Ranch Reflections are articles written by students who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for students to branch out beyond traditional news stories.

Hayes DuJardin – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- The first memory my family has of me is four days after I was born, kicking my feet whenever they played “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast. Music has forever been part of my life and it has always affected how I live.

When my mom was pregnant with me, she insisted that when certain songs would play, I would kick my feet, and when they turned off I would stop. Songs like “Humble Mumble” by Outkast, “Come as You Are” by Nirvana, and a couple others never failed to get me kicking. I find it funny that some of these are now some of my favorite songs.

As I grew up, I began to develop my own musical taste. My first favorite song was “Brick House” by The Commodores. At around age two or three I knew every word to the hook and most of the verses, and I would loudly sing it for anyone around to hear whenever it played.

By the age of seven my musical taste had begun to form, although greatly influenced by my dad’s personal taste. My first concert I attended was Kiss when I was in second grade. I remember sitting with earplugs in the furthest seats back that weren’t nosebleeds, thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Gene Simmons lifted over the crowd as if he were flying was such a spectacle. Looking back I don’t enjoy the music at all, but the experience will always stick with me just because of how it influenced my love for music.

Two years later, I found my first favorite band in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Everything about their music, from the unorthodox sound, to the bass riffs, to the weirdly placed vocals struck a chord with me, and my birthday gift was tickets to their concert for their I’m With You tour. I sat 14 rows back from the right side of the stage, the side where Josh Klinghoffer sat on a stool and played guitar, as he had injured his foot the show prior. Every moment about that show left me star struck.

As I advanced into middle school, I began breaking away from the rock music scene. I found an affinity for rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Kyle. I fell in love with the genre, and it became my main genre to listen to. However, even within the genre my taste was bound to develop.

I went from liking only certain artists, to opening up to more artists, until I eventually settled on a niche. Kyle became a huge influence on me. In a time period of my life where sadness regularly consumed me, someone who was so purely happy through everything was a refreshing icon for me. Finally meeting him in March of this year felt like something that was bound to happen, and the conversation felt like speaking to an old friend. That moment will forever live with me.

As I entered another darker period emotionally, I found Lil Peep’s music. Someone who entirely related to the way I felt and so openly spoke on it was a refreshing sound. It felt like a connection. I was instantly drawn to his music, and he quickly became my favorite artist. I can owe most of my sense of style, attitude, and a lot of my outlook upon myself to the art he created.

Throughout my whole life, my taste in music has evolved along with me, and it has directly influenced who I am as a person. I’m sure that it will continue to change, and I’m sure that music will continue to shape my life.

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