MUSE: So You Wanna Be Creative

By Will

Hello, my fellow human beings! Today I am going to provide you with some knowledge that will completely alter the rest of your entire existence. Not really. That was an exaggeration. However, these tips are pretty rad and can help you use that imagination of yours much more easily. So, let us begin. 

Through my deep exploration of multiple three-minute self-help YouTube videos and reflection upon my own creative processes, I deducted that there is a variety of ways to ignite your creative energy; about forty. Yeah, forty ways. I know what you're thinking: "That's about thirty ways too many, Will." I agree with you, my peeps. But do not fear, the list has undergone a condensing and de-borifying process to make this dealio simple, sweet, and successful. Please, avert your attention to the recommendations below.  


So You Wanna Be Creative? Try these stuffs.

  1. Find inspiration: This can be anything: music, art, literature, random objects, emotions, video games, movies, ANYTHING!!! Just find something that gets your ideas rolling.
  2. Adventure: Change your environment. The brain begins to use creative sectors when it is exposed to a new environment.
  3. Break the rules: "What rules?" Exactly. It's creativity, there are no rules. If you put a burden on yourself to make something a specific way, it gets harder to think openly. 
  4. Experiment: Try something that might seem stupid or that you're not accustomed to. It might be awesome. Worth a shot, right?
  5. Take breaks: Give your mind a minute to chillax. You never know what clever idea might pop into your brain.
  6. Ask questions: Feel free to question anything and everything. Creativity is filled with "what-if's."
  7. Do not focus: Try not to focus too intensely. Using the portion of your brain that controls hyper focusing actually decreases your ability to be creative. 
  8. Have ADHD: Okay, that's a difficult task for some. Attempt to be distracted. Try to multitask when being creative. Pace back and forth or throw a ball while thinking. 
  9. Be spontaneous: Spontaneity is key. Don't think "why?" Think "why not?"
  10. Carry a notepad: When great ideas do come to you, write them down!
Good luck on your journey to creativity, youthlings!  


YOUTH Radio: How Two Incredible Females Became the Unlikely Heroes of Brochella

by Amy

The Coachella 2015 main stage was dominated by rock legends, ACDC and Jack White, popular hip hop icons, Drake and The Weekend, and indie rock stars looking to make a better name for themselves, Tame Impala, Alt-J and the War on Drugs. Through no fault of their own, or even Coachella's necessarily, all of the aforementioned performers are male. Yes, in fact, twenty-one of the twenty-five performers on the main stage and 153 of the 179 artists in total were male. That means that only fifteen percent of the whole lineup was female-fronted singers and bands.

My intent is not to criminalize the festival for making the lineup in the way that they did. The people who put the festival together do an excellent job of making everything run smoothly to provide the best experience possible for all of the concert-goers. I am sure first they find what interesting artists released albums since Coachella 2014 and base their decisions mainly on hiring those artists combined with the most famous artists that they can. 

I racked my brain trying to think of what females Coachella could have been included--Rita Ora, maybe, or Charli XCX? Lorde, Grouplove, and Lana Del Rey were there last year; Metric and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs played the year before. They could go more mainstream with someone like Rihanna or Ariana Grande but that doesn't really fit Coachella's  image, assuming the pop stars would even want to perform. 

Anyway, my point being that the main stage was filled to the brim, all day for three days, with mega-talented performers. In this sea of amazing dude performers who were among some of the best performers I have ever watched in all my three years attending Coachella, two females shone quite a bit more brightly than the rest: Azealia Banks and Florence and the Machine. They were impossible to take your eyes off of, unforgettable and totally mesmerizing. 

Azealia sang beautifully, rapped like the best of em, danced, was entirely humble and authentic, and managed to say nothing controversial for maybe the first time ever. She proved to the world that she is not just famous because she says things that offend people constantly, but she actually deserves her fame and fans. Her energy was infectious and no one in the crowd stopped dancing throughout the whole performance (including her dope back-up dancers).

Florence, a goddess and a gift to the whole universe, sang more beautifully while sprinting through the crowd than most people could ever hope to, took her top off, got everyone to hug each other, and completely lived her music. The way she danced, or rather moved, with the music her band created was simply beautiful. She fed off the crowd's enthusiasm and was never without a smile. She has this energy that is all hers, all adrenaline and happiness. 

