Mesa teen wins big scholarship to big music school

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Aug. 23—A Mesa resident who graduated in May from Mountain View High School Class has won a full-ride scholarship to the renown Berklee College of Music.

Christopher Hudson is one of nine recipients of four-year scholarships to the Berklee, which has campuses in Boston and New York City where students experience all aspects of the music industry through an interdisciplinary curriculum.

Christopher was a participant in Berklee City Music, a nonprofit that provides contemporary music education to youth from underserved communities at no or low cost.

Since its inception 30 years ago, Berklee City Music has awarded 274 four-year, full-tuition scholarships, totaling over $33 million.

Berklee has had its eye on Christopher for a while.

This year, he was asked to discuss music production on a panel after receiving feedback from a Grammy award winning producer who called one of the songs he produced "flawless."

Music also has been central to Christopher since he was 3, when he started playing piano.

But Christopher, the son of Michael and Laurri Hudson, wasn't always inclined to pursue his budding passion in a conventional way.

"I saw that he had a gift for music." Laurri Hudson recalled. "However, at 6, he started to resist piano lessons. Knowing he had this gift, I allowed him to quit so that I would not ruin this gift inside of him by forcing him to take lessons.

"When he was 9, he discovered The Piano Guys on YouTube and told me he wanted to play the piano like John Schmidt from The Piano Guys," Laurri continued, adding:

"Inside, I was so excited. However, outside I acted super chill and told him that he would need to use his own money to buy their sheet music. Ha ha! So, he did and it took him less than three months to learn one of their songs. After that, Christopher was unstoppable," his mother added. "He continued to learn song after song and it is now rare for him to miss a day of either playing the piano or working on music in some way. He loves and devours music theory and anything music related."

However resistant he might have been as a kid to music instruction, Christopher isn't now.

He attends Phoenix Conservatory of Music's College Prep Program on Saturdays, where he participates in ensembles, theory and music business classes.

"My primary instrument is the piano, though I spend most of my time producing music — for myself, as well as other artists — in a home studio," Christopher said.

While initially enthralled with playing music, Christopher became even more interested in recording and producing music when he was in seventh grade and "I have been consistent with it since."

Because Phoenix Conservatory of Music is one of 46 City Music Network sites across North and South America, Christopher was able to audition for Berklee College of Music's five-week summer intensive in 2020.

"That was the first time I became familiar with Berklee and after attending the intensive — online because of COVID — I decided I wanted to attend Berklee for college.

"In 2021 and 2022, I auditioned for the five-week program again and was able to attend both years — this time in person, in Boston," he said.

For his audition last year, he said, "I played one piece on piano — 'Home' by The Piano Guys — followed by sight reading exercises, ear training and an improvised solo over a backing track."

These days, he said, "I spend the majority of my time producing music. I've produced and released three songs myself, and I have another track, 'Ruins,' releasing Aug. 25, which will feature CG5, a very accomplished artist.

"Additionally, I have produced, mixed, and mastered several songs for other artists — some local, some that I met while at Berklee."

He said he usually produces pop music because "I love the melodic and harmonic aspects of pop that I can emotionally connect with.

"I try to bring emotion into all the tracks I produce," he added. "I draw a lot of inspiration from artists like Jon Bellion, Lauv and The 1975."

And not surprisingly, he already knows what he wants to do once he finishes Berklee's four-year program.

"My dream is to become a highly sought-out producer in the pop-music industry," he said. "Songwriting, performing, and producing with other artists brings me joy, and I would love to do it long term."