Chaela McGinnis

  • Program: Roots of Music
  • School: New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Instrument: Drums

Chaela McGinnis plays the drums with the Roots of Music in New Orleans, Louisiana. She's going to be a senior in the fall.

The talented Roots Studio Academy students had the incredible opportunity to collaborate on a song for the new season of Queer Eye set in New Orleans. They worked alongside the amazing musicians from Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who brought their signature New Orleans jazz sound to the song, as well as Roots Studio Academy instructor Bryant Watson, who played drums on the track. Chaela was an audio engineer that worked on the engineering and production side of the project. This collaboration is a true celebration of the city's rich musical heritage and the influence it has on the rest of the nation and the whole world.

Check out a clip of the song here.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who nominated you? How long have you been playing your instrument?

I was nominated by Bryant Watson and Morgan Steward from the Roots of Music. Being born and raised in New Orleans, I’ve been in love with music my whole life but I’ve been playing since middle school. I’ve been a part of the Roots of Music Program since 2016, I was one out of two girls in the drum section and I played cymbals. I love all kinds of music, RnB, alternative, rock, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, K-pop, and J-pop, you name it.

What has music and your program taught you?

Being a part of this program has introduced me to many people and opportunities. It taught me about the inner workings of the music industry, recording, mixing, engineering, and how to interact with artists. The program has allowed me to express myself in new ways through music, and how to set up my future with important information on financial literacy.

What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?

For fun, I love to find new music, paint, and read. Essentially just find new ways to spark my creativity. I spend most of my time watching video essays on films, music, entertainment, and pop culture. I’ve just recently begun writing poems and songs.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?

In school, I definitely lean towards English and Humanities. I think humans are fascinating and learning new things by reading or analyzing a piece of work I feel is a great way to gain new perspectives and is a kind of escapism from everyday life.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to create, travel, and take the things I’ve learned from this culturally rich city and use them to learn about other things. I plan on being an entrepreneur and doing the things that I want to do to gain new skills and possibly do something impactful one day.