Demonstrating his music-mixing and entrepreneurial skills, 18-year-old Schyler Smith did interviews and previewed his first album with a lights-out show — literally — during a listening party Wednesday evening inside Launch Terre Haute.
A senior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Smith calls his seven-track album "Morning Star," which will be released Friday through iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud. His preferred genres of music are hip-hop and electronic, with his favorite artists being Skrillex, Kanye West, Mike Dean and Travis Scott.
"I'm a DJ [disc jockey]," Smith explained before his performance in front of dozens of young people. "I started making my own music about two years ago and I'm finally getting to the point where I'm releasing professionally. I just mix [other people's music]. I don't sing."
He credits Launch Terre Haute's high school meet-ups, which have taken place on the second Wednesday of each month since September, with giving him business ideas to help spread the word about his sick beats.
"I didn't really have any entrepreneurial support at all [prior to September]," Smith said. "I was making beats in my bedroom for years. It's nice to start as my own business and my own name. I'm also starting an imprint, like a record label, which is called Morning Star Records."
Patrick Sizemore, aka DJ Nog and a freshman at Terre Haute South Vigo, assisted Smith with the production of Morning Star.
"We're also starting a radio show called 'Mass Exodus,' where we'll sell beats and like lease them to artists," Smith noted. "We'll preview them in a radio-show format and talk about stuff in between. That will be on SoundCloud and iTunes."
Shelley Klingerman, executive director of Launch Terre Haute, said Smith has earned all the publicity he has received of late.
"Schyler started coming to the meet-ups in September and he's been coming ever since," she pointed out. "He's been sharing that he's passionate about music and that he's a producer of different music tracks. He just finished recording his album, so we're giving him this opportunity to preview it."
Klingerman believes these high school meet-ups, which debuted this year, can help others succeed as well.
"The goal was to bring high school kids into this space," she said, "to let them have creative outlets and connect them to resources that can help them take their dreams and ideas to the next level."
If teenagers or their parents have more questions about these meet-ups, they should call Launch Terre Haute at 812-244-2762 or visit its website at launchterrehaute.com.
David Hughes can be reached at 812-231-4224 or at email@example.com. Follow David on Twitter @ TribStarDavid.