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Arabella Watters

Almost Independent writing contest


Arabella was eliminated after the June 24 polls closed.

By Paul Wellman

Arabella Watters
Fourteen-year-old Arabella attends Laguna Blanca School and spends her free time kicking around a soccer ball, painting the view from her house, brushing up on her crescent kicks, browsing the racks at her favorite consignment store, and laughing aimlessly with her friends until her sides split.

IN-PRINT SAMPLE #1 (from Positively State Street, Independent vol. 74)

LUCKY CHARMER: It’s rare for an artist to come along whose music entices from the very beginning. But from the moment Derren Raser’s harmonious acoustic guitar strumming and charmingly friendly lyrics hit your eardrums, you’ll be sucked in. With a blend of indie rock and folk pop, Raser pleases the ear with catchy tunes like “Letter Never Sent” and “Crazy Crazy.” Although he isn’t signed with a formal label, Raser’s album, King of I’ll Tell You Next Week, is an instant addiction. Check him out at Rocks on Thursday, June 7, at 9 p.m. You won’t regret it.

ONLINE ESSAY #1: Why I want to be a Music Writer

I admire musicians. I covet their skills, wish that I could sing like them, write lyrics like them, and have the presence on stage that brings the audience to their feet in joyous celebration.

Unfortunately, I am neither a musician or lyricist. I’m not even a singer. I couldn’t carry a tune if my life depended on it. I will however, settle for my iPod waking me up in the morning with my favorite artist’s songs blasting loudly in my ears while I dance around manically, hoping that the neighbors don’t see me through my open window. I’ll be fine if I can get in a brief session of air-guitaring to my favorite acoustic melody before I depart for 1st period. If the situation is dire, I’ll be satisfied with my tiny red MP3 player, lulling me quietly to sleep with the soothing sounds of the song that I’ve listened to a thousand times.

I get thrills discovering new bands. I jump up and down if I’m sure nobody’s around when a new single comes out by my favorite artist and I squeal loudly when my favorite songs come on the radio. I love teaching my mom the names of artist’s and songs, and frequently quiz her as we take the long drive out to my school in the mornings. My brother’s play lists are my playground, and teaching my fellow Santa Barbarians about up-and-coming artists and songs would be, for me, like heaven on Earth.

IN-PRINT SAMPLE #2 (from Sound & Fury, Independent vol. 75)

Various Artists
Spider-Man 3: Music from and Inspired By
Movie soundtracks usually mean one thing: big-time artists using big-time movies to subliminally insert their music into our minds. My expectations of the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack were no different. To my surprise, I barely recognized the album’s artists and was flabbergasted to find the tracks on the album are actually coherent and eclectic. From the brash percussion explosion that is The Killers’ “Move Away” to the flawless piano at the beginning of Snow Patrol’s “Signal Fire” and the sweet, melodic chorus of “A Letter from St. Jude” by the Wasted Youth Orchestra, the album delivers in a way the movie failed to.

ONLINE ESSAY #2: My first concert experience

My first concert seems to be a distant memory of when I was a lowly sixth grader with no musical IQ whatsoever. It was The Black Eyed Peas, back a few years ago when Fergie wasn’t a solo artist and their songs were catchy and contagious to listen to.

I remember walking from Milpas Street all the way up to The Santa Barbara Bowl, past houses filled with beer, smoke, and unlucky ticket-less people trying to catch a listen to the infectious beats. With ripped jeans, flip flops, and a jazzy pink Elephunk Tour t-shirt, I was the picture of twelve-year old cool.

As darkness fell over the crowd, and the marginally good opening act cleared the stage, a deafening roar descended down the hillside as the Pea’s took the stage. The crowd seemed to react to their incandescent energy as they be-bopped, flipped, and rapped their way through the concert. I remember jumping up and down with the rhythm, my fist pumping fiercely with the music, my voice drowned out by the crowd. Not only was it my first concert, but it was the first time I lost my voice from screaming. Definitely a concert that set standards.

IN-PRINT SAMPLE #3 (from Positively State Street, Independent vol. 76)

FOREVER YOUNG: Too $hort is one of a kind. A true ingenue, he recorded not one, not two, but three solo albums before being discovered and signed onto a major record label in 1988. His first album, Born to Mack, went straight to gold, and smooth platinum came sailing after that, as well as nine more effortless albums filled with contagious lyrics and hip-jolting rhythms. After coming out of retirement, his new album, Blow the Whistle, proves that Too $hort hasn’t lost the magic touch that kept him popular for 16 straight albums. With catchy beats that make dancing hard to resist and rapping along even harder, $hort’s show should not be missed. Catch him at Velvet Jones on June 22. It’ll be one for the books.

ONLINE ESSAY #2: My dream interview

It’s hard to choose a musician who I’d like to meet. There are so many. With such diverse styles, I could go anywhere from the soulful guitar strumming and tear-inducing lyrics of Death Cab for Cutie to the dance-aholic beats of Maroon 5. My head is spinning trying to choose. Then it hits me. I need someone iconic. Someone that the music industry worships, or at least I do. My final choice: John Lennon.

Everyone knows John Lennon. You could ask anyone from a bum on the street to Wall Street’s richest broker and the name rings a bell. In my book, Lennon is a music legend. Lennon was the true and original black sheep. Starting with the bowl cuts and simplistic suits that complemented The Beatles’ early style, I followed their music all the way through St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club, The Magical Mystery Music Tour, and if I had been alive when their final album Let It Be came out, I probably would have cried when they broke up; I’m just that kind of person.

It wasn’t surprising that Lennon went on to have a super successful solo career after the Beatles era came to a close. I could listen to “Imagine” one thousand times. The lyrics make me think about the way the world should be: peaceful. Lennon had the right idea about the world, and when he died on December 8, 1980 part of the world died with him. If only he was still alive, I’d ask him the real reason why the Beatles broke up. We’d converse for a little while, although I think he’d be a little bitter, as the topic of the Beatles probably isn’t one that he loves to talk about. I’d ask him what he thinks about the world today. I’m sure he’s disappointed. I’d inquire about how he came up with “Imagine.” It’s my favorite song. Casually I’d slip in a question about whether or not Yoko Ono “really” contributed to the Beatles growing apart. As our conversation drew to a close, I’d very stealthily ask him to write a song for me: I know, its sort of a long shot, but I have five questions don’t I?

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