Dylan O'toole doesn’t have to come to Breathe. He’s older than the other teens in the music program, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He's already graduated from Madisonville North Hopkins High School, and he's attending Madisonville Community College. Loyalty and the need to pass on his knowledge are just two of the things that keep connected to the program. After spending several years in the music program as a student, he now comes back two days a week as a volunteer. He wants to make sure that everything he has had the privilege to learn from multiple mentors is passed on to the teenagers who come after him.
"Growing up I never had a lot of choices
My parents aren’t rich; they’re not doctors or lawyers
They fought so I often thought where the morgue is
Then it got time to call for divorces
Broken home; grandma probably supported
Parents gone; yeah, they probably aborted it
No guardians; it often felt like an orphanage
Wanted to learn different from what war is
But school has no courses in it
I was defiant so it resulted toward suspension
Being bad; getting more detentions
Getting mad about to throw a tantrum
In my pad my flow so venom" - Lyrics from Dylan's song, "Optimistic"
“I love coming here to learn. It doesn’t matter that I’m older. I want to keep coming and learning everything I can because I want to be able to help other kids as much as possible. I know that I've learned so much from Eric [Logan, executive director] about life. I've also grown in my music and my lyrics so much just by taking advice. I’ve learned so much, and I want to keep learning. I feel like, if I wasn’t here, I could have gone down a bad road, and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. I want to keep rapping and keep writing lyrics. I know this is something I can do, and they’ve taught me here the best way to do it. I can stay [the music business] and really make something of it. I feel like this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
For a more intimate look into Dylan's work, listen as well as download songs and click the links below to read his creative lyrics.