The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

EL Listeners

Belle+Potter+%2810%29+lays+in+the+grass+surrounded+by+various+vinyls+from+her+collection+on+May+14.+
Photo by Jack Hoffman
Belle Potter (10) lays in the grass surrounded by various vinyls from her collection on May 14.

Music is often a crucial piece of many teenagers’ lives. In every hallway or classroom entered, headphones are snapped over ears and earbuds are connected to phones. In the age of digital music, any genre of music is at our fingertips. From jazz to R&B, students around ELHS all have their own unique taste in music. 

I talked to five students to learn more about the genres they know and love, creating bios of each. With this, make sure to check out the Spotify playlist of song recommendations from a variety of individuals, including some from my own playlists! You may find yourself enjoying a song that differs from your norm. 

Pop:

For Maureen Rojewski (11), music is the hit tunes you hear pulsating out of car radios or through grocery store loudspeakers. 

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It’s the genre many know and love as pop. 

“It’s definitely the most well known [genre],” Rojewski said. “It stands for popular [as] the majority of people listen to it.”

On top of trips with friends and their parents, Rojewski explored the pop genre further with her younger sister, taking in all of the 2010s hits by artists like Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. 

Nowadays, Rojewski enjoys tunes by pop icons like Tate McRae and the Era’s Tour star herself, Taylor Swift. 

Ultimately, what drew Rojewski into this genre the most was its versatility. 

“Anyone can listen to it and find songs that they like,” Rojewski said. “There’s at least one song that you have to like.”

Showtunes:

After seeing “Cabaret”, Charlotte Gowell (9) immediately fell in love with the music of theater, better known as showtunes. 

This show was just one among many that contributed to Gowell’s growing appreciation for the genre.

“One of the first [musicals] I liked was ‘Hamilton,’” Gowell said. “Then I got into ‘SIX’ a bit because my cousin is a big history nerd. I really liked having the experience of going to see ‘SIX’ at a theater in Detroit [with them].”

Gowell believes their hobbies of participating in theater and singing have contributed to the love she has fostered for the genre. 

“I really like listening to the music in the shows [ELHS puts on],” Gowell said. “We just did ‘Mamma Mia’ and now ABBA songs are stuck in my head all the time.” 

In the end, what sticks out the most to Gowell about showtunes is the diversity within the genre. 

“There’s a bunch of different varieties within the genre,” Gowell said. “It doesn’t feel like you’re limited to just one option of show tunes.”

Rock:

To most, rock music is what everyone’s dad listens to. For Scarlett Alfredson (9), it’s just good music. 

Alfredson happened to be first introduced to the genre through her father, but got more immersed in it during middle school through a friend. Obsessing over bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Alfredson found just the thing she could call her own. 

“My sister is a huge Swifty and rock is the complete opposite of what she listens to,” Alfredson said. “It’s fun to have those differences [between us] and have something that feels like mine.”

Alfredson most appreciates the rock era of the late ‘80s to early ‘90s due to bands like Nirvana being at their peak. 

“That era paved the way for the rest of the rock music [to come],” Alfredson said. “When you hear a modern rock song it’s giving homage to the early bands that created [the genre].”

R&B:

Music tastes are often passed down among people, whether that be through family or friends. Song and genre preferences are inherited like heirlooms. For Lydia Ding-Mejok (12), this was just the case. 

“I got into it from my mom listening to people like Beyonce and Toni Braxton when I was younger,” Ding-Mejok said. “I was always around an R&B atmosphere.”

After listening to mostly gospel R&B when she was younger, Ding-Mejok has branched out to explore the entire umbrella of what R&B is. Through this, she found herself gravitating most to R&B created in the early 2000s, a decade of music that she thinks most genres were at their best. 

“You just have to find the right music in the right era,” Ding-Mejok said. “R&B is still good [now], in my opinion, but you just have to find the right artists and the right songs.”

Ultimately, R&B is Ding-Mejok’s preferred genre because of its history in Black communities.

“R&B is very Black-influenced,” Ding-Mejok said. “It makes me connect to it more.”

Jazz:

Like most genres, jazz music is fluid. It changes and evolves with time. Some jazz fans, like Isa Coronado (9), appreciate taking a step back in time to jazz created in the 1940s and ‘50s as opposed to more modern day pieces. 

While the majority of Coronado’s jazz listening consists of older tunes like these, she also holds an appreciation for the jazz pop musician, Laufey.

“Laufey is one of the only modern jazz artists I actually like,” Coronado said. “I think she does a really good job at encapsulating the vibe of earlier jazz. She doesn’t try to modernize it.”

Ultimately, what sticks out to Coronado the most about jazz is the emotional range the songs and melodies can put across to the listener, especially in ballads.

“Jazz is very versatile,” Coronado said. “There’s a lot of different emotions that the songs can convey just through the music alone versus [something like] classical where I can never really tell [what they mean].”

 

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About the Contributor
Belle Potter
Belle Potter, Staff Writer
Belle Potter is in the class of 2026 and is a staff writer for Portrait.  This is her first year on staff as a sophomore. Belle's favorite thing about journalism is being able to accurately share and tell the unique stories of all the students and staff she has the pleasure of speaking to here at ELHS.   When she's not in the newsroom, Belle enjoys swimming, makes jewelry, drawing, watching movies, and hanging out with her friends.

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