“I wanted to show the cycle of learning and the cycle of passing the baton. It doesn’t start or end with us. Teachers, we’re part of this ecosystem of learning,” Devin Ferreira ’13 says of his latest music video.
Written and performed by Ferreira, a Boston-area rapper and educator, “Pass the Baton” is an ode to teachers and their perseverance through the pandemic.
“I was inspired during that time to create a piece of music that reflects the plight of an educator and recap my own personal story of the last 12 or so years of teaching music and performing arts in the greater Boston area,” says Ferreira, who sings that he’s taught “7,000 students, and you don’t need a superpower to do this.”
Focusing on songwriting, music production, recording and performing, Ferreira has taught youth throughout the Boston area, including the Mattapan Teen Center and the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club. During the pandemic, he also taught at Massasoit Community College, participated in residencies with Boston’s Celebrity Series, the Boston Lyric Opera and Boston City Singers, which each had a teaching component.
“I started (teaching) because I like to be where the excitement is. I stayed in it because teaching is fun, teaching is exciting, it always has something new to learn,” says Ferreira, who earned his master’s degree in Arts, Community, and Education from Lesley and won a New England Emmy in 2017 for his Boston Marathon anthem, “Unstoppable.”
The new song came together while teaching a virtual music production course.
“I just started writing and it came out, which for me is how the best songs come out.”
The lyrics reflect Ferreira’s approach to teaching: “When the road gets rocky and the battle is long, I pass the baton to the next generation through song.”
As the song developed, Ferreira invited students, past and present, as well as other musicians and mentors to collaborate.
“It became something even bigger than I could imagine,” he says. “That’s the power of collaboration because people can contribute in new and interesting ways to build on the original idea.”
When it came to filming the music video, Ferreira trod familiar ground, inviting former students to appear on location in Mattapan and near the Bunker Hill Monument, neighborhoods where he taught. Athel Rogers, a videographer Ferreira worked with as a teenager, filmed the music video, which closes with a scene of the rapper and several of his mentors.
The song is now available on YouTube and Spotify and will be on the forthcoming “Rooted in Faith,” the final album in Ferreira’s trilogy that includes “Mustard Seed” and “Seeds of Greatness.” Ferreira will also begin teaching in the Music Production and Engineering Department at the Berklee College of Music this fall.