Often times, the artists of MVHS are overlooked. These individuals devote much of their time to their art while balancing their academics. The process is not easy — it is difficult and requires immense discipline. Yet for the two groups outlined below, this process, their art, their passion is what make their lives all the more enriching and worthwhile.
Since he was young, music has been an important aspect of senior Brian Lee’s life. He has played piano since second grade and started playing the saxophone in sixth grade and since then, music has become intertwined in his life. He’s become a musical sensation on campus due to his freestyle raps, one of which he performed in the senior homecoming skit this year. His musical journey has been a personal, self-reflective process, but has also become widely known across campus.
For Lee, music has been a form of self-expression and a way to connect with his audience. Even when the stress from school and life in general piles up, Lee depends on music to uplift his spirits.
“I think regardless of what happens in life, I will always have music,” Lee said.
Lee thinks his devotion to music is the reason why people enjoy his art. Lee raps from experience which, to him, creates music that he is more passionate about. This authenticity appeals to listeners as well.
“I just want people to learn more about me about my experiences, which is important because I feel like a lot of my experiences are shared by a lot of people,” Lee said.
According to Lee, his success is the result of his love for music. He
began by simply playing his saxophone to creating beats with his friends. From there, he covered popular songs, adding his own twists and soon began freestyling to the beats that he made.
“It started off just with like those baby steps, like ‘Oh, I’m just gonna put a rap in here, just because,’” Lee said. “I guess eventually when I started listening to more rap music and started practicing more, than that was when I realized I want to be more serious about it.”
While Lee’s affinity for rapping allows him to make meaningful music, it also provides a future career path for him. He loves rapping and can see himself sharing his identity as an Asian-American through his art-form.
“I definitely want to show people new perspectives. I think a lot of people haven’t heard stories told from an Asian American perspective, which I find very important,” Lee said. “[The] bottom line is that I just want like people to learn more about me [and] about my experiences.”
Lincoln Elementary School. Kennedy Middle School. Cupertino Fall Festival.
The band Jams, currently headlined by sophomores Jeffrey Kim, Zachary Mayhew, Mitchell Flint and Maxwell Wu, has performed at all of these venues. The group plays a mixture of classic rock and indie, bonding over their love for music and these genres in particular.
They are able to connect over their shared interest in the rock genre and perform songs with great chemistry. However, what people may not know is that the creation of this band was spontaneous.
Rather, the band was created approximately five years ago, when the boys were all fifth graders preparing for the annual Talent Show at Lincoln Elementary School. Being friends, they decided one day — with no particular incentive or motivation — to participate in the event. What followed was, in Wu’s eyes, an enlightening performance.
“We were like ‘Oh, let’s play music,’ and we just did it,” Mayhew said. “We kicked in, we got together for the show, and performing at Lincoln was quite enlightening actually.”
It is after this moment that the boys came together and formed their group. Five years later, Jams is going strong, though there have been a few changes over the years. For example, there’s been a change in the members in the group. When the group first started, the lead singer at the time was different. Soon, though, he got busy, so Kim proposed that the band hold auditions for a new singer.
With this new member, senior Ronit Mathur from Lynbrook HS, the boys continued playing. All these years later, Jams still together, its love for music not yet forgotten — and according to Kim, an antidote for the stress from school and life in large.
“When I have lots of work or school stuff to do and I’m just feeling really stressed or anxious, then I just go play on my drum set and then I feel better,“ Kim said.