What Moves Us: Musical Influences on GRAMMY Campers

Nicole A. Powell, Student Journalist

How could a song written in the 1920s still touch a group of teenagers in 2012? GRAMMY Camper Kiya Lacey, proved with her moving cover of Ella Fitzgerald's "Skylark" that good music is timeless for a reason, because it influences and is often enjoyed by crowds decades later. GRAMMY Campers chatted about which artists they feel have influenced them, and how they plan to incorporate some of their idol's style into their future musical projects.

We first sat down to talk with Angelica Mata, a songwriter and guitarist from the Songwriting track. Mata spoke with us about specific artists that have influenced her along the way. She gets her songwriting skills from George Harrison, the lead guitarist for The Beatles. Harrison inspires her with his thoughtful lyrics. “His songs without the music still have a powerful influence." By attending GRAMMY Camp, Mata hopes she can learn more about how to incorporate Harrison's style into her own but also to become a better songwriter in general. "I definitely believe GRAMMY Camp can make me a better songwriter; it already happened. He [Chris Sampson, Songwriting teacher] taught me about...how a song is supposed to be written."

Madi Casto, a part of the Concert Production track, explained how working with Skrillex on his performance and attending a Joan Jett concert early in her life helped influence her decision to pursue the field of concert production and promotion. The first concert she ever directed was a Skrillex performance. “That really influenced me to keep going. I was like 'this is so cool' I want to do this." Whereas the first concert she attended was a Joan Jett one, what Casto liked most about Jett's style was how, "she really connects with her audience...I was really into Joan Jett, her vibe, and how she connected."

Christopher Cobbs, from the Vocal Performance track, expressed his views on his musical influences and motivation. Citing that the artists he admires most are people who incorporate Christian morality into their works, because that is what he wants to do with his future music projects. Although his only motivation for singing is, "basically God, others such as, "Monica, Brandy, John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan," have "motivated me to get better in my craft..." He plans to be, "just like Tyler Perry, he's led a great example...just staying true to your morals and not compromising who you are."

Though the GRAMMY Campers have diverse sources of musical influence, all their responses show that some other musician or artist has contributed to their own personal style. From Skrillex to George Harrison to John Legend, the musical tastes of GRAMMY Campers know no boundaries.

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