This is the third and final article in a series that features former students from the Cranston High Schools’ art programs to show where they are now and how they have used their art education in their lives and careers.
When Kyle Gobern was a student athlete at Cranston High School West, he didn’t rap at all. Now, he’s a successful musician, known as Passionate MC, rapping his way around the country, utilizing the skills he acquired both in school and through his own life experiences. Recently, he visited Valerie Bruzzi’s freshman art class, demonstrating his rapping skills and talking about what he’s done since graduating in 2008.
“In school, I didn’t know yet what I wanted to do,” Gobern said. “I owe a lot to Ms. Bruzzi and what I learned in her art class. Her teaching style made a lot of sense to me. I’ve been an artist since the day I was born, and since I was a kid my art teachers always encouraged me but I had so many talents, I had trouble choosing just one. Art was an outlet for me and always lingered in my mind.”
As a performing artist now, however, Gobern has leaned on his artistic talents even more.
“Now more than ever, everyone’s a rapper,” he said. “It’s very important to stand apart and be different. A lot of what I do for my branding is artistic style. I had to have a distinct image, a logo and I had to use that high level of creativity. Kids today don’t always realize why we do certain tasks and assignments in school, but we learn from each step, and after graduation we learn to appreciate what we learned a lot more.”
Gobern credits an early opportunity he had to meet a favorite rapper of his, as well as the support of family and friends as some of the other things that got him going on his road to success, and also his own high standards for his work, accepting nothing short of perfection. “My close friends brought me into a studio one day, and me being the perfectionist that I am, I thought it was fun, but not to the level of perfection that I wanted,” he said. “I need to perfect my craft, to work on my timing and word flow, my character and charisma. I was fortunate enough to meet my favorite rapper, Canibus, and he kind of took me under his wing, guided me step by step in building my presence online. From 2010 to 2011 I was taking my talent locally to open mic events. Once my online fanbase began growing, things started to move very quickly. I got associated with Team BackPack and they propelled me to the next level of awareness, bringing my brand and my platform to a whole other level.”
Gobern, who has a young daughter, lives in Cranston and travels all over for his performances and he feels that Cranston is one of the best places in the world to raise a family.
“I like to represent proudly where I came from,” he said. “I have indigenous roots to this region and for me, Rhode Island is always going to be a big part of home and it’s going to be the start of where I give back. When I am in Europe, people know that Cranston is where I am from. People get so caught up in New York, Chicago, LA, but there’s talent everywhere and it’s just a matter of where it gets exposed.”
Gobern came to Cranston when he was ten, and lived on the south side of Providence prior to that time.
“I was around a lot of bad stuff, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff as a kid. I was not sheltered,” he said. “I saw gang violence and drug deals. I was exposed to a lot in that world. I knew right from wrong and I saw a lot of kids doing things that I was not cool with, stealing and taunting teachers. Peer pressure plays a role in that environment. Kids just want to fit in and feel a part of something. I have to be thankful for those experiences and for that level of awareness. I am grateful for my time in that area, and now I can go anywhere.”
He is thankful for his mother’s efforts to keep him on the straight and narrow, and for involving him in a lot of positive activities, including a gifted program and a science and robotics program in his early elementary school years before coming to Cranston where he enrolled in Arlington Elementary School, moving on to Hugh B. Bain Middle School and then to Cranston West to play football.
“I give my mom a lot of thanks,” he said. “Without my mom, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. She has given me the financial means, the living means, and without her I wouldn’t have any of this.”
Last year, Gobern had the opportunity to do three back-to-back-to-back tours, and shows filled with fans, thanks to another friend, and had an amazing experience. Coupled with all of the support he has had from friends, family and the educators in his life, Gobern has had many opportunities in the past ten years and looks forward to many more in the future.
“It’s been a wild journey,” he said.
For more information on Kyle Gobern, you can find him on social media as the Passionate MC.