From Rap Sheet to Rapper: A Musician Brings a Festival to BremertonMay 8, 2012 @ 6:29 pm (Updated: 6:46 pm - 5/8/12 )
By Rachel Belle
When kids don't have anything to do, they often get in trouble. Bryn King, and his girlfriend Takeshia Seward, say that Bremerton is a breeding ground for bored teenagers who commit crimes.
"It's a military town, which brings a lot of people to that area," Takeshia says. "However, there's just nothing for the youth to do there. There is a Walmart, Safeway, there are a few restaurants. The mall is just slowly closing down, there are barely any stores there."
Twenty-two-year-old Bryn says he had no role models or people keeping track of him when he was growing up, so he took to the streets when he was 14.
"We got into the mix and I guess you can say we didn't know right from wrong. Our income came from everything from selling drugs, to guns, to robbery, whatever it might have been at that point in time, without a lot of thought or repercussion from it."
In 2006 he was arrested in a huge police sting called Operation Pharmacy and in 2009 he went to prison. That's when he started to write rap lyrics.
"While I was out on bail, one day, out of no where, I started writing. About a week later, somebody heard it, who seemed pretty impressed by it, and they told me I'm going to go ahead and introduce you to this producer from Seattle.' Next thing I know, I'm at this man's house looking at these gold records on the wall, shaking his hand. He was impressed. At the time, he described it as a phenomenon. He said 'I've never really heard of anybody pick up a pen for two weeks and sounding like this.' He said, 'I don't know what else you're doing with your life, but this is what you need to be doing.'"
Bryn had to finish out his sentence, but he spent the rest of his time behind bars writing, and the day he got out he went straight into the studio to record. He cleaned up his act, moved to Seattle, signed with UGK records and decided he wanted to use his good fortune to help his hometown.
So last summer, Bryn and Takeshia organized a music festival called the Summertime Benefit Bash in Bremerton. They said a community event like this is pretty much unheard of in Bremerton.
"I don't think everybody believed, at first, that there was really going to be something happening at the Evergreen Park," Takeshia says. "People just believe that nothing worthwhile would go on in that area."
"Because it doesn't!" Bryn adds. "This is the same park that these different ways we got money occurred at. This was not even the best part of town to do it in and it was a phenomenal success. There is a lot of talk-and-no-walk with things like that. We did every single thing that we said we were going to, and it echoed across the whole city for sure."
Four hundred people, from little kids to seniors, came out to listen to music and eat BBQ and they collected 700 pounds of food for the Bremerton Foodline.
"I saw an opportunity where I could give back by using what I had to put together something that everybody can be involved in, in a place where things like that do not happen," says Bryn.
The couple, who started dating while organizing the event together, just got the green light to put on another festival in their hometown this summer. Bryn says he wants to send a message to kids in Bremerton that great things can happen, if you just try.
"Think and step completely outside of the box. Growing up somewhere like Bremerton, you don't see outside of the walls of Bremerton and it's life changing if you can do that, whatever path you're pursuing. Learn from your mistakes. Do not settle for less. Find a goal and achieve it."
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