Student musicians find harmony during quarantine


Allison Raisner

Different streaming services have allowed student artists to release their music.

Pop, country, classical, indie, the list goes on. Everyone has an attachment to music, whether it’s from listening to a favorite artist, hearing different genres on the radio, or even making their own songs.

For some students, quarantine has helped their passion for music flourish.

New-found time in quarantine helps music passion thrive

He didn’t like it. 

Goz Asai, a senior, was impartial to music growing up. His parents put him in lessons at a young age, and initially, he did not connect to it. However, that feeling changed for him in the third-grade choir.

“That’s when I started actually to get more involved with pop music and American music. That’s when I really started to enjoy music, and I loved the music I listened to,” Asai said. 

His songwriting and production process is lengthy, depending on if he is collaborating or writing a solo song. 

“When I collaborate with other producers, they tend to give me a prototype of the song, which I would then take to write lyrics and melodies on top of. Because of this, some collaborations take a long time to get anything to ‘click,’ since I didn’t come up with the chord progression myself,” Asai said.

When he writes for himself, Asai mostly improvises different noises to see if anything fits, then he builds off of those. Recording the tracks takes a while as well.

“I record each part of each line separately, instead of just like an entire part. I have to make sure the timing is perfect, so if I stutter, it sounds a lot more obvious. I end up trying to get four decent recordings for each part and pick the best one,” Asai said. 

His most recent release, “In the Deep,” is about sorting through your problems and personal trauma, but he has released other songs during the shelter-in-place. 

“The first song that I released was ‘Railroad.’ It felt really good to finally get something out,” Asai said. “I got 10 different apps because I was so excited to track my own stats. Watching my listener count go up and down was really interesting to me.”

Asai hopes to pursue a career in music and has already had one record label and is in the process of securing another potential deal with Sony Music. Also, Asai met all the musicians he has collaborated with on Discord.

“I was able to find all of these different music communities on it and be able to get all of these opportunities, which was kind of crazy,” Asai said.

George Asai, Goz Asai’s father, has supported his son’s musical career since the beginning.

“As a pre-schooler, we would take him to the concerts in the park, and he would love to listen and dance to all of the bands. We have spent a lot of time working with him to create an in-home studio where he can create his own music,” George Asai said. “We are very proud of everything that [Goz Asai] has achieved so far. Even though we provided lessons to him, it was really his dedication to learning and improving how to create the music that got him this far.”

The 2020 “quarantine” has allowed Asai to take a break from his other hobbies and focus on his songs.

“I used to spend 30 minutes on music every day, at least, and during this first part of quarantine, it rose to around two hours to five hours,” Goz Asai said.

Overall, Goz Asai appreciates the opportunity the shelter-in-place order gave him, as he has dedicated more time to his music.

“We’re in a pandemic, and you have a lot of time to do things for yourself. Focus on your hobbies if you can. It might end up helping you figure out what you want to do it later in life, and just see what you can do with your newfound free time,” Goz Asai said.

 Music strengthens siblings’ bond during quarantine

Dani Courtney, a junior, has had music in her life since she was young. 

“My dad is a musician, and he used to play [Courtney and her brother] guitar when we were in the bathtub,” Courtney said.

Though she has written other songs, Courtney has only released “Pickle” on all music streaming platforms, and some of Courtney’s other songs can be found on Soundcloud

“‘Pickle’ was like the first song I wrote that I was really proud of and wanted to show people I wrote,” Courtney said.

Courtney’s songwriting process is unique and varies in length for each song.

“I typically don’t have much of a process. I like to say songs happen to me. They kind of show up in 30 minute or hour-long bursts, and then I write them all out in one go,” Courtney said. “Sometimes, they’ll evolve a little bit stylistically.”

The process for “Pickle,” however, was about a year long. Courtney and her brother, Lucas Courtney, produced the song together.

“We made the song on my brother’s laptop, and we had background sounds going, a sample of ukulele recorded, and a baseline written out. But then my brother’s computer got stolen, along with the song, so it got put on hold,” Dani Courtney said. 

However, in quarantine, while Lucas Courtney was looking in his iCloud, he found the song the siblings thought they lost forever. 

“We were thinking ‘We have all this time on our hands now, should we do something with the song?’ This year, we mostly just recorded vocals, which took so long,” Dani Courtney said. 

Then, Lucas Courtney assembled and produced the song.

“Even though [Lucas Courtney and I] were super close in proximity, we didn’t really spend time with each other. The song gave us an excuse to hang out in quarantine. It was just like a fun thing to distract from like the like apocalyptic situation that [my brother and I] could do together,” Dani Courtney said.  

However, Lucas and Dani Courtney will not be able to release any music soon, as Lucas Courtney is currently in Nashville, studying audio engineering. 

Although Dani Courtney was anxious about releasing it, her song “Pickle” received positive feedback from her peers.

Dani Courtney said, “I was nervous, but it got a really good reception, and people still tell me that they listened to it, or it’s on their playlist, which is really cool.”