Passion, talent and support helped Da’Dreion Murrell get to the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. The college senior will headline a special student performance at Berklee Performance Center on Nov. 26.
Da’Dreion has always been passionate about music. Born and raised in North Omaha, he discovered a love for music singing in school and church at Grace Apostolic Church. In middle school, Da’Dreion participated in competition choirs, and in high school, he became a member of select honors choirs.
A national choir trip took Da’Dreion to Nashville, TN where he performed on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. “I’ve had some really great experiences, but that trip really helped me solidify that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
At Omaha Northwest High Magnet School, Da’Dreion met A’Lexis Foster, a fellow student in College Possible. A’Lexis graduated in 2014 and began her college career studying nursing at DePaul University in Chicago. Da’Dreion graduated in 2015 and the two married.
College Possible helped Da’Dreion and A’Lexis focus on academics and find financial resources. He said this was critical in his motivation to succeed. “There were so many opportunities with College Possible and it allowed me to go after the scholarships that I really wanted and needed. Now being in college, I have no student debt,” he said.
Da’Dreion knew he wanted to be – a professional musician – but he was scared. Da’Dreion didn’t know if he was ready for an advanced music degree, so he prepared.
“I am most impressed with Da’Dreion because he knew his direction and pathways even before his senior year. He knew his passion and purpose in life. He is an awesome young man,” said Principal Thomas Lee at Omaha Northwest High Magnet School.
For his first year, Da’Dreion went to school at University of Nebraska Omaha to study music, before being accepted to study at Berklee College of Music. “I was a jazz major, because I wanted to learn more about chords and learn more about music theory,” he said.
The couple moved to Boston, and A’Lexis transferred to Bay State College to continue her path to a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
In 2018, Da’Dreion and A’Lexis became parents to a daughter Lanora, who turned one in September. “We’re still actively pursuing our careers and passions while still taking care of our daughter and trying to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.”
With commitments to family, managing school and campus events can be difficult at times, he said. “One of my favorite things about College Possible has been the support of my coaches, calling me and setting up time to talk. They have been very helpful, and having that support system every semester is huge.”
For the past two years, Da’Dreion has been the Berklee Gospel Choir student director. This month, he will headline his own performance with original music, a 20-piece band, six singers, dancers, complete with lighting and a stage extension. Da’Dreion organized the show, but it didn’t happen overnight. He worked with school administration for more than a year for permission to use the Berklee Performance Center.
“In creating this performance, I made my own way. It is propelling me to a larger career, and I’m very proud of what it is becoming and the time I’ve spent trying to organize it.”
Ambitious and goal-orientated, Da’Dreion hopes to use the event to entertain, network and collaborate with other musicians. His goal after graduation is to tour and record. “Moving toward that goal, I’ve used Berklee to establish and make my goal as stable as possible,” he said.
Principal Lee said whatever profession Da’Dreion chooses, he will do great work.
“Da’Dreion is very talented, very mature and truly knows how to impact his community and our society. He is a difference maker and true change agent,” Lee said. “I am very proud of Da’Dreion and all of our students who have gone on to college and have excelled.”
Learn more about Da’Dreion and see videos of live performances at dreion.com.
To help provide college coaching and support for the nearly 2,000 Omaha students we serve, go to CollegePossible.org/Donate.