Student musicians focus on motivation while releasing music

Owen Reimer, Entertainment Editor

Hard hitting trap drums paired with melodic vocals. Aggressive guitar hits with strong bass lines. These musical elements are heard across mainstream music, but are also existent at Bellevue West through student artists. For these musicians, their passion is directed towards writing and recording. Whether they have released full length projects or just one song, many of the same motivations and challenges can be seen across the board.

Many different genres of student-made music can be seen across the school. Junior Jayden “50G” Williams is a rapper who takes inspiration from artists like Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne, while sophomore composed group “Thrash Metal Pizza Mountain” specializes in thrash metal. A trend between all of them, however, is the emphasis on consistent improvement.

“The way I look at music in general has changed,” sophomore Brooks “Walkman2112” Early,  who specializes in alternative hip hop, said. “A big improvement is the time I took. When I was in eighth grade I would make little projects of songs that I just made, and then I’d take three months of a break and then release another big project.”

When releasing music, negative feedback is constant, no matter how large and acclaimed the artist might be. Even Drake and Kanye West’s recent releases were critically bashed so someone at a local level is bound to be on the back end of some antagonism. Art is subjective, but according to 50G, dealing with hate and criticism plays a large role in being a high school creator. 

“Sometimes people come up to me and say my music is trash,” 50G said. “And sometimes I let it get to me. When I was young I let it get to me real bad, and I didn’t want to make music any more, but now a lot of people at this school support me.”

Early had a similar story, saying that at first, people would show him support as a joke. After a while, though, those attitudes shifted to genuine support. He described a time when a football player told him his music was bad before even listening, but after listening to it, added a song to his playlist. 

The songwriting process is an essential part of a musician. Both Early and 50G start by finding an instrumental, generally on YouTube, and freestyling or humming on it to get a feel for the track. 

“Then I’ll start looking through lyrics that I have and try to match up on the beat,” Early said. “Or I just freestyle a part if it’s not on the sheet, whatever makes sense to me. Then, if I want a hook, I just think of it on the spot.”

Figuring out the perfect rhyme scheme or theme for a song can take time, though. For 50G, making a song isn’t just a one and done process of hearing a beat and quickly constructing a verse over it

“I feel like everybody I know who made music just writes and then records,” 50G said. “With me, it takes a long time, because I want to make sure everything is right with my lyrics and make sure it makes sense.”

GarageBand is the tool of choice for many Bellevue West musicians due to its accessibility. While other software programs can cost upwards of $300, some only for a subscription, GarageBand is a free option that allows users to still have full control over their recording process, while not having access to professional level controls. 

Finding a song or album cover is another challenge that musicians face. Adding a visual element is a necessity when it comes to releasing a track. The cover is the first thing a listener will see before choosing to click on a project, so getting it right, and choosing an image that will encompass the work is a necessity.

“I find a lot of pictures that I’ve either taken or I’ve drawn,” Early said. “And I’ll just overlap them and I’ll change them and do certain things to make them look cool.”

Early’s music is available on all streaming services under walkman2112; 50G’s music is  on YouTube and SoundCloud. Other artists at Bellevue West can be found on Apple Music and Spotify like J.Dotz and Tyreece John, or only on SoundCloud and Youtube like Thrash Metal Pizza Mountain

“I would love to make music all my life,” Early said. “But the chances that I have of blowing up are really tiny, and I need to realize that. I have time to try and improve. I’m [making] my best work right now. But it won’t be next year.”