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Sounds From This City—Arielle's Self Portrait

Sounds From This City—Arielle's Self Portrait


Good evening, my name is Arielle. I’m 13 years old, the youngest in the class, and this is my eighth-grade project. You will hear my song, “The Jazz Festival” playing in the background. For my eighth-grade project, I created a musical album consisting of ten songs. I also created my album cover, so to speak.


Making the album itself was not very hard but there were certain parts that made it difficult such as copyright laws, Corona, and buying materials. Buying materials was definitely a huge block in the road considering the fact that I couldn’t—and still can’t—just head over to my local Target and buy everything that I need. Finding a record to place my baby picture on in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but I finally found one at my grandparent’s house.


Copyright laws were really my worst enemy during this process. When I was almost done my project, the first time, copyrights attacked. I was attempting to publish my songs on SoundCloud when I got an email from SoundCloud basically saying that six out of eight songs were illegal. Meaning that some of the loops from my songs were already used and copyrighted by another person. Some songs were just copyrighted two weeks before I wanted to publish them. I now refer to losing my songs as “The Purge.” So I ultimately had to make more songs because I was down to the two songs that had survived “The Purge.”


In September 2019, I did have ideas about what I wanted to do, and everything pointed back to making music. Whether on my ukulele, piano, or phone I was making music. I really solidified what I wanted to do in about January when I started naming songs, using sound effects, sending songs to friends, and getting feedback. Each one of my songs has a special memory attached and is inspired by my emotions, friends, and family. Let me tell you a few of my songs: “My Native Land,” “Long Car Rides,” “Treasures in the Sand,” and “Dealing With…”


As it got closer to the finish line, I put finishing touches on some songs and I made two more songs, making a total of ten songs. Later at about the end of March, I recorded singing for one song and rapping for another. I did struggle to find a quiet place to sing, but eventually I found it, in the storage room in our basement.


I was taught somewhere that you always put a negative before a positive to end what you’re saying on a good note so I must now talk about the good. Though there were many challenges during this project, there were also a lot of fun parts. Including, the fact that I was doing music (something I love), taking pictures of my project, playing my ukulele, naming my songs after memories and so much more.


I learned a lot while I worked on this project: about myself and about music. But I not only learned, but I also taught my younger brother, DJ, how to make songs and he now makes songs whenever he can.


My album Sounds From This City is like a mirror of me but in the reflection, you won’t see just me. You would see what and who makes me who I am. You would see my family, my friends, my Baltimore, and my Maryland. One thing I never really thought about until someone asked me is which city is THIS city. Well, the Sounds are from whichever city you are from. Baltimore, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Richmond, New Orleans—it doesn’t matter the city it matters what YOUR sound is. What are mine? Well, you’ll have to listen to my album to find that part out.


I look forward to sharing my album at Bard Early College in the fall. Thank you for your time, have a great rest of your day. Good luck to the best class of 2020!