Shining a Light on the Underappreciated Musicians at BHS

By Beau Cline

High School students have always been drawn toward music, with many using it as a creative outlet or as a way to express themselves. However to some high school students, music is more than a hobby–it’s a passion that they are committed to pursuing. In this article we’ll highlight some of the small, yet talented musicians at our Benicia High School, and their journey to pursue this musical career. We talked to two up and coming musical artists about their experiences, the challenges they’ve faced, and advice for other small musicians. Additionally, it will feature an interview with a former live performer and artist who is currently a teacher at Benicia High School.

Liam Rockwell (11th Grade)

Q) What kind of music do you like to create and why?

A) I like to create rock, more of a soft rock. I just like anything that  can convey what I’m trying to convey. And it’s important to stay consistent, you know? So I like soft rock, indie rock, surf rock, that type of thing.

Q) What inspired you to pursue music?

A) I would say that when I’m in my feelings, music is my way of channeling my energy into something positive. Some people, when they’re feeling down or upset about something, they go to the gym and channel their energy towards self-improvement which I think is great. And for me that outlet is creating music.

Q) What challenges have you faced as a young musician?

A) I mean every musician at first struggles to find their base, or audience. And the audience is always out there, no matter what kind of music you make. It’s just a matter of finding them. I guess how young I am plays a factor in being taken seriously, you know, my age plays a big part of how adults view me.  

Mateo Yepez-Scott (Teyo) (11th Grade)

Q) What kind of music do you like to create and why?

A) I make indie pop music. I grew up listening to pop on the radio so that’s just the kinda music I’m into, and indie in my opinion is pop but weird, and that’s what I’m here for.

Q) What do you think sets you apart from other young musicians?

A) I don’t really make music that’s too different from other kids, or musicians’ cause I like staging in my genre. So I’d say the big thing that really sets me apart from other people is the GRINDSET. I’m constantly working to try and make sure I can make a living out of this after high school so I work hard.

Q) What advice would you give to other young musicians just starting out?

A) My main advice to other musicians is to never stop and to try and stay super consistent. Eventually something is bound to catch an audience.

Charles Greenwood (English Teacher)

Q) What Kinds of music do you like to create and why?

A)I like to crest all kinds of music. I’ve recorded stuff that’s more like old school country, lots of heavy metal, a lot of punk rock. I started out with punk rock but I always try to stay with the underground aesthetic, everything non mainstream now. I also just got a kinda mini synthesizer so I’ve started experimenting with different beats and like hip hop chill hop music. Mostly I would say my favorite music has to be anything in the underground hard rock scene. 

Q) How did you find your passion for music?

A) MTV man, I’m from the MTV generation and seeing nirvana on TV and stuff like that. Also seeing it live and going to the smaller clubs in the bay area, seeing bands like AF5 playing to a room of 500 people. I instantly knew I wanted to do that , it was like all my aspirations and goals were to play Gilman, and I got to a few times which was super cool.

Q) How has Music influenced your teaching style?

A) I throw it in sometimes, you know I made this The Things they Carried rap. I’m a creative writing teacher so you know we do the poetry unit and I share my lyrics. I do write poetry to separate from the music. Performing has definitely helped my teaching, because sometimes I feel that’s what I do best, I feel like I’m acting sometimes. Those go hand and hand to me. The performance side of music is huge.

Q) What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

A) To be open minded and listen to all different kinds of genres. To study the craft, when you’re recording or writing something feel free to set it to the for a while, come back to it later. Definitely try to find like minded people. Collaborate, the way music is going, it’s so individualized where people have this cool technology at their fingertips but they don’t get out and share the experience with someone. Some of my favorite musical experiences are sharing the stage with someone else, going to concerts, having 3 other people with you on stage and everyone sinked in and locked in to this magical moment. Like nothing else matters except rocking out with these people and it’s like the coolest feeling in the world. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve done it before.

These are just a few of our school’s many talented musicians. Give one of these guys or one of the many talented musicians here at BHS a listen the next time you want to check out a brand-new artist.

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