The smooth beats and sharp lyrics of ‘Freaky Pat’

Patrick McCarthy, known as "Freaky Pat," during a recent performance at the Yumbrella Food Hall in South Miami. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

By Jenny Hudak

Patrick McCarthy, known as "Freaky Pat," during a recent performance at the Yumbrella Food Hall in South Miami. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

The smooth beats and sharp lyrics of ‘Freaky Pat’

By Jenny Hudak
The musical talents of Patrick McCarthy, known as the performer “Freaky Pat,” are catching the attention of thousands of online listeners, and even a Grammy-award nominated artist.

Patrick McCarthy, a senior at the University of Miami who is better known as the musician “Freaky Pat,” didn’t always consider a career in music his path.

Sitting casually in his South Miami home, McCarthy shared that it wasn’t until he arrived at the University of Miami that his perception of producing music changed.

“I wasn't doing it thinking that I was going to do that with the rest of my life. When I got to UM, I made a handful of pretty successful tracks on SoundCloud. That gave me the fuel to make music. It was definitely a huge part of what I wanted to do,” McCarthy said.

With smooth beats and sharp lyrics, McCarthy’s music quickly resonated with his peers. His music draws inspiration from performers like Mac Miller and Justin Timberlake. Along with his evolution as a musician, McCarthy shared that his time as a screenwriting and film student at the School of Communication has helped him grow as an artist. He’s collaborated with other students on several films as a screenwriter, cinematographer, and composer. All of these projects, he said, have shaped his creative vision for his career.

When asked how he maintains his creative energy, he said the people he surrounds himself with keep his ideas flowing. 

"My friends inspire me, I would say, more than anyone. They all inspire me. What you go through is going to inspire you; your emotions inspire you. At the end of the day, like what really keeps me going is being surrounded by artists," McCarthy said.

Still, McCarthy said he sometimes doubted that pursuing music was viable. His career and confidence took a turn when McCarthy's talents caught the attention of Grammy Award-nominated artist, Wyclef Jean.

In 2018, Jean hosted various nationwide masterclasses and competitions seeking out top talent from college students. McCarthy’s friends and classmates suggested that he enter the contest. That's when he decided to fully invest in his music career.

“I just threw my life into these rehearsals for this and I was like, I don't know how—I maybe just had an idea that like if he could think I'm sick,” McCarthy said.

After several rounds of live performances, “Freaky Pat” got the job.

“Wyclef’s CEO texted me later that day and was like, 'Hey, we want you on the new album,' and I was just freaking out. It was one of the greatest days."

Over several months, McCarthy and Jean exchanged ideas, beats, and lyrics. McCarthy said his confidence as a producer and writer grew. The 12-song project called “Wyclef Goes Back To School” (WGBTS) was released in March 2019. McCarthy went on to join Jean for performances of his songs, including an appearance in Texas at South by Southwest, a conference that explores what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology.

Now in his senior year, McCarthy is fully tapping into his craft as a musician and producer. Despite his success on SoundCloud and WGBTS, McCarthy said his goal is to remain authentic through his intimate solo performances.

“Obviously, crowd engagement is the number one thing. We built a stage in our backyard and threw five shows throughout the course of the school year. Anyone could be on stage actively doing the worst cover, but if everyone's into it in the crowd, it's probably more fun than, like, a deep cut of my own songs that no one really cares about. That energy is crazy.”

For “Freaky Pat” – this is all just the beginning.

“I’m trying to release three more projects before I'm done next spring. I’ll just try to release as much as I can and hopefully have something catch. I don't think it's the end of the road for me,” he said.