Pearl Jam's Mike McCready & 5 Treehouse Youth - "Try So Hard"

demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

Treehouse arranged for 5 youth who have experienced foster care to meet Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. Franky, Rickardo, Sergio, Joseph and Logan had never played together. With Mike, they created “Try So Hard.” Follow Treehouse: More About Us: Only 49 percent of youth in foster care graduate from high school. Without a diploma, they face high rates of poverty, homelessness, incarceration, early parenting and substance abuse. Through Treehouse’s Graduation Success program (, youth are invested in goals and plans for the future that they develop themselves. Treehouse has raised the extended graduation rate from 49 to 89 percent for their youth. That rate includes on-time and fifth-year graduations. Founded in 1988 by social workers, Treehouse addresses the academic and other essential support needs of kids in foster care. Treehouse helps more than 7,500 youth each year through programs that focus on their academic success, fulfill key material needs and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves. Donate:


  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
    edited February 2018

    See Pearl Jam's Mike McCready Record New Song With Foster Kids

    Guitarist invited five young musicians into band's studio to record "Try So Hard"

    See Pearl Jam's Mike McCready work with youth in foster care on recording a song, "Try So Hard," in Pearl Jam's studio.

    Last fall, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready welcomed five young men who lived in foster care as children into his band's studio with the intention of making a song. The thing was, recording in a professional studio was a new experience for everyone except McCready. "This was a bunch of guys that had never met each other, so you never know how that's going to go," he tells Rolling Stone. Together, they created "Try So Hard," a mellow, uplifting song about rising strong above a rough past.

    For McCready, the process has been an enlightening experience. He met the musicians, aged between 15 and 20, through the non-profit organization Treehouse, which helps foster kids in Washington State graduate high school and prepare for adulthood. A decade ago, McCready volunteered to wrap presents for the organization ("I'm a terrible wrapper, too, so I probably just handed them the tape," he says) and was struck by what the facility offered. "They help foster kids that are in dire need of finishing their education, providing funding for summer camps and lessons, even new clothes – all the things a lot of us take for granted," he says. Impressed, he agreed to "play a show in front of a shoe rack there" (in the organization's free store for youth in foster care) and participated in donation drives and the kids' soccer games. 

    "There's nothing more important than helping kids," the guitarist says. "If we can do that in grassroots organizations, hopefully that'll spill over into the larger picture. You act locally, and it grows globally."

    The recording session was especially meaningful for Franky Price. The 20 year old, who was in foster care for two years and has been heavily involved with Treehouse, provided much of the rapping on "Try So Hard." When he previously told a Treehouse employee that he struggled with depression, she suggested he participate in the session. He has his own home recording setup with a microphone and computer, but the experience with McCready was his first time in what he describes as "a legit studio of that caliber."

    Price tells Rolling Stone he's not a big Pearl Jam fan per se ("I enjoy their music, obviously," he says), but meeting McCready taught him "not everyone in the music business is an ass, not everyone is self-serving." And connecting with the rocker on a fundamentally human level inspired him. When he learned that McCready struggles with Crohn's disease it struck home with him, since he, too, has health issues, including a major heart condition that required him to get heart and back surgery last March. "I found it inspiring to learn that he was somebody who had been through health scares and suffered from a lot of depression but that he's still here today making music," Price says.

    Pearl Jams Mike McCready on Recording Music With Children in Foster Care

    Pearl Jam's Mike McCready (second from left) with Rickardo Mendiola (left), Franky Price (right of McCready) and the other Treehouse kids who recorded "Try So Hard." Treehouse

    The session lasted four hours, but Price says he came up with his part in about 45 minutes. He asked one of the foster children, Rickardo Mendiola, 17, to play some chords on his guitar for inspiration and after a few tries they landed on something everyone liked. Mendiola came up with the "Try So Hard" line and a freestyle verse, and Price reflected on all he'd been through in his verses. "I carry a lot of weight upon my back," he rapped. "I've been to hell and back ... and I've yet to crack." The lyrics just made sense to him.

