Collaboration: Who was YOUR first favorite musician?

By Devon Chodzin ’19

We music aficionados all had to start somewhere. Deep down, we all harbor a little love for the first musician we ever fell for. The boybands on which we developed our first crushes, the emo groups who finally “got” us, and the bluesy voices that finally awoke our sensitive sides are all so important and our first favorite bands all held some sort of significance for us when we were little.

WKCO got together and shared our first favorite bands/musicians and what they meant to us. Here’s a look into where WKCO’s official music scene ambassadors first began, featuring real, no-holds-barred stories from our staff:

Teddy Farkas ‘16: I got into classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin in middle school but not in the same way I got into BTMI! over the course of my freshman year of Kenyon and beyond. Their music helped me deal with a lot of the pressure I faced when I first arrived at college and also throughout my sophomore year when I became extremely depressed. They’re not who I listen to as much anymore but I certainly hold a special place in my heart for the band.

Charlotte Freccia ‘19: I have seen James Taylor live in concert six times (pending a seventh this summer at Wrigley Field) This is something I like to bring up whilst playing Two Truths And A Lie because it seems so unlikely. But it’s true, and it’s something I’m proud of. James Taylor is like religion to my family. My dad sang “Sweet Baby James” to put me to sleep as a child and now I own a majority of his discography on vinyl. James Taylor will always be associated, in my mind, with the simple, pastoral days of early childhood. It was through him that I was introduced to my beloved folk genre, and when I listen to my favorite contemporary folk artists, his influence is pervasive. It’s safe to say that James Taylor has been the soundtrack of my life thus far. (Fun fact: when asked, Freccia said that she first listened to James Taylor “in utero.”)

Maddie Farr ‘18: Before Sheryl Crow, my musical taste consisted mostly of Raffi and the Philadelphia Chickens (if you have never heard of the Philadelphia Chickens, you need to immediately fix that). Sheryl Crow introduced me to the world of ~female emotions~. The first CD I ever picked out myself was The Best of Sheryl Crow, which I played on repeat for literally a year. I always joke that I set the record for her youngest super-fan. In the 5th grade I began to get the impression that liking Sheryl Crow was not the coolest thing, so I pretty much stopped listening to her until a few years ago, when I was like “FUCK IT THIS GIRL MAKES ME FEEL THINGS AND I WILL NOT HIDE.” I’ve never looked back since. Sheryl Crow is tight, and anyone who disagrees is probably heartless tbh. I recommend “Strong Enough,” “Can’t Cry Anymore,” “My Favorite Mistake,” “There Goes The Neighborhood” … basically all of it. She also does a very cool cover of “Solitaire” by The Carpenters. If you have been avoiding Sheryl Crow, or hiding your deep affection for her, its time to GET ON THE TRAIN, LIKING SHERYL CROW IS COOL AGAIN.

Julia Waldow ‘17: Some kids grow up on Yoohoo and PopTarts, while I grew up on Paul, John, George, and Ringo. My earliest favorite song of theirs was “Drive My Car” (I used to scream “beep beep’m beep beep yeah!” while prancing around my living room), and I even checked out the Elmo and Friends version at my local library to feed my addiction. (Actually, the Beatles’ was better. Sorry, Elmo.) After a year of belting out songs in the car with my dad on the way to Hebrew school, I was convinced I was a Beatles expert. I distinctly remember humming “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in my kindergarten classroom when a girl came up and asked me what I was singing. I told her it was by the Beatles and she wrinkled her nose and said, “Eww, the bugs? Gross.” “No,” I told her, upset with her obvious lack of pop culture knowledge. “The best band ever!” Although I now admit I don’t know everything about the Beatles, I am certainly a die-hard fan. Their songs are infectious and relatable, and listening to one of their albums is like talking to your best friend.

Audrey Avril ‘19: Sadly, good music was not impressed on me at a young age. I never listened to any band in particular growing up, because I barely listened to any music at all. It wasn’t until middle school that I started listening to anything that wasn’t Kidz Bop, and it was only because cool (relative term) kidz did, and it was there that I fell (oh God, how I fell) for the Arctic Monkeys. I’m talking about their old stuff, too, with just-out-of-their-garage frantic strumming, clashing drums, and angsty vocals. God, I had such a crush on Alex Turner. Thankfully, I’ve long since moved on. I will always have a soft spot for that old band, though, and “Fluorescent Adolescent” will always get a full-throttle karaoke treatment from me.

Stephanie Holstein ‘18: AVRIL! What a deep cut–both as a musical reference and a Cat Steven’s “first-cut-is-the-deepest” kind of way. I think my sister got into her first, and being the typical little sister, I got into her music second. Katie (my sister) and I were so averse to sharing that my sainted mother got us each a copy of Avril’s 2002 album, “Let Go,” which I spun on my walkman many a time. As Avril changed styles in “Under My Skin” two years later, I elevated the conduit through which I listened to her, and the CD was always (and probably still is) in my shower radio/CD player. I sang “I’m With You,” once at a Madam Tussaud’s American Idol exhibit and killed it. As I was young and without any sense of loyalty, I lost all interest in her music by 2005. While I wasn’t quite old enough to understand the sage advice of this Canadian queen then, whenever I go back to some of my favorite dramatic ballads of hers, I find it very relatable. Thanks for being a friend, Avril Lavigne!

Paige Beyer ‘18: Ugh, Paul Rogers will forever be one of my favorite voices in rock n’ roll. There is just something so unique and classic about it. As a kid, and even now, my family lived in our car. We were always buzzing off somewhere and our cars were always filled with CDs. Most of my music education growing up happened in cars. I attribute much of my music taste to my parents and their excellent job of exposing me to great music. Bad Company, then, came into my life this way. My mom and I were just driving around (probably running errands, most likely) and she put in their self-titled album. There was just something that struck my elementary-aged self and so listening to Bad Company became somewhat of a tradition for us. I think their simplicity is key and matched with Rogers’ vocals, it really can’t get much better.

Devon Chodzin ‘19: For some reason, when I was in third grade, I ended up with two copies of The Beach Boys’ 2003 greatest hits compilation, “Sounds of Summer,” and I played it constantly. I had my own CD player/radio boombox type of thing whose radio function I could never figure out, so all I did was listen to “Sounds of Summer” if I wanted to play in my room and listen to music. My then best friend and I both LOVED The Beach Boys at the time and I totally kept interest, in part, because I had a fellow fan for a friend. Summer has always been my favorite time of year and who better to play summer’s soundtrack than the Beach Boys, whose tracks tackle hard-hitting issues of surfing expeditions, summer love, and other almost uniquely summertime shenanigans. I saw them with my family in ‘05 or ‘06 (not sure which) in Cleveland, making The Beach Boys the first band I ever saw in concert on my own volition. I still can’t help but jam whenever a hit of theirs comes on and I’ll never be embarrassed to say that The Beach Boys was my first favorite band.

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