Cain Azazel has just finished recording a beat at a music studio in downtown Sacramento and is listening to it on playback. It starts with lush keyboard strokes, followed by majestic-sounding vocals, then a synthesized arpeggio layered with hip-hoppy drums and ending in a resounding clap! It’s a moody, gothic-sounding groove that Azazel plans to incorporate into an upcoming song.
Azazel is one of hundreds of people in the past year who have recorded music at Creation District Records. It’s run by the Creation District, an innovative nonprofit that offers a place for homeless youth to engage in the arts. Located in a former Zumba studio at S and 12th streets, the Creation District supplies free art classes, workshops and recording sessions for transitional-age young people — that is, between 16 and 24 years old — who are homeless or experiencing housing insecurity.
Last year, the organization served about 450 youth. About 43% of those identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and about 73% identified as non-white from various racial and ethnic backgrounds such as Black, Latin American, Hispanic, Native, Indigenous, Arab, Persian, Middle Eastern or multiracial.