From the moment Sir McMillan was introduced to The Hidden Genius Project, he knew he had to be a part of our inaugural Los Angeles cohort. It was at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020 when he joined LA1, and recognized immediately it was an opportunity that would change his life completely. Equipped with a passion for creating and selling beats, Sir seized the opportunity to develop “Glide 1”, a platform for his music production business. Now, 18-year-old Sir attends Long Beach City College with plans to transfer to North Carolina A&T this fall where he will pursue a degree in Business Administration. His goal is to be a music producer.
How have you been?
Life has been great as I’ve been exploring new adventures and opportunities. This fall I will transfer from Long Beach City College to North Carolina A&T and will be majoring in Business with a focus in Entrepreneurship. Besides that, I’ve been focused on my business “Glide 1” as a full-time music producer and entrepreneur.
How did you first learn about The Hidden Genius Project?
My parents introduced me to The Hidden Genius Project right before the summer in 2020. When they showed me their website I automatically told them that I need to be in this program, this is life-changing. I immediately submitted my application, and in a matter of weeks, they told me I could be a part of the LA1 cohort. Once I got introduced to the entire staff, I knew this opportunity would change my life completely.
What was your experience in the program like?
We were completely on Zoom during my time in the program. I enjoyed being online with my brothers, who like me, also loved learning about entrepreneurship, leadership, and empowerment.
At times, I had challenges understanding the coding aspect of the program, but I was able to overcome them by attending office hours with the educators. Some of the main things I learned in the program was how to be a leader and entrepreneur. There were times when I had to step up and be a leader in my cohort, letting my brothers know when they were wrong or vice-versa. Being able to lead with maturity and confidence was a key lesson I took away from our leadership sessions. I was also able to combine my passion for entrepreneurship and technology by building a website for my business, Glide 1, where I sell beats that I produce.
The program also brought in so many guest speakers and young entrepreneurs who are running their own businesses. This was huge for me because being able to see people who look like me doing what I want to do is motivation to work hard. It gives me hope.
Describe the app you designed during your time in the Immersion Program.
I created a prototype website for Glide 1 using HTML and CodeHS so I could start selling my beats. The process of developing my site really opened my mind to entrepreneurship and how I could offer my beats to the world.
How is The Hidden Genius Project different from other mentorship or training experiences that you have been involved in?
The Hidden Genius Project is just different. This program was much more impactful because of their teaching style compared to how I am normally taught in school. It felt more real and I could ask as many questions as I wanted without being judged. The staff interacts with us in a really supportive manner. I would always receive calls from them and they would ask me how I’m doing, my mental health, and life overall. Everyone was just super helpful.
What specific skills learned in The Hidden Genius Project have been most beneficial for you?
The skills that hit home for me was learning how to be more organized and responsible. While I was attending programming online, it was hard to stay in rhythm and be organized so I would often be late. The staff taught me how to set up multiple alarms so I can attend programming on time and use Google Calendar to keep me organized. I also improved my ability to present and communicate in front of others, especially on Zoom. There were moments when I wasn’t confident, but after realizing I had an encouraging support system from my mentors in the program, things just got easier.
What was the most important thing you gained on a personal level (development, relationship, community, etc.) from participating in The Hidden Genius Project?
The most important thing I gained from The Hidden Genius Project was being involved in a strong community and having a support system that wanted to see me succeed. This helped me realize the importance of sharing what I know with others. As a result, I was able to teach a class on beat making at Brothers Code. This really helped me see the value of giving back and empowering others.
When you imagine yourself before starting The Hidden Genius Project, what’s different between that version of you and the current version?
Before The Hidden Genius Project, I wasn’t as responsible and accountable for things like school, work, and doing things around the house. The program not only helped me understand the importance of technology, but it helped me take more initiative, including how to advocate more for myself. Overall, it was just a great experience to know that I could reach out to a mentor whenever I needed help. The program also helped me learn how to network with people. The Hidden Genius Project opened doors for me that I knew I couldn’t have opened on my own.
In what ways has the staff of The Hidden Genius Project stayed continued to support you since graduating from the program?
The Hidden Genius Project staff are amazing because they host events for us so that we can stay connected. For instance, we had an event at Kenneth Hahn Park in Baldwin Hills recently and I really enjoyed being able to see my brothers at this event. This really shows how committed they are in supporting us even after we complete the program.
Because of The Hidden Genius Project’s connections, I had the opportunity to participate in an NFT shoe project that I’m really proud of with ROOR. I was able to produce beats for their project and it was cool to see how much this company embraced me. This was totally unexpected and it helped me really understand how committed the great people at The Hidden Genius Project are.
I also became a Youth Educator which allowed me to teach a beat-making class. I am always open to talking to new Geniuses or mentoring them whenever The Hidden Genius Project needs me. I understand the value of giving back and I know this will help the program continue to grow.
If you could talk to yourself just before you applied, what is one thing you would say?
Stay committed and allow yourself the opportunity to connect with your fellow Geniuses and your mentors. Commit yourself to every aspect of the program because all of it is important and it will help you get the most out of the experience.
What words of encouragement do you have for future Geniuses?
Be yourself, and join this program because your life will change. The Hidden Genius Project allows you to be you. You can be anything you want and this program has connections for you. I have had endless opportunities in music because of The Hidden Genius Project’s connections.