Winnetka teen Edward Bowen’s dream became a reality this summer when he attended the prestigious Grammy Foundation summer camp.
Bowen, who is known among friends as Ned, says he “went crazy” when his video essay was one of the few selected among thousands of video applications. The 17-year-old drummer was invited to the first Nashville Grammy Camp, which ran from June 17 to 24.
For the past eight years, the prestigious Grammy Foundation has held a very selective summer camp for musically gifted high school students from all over the United States. The camp offers an environment, where young musicians can “spend more than a week living, breathing, eating, drinking music – with music students from all over the country,” according to the camp website.
Learning to record professional music
Out of the five programs offered at Grammy Camp, Bowen chose the instrumentalist program and learned from Dave Tough, a Nashville-based songwriter and former Jazz Drum major at the University of North Texas. The other programs included electronic music production, audio engineering, marketing, singing and song writing.
The incoming New Trier High School senior says campers in the instrumentalist program were tasked with creating a professionally recorded song from start to finish.
“I still remember when the engineer [gave us the signal to start recording] over the intercom and the metronome started clicking,” he said. “I don’t think I have ever felt more exhilarated in my life [than] when the song came to an end. All I wanted to do was run into the control room and listen back to the music we just made.”
Bowen and his fellow Grammy campers laid the tracks for a rollicking blues-rock number known as The Mermaid Song written by Noah Jessup. They completed the track using only tree takes.
Watch a video of Bowen performing on the right.
Career for life
The experience provided Bowen a rare but satisfying opportunity to play as loud as he possibly could using his “heaviest drum sticks.”
“From that point on, I realized that I want to do this the rest of my life, that music was my passion and that I was meant to be in the studio,” he said.
The New Trier student says attending Grammy Camp in Nashville was fitting.
“Country music is probably my favorite genre of music to listen to and play because it is the genre that I would ultimately love to be involved with,” Bowen said.
Bowen credits his older brother Wilson for introducing him to the lonesome sounds and lowdown good times of country and says his favorite drummers include Jim Riley of Rascal Flatts and Chris McHugh, a frequent drummer for Keith Urban.
Expanding his musical horizon
But country music isn’t the only style Bowen likes, he says being a member of the New Trier High School jazz ensemble “has pushed me to explore the history of music.”
Musical diversity will be key to advancing his career, Bowen said.
“My biggest challenge that I am trying to overcome is expanding and enhancing my playing so that I am comfortable playing whatever comes to me so I can be the most versatile drummer that I can be and feel comfortable to play in any kind of session or concert,” he said.
Want to follow similar articles in Winnetka, Glencoe and Northfield? Sign up for Winnetka-Glencoe Patch's newsletter.
Want to follow similar articles in Wilmette and Kenilworth? Sign up for Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch's newsletter.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Bowens as "Edgar", it's been updated to reflect his correct first name, "Edward".