Not only did these women who are also my new role models prove for themselves how incredible they are, they proved that women can kill the main stage just as well, if not better than the many men who performed. 

I would also like to give a shout out to MØ, FKA Twigs, Marina and the Diamonds, Alison Wonderland, Jenny Lewis, and Clean Bandit and the rest of the awesome females led acts who did Coachella proud this year. 

I didn't take many videos but here is a very brief, and slightly blurry, insight to Azealia's and Florence's performances. 


YOUTH VOICE: Day of Silence

By: Kelly Mulrooney

Every year on a Friday in April, students lead a movement to end harassment and oppression of LGBTQIA+ youth. The crusade for equality and awareness began in 1996 at the University of Virginia. Since then it has rapidly expanded; over 8,000 middle and high schools officially participate in this demonstration. Thousands of students from schools that do not formally acknowledge the day of silence vow to remain mute also, giving strength to their LGBTQIA+ peers. This Friday, April 17, is the LGBTQIA+ Day of Silence. Please help raise awareness about the persecution of LGBTQIA+ youth by pledging to be silent the whole day (or if you are unable due to your schools policies, do something creative to spread the word and start conversations about this amazing day!).

special thanks to: Coleman Evans, Cede Littlejohn, Ben Scott, Camille Kane, Claire Friou, Maggie Cashion and Reilly Jones :) <3


Introducing YOUTH VOICE

By Kelly Mulrooney

Greetings, all voracious readers of youth (youthlings?)! My name is Kelly Mulrooney, and I have been entrusted with the great honor and pleasure of writing for YOUTH. YOUTH VOICE will focus on unjust and discriminatory societal norms, phunky social activism, “how-to’s” on stopping the cycle of oppression, acknowledging the perpetuation of it, and much more :). Many of you are probably wondering right now why this matters and how these disputed and precarious issues fit into YOUTH. Most, if not all, social justice issues affect everyone, directly or indirectly. They may distress your subconscious or even combat your morality--who knows? As the up-and-coming generation--the youth--we have the power to evoke change for equality and tolerance. This column is not only an ongoing discussion (please feel empowered to comment, disagree or inquire), but an outlet for those who feel they’re repressed for any and all reasons.

It only feels right to give you a sense of who I am as a human being and how I go about existing in this world. I first became acquainted with social activism and what it feels like and what it means to have the dissenting opinion at a young age. My mom is very involved with LGBTQIA+ rights. Her brother is gay, so I’ve been fortunate enough to have been exposed to my uncles' pride and my mom’s work as an ally. As I have grown into myself and discovered what it means to me to advocate for equal rights, I have developed my sense of being a feminist and an unapologetically badass one. It is moving and gratifying to be an active ally, but it is an exceedingly marvelous and different type of rapture to be able to fight for yourself.

Currently my two friends (Reilly Jones and Coleman Evans) and I are in the process of creating a gay/straight alliance at our school. This process has been inching forward and gaining support for about twelve years. I feel it’s so important for not only my school, but for all schools to have accepting environments--environments in which the school sends the message that everyone is seen. So often LGBTQIA+ kids are forced to suppress their identity and put on a facade to conform to heteronormative schools. As students it is vital we don’t tolerate parochialism and bigotry and that we send the message of acceptance. It can sometimes be arduous and unpopular, but it is always rewarding and crucial to combat any sort of injustice whether it concern sexual orientation, gender orientation, race, family structure, ability, socio-economic status, age or religion.

at a religiously based peace vigil uptown in memorial of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha 

at the protest honoring Mike Brown in an effort to bring awareness of police violence and the dangers of racial profiling 


Actually, Quitters Can Be Winners

by Ryan

A Life Lesson from Zayn Malik

When Zayn Malik quit One Direction a couple of weeks ago I felt a lot of feels. Boy bands have the intrinsic capacity to make you feel feels, ya know? It must be something to do with their angelic falsettos and synchronized choreography and gleaming teeth and general suaveness. So on that fateful Wednesday in the library when word reached me that Zayn had quit the band, abandoning his best friends and his billions of fans and their new album and music altogether, I felt. Zayn was a a giver-upper and a selfish nimrod and a quitter and it enraged me and confused me and saddened me. My thoughts went something like this: Like, are you kidding me, Malik? Do you know how many girls are crying in school bathrooms right now because their beloved British boy band will never-ever be the same ever again? There’s a lot of girls crying in ratchet school bathrooms, Zayn. A lot of girls. Why would you do that do those girls? Why would you quit? And I went on like that silently cursing him in my mind all through lunch and most of fourth period.

