Make the beat drop: Kids learning how to be the next Jay-Z

NEW ORLEANS(WGNO) -This group of kid DJs might be the future of the music industry.

The Upbeat Academy Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2013 to provide under privileged, at-risk children with an opportunity to learn how to produce and perform the type of music they listen  to and dream of creating with a focus on electronic dance music and hip-hop.

Local DJs, producers and rappers  hold daily classes in the Upbeat studio where the students have access to equipment like laptops, mixers, turntables, controllers, microphones, headphones, various instruments, and the latest music production software.

Upbeat also seeks to introduce its students to the business side of the music industry, offering real-life experience, case studies, and opportunities for the kids to meet their favorite musicians.

In March, the students will get to show off all of their hard work at Buku Fest.

"If Miles Davis was a child today, I'm pretty sure he'd be making beats instead of paying a trumpet," said lead instructor at Upbeat Amahl Abdul-Khaliq.

The instructors aim to give the kids an advantage in the music industry, of being able to do it all by themselves.

"If you want to make your own beat and not have to go to another producer to pay money for studio time, you already have the essential tools that you need," said graduate of the Upbeat program Allison Ford. "That's what Upbeat helped me out with, like finding an octave and finding a specific type of tempo that you want."

Friday, Feb. 3, they'll be holding a fundRAGER at Gasa Gasa, 4920 Freret St. Doors at 9 p.m. | Show at 10 p.m.  Tickets are $30 and available online at gasagasa.com. Ticket price includes two complimentary beverages from NOLA Distilling.