Tune into this secret

Lataeja Brown ’22 talks about her passion that no one (by Alicia Keys) knows about

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash used with permission

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash used with permission

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Lataeja Brown has a secret that no one at West High knows about. Not a single soul in Iowa City knows about her talent that she keeps locked up at home except her family, and nobody except three friends knows that she can sing. Not only that, but she also plays guitar. Brown says that it all started before she was born.

“My mom’s dad, he used to sing a lot so like he used to play the guitar and sing so my mom, she grew up around music and so like when she had me and my sibling, all we used to hear was music, you know, that kind of thing,” Brown said.

The music clearly stayed in the family, and was passed down to Lataeja.

“My mom told me that when I was younger, she used to play the guitar and sing this song, and like out of nowhere I just started singing it …  I think it was an Alicia Keys song, like ‘No One’ or something,” Brown said.

She later had her first music lesson where many musicians get their start: YouTube, searching for vocal lessons and guitar tutorials.

”My parents got me a guitar, and we just went from there,” Brown said.

 

My parents got me a guitar, and we just went from there”

— Brown

Since then she has acquired more guitars, seven in fact, but only because of her whole-hearted ‘enthusiasm’ breaking the first six.

“When I was l learning how to play the guitar like I would strum too hard or something, and my strings would break,” Brown said. “I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and I would just strum, and they would break.”

Now she finds inspiration in some of her favorite artists, Logic and Shawn Mendes.

“I don’t like rap, but [Logic is] just, his music is meaningful. He doesn’t rap about things like that don’t matter. Like, he gets a lot of hate for that,” Brown said. “And Shawn Mendes cuz he’s in touch with his emotions, and I bet that’s harder, because he’s a guy. It’s like ‘you sing about your emotions and your thoughts’… I really like his music.”

One of her teachers, Theresa Juhl, a French teacher at West, says that she is not surprised that Brown is a musician.

“I would certainly hope that she would take her talent onstage, and consider any of our choirs, show choirs and theatre,” Juhl said.

I feel like music is just one big way to get your thoughts and emotions out into society”

— Brown

Brown  also remembers her first, and only performance, at a back to school fundraiser in third grade.

“When we were walking, I remember I was so little, and my mom was like ‘oh’ and she put me on a stage, and made me sing in front of a bunch of people.”

Although she doesn’t sing publicly, she hopes to play piano and go to school for music.

“I don’t know if I want to be like famous for it because, like, when I was younger I used to think that ‘oh my god being famous is so cool’… And then when I got older I just noticed that things aren’t always what they cracked up to be,” Brown said. She also described her love for music.

“I feel like music is just one big way to get your thoughts and emotions out into society” Brown said,

“I don’t know where I’d be [without music] ’cause like music is a big chunk of my life, like 50%”

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