Whilst my history teacher discussed Mao Zedong’s guerilla war tactics during his Long March and the rest of my classmates fervently took notes, I pondered Zayn. I pondered and pondered, intermittently cursed him, then pondered some more until finally I had a realization: Zayn is a twenty-one year old person. A person with dreamy brown eyes and really luscious hair and a cajillion fans and three albums and super sexy graffiti fetish, yes, but a person. And if a person is not happy a person has the right to fix that. A person has the right to put him or herself first. And if a person needs to quit to be happy, then that person has the right to quit.

It’s a weird concept to gage at first though, right? Like how can quitting possibly be a good thing? Isn’t quitting synonymous with being too lazy and weak to keep going, to push through? And I guess sometimes it can be that. Sometimes quitting is a product of laziness. But a lot of times it’s not. It’s okay to quit something--a sports team or a job or a relationship--if it makes you unhappy. Putting your own happiness first is important. Quitting can be a symbol of having the strength to stand up for your own wellbeing. So, Zayn, I'm bummed you're leaving, I really am. The whole One Direction dynamic will forever more be off-kilter and that is some upsetting stuff. But by quitting the band and preserving your happiness you taught me a hell of a lot more than I would have learned from another album about teenage heartbreak. 


MUSE: Introducing Will Ritchey

by Will
photos by Alley

Hello, my fellow youthlings! I am proud to say that I am now part of the YOUTH squad. I will be writing for the MUSE portion of this phunky operation, so as an introduction I thought it would be appropriate to share a little something about what art means to me and how I got into it. 

I got started drawing at a really young age. I've always had a very active imagination and creative way of viewing the world, so I guess drawing was my way of expressing myself. I did a lot of cartoons and characters throughout elementary school. In middle school I jumped back and forth from characters to graffiti. I watched Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film by Banksy, around seventh grade and that really inspired me to try out stenciling. Then I worked on the classic street style lettering type of Graffiti. I drew words as best as I could and tried to add a flare to them. Through that I developed good control over my hand. Hand control is essentially the ability to look at something or imagine it, and lay down the lines on a piece of paper efficiently and accurately without measuring or doing a bunch of little sketchy lines. 

After middle school I delved into portraiture, which is still one of my favorite things to do. Mastering the proportions of a face and attempting to nail all the placement of facial features is a rewarding challenge. Sophomore year my tastes grew to the overall love of design. I am an urban environment, architecture, and design junky. Everything around us is design. People that build houses, design street plans, come up with zoning laws, etc. have a huge and often unrecognized impact on our surroundings. I hope to one day become someone in that field and build an environment that is beautiful and efficient. I love the idea of having a big impact on people's surroundings and making them more enjoyable. When you give a piece of land purpose, whatever you put there can become more than a building-- it can be art. Right now I am working on a project that includes floor plans, digital 3-D models, and up scales for six apartments that would be placed in an abandoned Charlotte-Mecklenburg area schools. To me, art is more than something on a piece of paper; it is everything around us. It's up to the thinkers, the creatives, and the people of the world to paint something inspiring on Earth's canvas.


YOUTH Radio: Coachella Playlist

by Amy

Within these profiles lies everything you need to know about the ten most intriguing artists at Coachella 2015.

1. Tame ImpalaTame Impala is a psychedelic, experimental rock band from Perth, Australia that has been around for about nine years, but became well known in 2012 with their critically acclaimed album, Lonerism. The lead singer, Kevin Parker, and bassist, Dom Simper, met at age 13 in music class. The two met drummer Jay Watson somewhere along the way. I would not be able to describe their ever-evolving sound any better than they do on their website so here it is: "Tame Impala make psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music. It's intended for moving one's body to, and it's intended for keeping still and observing other forms of movement. It's bombastic but it's swirling, think of the shoulder bones of a giant striding feline creature through some kind of tunnel. If Tame Impala's music reminds you of what you'd want to put on when you next visit your mind's engine room then they're happy. If not, whatever, it's just music. Put it on when the sun next shines. Basically it's all about the feeling".

