Behind the lives of two modern musicians

Juniors+Wesley+Yang+and+Calvin+Potter+spend+hours+in+the+studio+to+create+the+perfect+song.

Photo courtesy of Calvin Potter

Juniors Wesley Yang and Calvin Potter spend hours in the studio to create the perfect song.

Farah Caban, Staff Reporter

High school rappers are stereotyped as musicians with corny lyrics and minimal production; however, this does not apply to juniors Wesley Yang and Calvin Potter. The music enthusiasts both began recording music before they entered high school. Yang, a producer, and Potter, an artist who goes by the stage name Ciaga, have collaborated with musicians across the country to create songs that currently have tens of thousands of listens. As a producer, Yang has to listen to what the artist wants in a song and add his own spin to it. He starts off with a melody, adds bass and drums, and sends it to Potter. Potter then listens to the beat and has Yang make any changes, and when he is happy with it, will start to record lyrics. After experimenting with music early on, Yang and Potter have continued to develop and improve their craft.  

“I started taking piano classes, but I quit when I was 12. I didn’t make music for a while, but I’d always be listening to music, and then in middle school, I got more into rap. When I was scrolling on YouTube [in middle school], I came across producing videos by Genius — the deconstructed ones — and I was instantly inspired,” Yang said. 

Potter started around the same time as Yang, but was inspired in a different way: he started recording songs on his dad’s microphone in seventh grade. 

“My dad does music stuff with his friends, so he had a microphone, and I plugged it into my computer. And then I got this recording software and beats from YouTube, and then just started something random,” Potter said. 

Since middle school, Potter has started incorporating more of his personality and his ambitions into his lyrics while trying to match his lyrics to the mood of the beat that Yang creates.

 “I’ll talk about money a lot — money and success. I’m just talking a lot about dreams and stuff too. Having a beat gives me a vibe and a feel, and then I want to match it. If you have a super hard beat that’s super aggressive, you’re not going to be talking about a happy day,” Potter said.

As well as working with Potter, Yang has worked with KiNGMosTWanTed, who has over 70 thousand followers on Instagram, in addition to Autumn!, who has over 90 thousand followers. 

“Networking is all of the game right now. It’s like 90% networking and 10% talent nowadays with social media, and a lot of people don’t like it, but that’s just how it works,” Yang said. 

Although these follower counts may seem insignificant, the more popular an artist is, the more recognition and exposure Yang gets by collaborating with them. 

Social media also plays a role in expanding their audience. Yang and Potter both said that they promote new music on their social media accounts, and their friends also post about it. 

“In the beginning, all of my listens were from people I knew, but then I started getting listens around the country. [Soundcloud] shows you statistics about where your listeners are coming from, and it kept popping up saying that we were getting listenings in Seattle, and in little towns in Washington. Later, I got a DM from this random girl she’s like, ‘oh, like my boyfriend died and like a freak accident or something like that.’ And she said, ‘we always used to listen to your song, like that was like our song,” Potter said. “That was shocking to me. I didn’t know it was reaching these kinds of people.”

Their passion for the music-making process along with the excitement of reaching a larger audience motivates Yang and Potter to continue to put out new music.

“At first, of course, it began as a hobby. But right now, I’m starting to get somewhere. I’m hoping to try to take it as seriously as I can, and see how far I can go, and then, if I’m at that level, I could pursue it as a career,” Yang said. 

Both want their audiences to know, “new stuff coming soon.”

Be on the lookout.