla was the first recipient of the full-ride Bruno Mars scholarship, which was awarded by Hawaii Community Foundation.

Each camper was there to focus on a specific skill — for Benson it was bass guitar, and Padilla concentrated on songwriting.

The sessions were taught by a professional in the specific field of study, and students were able to learn various aspects of the music industry.

While attending camp, Padilla was able to visit a radio station, learn the ropes of the music industry, and write song lyrics and music. She even recorded a song professionally for the first time in her life.

According to its website, GRAMMY Camp allows students to collaborate closely with each other to put on a concert at the end of camp, and develop their own career strategies to enact when they return to their home states.

Padilla added that she learned plenty about the industry and also was able to meet amazing people from across the country.

“Before camp, I was a sheltered local girl, raised in the confines of Mililani. I had a passion for music, but no sense of opportunism, and no idea how active the music industry could be,” she explained.

“But as each person shared about how they turned their own passion into a profession, my own hopes for a future in music took firmer shape.

“I learned a lot from my peers, too. Each student I met there was talented beyond belief, totally sold out for music, and determined to improve.”

GRAMMY Camp opened her eyes to career possibilities, and she hopes to share that same feeling with others in the community.

“I was so surprised that none of my classmates knew about the camp,” she explained. “I know so many talented people who would benefit from this. It’s important to me that people know about it, especially because I had a good time there.

“I want other Hawaii kids to also realize that their dreams and musical aspirations are not as lofty as they seem — the same way Bruno Mars must have envisioned when he established his scholarship fund.”

For more information on GRAMMY Camp, visit the website