The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


Behind the beats

Up-and-coming music artists explore their music talents on various platforms.
Rachel King
Sophomore Luke Barthol puts his music on Soundcloud under the name “Lil Skurb”. “I use SoundCloud, Spotify and most distributors for music.” Barthol said.

Sophomore Luke Barthol said constantly having his AirPods in and messing around with friends turned into producing his own songs and finding a passion for music. 

Barthol started experimenting with creating music in fourth grade. 

“I’ve always really gravitated towards music, ever since I was young. I listen to music all of the time and all day, it seems like,” Barthol said. “I just love anything to do with music, [whether] it’s the instruments [or] talking about it.”

Senior Prateek Singh said he began creating music during COVID-19. He said he had been hanging out with friends at a sleepover when he started, but realized he enjoyed it.

“It allowed me to be a little creative, or challenge myself [by] putting hidden meanings inside of sentences as a hobby,” Singh said. “And then after, I was releasing some songs as a joke, and I realized maybe I’d like to create something more serious sometimes.” 

Singh said while he has not yet released a lot of his serious songs, he would like to release them all eventually.

Senior Kevin Li also creates his own music. He said he had already been playing the piano and clarinet, which gave him a musical background. Li said he produces his music on SoundCloud.

“SoundCloud is an online platform where people can release their music, and it’s sort of like Spotify, except a lot of upcoming artists put their music on SoundCloud since it’s a free platform,” Li said. “It’s mainly used for a lot of smaller and more underground artists who are just trying to start their career.” 

Initially, Li said he downloaded SoundCloud to listen to music. But a couple of years ago, he started posting beats to it.

He said he makes his own beats with a software called FL Studio, which he works on with his laptop.

Singh said he also uses FL Studio for his music, as well as other websites like SoundTrack, BandLab and SoundTrap, from which he has exported his music to SoundCloud. 

“I have attempted to [join Spotify], but it’s been kind of a struggle because there are third-party music companies that you have to go through to publish on Spotify,” Singh said.

Li said he posts his beats on Soundcloud and YouTube. He also reaches out to other artists to get them to use his instrumentals. One such artist whom he has collaborated with is Seviiyan. Together, they have released two of their songs on Soundcloud and one called “Still Holding On” on Spotify.

 Senior Christopher White released a new song called “Bounce” on Jan. 31. He currently has six songs on SoundCloud and said he started producing around 2018. He produces music with his cousin RayVon Darks who is a senior at BVNW.

“That’s something we always bond on and something we always connect on,” White said. “Just sharing different music ideas, and then coming up to make something really special.”

White said he found creating music as an outlet to be creative and have fun experimenting with different ideas. 

“[The] inspiration is being able to be free, it’s not really much of a drive for it,” White said. “It’s just, being able to have the ability and that gift from God to do it, you know, so, I just use my talent.”

Barthol released his first song on June 1, 2023. He said he used his school computer and free beats that he found on YouTube. He has released around 40 songs since then, his favorite being “Mr. Green”.

“I’ve been dabbling with [music] since middle school,” Barthol said. “I kind of realized that I wanted to fully pursue it and see where it goes.”

For inspiration, Kent Barthol, Luke Barthol’s father, said that Luke references rap and hip hop, including artists like J. Cole. He said that Luke not only listens to music but also studies the artists and listens to podcasts to learn more about it.

“He began recording last summer right after school ended. I think he just kind of decided to take a shot at it. And so my wife bought him a $40 microphone and he utilized different software programs on his computer,” Kent said.

Over the summer, Barthol put together three albums. Kent said he listened to all of them.

“[I’m] really excited because he’s always had such an interest in [music] and has always, I think, wanted to display his creativity. It’s been pretty fun to watch him,” Kent said.

In actual song production time, Barthol said the process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of weeks.

“There’s just a lot going into it, and sometimes it takes a couple of takes to get a line down,” he said.

Despite the time that goes into it, music is something Barthol said he enjoys. Ideally, he said he would love to make a career out of it. 

“Being brutally honest, the chances are slim but you never know,” Barthol said.

White said he does not see himself pursuing music as a career. Despite this, it is important to him and is a way to connect with his emotions. 

“Music is important to me because for me [because] it’s my life,” White said. “But music can be important to somebody else because it can be a connection, emotionally or physically, it can make people move, it can make people cry. Music is very persuasive so it’s a really good outlet.”

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About the Contributors
Adria Heinauer, Writer
Adria is a sophomore and a writer for “The Express.” This is her first year on staff. Outside of newspaper, Adria is involved in girl’s soccer and basketball. In her free time Adria enjoys going for runs, hanging out with friends, playing soccer, and babysitting. She is so excited to be apart of “The Express” this year.
Maggie Dahl, Writer
Maggie is a sophomore and a first year staff member for “The Express”. Outside of newspaper, she will be involved in Girls Swim & Dive this spring. In her free time she swims for the Kansas City Blazers. Maggie also enjoys baking and reading. She is excited to see what her first year with “The Express” has in store for her!
Rachel King, Photographer
Rachel is a junior and a photographer for “The Express”. This year is her second year on staff. Outside of the newspaper Rachel plays soccer for the school. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing soccer. Rachel is excited to be a part of “The Express” and looks forward to the year.
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