Schmidt is it

Jenny Lu

Avery Mojica, Puzzle Editor

As his fingers glide across the guitar strings, freshman Kyle Schmidt brainstorms how he can make the chord he has just made into a verse. This verse will be the beginning of a full-scale song, which he produces on his own.

Schmidt said he has been producing music since elementary school, with his first official production being in third grade. From that point on, he said he has developed an acquired taste for music and has improved vastly on his skills, especially with his guitar.

The basis for Schmidt’s music is in the bass progressions. These are fundamental to the acoustics of his music. He makes these by strumming different chords on his Ibanez guitar, which he has had since roughly the third grade.

“If [a chord] sounds good, I try to connect it with something else,” Schmidt said. “It’s like a puzzle, trying to get everything to mesh together.”

After stringing three to four chords together, Schmidt makes a decision as to whether the new combination will be a part of the chorus or a verse. These decisions are purely dependent on what he is feeling like on the day he is producing music. His mood also affects the tone of the song and the emotional content of the lyrics.

“[The lyrics] should be clever and witty,” Schmidt said. “As long as it rhymes and fits well rhythmically with the rest of the song, it’s good.”

The stories behind the songs are generally based on Schmidt’s life experiences and the experiences of his friends. He said he particularly likes writing lyrics about drama and inspirational, relatable life events. One event in particular was a break-up in a relationship, which resulted in one of his most prolific songs.

“That is more emotional and is on a more personal and intimate level. I think it represented the way that it happened well enough that it turned into something that was really incredible.”

Schmidt said his original inspiration was his father, who invested in Reason, a music editing software program. The software was handed down to Schmidt later, and he currently uses it to adjust the pitch of the song.

According to Schmidt, his recording process of a song is somewhat makeshift. He records his songs using the “voice memo” feature of his iPhone. The editing is done using Reason, the software program handed down by his father. However, Schmidt said editing is only used to change the acoustics, not his voice. He prides himself on being a singer that is entirely natural, a feat he believes is hard to find in musicians nowadays.

One of the major factors in how he composes his music is the feedback he gets from his friends. Freshman Jacob Mies said one of Schmidt’s special niches is the ability to create a meaningful song from only three chords. He also said his lyric abilities are unique because of his ability to make them relevant to people his age. However, he said Schmidt’s most developed ability is his guitar-playing skills.

“From the time I’ve known him, [his guitar skills] have been amazing,” Mies said. “Especially for a high school freshman.”

Another one of Schmidt’s friends, freshman Marc Almeida, said he has always been an artsy kid with a special interest in music. He has played the bass for Schmidt since fifth grade, and that formed the basis for his first songs. Schmidt looks to Almeida for feedback on his music, saying that it forms how he produces it.

“He doesn’t really care about what other people think of him,” Almeida said. “He does what he wants.”

Almeida said that all aspects of Schmidt’s music have improved over the course of time he has known him, but the area that has improved most has been his lyric-writing process.

“His lyrics have become more intricate as he’s gotten older and matured,” Almeida said.

Schmidt said he music he makes, no matter where it is at in the process, is always ready to be listened to. In his opinion, every step of the music-making process is vital to the development of his music. Every time he listens to a song he is making, he said he finds new ideas of how to make them even better and gets inspirations for new songs at the same time.

“There’s a whole different dynamic to playing with friends compared to playing alone,” Schmidt said. “It adds depth to the song that you can’t get playing on your own.”

According to Mies, Schmidt has lots of potential to become a successful musician, with a plethora of fields available to him at his disposal.

“He has a genuine passion for music,” Mies said. “He could be a producer or anywhere in the music industry based on the way he knows his music.”