A Song Called “Broken”
Four students enter Xaverian their freshman year from four different towns. They have never met. They have different interests. Different life experiences. And different goals. But this year, their senior year, these four students come together to release their first joint venture—a music video for a song called “Broken.” Two of them write and record the music; two film and edit the video. It’s 100% student driven, powered entirely by the artistic collaboration of these four Xaverian young men. What follows is their story of how they got here...the mutual respect, and the dollars and cents.
Teagan Blum and Justin Miller: The Filmmakers
“We’ve been best friends since freshman year,” Justin explains of Teagan. Teagan retorts, “No, you hated me freshman year.” Justin fires back, “I still hate you.” They laugh, as only best friends can.
Kyron Brown and Dimitri Charlot: The Singers
“Ky heard I could sing and asked about it, so I sent him a recording,” Dimitri says. He’s the more outspoken of this pair, a subtle irony since it was Kyron who first caught the attention of his classmates for his music. “I wrote this song, ‘Roll with Me,’ freshman year,” Ky says, explaining why he wanted to see if Dimitri could really sing. “But he didn’t say ‘yes’ to recording it with me until junior year.” Ky didn’t take “no” for an answer, and the two started quietly working on music together while talk of Ky’s solo musical presence continued to percolate among his classmates. For both, it was clear that making music was a priority.
Dimitri says he’s been singing since he was three. Growing up in the Baptist tradition, he was familiar with the Church’s music and, he says, “singing all the time.” But it was a fateful day at St. Agatha’s School that kicked off his more formal training. He got called in for an audition with St. Paul’s Choir School and was one of six selected for a second audition. He was the only one offered a spot in the coveted music education program. That’s when his real training began.
For Kyron, it came later. In eighth grade, he started writing his own poetry, and that quickly turned into writing songs. He dove in with the unwavering support of his mother and began lining up studio time and releasing his own music on the web under the artist name, “K Loyal.” That’s how his classmates at Xaverian heard him, including Teagan and Justin.
Justin came to Xaverian with a bit of film background already in place. He had made short films during middle school and already had some equipment. Teagan picked up his video fascination in junior year, after both he and Justin were cut from the lacrosse team and wanted to fill their time. By senior year, he was fully immersed—making highlight reels of Xaverian athletics and devouring content wherever he could find inspiration. The two continued to perfect their skills, teaching themselves how best to shoot, edit, apply effects, and more.
The Four Connect
“Once Teagan and I heard Ky freshman year, we knew he was a good rapper,” Justin explains of their history. He turns to Ky and says, apologetically, “But you didn’t have your sound yet.”
“I’m still working on my sound,” Ky responds.
It was Teagan who first floated the idea of making a music video. For him, it’s all about earning his video chops...it doesn’t matter the subject. For Justin, it’s less about the video and more about sharing as yet undiscovered talent with the world. Watching from the sidelines as Ky continued to grow musically, they say they knew by sophomore year that they wanted to film a video for him. Meanwhile, Kyron and Dimitri continued to quietly collaborate. The summer heading into senior year, they released a recording of their original song, “Broken.”
“We listened to that all summer,” says Justin. “It’s so good.” Teagan chuckles. “Actually, we’re like half your views by the way,” he admits. They finally decided it was time to approach Kyron and Dimitri about a video, and the conversation between the four began senior year. It came down to finances.
In order to get recording studio time, Ky counted on birthday money and the generosity of his mother. “I sold my sneakers for this last session,” Dimitri adds. “I got $250 for them.” So when they had the choice between paying someone from the outside $700 for a video for “Broken,” or working with Teagan and Justin for free, they went with free.
All four agree that even with the array of software and techniques they have taught themselves during high school, there’s room to grow. “Ky and I noticed, we’re all learning at the same time here,” says Dimitri of their first filming days. “We’re learning while they’re learning.” And then they dissolve into brotherly ribbing about Kyron changing his hair between filming days and messing with the continuity, rendering issues that caused the quality of the video to be less than ideal, Dimitri’s inability to climb a hill, and Justin’s poor navigation as Teagan wandered blind through Blue Hills, the camera blocking his view of the path.
“That whole first video was just one step to our first real video,” admits Justin. But Teagan jumps in: “It was more than one step - it was a staircase.”
As they prepare for college, (Ky to study music at the University of Loyola in New Orleans, Teagan to study film at Elon, Justin and Dimitri as yet undecided on the institution but the former knowing his dream job is in artist representation, and the latter planning to major in music and minor in business), they talk about the support they received from Xaverian along the way.
“Our grade is close,” Teagan explains. “When people start getting interested in something and want to take it to the next level, our classmates are supportive, and so are the teachers.”
“I’m walking by Nicholson’s office one day,” Dimitri chimes in (and it should be noted that “Nicholson” is Mr. Michael Nicholson, Assistant Principal of Student Life). “And I hear my voice singing from in his office, and so I do a little moonwalk backwards to see what’s up. Then Nicholson calls me in and starts congratulating me. And then after that, Vasta (that’s Mr. Chris Vasta ’00, Assistant Principal for Academics) pulled me out of class and talked to me about it. Even Dr. Conca talked to me about it.” He’s smiling. You can see the pride.
“This room is full with a lot of talent and potential,” Kyron quietly points out. “In a few years, I can see us going far.”
A grin breaks across Teagan’s face. “It would be cool if every summer we came back and made a music video,” he says. And with that, they depart. It’s their last day on campus at Xaverian, and this interview is their last thing to do before heading out for Christian Senior Service assignments. Their joking and laughter can be heard as they make their way down the hall...four unlikely friends, brought together by a song called “Broken.”