- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
During the past few months I let my creative juices flow, resulting in small bursts of music and lyrics. I also learned many aspects of music writing and production. These skills and bursts were utilized to shape a final song, brought to life with help of close friends.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
I quickly learned that music is an opening to the soul. It bypasses walls we construct to protect ourselves—pain, heartbreak, suffering and even love. To make music is one thing, but for it to resonate, you must become vulnerable and open with your feelings. The process of becoming vulnerable is difficult; it circumvents our instincts of protection. An example of this is when starting a new romantic relationship; you must be open, take leaps of faith and trusting it will work. Through this process I learned that a lot of the time I am not honest with myself and others about my feelings. Through the journey of making music, I could open up to the world and begin to connect with people at deeper levels. Helping transform hate and mistrust into to kindness and understanding is something that I experienced while creating music.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
I began this project by listening to others’ music. The structures, compositions and style helped me engage and develop my creative process. Instead of passively listening, I focused on every word and melody to understand the meanings and feelings the artists were trying to convey. I quickly realized the amount of openness many artists have with their own lives. Most songs represent a story of something memorable or about someone. The lyrics help give structure to the story by creating a structure while the actual music helps convey the feelings. This helped me recognize that I couldn’t hide anything from my music.
A major part of my project was learning to use the equipment. As a percussionist by nature, a lot of my music in my head is rhythmic based. Being able to play the drums or sing the melodies out loud is one thing, but transfering the voice in my head to instruments is difficult. Once I found the sound that fit, I had to connect my instrument to my computer to record. I utilized Logic Pro X to edit and piece together the final song. The process of manipulating technology to grasp its full capacity created a large learning curve. While this was difficult, it was also rewarding as I was investing time into a skill that I am passionate about.
A huge part of my project, that I didn’t realize initially, was the focus on relationships. I’ve known my friend Andrew Kern since I was born. His family lived next door to mine in Texas when we were growing up and moved away at the same time. From Texas, he moved to Hudson, OH; I moved around for a few more years but eventually settled in Hudson, OH. We were always close, but connected and bonded over music. Andrew was a DJ and ran a business for 3 years out of his own pocket before going to college at Colorado State. Andrew taught me how to use the Logic software. I still have a lot to learn from him, but working with him was great. Being open with our music really strengthened our relationship. The other collaborator that helped me on this project was Emma Lentz. She is a friend of mine from high school. I met her in Hudson my junior year of high school. Emma is a singer and guitar player who currently goes to Belmont in Nashville. Alongside her talents in songwriting and guitar, Emma has an angelic voice. She is the voice in the music. Her experience while working with other aspiring artists in Nashville helped influence my creative process and piano playing. Working with these friends deepened our relationships and broke down walls that we all have built up unintentionally through life. Collaborating with them was an amazing experience and I hope we continue to do it.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
Writing music is a demanding creative process. Music forces you to be vulnerable and share things that often we bottle up inside ourselves. Having moved a lot, I had built up a lot of walls around myself to prevent being hurt. This project showed me that deep friendships and bonds are built by sharing yourself with others. This vulnerability was harnessed and helped fuel my creative process. Being true with yourself helps you see more clearly goals to accomplish. While music is far from my career aspirations, creativity is not. This skill is applicable to every career and relationship.