On October 23rd, 2021, at the NOOR Event space in Pasadena, CA, artists and musicians gathered to perform in the first Ability Beyond Disabilities Autism Awareness Benefit Concert. The result of a collaboration between emerging musician Breydon Beggs and artist and autism spokesperson Rachel Barcellona, the concert was a major success. Accompanied by established musicians such as Myles Quinn, Mark Robertson, and Cutting Room Music’s Mark Roos, Rachel and Breydon performed heartfelt songs to bring awareness to the challenges faced by people on the autism spectrum.
Breydon Beggs is an emerging guitarist, composer, and producer who skilfully blends genres such as pop, classical, and EDM. Breydon became popular in the remix world with his original remix of Maisie Peter’s Adore You, which earned over 300,000 plays on Spotify and other streaming platforms. However, Breydon wants to take his music to the next level, and use his skills to help others, which is how he first connected with Rachel.
We sat down for a chat with Breydon after the Ability Beyond Disabilities Benefit Concert, to get his thoughts on the event and pick his brain about the direction and purpose of his music. Keep reading to get to know Breydon a little bit better.
First of all, tell us how the whole idea of the Ability Beyond Disabilities concert came about.
Well, over the past two years, I’ve been using my music to promote different charities. Before the idea of doing a concert with Rachel, I co-produced and wrote the original music for a promotional video supporting My Friend’s Place, a homeless youth service center in Hollywood. My classmate, Trevor Shin, does all of the photography and editing and we produce together and I create the music. We did another video for The Cayton Children’s Museum, as well as creating a virtual tour for our high school, Polytechnic. Those were well received by those organizations and I knew I could do more.
All the while I was creating and producing original music, but I didn’t really know what to do with it besides release it, which we did, but I knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to integrate the charity aspect, as well, given the work I had been doing. Mark and I had talked about hosting an event for a couple of weeks before actually getting it going. We connected with Rachel Barcellona, who is a blessing. Her organization, Ability Beyond Disabilities, helped us realize this concert-music-charity blend that we wanted to do. We started working on it in the summer, and got all of these songs done just in time for October 23rd. It was close, but it all worked out in the end. It turned out to be a really great event, not only for me, but for Rachel and her organization, and for autism awareness in general. It was kind of a big thing, that I think the community, both on my end and on the autism end, appreciated very much. The concert was the culmination of the past year of work that I’d been doing, and I hope to do more work like this in the future.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU WHEN SELECTING THE SONGS FOR THE CONCERT?
The intro song, Epic, was the first song that we created. It took me something like one night to get the outline of the song ready. The musicality and melodic feel of that track inspired in me a ‘bigger than music’ type of feeling. I really liked the different organic sounds, and that there was a human element that I could tie into the EDM track. It felt very inspiring.
Hope was the next track, which is pretty self-explanatory. The concept of light at the end of the tunnel in whatever’s going on in someone’s life, I thought that idea also fit with the concert really well. Hang On, a song by Myles Quinn and I, had a similar feeling, with very inspiring tones, concept ideas, and lyrics. Then we covered classics like Slow Dancing, Burning Room by John Mayer and Mr. Blue Sky from ELO. These are just fun songs to play, and we wanted our audience to enjoy something familiar with our own spin.
Ghost was a last-minute addition to the set lists. It’s a project I’ve been working on for months, but not completed. It’s still not actually finished, but we did it anyway because it was a good track. Ghost was also very EDM-heavy, but the core progressions and melody are inspiring and emotional..
WHAT WAS IT LIKE PARTNERING WITH RACHEL AND THE OTHER MUSICIANS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT?
It was really, really fun. By the end, Rachel and I got pretty close, we had good banter going, so the whole process was highly enjoyable. Myles and I also got along very well, so we all became a tight-knit group of players and musicians, but we also became friends. It was cool to see our growth, from our first Zoom meeting with Rachel in the Summer to the night of the concert. It can be difficult to collaborate with other musicians, but it went seamlessly with Rachel. She knew what she wanted, so it was easy to run ideas past her and Myles. Everyone was very receptive and open, and it was quite fulfilling for me to work with Rachel and know that my music could help her charity.
YOUR MIXTURE OF EDM WITH LIVE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC RESULTS IN A VERY UNIQUE SOUND. IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU PLAN ON DOING MORE OF?
It’s a lot of fun adding organic elements like strings, cool drums, and vocal tracks to seemingly heavy electronic songs. It becomes more than just acoustic, more than just EDM; you end up getting a blend of the two. That has more of an impact on the audience, because you have human elements in it. Ultimately, that’s what I want to keep on doing, as that’s my favorite type of music to listen to in general, and thus it’s also my favorite to create. It’s a lot of fun, too, coming up with things that you never thought of when mixing classical/orchestral and EDM. Mixing these different elements doesn’t limit you to one lane, as EDM can, as a lot of times you only have like 15 to 20 sounds to play around with and experiment from. With strings and things like that, people know those sounds, they recognize them, and it also makes them enjoy EDM more, so combining these elements is a unique thing.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE GOING FORWARD AS YOU APPLY TO UNIVERSITIES?
I want to get a better foundation in music theory. That’s not to say I don’t have one already, because I’ve been very lucky to have teachers and mentors who have been training me throughout my life. But knowing the science and structure behind why some music works and some doesn’t, it would really inform my creative process, so I wouldn’t just be grasping at creative ideas in the dark. It would add some kind of structure to my work.
Another thing is connections, finding and connecting with people like Rachel and Myles. In music school, you’re surrounded by like-minded people who have a similar agenda. Just being around other passionate musicians will elevate my music to places I can only imagine. Being in a setting where everyone pursues music full-time, whether it’s at university or at a conservatory, whichever I will choose, it’s going to further elevate my skills and my love for the craft.
Check out Breydon’s official website for updates, and follow him on Spotify.
Learn more about Rachel Barcellona and her non-profit, Ability Beyond Disabilities, here.