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Artists on the rise: Generals edition

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The music industry’s influence on today’s youth and their motivation to chase after their dreams has been prominent and impactful. Many young artists in the industry today including Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Tori Kelly got their start from posting on Youtube, social media or any other tool that shares to the masses. Others started out small, playing in coffee shops or open mic nights at local venues. Regardless, the concept that hard work, talent and an audience is all that is needed to get a start in the music industry is a dream many kids are chasing after. Featured are four aspiring artists from the senior class.

Question and Answers with Seniors

Q1. When and why did you start singing?

Caroline Miller-Burns: Singing is something that’s always been a part of my life. When I was really little, I used to put on little productions for my family and then eventually started formally singing in choirs during elementary school. I started to take singing a little more seriously once I learned how to play the guitar in fifth grade because once I had an instrument to back me up, I was able to be more creative when covering songs by changing the music to create my own interpretation. I was finally able to start writing my own songs which made singing a lot more entertaining for me.

Grace Burgess: I started singing basically as soon as I started talking. I live in a house where there’s some kind of music playing all the time. The only thing is, I never wanted anyone to hear me sing when I was younger because I had this secret plan to suddenly come out and be a good singer when I was sixteen and surprise everyone, which I guess I followed through with by making it into Madrigals this year when I just started chorus.

Kaelan Brown: I started singing just cause it felt right. I remember sitting in my mom’s car and hearing the music on the radio and just instantly picking up the tune and singing along. It was always just natural and I loved it. In elementary school I sang so much in class and in the hallways that administration got involved and I was literally asked to stop singing. Because of that I started drumming on everything in sight. Even now I find myself singing and tapping my feet whenever anything sounds nice in my environment. I’ve just always been surrounded by music and it just to me seems like the most important thing. It can change a situation in a second and that amazes me. I want to be able to sing and have someone’s day changed.

Q2. What type of artist do you consider yourself to be?

CM: Everything I write now is acoustic, so I guess in that respect I’d fall into the singer songwriter category, but I hope to branch out in the future and add on to my songs with a band, so I think I’m still in the process of really deciding what genre I want to fit into.

GB: The Grace Burgess type? I’m not sure… somewhere between country/folk and pop, probably.

KB: I consider myself to be a multi instrumentalist. I play in like five bands around town in and out of school. In Red Light Distraction I play guitar and sing, in Sweet Nuthings I play bass and sing a bit, in the jazz band I play guitar, and in Hard To Control I rap and play guitar a little. I just love the idea of being able to cross the musical spectrum in every way I can. I’m starting a rap project under the name KLN with a bunch of producers including my good friend Joaquin who goes to Northeastern University in Boston. I’m just excited to learn more about music as a whole and everything that goes on in it and learn how to be the best musician I can. I wanna be that guy who can go onstage and play the heaviest metal song you could think of and turn around and sing some love song.

Q3. Do you write music? If so, how do you share it with others?

CM: I tend to journal in the form of song lyrics and then turn those ideas into songs, so I produce a lot of writing but only a small amount of it is actually turned into completed songs. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so I write a lot of things that aren’t released because it takes a while before I’ll actually consider a song finished. However, I do have an original song up on my YouTube channel and I’m working on some more material that I hope to release later this year.

GB: I do write music. This is becoming less secretive now that I’ve realized I’m actually trying to major in songwriting in college and sort of need public approval to turn that into a successful occupation.

KB:  I love writing my own music because it gives me the chance to say what I want to say or give an experience that I love to the world. There are those moments in writing music and lyrics when you give yourself goosebumps and if I can make people feel that way, then I’m doing something right. I share my music with people through recordings or if I’m just jamming with friends. I also have a soundcloud that I’m gonna start up for my rap project, but all the recordings I’ve done with Red Light Distraction can be found on our bandcamp page and on Spotify and iTunes. Sometimes, I’ll just share what I’m working on with whoevers around me and ask for feedback, which is always super helpful. I’ll also record a voice memo on my iPod and send that to a few people.

Q4.  Do you use any social media sites to brand yourself and your music?

CM: I have a Twitter and Facebook where I post every time I release something to keep people updated, and I also have a YouTube and a Soundcloud where I post recordings of my covers and originals.

What’s your advice to any other kids going after similar goals as you?

GB: So I’ve just started sharing my original music with people within the past three years, I’d say. I have a playlist on YouTube where I keep recordings of my original drafts of songs so I can remember them later. I don’t really have any quality recordings or anything to share on other social media sites, but if you manage to find my YouTube channel, you can check that out. I mainly also play open mics (this is the part where I plug for the Spoken Word Poetry Club) as my way of sharing. I don’t promote myself a whole lot because I am still working on how to even start presenting my passion.

KB: In terms of social media with my music, I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote my bands and projects. I use Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud to post recordings and share what I’m listening to with people. I love having these sites up cause even when I’m not posting my own stuff I can randomly find some artist that I love who’s probably trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do with myself. There’s like a million people out there who wanna make music for a living. It’s bittersweet that it’s as hard as it is to become a musician because it’s something you really have to work at and love in order to become.

Q5. What’s your advice for any other kids going after the same goal as you?

CM: I think the best thing to do is to put yourself and your music out there and to work with other musicians from the school or in the area who have similar interests. Performing is really fun for me, but at the same time it makes me really nervous because it’s intimidating to put yourself and your work out in the open for other people to hear. I’ve been really lucky to have the opportunity to open up for Safety Third and Red Light Distraction to give me some performance experience, and it always ends up being so much fun to show off what I’ve been working on and get some feedback from others. I’ve also done collaborations with friends for clubs and the open mic events that have helped me to try new things creatively and learn more about my strengths and areas I could improve as an artist. So overall I think it’s a good idea to get involved in the local music community because it’s a great way to gain new experience and grow creatively.

GB: My biggest advice is: Remember it’s not really your business to keep things to yourself because you’ve predetermined their worth. If you don’t express and share you art, it will simply never exist. You are the only one who can create something exactly as you would. Without you, the world would be at a loss. Don’t deprive the universe of something with the potential to be great.

KB: My advice to someone who wants to be a musician is pretty simple. Be friendly, be confident and be yourself. People want to see something new and different and it’s important to show people your work and ideas because they may be great enough for people to think you’re amazing. Don’t ever look at your work and think over whether people will like it or not cause you never know till you try. If you want to be a musician, you’ve got to be in it for you. Your music is just that, your music. Nobody can judge your art.

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Artists on the rise: Generals edition