I know what you’re thinking: Not ANOTHER story about Wellesley’s vibrant hip hop music scene, the east-west wars of the 1990s and ….
OK, Wellesley hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of rap music talent over the years, but that’s not stopping Wellesley High’s Cam Meekins from pursuing his hip hop dreams.
“Coming from a town like Wellesley, you wouldn’t expect to see a rapper on the scene, but I somewhat use that as motivation to keep doing what I’m doing and I love the fact that all I really see from kids in Wellesley is support,” the lifelong Wellesley resident says. “If you’re making good music it doesn’t matter where you’re from. I don’t exaggerate anything in my music, so it’s all good.”
The WHS senior has shown off his dope skills to classmates (winning a talent show this past spring) and on Aug. 18 takes his act to the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge (where I have to confess I’ve spent many an entertaining night). Meekins opens for a performer named Chris Webby, and will also do a show with him in NYC next month.
Meekins says he’s really cranked up his focus on music this summer, recording at Cybersounds Studio in Boston with producer Matty Trump. He and friend Stu Porter have also started a record label called 1881 Records and hope to capture the attention of bigger labels with his music as well as other merchandise.
“I work every day on writing, marketing and everything in between an independent musician needs to do,” says Meekins, who will get back to balancing his music, school, sports and performing arts when he returns to WHS this fall a senior. He hopes to go to college in Boston or New York City.
You can sample Meekins’ music — he writes all the music and lyrics — on his Facebook or MySpace page, and if you like it, can buy it on iTunes. I’ve attached a video of his new song, Just Like You, below (warning that the language isn’t necessarily family friendly, though Meekins says his parents are cool with it, understanding it’s part of hip hop culture).
Meekins says he does draw on life in Wellesley in coming up with lyrics. “Part of my subject matter does relate to my experiences as a kid growing up in Wellesley. Kids work hard in Wellesley, but I’m here to tell them to have fun and live it up while your young. ”
Meekins describes himself as the Jack Johnson of rap, referring to the surf songster, in that Meekins’ music includes plenty of acoustic and a message of “having fun and living life to its fullest.” In addition to singing and laying down beats, Meekins plays guitar on a lot of his songs. He also knows how to play piano, bass and drums.
Music has been a big part of Meekins’ life since he can remember, with his siblings listening to everything from Tupac to Phish. He says he was writing raps by 4th grade and by 6th was using a computer to make hip hop beats. He’s also spent lots of free time in the music technology lab at WHS taught by Steve Scott. “Through his class I learned the technical side to music and was able to make my music sound professional,” Meekins says.
If Meekins does make it big, he’ll benefit from words of wisdom from older brother Drew, an internationally recognized figure skater. “He gives me advice on how to deal with being well known and staying on top of things as a performer,” Cam says.