Triple threat

Three students explain how they navigate the music industry through rapping, producing and writing


Photo by Truth Dukes

Junior Copper Russett is working to start his music career. Rapping is a way for him to express himself.

Story by Ashley Davis and Mollie Fisher

With the dawn of this self-made music era, young artists have had more opportunities than ever to embody themselves in different means. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Soundcloud are places for fresh artists to express their sound to an audience and experiment with their dreams.

In the year 2022, there are more than 10 million Spotify users producing music and getting their voice out there. Although the number of artists is large, the amount of monthly listeners is even bigger: 400 million. That’s a grand pool of people making it easy for an artist to reach their audience and experiment with their sound, creating endless opportunities. 

Junior Cooper Russett seized the opportunity when he found it and jump-started his music career. The high school student has high hopes of making it out of this town and supporting his family anyway he can. He says their lack of money growing up really motivated him to find his voice and become a creator.

“I’ve been surrounded by music ever since I was a little kid, my best friend and I started creating music off of his laptop,” Russett said. “Sometimes I freestyle, sometimes I write my own music. It really just depends on my headspace.” 

Rap has taken over top music charts ever since it became mainstream in the 1990s. Russett draws inspiration from big names in the industry like Kanye, MF DOOM and Jay Z. 

“I wasn’t really into music until middle school, then I got into more underground music and started creating,” Russet said.

Sophomore Peyton Greene is an independent artist who created his own label, making his music accessible on all social media platforms. Creating music is his passion and the songwriting process is impactful to him because he values lyrics over other aspects of a song. 

“Every song is different, sometimes I just freestyle because the ideas come straight to my head, other times I write songs for days at a time,” Greene said.

Every song is different, sometimes I just freestyle because the ideas come straight to my head, other times I write songs for days at a time.

— Peyton Greene

Finding your sound can be difficult. The idea of “everything has already been done” has been a huge phenomenon when it comes to the entertainment industry. Even when the beats and flows sound unique they can usually be traced back to an earlier song, whether that be through samples or similarities. Causing many artists to draw their inspiration back to their role models.

Greene draws inspiration from experiences others don’t want to talk about. Following in the footsteps of his role models: Deftones and Schizo. Staying motivated as a new artist is difficult so he finds it helpful to follow the saying, “You have to be your biggest supporter, because nobody else is going to support you.” 

Xavier Richardson began his artistic journey through rapping, but eventually found his place in the music industry to be producing and engineering. Drawing inspiration from Kanye West, XXXTENTATION and Earl Sweatshirt because of the way they’ve carried themselves throughout their careers and how they navigate the industry.

“One of my homies was making random songs off of his mom’s laptop and I started doing it with him after a while, and eventually that led to me learning how to produce and engineer,” Richardson said.“My favorite part about making music is definitely creating a vibe for people and getting good reactions out of what you make later on.”

Artists aim to connect with people on many different playing fields. Invoking the use of multiple senses can enhance a listener’s experience. Whether that be through lyrics they can relate to or ones that bring them back to prior experiences, bringing past feelings along with them.

“The eyes are an entrance to the soul, and so are all of our other senses. There’s eye candy in the same way that there can be ear candy,” Richardson said. “People connect their spirit with sounds allowing them to be pulled through a whole storyline of emotions based off of what they hear, my main goal is to connect with people on that level.”