Women with Rhythm
March 16, 2018
For a city to have one person that will become a musical icon is extraordinary. To have three students that will become musical icons is almost unheard of.
Cate Hwang, Hailey Miller and Marley Berry are all online students through the district’s Hart at Home program, although Berry and Hwang are still a part of West Ranch Choir. These three young women are currently pursuing a career in the music industry while balancing school and being teenagers. Already signing development deals, creating EPs, and working to get their names out to the world, these girls are accomplishing great things while still in high school.
Cate Hwang is an edgy hip-hop, indie-vibing, R&B-loving jazz enthusiast who has a deep passion for music, and a personality so vibrant it lights up a room. Her versatility in musical ability compliments her love for music well. Hwang is able to sing, play the guitar, piano, and ukulele, as well as produce music. She enjoys almost every aspect and every genre of music, saying she “appreciates almost everything.” However, she describes her style as “chill-wave, almost vibey music,” with her main goal being creating a certain mood and tone in her work. Her happy, laidback music fits right in with her bubbly, bright personality.
She can be found playing the guitar in Ms. Peter’s choir class, online on the piano doing a duet with her brother, or singing a stripped-down cover in her bedroom with her ukelele. But recently, she’s been on the other side of the music. “Lately I have been working with a DAW, which is a Digital Audio Workshop, and so I get to program music and make it. Learning how to actually make music and produce it has been really fun, and that’s what I’ve been focusing on recently.” No matter which direction she goes, Hwang’s extended talent and appreciation for all music will take her far..
Hailey Miller can best be described as a reserved, yet confident girl with a big voice. She has been singing for most of her life, and has recently taken her career to the next level. With a soulful voice that still flows as effortlessly as a summer’s breeze, it is easy to believe that producers have shown interest in her.
“I recently signed a development deal with a producer, and we are working on an EP right now, which is a shorter version of an album. I’ve written about seven songs for the EP, but have written over 50 songs overall,” said Miller. Part of this next step also meant she would have to figure out her style and what she is trying to do with her music, something Miller had discovered this past year.
“I used to write about other people and their experiences, but I found myself not being happy singing those songs. My producer suggested writing songs about me and my experiences. So the last four songs I’ve written are about how I see things and my perspective on certain issues, and I’ve seen such a difference. They are more emotional, way more personal, and I want to sing what I’ve written. I used to write to achieve a certain feeling or vibe, but these are because I have a story to tell.” As Miller continues to personalize her music and write new songs, she is committed to releasing her EP later this year.
Anyone who has met Marley Berry knows she is gifted yet humble. Her cool, buttery voice is one that could serenade anyone to sleep in five seconds. Despite having amazing vocal range and tone, she hardly takes any credit for it.
“I’m in my church’s worship band, and I want to make sure people know that it’s not me. I mean that God gave me my abilities and I want to bring attention to him somehow through my songs.” Her modest and giving aura have helped her develop her acoustic, smooth sound. Berry has released multiple produced covers on the popular music streaming platform Soundcloud, ranging from taking R&B songs to a slower, acoustic tone. After having so much internet success, Berry is ready to move on from covers and make her own music. “Whenever I get an idea for a melody, I’ll write it down or put it in voice memos, and then later put words to it and make a song out of it. I have the songs and now I’m just waiting to produce them,” said Berry.
Berry’s impeccable talent, motivation and modest mindset are sure to take her far in the music industry, but she is constantly trying to improve and set herself apart from others. Playing unique instruments has been something Berry has picked up interest in recently, explaining that, “I can play four and a half songs on the ukulele, I can play the kazoo, and I really want to learn the spoons.”
Marley Berry, Cate Hwang, and Hailey Miller all share a passion for creating music, but share something else together. Although all are pursuing individual professional careers, they still find time between meetings, school and recordings to sing together. With covers and collaboration videos on Instagram reaching over thousands of views, it is obvious their group is a huge hit.
“We started singing together just because in choir we had a lot of off days, and she [Hwang] would just whip out the guitar and we’d start a singing group. We would all just sit in a circle in Ms. Peter’s room and sing and we were thinking, ‘wow this is so much fun,’ so we then ended up meeting outside of school and singing together,” said Miller.
The three girls have a similar style of music: stripped-down acoustic R&B with pop. With different tones and vocal ranges yet a similar style, Hwang, Miller, and Berry found they worked very well together as a singing group. They threw around words like “smoothie” and “unity” to describe the vibe they get from collaborating together. Hwang concluded that, “the harmonies just come really naturally, I feel like, and all our voices just blend together. It’s really… effortless.”
The singing group is not all just for fun; it helps each girl get better and fine tune what they are working on. “It’s really helpful to me when I work with other people, and I think it’s easy to get frustrated with your own music and you feel very isolated. If I just take a second and ask a friend a question about my music, it’s so much better,” said Hwang. Having another set of ears, or two for that matter, listen to your work can help point out details or aspects that the musicians might not have noticed.
All three of these gifted young ladies have collaborated to make internet-shaking covers, as well as had success with their individual music. Their bond and friendship is evident in the rawness of their work together, and they continue to support each other while embarking on taking their music career to the next level. Wherever they go, we wish them all the best.