2. Flying Lotus- In a past post, I described Flying Lotus's music as having the ability to "transcend into a whole new dimension, a dream world," but it is so much more than that even. His album, thematically named You're Dead!, contemplates the unknown, life after death, and all the mysterious questions that surround dying without ever being super melancholy. It is fleeting, hopeful, and confusing, all without having the pretentious attitude that most artists assume when discussing death. Flying Lotus makes music that is mostly noise; I would say instrumental, but other than his use of the jazz beats with the saxophone, drums, and horns, his music is just layered with noises. Bells, lasers, crimes, maniacal laughing, and other computer generated sounds. His music only contains words when he is featuring another artist or under his rapper alias Captain Murphy. When it does, though, it is mostly warped and being used as another instrument. Flying Lotus has the ability to take his listeners on a journey and make them see things differently, which to me is quite an achievement.  

3. Ghostface Killah and RaekwonIf you are unfamiliar with these two names, perhaps you know a little group that they were into called the Wu-Tang clan. And if you don't know about the Wu-Tang clan, then you do not know much about rap music. Ghostface and Raekwon are essential to rap music now and always. Current rappers who you admire that value originality, don't care about what other people think of them, and like to cause trouble were definitely deeply influenced by Wu-Tang growing up. Ghostface and Raekwon were two absolutely key members to the rap collective and it is an incredible gift that they are touring together again after 25 years of working together. Ghostface's raps are a fast stream-of-conciousness and tell stories while Raekwon's are really straight forward and honest while still being interesting, so the numerous songs and albums they have released together are a beautiful combination of the two types of rap. Bottom line is that they are two of the greatest MC's of all time, completely changing rap for the better, and we are all forever indebted to them. 

4. JungleJungle has brought back the funk in the best way possible. In my head while I listen to their music, I imagine them having a huge crazy dance party full of well-dressed young people who somehow know some cool secret dance that they all break out into at the same time, which is part of the reason their live show is bound to be amazing. People tend to under appreciate artists who like to make simple, fun, dance music, but sometimes you just have to let loose and get down to a beat full of synth and horns. That is where Jungle comes in. They aren't techno or EDM or anything like that, don't get me wrong, but soulful and reminiscent 1970s-esque funk. The pair, Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson, have been making music together since they were nine and are the core of the seven-member band that has been together only since 2013. Jungle has gained some serious critical acclaim and attention in that short amount of time. Although some of their songs are practically unidentifiable from the next, I think that is a problem a lot of young bands have to overcome and in time they will branch out and take more risks musically. 

5. Vic MensaVic Mensa, 21 year old rapper from Atlanta who Kanye has recently taken under his wing (oh how Kanye loves Chicagoan rappers), released his first solo mix tape at 16 and was the front man of critically acclaimed rap group, Kids These Days before they broke up. He paved the way to success for other Chicagoan rappers like Chance the Rapper and Chief Keef who grew up in similar situations. Even he recognizes that people do not give him credit where credit is due, though. On "Orange Soda" he jokingly raps "they make lists of Chicago rappers and skip me." Vic makes meaningful yet fun and youthful music that constantly varies in tone and sound quality. He's a lyricist with a smooth flow and strong opinions, which makes for very interesting verses. Also, he is not afraid to make these really different jazzy, 80's funk beats that somehow complement his raps so perfectly. So when you talk about the who's leading the new school, don't forget Vic. 