    "I wanted to make it personal, but also relatable for everyone else," says the rapper.

    "The song just organically happened," McCready says. "We were sitting around, and it was amazing that it came together the way it did. The guys had some rap going on, beat boxing, some guitars, bass and drums. They created a song, and I got to play along with it. It generally doesn't happen that way, and it was really cool."

    The sense of excitement and eagerness that everyone shared about the song made a big impression on McCready. "People will respond to your honesty in terms of the music you're creating," he says. "I could see that in the guys. They all got together for the first time that day, so everybody was on the line a little bit. It's very nerve-racking, especially for the guys who are still learning. But everybody gave it a shot."

    For Price, who has pressed pause on his rap career while he recovers from his surgeries, making "Try So Hard" with McCready was a powerful experience. "It sounds corny or cliché," he says, "but the music really can bring people who don't know each other together and still create something wonderful."

  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

    Mike invited 5 students, who'd never previously met, to Pearl Jam’s studio for an evening of songwriting and recording. Franky, Sergio, Logan, Rickardo, and Joseph are all current students or alumni of Treehouse, a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to providing youth in foster care with opportunities to pursue their dreams.

    PJ's touring techs walked the students through setting up the instruments and gear and the sound engineers gave them a step-by-step tutorial of the recording process. Then, Mike handed each student an instrument. Within 2 hours, the group wrote and recorded a song called "Try So Hard," to be released by HockeyTalkter Records later this year with proceeds benefiting Treehouse for Kids.

    Photo Credit: Catherine Krummey, Treehouse Communications Specialist 

  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

    ckrummey - My job is pretty awesome. Head over to @treehouseforkids to learn more about the once-in-a-lifetime experience some of our youth had job shadowing Mike McCready, @pearljam's guitarist. And follow us while you're at it!
  • alexross42alexross42 Posts: 332
    edited February 2018
    So awesome, on many levels. Thanks for collating the info here for us all to view.
    Be interested to hear the track when it gets released!
    Manchester 2000 :: Cardiff 2000 :: Prague 2006 :: London 2007 :: Manchester 2009 :: London 2009 :: Manchester I 2012 :: Manchester II 2012 :: Milton Keynes 2014 :: London I 2018 :: London II 2018

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  • dannydanny Posts: 2,020
    danny d
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

  • Abe FromanAbe Froman Posts: 3,605
    Mike has to be one of the coolest dudes in all of rock n roll right now
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
    Dude is so busy on these projects. 
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
    edited February 2018

    "treehouseforkids ICYMI: @pearljam guitarist Mike McCready recorded a song, "Try So Hard," with five of our youth. Link in bio.
    treehouseforkids#trysohard #pearljam #mikemccready #fostercare #seattle #treehouseforkids #treehouse"

    Post edited by demetrios on
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 15,097
    All hail Mike.  What a great example for everyone
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772

    MSL’s Seattle office consulted pro bono with Treehouse, a Seattle-based nonprofit, to support the development of a video series highlighting the many ways the nonprofit enables youth who have experienced foster care to turn their dreams into reality.

    Treehouse’s Graduation Success program works one-on-one with students who are in/have experienced foster care to help them set and achieve goals. Through this program, Treehouse has raised the extended graduation rate from 49 to 89 percent for the youth they serve. In the next five years, Treehouse plans to expand the program throughout Washington. To do so, they need the community’s support.

    Here, our Seattle colleagues discuss the importance of organizations like Treehouse and how the idea for a video series was born.
  • curmudgeonesscurmudgeoness Brigadoon, foodie capitalPosts: 2,505
    So cool! I remember Treehouse from way back when we lived in Seattle. It's a great organization.
    All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
    7" single released on May 10th maybe?
  • demetriosdemetrios canadaPosts: 54,772
  • regina osrregina osr Posts: 64
    So cool 
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