Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready jams with group of local foster kids

The Pearl Jam guitarist partnered with Seattle nonprofit Treehouse to bring five young musicians into the band’s studio.

A group of young local musicians recently took part in a once-in-a-lifetime jam session.

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready has had a close relationship for years with Treehouse, a Seattle nonprofit aimed at raising graduation rates among youth in foster care. Over the past decade, McCready and the band have donated more than $250,000 to the program, and McCready and his wife, Ashley, have volunteered at Treehouse’s holiday events.

Working with Treehouse, McCready welcomed five young musicians into Pearl Jam’s studio last November to write and record an original song. While they’re too young to remember when Pearl Jam videos were MTV staples (or even when MTV played music videos), the chance to work one-on-one with a bona fide rock star was invaluable.

“All it really took was just him encouraging us to continue with our music and continue with our talents,” says Franky Price, an aspiring rapper and alumnus of Treehouse’s Graduation Success program. “This coming from a guy who is crazy-famous and in this band, that in itself was really enough.”

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In a workmanlike four-hour session, McCready helped the band-for-a-day produce the song “Try So Hard,” an acoustic hip-hop ballad about perseverance. Price wrote the lyrics along with beatboxing guitarist Rickardo Mendiola. “I wanted to come in and write a song about being in a place where you feel like you can’t really make it, but you know there’s always a point in your life where you’ve got to be confident and just keep trying,” says Price, who performs as Lazarus.

After living in foster care for two years, Price moved back in with his father and connected with Treehouse during his freshman year at Chief Sealth International High School. Through the Graduation Success program,…

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