6. Ruen Brothers- The Ruen Brothers, teenagers Henry and Rupert Stansall, are making music so different than anything else any band is doing today. Their sound is predominantly similar to classic rock from about 50 years ago, and as teenagers, the feat of pulling this sound off so well is very impressive. Unsurprisingly, they call Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and the Stones their influences. Their website notes that the brothers tie "these influences masterfully with a modern musical vernacular of big amplifiers, organic effects, and robust delivery," which is a very thorough summary of what the brothers have accomplished. Both brothers play the guitar, and as far as I can tell, both provide vocals as well. They are still a very young group with only one EP, but I see so much potential in the future of their careers; they are already opening up for George Ezra on tour. PS I have an opportunity to hang with them at Coachella so be on the lookout for more info about this up and coming band very soon(:

7. Mø- Mø, danish indie/electro pop signer, has a voice ranging everywhere from the likes of Grimes, to Florence Welch and Lorde. She layers her wispy vocals on complex beats for a surprisingly soulful product. Mø grew up in Copenhagen and started a pretty successful punk band by the time she was fourteen. Her friend and she traveled and played music all over Europe before coming to New York  in their late teens to attend art school. Ever since then she has taken a break from being the hardcore anti-fascist punk rocker and shock rapper that she was in her teens to make very chill and beautiful electronic music with her band. Her songs are all pretty similar in the way that a lot of electronic musicians' songs are, the mood being the only thing that seems to change from song to song. The pace of the music is fast but not necessarily dance music and the beats she makes are playful and reminiscent of the 80s and fun sound effects. She isn't accomplishing anything particularly revolutionary, but all of her songs are good and fun. And that is  necessary in a time where a lot of artists feel like they need to make their subject matter serious to be taken seriously. 

8. Father John MistyFather John Misty, who struggled as an unknown musician under the name Josh Tillman, realized a few years back that persona is something nobody is interested in and decided to become larger than life with the pretty ironic name he wears today. The name makes perfect sense for him, revealing his cynical nature and odd humor. His music constantly varies. In the span of three songs, it is unsurprising for him to go from discussing the unbelievable adoration he has for his wife, to confessing all of his sins, and then making a joke song about a weird drug trip he took. He can be so cynical, you start to question everything you know and so tender that your heart will hurt. His acoustic guitar, soft voice, and downright folkiness are always consistent, though, which manage to make his two albums flow very smoothly. The contrast between his tone and the mostly serious subject matter is always striking and highlights the message in his songs. He is never in a rush when he is singing and lets instruments speak for themselves as much as his in-depth, soul-bearing stories. 

9. Toro y Moi- Toro y Moi is the kind of guy who you would see sitting in the tall grass in a park somewhere surrounded by friends just kind of smiling at a flower or a puppy and taking in the beauty of his surroundings through his circle glasses. His "chill wave," indie-pop, borderline-psychedelic music belongs in the 60s, being praised at Woodstock amongst all of the tie-dye-wearing, poorly-bathed music lovers. But because he mixes in modern influences of many different genres, mainly electronic and R&B, he stays relevant. Though you may think that because Toro y Moi's music is so grounded in an era that most people today find kind of annoying and dull, his 5 studio albums, 2 EPs, and countless remixes never get boring. Toro y Moi's music is enjoyable, plain and simple. He doesn't push any boundaries and he isn't provoking listeners, but that is okay. I don't know when we as a society decided that those were requirements of making good music, but Toro y Moi proves the idea totally false. The music never gets ahead of itself--kind of a slow and steady wins the race type of thing-- and is pretty understated, which is so refreshing in a genre with music is  so overproduced and auto-tuned. Also, his new album drops April 7th, so get ready!!

10. Mac Demarco- The Canadian-turned-Brooklyn dweller, slack rocker Mac Demarco, has gained so much fame so quickly that it's hard to believe he is a gap-toothed, long-haired prankster who has a propensity for overalls, flannels, caps and clothes with holes in them and makes random internet videos for fun. Slacker does seem like the best way to describe at least his music though, seeing as the pace of his songs range from leisurely to painfully slow on any given track. Demarco's soothing voice and repetitive lyrics on top of it have the ability to make almost any song of his a beautiful lullaby. However, he meets a lot of his songs with really trippy music videos, and tends to speed them up when he is singing live. My guess for the reason behind this is that he is a guy who just wants to have fun. His music indicates that worrying about little things and being sad are two things he tries his very hardest to avoid. Still, though, some of his songs are very contemplative. He would rather enjoy the moment and do what listening to his music makes you want to do.

So, there it is. Some of the best musicians Coachella 2015 has to offer. Listen to them and more of my faves from the lineup, including Run the Jewels, The Weeknd, and Jack White, on my Coachella 2015 spotify playlist below.