Fred Reed is a Delaware-based R&B recording artist and producer, known for his award-winning, non-profit youth organization Reeds Refuge Center in Wilmington, Delaware. The center serves as a haven from violence, drugs, guns, and idle minds by helping youth to discover their creative potential. His work in the community is just as remarkable as his work in the booth. The singer/songwriter has always had the talent and looks to push his work even more during 2020.
Reeds Refuge Center recently dropped their new “Breathe” music video, brought to us by their Safe City Project initiative. The visual amassed over 100K views in the first two weeks of release. The audio for the track is available on all streaming platforms. Fred sat down with us to discuss his come up, his work in the city, and his plans.
Check out our awesome conversation below.
1. Walk me through your childhood, how did you get into music?
I was the youngest of nine children, and I’m a twin. My brother and I were born three minutes apart. My family grew up in the Riverside projects in Wilmington, DE. A lot of my friends were getting into trouble. It was a poverty-stricken community, but my escape was singing. I’d sing in the bathroom whenever I got a chance. I was young, sitting on the steps with my boys, and we started a singing group called “4U.” Channel 6(ABC) discovered us, and it led to us working with Scott Storch in Philly for a bit. I just took my passion for music and ran with it. It took me away from my living situation… it has been significant in my life.
2. Who were some of your childhood influences? Who are some of your biggest influences today?
I was always a group guy. Just a fan of harmonies, you know? Jodeci, Boyz II Men.. any R&B group.Producers/Songwriters like Teddy Riley, Blackstreet…Sam Cooke, I loved his vocal ability. I love music with meaning. Music that was relatable and told a story. Music helps you overcome a lot of things in life. It brings all walks of life together.
3. Talk to me about how Reed’s Refuge Center came together. Was there a specific moment the idea came about? What are your plans for the center over the next few years?
There was. I already had two childcare centers. We were working with kids from 6 weeks to 12-years-old. If music helped overcome my obstacles, I felt it could do the same for others. It was an opportunity to teach the kids I’ve learned. For some people, the typical education isn’t enough. Music is the tool to motivate these kids’ creativity and get them to open up. That’s the goal. Kids in urban communities are forced to grow up much faster than kids in the suburbs. We used music to draw our kids in, and we educate them through their interests.
Now that we’ve purchased this 40K SQ Ft building, our biggest goal is expansion. We want to create hope…let other Blacks know that it’s possible. Reed’s Refuge should be a beacon of hope..We plan on having a turf football and soccer field.. live sound stage. We want to continue teaching both parents and students .. helping our kids get jobs, that’s what the next few years will look like.
4. How did the “Breathe” video come together? How does it feel to see the record being so successful?
It’s one of my favorite songs, honestly. It was written about 4-5 years ago, but I had shelved it. With so much police brutality and racial injustices occurring, I felt “Breathe” needed to come out. I’m a businessman doing good in the community, and I face racial injustice. Unfortunately, there are hang-ups at every level. The song represents our people. I don’t care what happens, and we need to be heard. They’re trying to limit our freedom, our voice. And we’re here saying look, we have a right to breathe, and accomplish anything we put to our mind. Not poverty, police brutality, nothing can stop us. We breathe the same air..and I want equal opportunity. I’m not living just for me; I’m living so my kids kids kids can live. I feel great that it’s gotten out to so many people, and I’m going to keep pushing the message across the world. We have to change the narrative!
5. Where do you see yourself within the next five years?
Continue to grow, continue to grow. I would love to see myself holding a grammy and getting more recognition. I would like to see Reeds Refuge in other cities and create more jobs for our people…teaching our people economic development.. and see the young kids I’ve been teaching changing their families and respective communities. Sometimes I wonder, who are the MLK, Malcolm X of today? I’m not sure the answer to that, but I think we all have a part to play. I’m out here fighting the fight. I don’t want to be selfish.
Check out Fred Reed and his future endeavors HERE.