CF students create own music

The recent pops concerts have highlighted the many musical talents of CFHS students, but one still that may have gone overlooked is that many of these same students have also developed talents in writing the songs they perform.

Evan Fairbanks, a senior who has been in a few bands and has even recorded two CDs, writes all kinds of music. “I have so much respect for nearly every genre that I just end up borrowing elements from all of them,” Fairbanks said.


Senior Evan Fairbanks has written songs for a number of projects, including this band he is a part of. (Lexy Abbas photo)

Fairbanks just loves writing music that can’t be labeled. “I don’t like labeling my music because once you declare yourself to be a certain genre then you can get trapped and just end up limiting yourself, when in reality, music is self-expression and nobody just feels one emotion their whole lives. The songs should be spectral,” Fairbanks said.

Inspiration for music can come from anywhere. Sophomore John Nicol also loves to write his own music. He has written seven songs, including “You,” “Papa’s Song” and “Resolutions.” “Probably my favorite song I’ve written would be called “Spotlight.”  My favorite lyrics I’ve ever written are from this song. They are, ‘I’ve been told and told, don’t follow the broken road, but I went anyway.’ I wrote it after I had been told that music probably won’t get me anywhere in life. I decided that I need to write a song to prove them wrong, and that’s the theme of the song,” Nicol said.

Fairbanks said he draws ideas from many sources. “Inspiration is everywhere. Literally everything in my life is inspiring in some way to write music. A lot of my music is written based on poems that I’ve made, but everything works. I’ll draw a picture based on how the music makes me feel, and that’ll give me an idea for lyrics. Anything can be a song as long as it’s passionate and powerful in some way,” Fairbanks said.

Performing can be a really terrifying yet exhilarating experience. Especially performing original music. Junior Abigail Rowland wrote and performed an original song at the pops concert this year. “I wanted to perform the song because I wanted to dedicate the song to all the seniors, who I’m going to miss a lot next year. Performing it was a little scary. I had never played in front of so many people before singing my own song.

Rowland got the inspiration for the song when she had to move away the summer before her sophomore year. “The name of the song is ‘you taught me how to dance,’ and I wrote it for all my friends in Colorado right before we moved away to Iowa,” Rowland said.

Some students have found the songwriting process to be challenging. “Recently I’ve had trouble putting chords to go with the lyrics I write, but usually it’s more difficult the other way around, putting lyrics with the chords. I would also say that another difficulty would be persevering. I often come up with a great set of lyrics, but then just give up on the song because I can’t think of any more. Then it gets lost, or I forget about it. I hate when that happens,” Nicol said.

Perseverance is key in writing music. “There’s always that song that you just can’t get to sound the way that you want it to. It just doesn’t quite have that punch or that hook or that feeling that you want it to possess, but challenging yourself is always rewarding. Once you master a new technique or style, it’s so amazing to realize how much you’ve improved,” Fairbanks said.

Music can always connect with people in some way. “You shouldn’t worry about if somebody else might or might not understand it because it’s abstract or really personal. The song is about what you’re trying to convey, and there will be people who can connect with it. I mean, we’ve never been cheated on by any of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends, but we still feel for her when she sings about them,” Fairbanks said.

All three of these students have a passion for music. “Music is how you amplify your feelings in a positive way. If you’re happy, you play happy songs and feel better. If you’re sad or angry, you play sad or angry songs and feel better. Writing music is a way to explain yourself in a way that can’t really be explained. You just feel it, and it feels so right,” Fairbanks said. “The fact that you’re creating something that you can be proud of is so incredible, and performing your own songs live is one of the greatest feelings ever. Even if the crowd thinks you suck, they’re wrong, because you rock. That’s that.”

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