TEACHING ARTISTS

Give a Beat creates opportunities to measurably improve mental, emotional and social well-being for our students through our arts programs that begin with workshops in music production and DJing. This is made possible through our incredible teaching artists that work one on one with the students in the correctional facilities.

Todd Strong

Todd has been a musician, producer and DJ for over 30 years. A close family member of Todd’s was incarcerated during his youth, exposing him to many incarceration facilities. Todd was able to use music to help him escape from the entrapment of incarceration and ultimately led him to a successful career in the music and technology businesses. Todd has taught at numerous juvenile correction, probation and underserved facilities since joining Give a Beat. He is currently teaching our Prison Electronic Music Programs at California City and Kern Valley State Prisons.

Billy Bannon

Billy is a former college basketball coach turned yogi and DJ who has been leading vinyasa yoga and meditation practices since 2010. In 2012, he founded b.e.a.t.s. movement, a music project serving the criminal justice system, community organizations, workplace wellness initiatives, as well as a variety of festivals and special events. Billy has been teaching yoga and meditation with the Prison Education Project for the last 3 years in 5 CDCR facilities. He has also attended multiple training programs with the Prison Yoga Project and a wide variety of additional trainings and workshops in order to continue to develop, refine and integrate his teaching skills and curriculum.

William Kehoe

William has been an audio engineer, sound designer, DJ and music producer for 25 years. He has also taught music for over 12 years. Hailing from Waterford, Ireland, William caught the DJ bug early. After graduating college in Ireland, he moved to San Francisco to pursue his dream of working in electronic music. After 8 years in SF, which included 2 critically acclaimed electronic music albums and a handful of single releases, he moved to LA to work in audio post. A protracted separation in 2017 lead to some serious soul searching and culminated in a deeper awareness of the importance of service to others. William has been teaching workshops at LA’s Central juvenile hall facility multiple days a week this year.

Esseance Gray (DJ DeepTwerk)

Esseance is a Los Angeles-based DJ who has spun all over the US since the start of her career 4 years ago. She grew up in a small agricultural town in Central California with very little direction or guidance from her family. Consequently, she fell into the hands of drugs, alcohol, and the justice system. She was exposed to gang violence and incarceration at a very early age due to family gang affiliation during the 90’s in south central LA. After losing cousins to street violence and serving a short time in a county jail, she knew that she needed to turn her life around. This revelation fueled her passion for music. The vision for her life has since expanded to include sharing its healing power with today’s youth. She joins Give A Beat amidst touring all over the US - supporting artists such as Father, King Kona, and Jet Black - and spinning solo at various events, parties, and clubs.