WOTW: Caleb Kmiecik

Student produces music and fundraises for cancer

Junior Caleb Kmiecik works on producing a song on March 13, 2020.

Wildcat Photo

Junior Caleb Kmiecik works on producing a song on March 13, 2020.

Lauren Stanton, Arts and Entertainment Editor

There are many talented musicians here at De Soto High School. One such musician is junior Caleb Kmiecik, who produces rap music in addition to running a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) campaign.

In terms of music, Kmiecik is a trumpet player in the DHS band and makes music with his friends at home. 

Kmiecik began creating music when he was 10 and his passion has since grown. 

“My grandma has this old Macbook and it has GarageBand on it. I’ve always really liked music and creating stuff, so I asked my grandma, ‘Can I get my GarageBand?’” Kmiecik recalled. “I made these dumb songs. I’ve always been interested in music production.”

After playing around with GarageBand, Kmiecik began looking at YouTube tutorials on music production.

“I started watching some videos and saw that this software is pretty powerful,” Kmiecik said. 

Before freshman year, Kmiecik downloaded demo software and began improving his skills. 

According to Kmiecik, he only recently bought more equipment and started recording vocals. 

Kmiecik records new material every other week with the following people: DHS juniors Nathan Ogden and Brent Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas High School junior Michael Sanchez and Connor Kmiecik, Caleb’s older brother.

“I think the thing I enjoy the most is that it’s something with my friends. It’s a way that we can connect and I can get them out of their comfort zone and they can make something,” Kmiecik said. 

Currently, the group is working on four songs to be released as an Extended Play (EP) next month. Four songs may not seem like a lot, but there is more that goes into the process than just rapping. 

“It takes a lot longer than you think. For a 30 second sample, you could be recording for a couple hours, maybe three hours, depending on the skill of the person,” Kmiecik claimed.  

In order to create and record music, Kmiecik begins brainstorming by using two different sources. 

“Every process is different, but I mainly do hip-hop beats. It could start from finding a sample from YouTube,” Kmiecik explained. “I like to look for obscure, old jazz samples or just some weird thing like old samples from western films.”

Another way that he starts a song is by using his piano that plugs into his computer. 

“Most of the time I’ll play different things. I’ll start with a little melody on the piano, get some chords down, and I just pick different instruments to be whatever sounds good,” Kmiecik said. 

This process, although long, produces results and can be enjoyable for people. 

  “It’s [creating music] a really fun time, even if you are just doing it for a joke or for fun, it’s a blast,” Ogden said. 

Kmiecik does not think he will continue this as a career but hopes to keep it as a hobby. 

“[In terms of college majors] maybe audio engineering for a study because that’s a big part of it [music production]. It’s definitely my biggest hobby right now,” Kmiecik said.

In addition to producing music, Kmiecik spends his free time fundraising money for the LLS. 

Kmiecik was nominated for Student of the Year, which is a seven-week leadership program in which students fundraise money for LLS. The student or team of students who raise the most money will gain the title of Student of the Year.

A close family friend nominated Kmiecik for this program.

“One of my mom’s really close friends, Emily Dunlap, had non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2013 and was given six months to live. So it was not looking good for her, but there was a clinical trial in Houston,” Kmiecik explained.

Kmiecik didn’t think that he would be nominated and was surprised when Dunlap chose him. 

“It was kind of like ‘why would you choose me? I’m nothing special,’ but it felt special because she saw something in me,” Kmiecik said.