By DONNA BALANCIA
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam recently spent his time working with foster kids in Seattle’s Treehouse Graduation Success program.
Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready spent four hours in the band’s studio recently jamming with five youth in foster care. They ended up creating the song “Try So Hard” which was written by the youngsters and performed by them (and Mike) during the session at Pearl Jam’s studio in Seattle.
Mike helped guide the kids through the process of creating the song, and the band’s producer mixed it to give it that professional edge. Pearl Jam will be releasing a four-minute video of the recording session.
“I helped the guys shape everything into a working piece of music, but they had the ideas already,” McCready said. “Josh Evans, who is a really good producer here helped out and everybody from the crew, too. It was an honor to be a part of it. It was really fun.”
All of the kids who created the song are in Seattle-based Treehouse’s Graduation Success program or are recent alumni of the program which is expanding statewide over the next five years.
“I think it’s important for the kids to believe in their dreams because they’re the ones that have to,” McCready said. “They need to have a confidence in themselves to be able to go: ‘I want this dream, and this is how I need to get it. These are the steps I need to take.’ Then hopefully you’ll surround yourself with good organizations like Treehouse and good people that can help you on that way.”
The graduation rate nationwide for youth in foster care is about 50 percent. In Washington, the extended rate (on-time + fifth-year graduations) is 49 percent. In stark contrast, Treehouse says its extended rate is 89 percent.
McCready’s band Pearl Jam is playing South America in March and plays European and U.S. dates this summer.
Two of the shows, the “Home Shows,” set for Seattle Aug. 8 and Aug. 10, will raise money for Seattle’s homeless.