The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Junior Takes on Challenge of Songwriting

Take a second to think about the great songwriters of all time. Depending on your taste, the list probably includes the likes of Hendrix, Clapton and Beethoven. Maybe even John Mayer. But there’s one singer-songwriter you’re probably missing, and he’s right under your nose: junior Zach Gospe.

Zach, a skilled guitarist and singer, spends his weekends and afternoons writing songs and honing his instrumental skills as an aspiring singer-songwriter. He hasn’t broken out of the box yet – open mic nights and his YouTube channel are the height of his fame – but his talent and potential are clear from the minute you tune into one of his original acoustic songs.

Zach has been a musician for almost his entire life. After beginning piano lessons at age six, he has learned four different instruments, piano, drums, bass and guitar, while working on his songwriting abilities.

“As far as songwriting, I started that when I was about 12,” Zach said. “I’ve slowly been getting more into it.”

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Zach’s active songwriting career came at the beginning of his freshman year when he decided to record his first complete album, entitled “Maelstrom.”

The album wasn’t a complicated recording-wise, since the songs were mainly acoustic guitar accompanied by vocals. The album was Zach’s first experience with recording, and gave him the base to move on in his songwriting experience.

“Freshman year, I had this bright idea that I was going to take 10 of my best songs that I had written so far, I was going to record them in Garageband in my basement, and I was going to put out an album,” Zach said. “So I did that. I put out an album in December.”

To publicize the album, he put up a YouTube account of his acoustic songs called lostintheblur, an account that still stands today as the test ground of his new songs. Since freshman year, that account has grown with over 25 original works, and it’s easy to see the evolution of Zach’s songwriting abilities.

“Say you’re taking a foreign language – you start out with really choppy sentences,” Zach said. “Songwriting is the same way. Then you start getting fluent, and you start throwing in transitions, musically and lyrically. I’ve started getting into more stuff that’s creative. I have songs where I have no choruses, and it works just fine.”

As Zach’s songwriting skills have developed, so have his listening tastes. When he first started writing music, he favored classic rock bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Since then, he’s moved on to broader songwriters, from Clapton to Hendrix to Mayer.

“When I listen to music now, it’s not so much ‘This is a really cool song, I like this beat,’” Zach said. “It’s more like, ‘What are they doing with their own songs?’ I like to listen to songwriters who play their own stuff.”

Although Zach’s talent isn’t determining his future in the music industry, he hopes to keep this as a lifelong hobby.

“The thing with music is it’s very risky,” Zach said. “I think I have the talent and I have the drive to take it to the next level, maybe not professional, but to maybe do more performances as a hobby, and that’s where I think I want to take it.”

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