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Q&A with junior singer, songwriter, musician

Junior Gemma Wyles sings her original song, “Blest Are the Lonely,” on her Youtube channel. From her live performances to her songwriting process, Wyles has explored her love for music throughout the years as a singer, songwriter and musician. Screenshot from video by Gemma Wyles.

From the day she joined her school’s choir in kindergarten to her recent days spent writing songs and strumming her guitar, junior Gemma Wyles has always had a passion for music. Over the years, Wyles has explored a wide range of musical art forms including songwriting, singing, live performance and guitar.

Wyles created a Youtube channel and Instagram account to showcase her songs and performances to the public. Since she started writing her own music in the sixth grade, Wyles has produced roughly 20 songs and has publicly presented four of them through her social media accounts and during some of her live performances. She is currently working on releasing more songs.

The Oracle sat down with Wyles to talk about her music journey from what inspires her to her favorite original songs she wrote.

When was it that you became interested in music?

Gemma Wyles [GW]: I’ve been interested in music for a really long time. I’ve gone through a lot of different stages and a progression of my passion growing and expanding. I started a performance program called School of Rock when I was about 8 years old. I started understanding how much I loved performing at that age. [School of Rock] introduced me to a much larger world of music that I didn’t know was out there before. During COVID, I started playing around on GarageBand and grew to enjoy the process of forming a song. Music production is so beautiful and inspiring in the way it shapes how a listener experiences and connects to the song, expanding the impact of my artistic expression. It was a self-taught exploration. Later on, I got involved in music at Archer. At the beginning of high school, I started playing in some bands. 

Gemma Wyles

When did you get into songwriting?

[GW]: I first started writing music in sixth or seventh grade, after I started learning guitar. Having that support instrumentally allowed me to start creating my own music. My first song was really bad. I remember how it went, but I don’t think it had a name. It wasn’t fully formed enough, but it was about a lot of different smells. In eighth grade, I wrote my earliest fully formed song called “Scared.”

Do you have a particular process or routine when writing a song?

[GW]: Sometimes I have lyrics that are written up because I was thinking about something, and then I have all my lyrics, but I’m lacking the instrumental melody — or sometimes it’s the other way around. Often, my process starts with forming an idea, recording it and building from there. I find that starting with a chord progression or melody and expanding from there allows me to form my creative vision clearer when recording.

When do you feel most inspired to write a song?

[GW]: Whenever inspiration strikes, like when I’m sitting around playing guitar. Also, when I have a lot going on, [writing songs] is something I need to do, and if I can’t fit it in, it overflows my head. I get a lot of inspiration during those times because it’s something that I feel like I need to get out. It all just builds up and then once I can sit down and start playing guitar I’m like “Ah, too good, too good.” When I’m busiest is when my best stuff comes out.

Which songs that you’ve written so far have the most meaningful lyrics to you?

[GW]: All of my songs are very personal, and there’s a lot of vulnerability that goes into them. I recently played a song at school called “Black Lungs,” and I’m really proud of that one. I wouldn’t say it has my deepest lyrics. My songs “Scared” and “St. Francis” have some of my most vulnerable lyrics. “St. Francis” is personal to me because it’s about my grandparents. “Black Lungs” is a song I’m really proud of, and it’s written in a style that I don’t often write in. I’m proud of the imagery that I was able to employ throughout the song. It’s a song about being burnt out but still having things hit you. The chorus is: “What do you do when the roof falls through then you’re nothing more than ashes in my black, black lungs.” The lyrics are about something that’s burnt out to the point where if you keep adding on to it, you’re not doing anything to help them. Black lungs, having ashes flow through them is just going to cause more build up and [they’re] already too far gone to save. 

What’s your favorite thing about songwriting?

[GW]: Being able to connect with people through it. Whether that is connecting with other musicians and collaborating or just knowing that there’s someone out there who connects to what I’m saying is something that is so beautiful and that I love a lot about the songwriting community. 

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About the Contributor
Tavi Memoli, Senior Reporter
Tavi Memoli joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and is now returning as a senior reporter in 2023. She plays indoor and beach volleyball and is currently in her third year on the varsity team. She loves baking, surfing, and listening to music in her free time.

Comments (1)

As part of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Editorial Board welcomes reader comments and debate and encourages community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, the editorial board does allow anonymous comments on articles as long as the perspective cannot be obtained elsewhere, and they are respectful and relevant. We do require a valid, verified email address, which will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments. Because we are a 6-12 school, the Editorial Board reserves the right to omit profanity and content that we deem inappropriate for our audience. We do not publish comments that serve primarily as an advertisement or to promote a specific product. Comments are moderated and may be edited in accordance with the Oracle’s profanity policy, but the Editorial Board will not change the intent or message of comments. They will appear once approved.
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    Ella DorfmanMar 18, 2024 at 8:45 am

    Go gems!! So proud!