Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 4, 2013

Rising musician’s passion began in school

VALDOSTA — Chasing a dream can be a very difficult and exhausting endeavor. Almost anyone can tell the story of how one of their dreams got away, but at 21 that is not a story Craig Wooten expects to ever have to tell.

Wooten, a.k.a. Woo, along with his collaborators Calvin Rodgers II, a.k.a. Cal-Rod, and Denishio Grant, make up the local music collective known as Music World Order. Wooten has an almost uncontrollable passion for music and has his sights set on where that passion could take him.

“This whole thing was like a dream forced out of me,” said Wooten.

Wooten’s interest in music began where passions often spring up: a classroom.

“My first encounter with music that I can remember was at Sallas Mahone Elementary. I had this music teacher who would have us play the recorder,” said Wooten, “That was my first instrument, and I fell in love with it, making my own sound. I was fascinated.”

He graduated to more sophisticated instruments in middle school, playing percussion, saxophone, baritone and trumpet.

“Music was my whole middle school experience. It kept me out of trouble,” said Wooten.

Wooten’s first music dream was to go to college on a saxophone scholarship and play professionally.

“I had aspirations, but then high school hit. I changed school systems, and I was just very uncomfortable, and I gave up playing,” said Wooten, “Looking back on it now, it was an irrational decision and one the biggest regrets I have about my life right now.”

At the same time Wooten was putting down his saxophone, he was learning to use another instrument: his voice.

“During middle school, me and my cousin would always talk on the phone, and at some point one of us put some beats on the stereo and we would freestyle over the phone,” said Wooten.“It became a ritual, and as we got older we got better.”

Those freestyle phone sessions served as practice, an opportunity for Wooten to hone his craft and discover his voice as an artist, something that was not always clear in the beginning.

“I was talking like I was the biggest and baddest,” said Wooten, “We were talking hyperbole, exaggerating the truth as much as we could, but if you can come off with enough passion you can sell it.”

Now, Wooten has found his voice and a style that blends his youthful penchant for hyperbole with sprinkles of thoughtful contemplation that move so quickly that repeat listening is almost mandatory.

“My style is something that is going to hit you

really fast,” said Wooten, “It’s something that you may have to listen to three times before you go ‘oh, I get it.’ ”

Wooten has come a long way since his recorder days at Sallas Mahone. Music World Order is steadily gaining recognition on YouTube and Facebook. The group has traveled for shows and has played locally, most recently at the Bleu Pub. Music World Order has even released a mixtape entitled “Field Day.”

When he is not in the studio, Wooten can be found in class at Valdosta State University or helping customers at Target.

“When I’m trying to balance my life, stress from school and work, I kind of take all of that and use it as gas,” said Wooten, “I turn all that into fuel to take with me to the music realm. I take it all to the mic.”

Chasing a career in the music industry is a big dream, and the path is littered with the squashed hopes of those who have tried and failed before, but Wooten is undeterred. He has the energy and drive to succeed and a very specific source of motivation: his mother.

“Seeing her work every day kills me,” said Wooten.

He hopes to reach a point in his career where he will be able to provide for his mother, but to reach that goal Wooten understands that hard work must be put in now.

“I wake up sometimes, and I have lines in my head,” said Wooten, “Then I say to myself ‘There’s time. You’ve got life. Let’s go.”

For more information: http://www.facebook.com/MWOmusic.

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