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Teens with musical talent rise to the top
For most music is as simple as listening, but for others it is their dream career. Many teens in Joplin have decided to follow their dreams in making career’s as musicians.
Nathan ¬¬¬Stripling, also known as Flylyfe, is following his dreams to become a rapper.
“If you have a dream, chase it. Find your passion, have no fear, and give it your all. If you get knocked down, get right back up. Show everyone that you’re not going to give up. People will come to respect you for that,” said Stripling.
Stripling is a senior in high school and had the dream of becoming a musician from a young age. He began by listening to music when he was six, writing little pieces of his own down and singing to himself. Stripling became more comfortable with his talent once he reached the age of 11 and learned how to play the guitar.
“I started writing lyrics and singing soon after. Since then, its been nothing but music for me,” said Stripling. “Soon after I learned how to play guitar, I knew I was going to be doing music for the rest of my life.”
Fall of 2011 Stripling began working with his good friend Austin Bland.
“We showed each other our music, and found that our style combined to form a unique style. I couldn’t ask for a better friend, he’s been there every step of the way,” said Stripling.
For Stripling his music is a way to express emotion and relieve stress.
“When I play music I enjoy every second of it. When I play on stage I’m a totally different person; all my problems go away,” said Stripling.
Stripling sings underground hip-hop, he writes all of his own lyrics and likes his music to contain metaphors and a deep meaning. Recently he got contacted for his first record label.
“My first record label contacted me and told me they were interested. This is when my dreams turned to reality. Since then I’ve worked with the label, and it’s been life changing,” said Stripling.
Stripling released his first album November 16th entitled “First Flight.” He has now had over 1,000 downloads.
“It makes me feel amazing. Not only did everyone love the album but it shows that hard work really does pay off,” said Stripling.
Stripling is still going strong with his dreams as he begins his new album, titled “Alter Ego” and should be released in early April.
In comparison from when he first began to now, Stripling can see growth in himself.
“It’s insane to look back on when I first started out. Working with different artists allowed me to develop my own approach to hip-hop. Overall, I’ve grown a lot as an artist over the past few months,” said Stripling.
Luke Gentry, 17 years old, shares the passion for rap with Stripling.
“I like hip-hop because I like the art in it and it has no boundaries,” said Gentry.
Gentry discovered his talent for rap when his father passed away at 13 and he needed a way to express himself. At 15 rap became more than just a hobby for Gentry it became a career choice.
“It’s just what came naturally. I’m a big fan of rap so its something I wanted to pursue,” said Gentry.
He would like to pursue his music as a career but the riches are not what he desires most, it’s his love of the music itself that makes this his passion.
“You only have one life, you should do what makes you happy,” said Gentry.
Gentry usually works alone but often raps with a group known as Blood Shed Reunion. He has released two albums and is currently working on another with the group Blood Shed Reunion entitled “Forever a brother: rise of the reunion” as well as an album on his own, “Cranium Fitz 2.5”.
“It’s nerve racking to put yourself out there but you just have to have a lot of confidence to just do it,” said Gentry. “Work hard and just be you because that’s all that you can be.”