Money Music Makers

Story By: Chris LoNigro, Staff Writer

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Music, in its purest form, is a catalyst. Society uses music in many different ways: it may be used to cheer someone up, celebrate an occasion, or just as background noise at a social setting.
Seniors Omar Alvarado and Jacky Chao have written, produced, and released their own music.

“When I was a freshman, I always had a dream of making a band in high school. I saw it in the movies and thought ‘Oh! That’d be so cool,’” Alvarado said. “Some friends and I started a band, and we didn’t get anywhere. We wrote a couple songs, and they were pretty bad, but it was a really good learning experience.”

Although his first venture into music wasn’t very successful, Alvarado stuck with it.

“I started playing guitar when I was 10. My parents wanted me to be well rounded,” Alvarado said. “Playing guitar is probably what started everything, because it was the first musical experience I had.”

While some are influenced by their parents, others are influenced by the instruments themselves

“The keyboard has influenced me greatly,” Chao said. “The first song I wrote was a ‘happy birthday’ tune for my brother.”

Chao’s first musical foray may seem small, but it was a special moment with his family.

“I play the keyboard and trumpet,” Chao said. “During college, I plan to major in sound design and music.”

Chao will continue making music in college. His desire and inspirations will grow during his time in college.

“The way I work is very much in intervals. I could have one month where I have huge writers block,” Alvarado said. “Then there will be another month where I have a huge burst of inspiration.”

The combination of inspiration and writer’s block is tough, however, overcoming these struggles will yield a product to be proud of.

“There are often times where I get stuck on an idea,” Chao said. “Then I have no idea how to deliver on it.”

There are struggles and triumphs in the world of music just like any other job. Ideas come and go, but determination keeps the process going.

“I am inspired by Kanye West, David Bowie, Matt Healy [from The 1975], Tyler the Creator, and Kevin Abstract [from Brockhampton],” Alvarado said. “They get out of their comfort zones and experiment with different sounds.”

Outside influence is a huge factor in discovering one’s style, as evidenced by Chao and Alvarado.

“I want to explore everything I can, and every sound that I can,” Alvarado said. “I want to go to college to be a filmmaker, but music is a passion that I can’t really get away from.”

Chao is excited to have written, produced, and released his first album.

“My latest big personal project is my first album ‘Phase Two,’ but I’m always collaborating with other artists and filmmakers,” Chao said. “I’m on Spotify, Google Music, Apple Music, Amazon, and Soundcloud by the name of Here Lies.”

The first release of Alvarado’s music started years ago in the process, with all of his hard work finally being complete.

“I’ve only released one single so far called ‘Overthinking’ which was more of an indie rock song,” Alvarado said. “You can find me on Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes, and all other streaming services under Midnight Wonders.”

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