Senior Kyle Cachero’s makeshift studio in his home. “I’m actually working on a project right now where I’m talking about how rap took over my life for the better,” Cachero said. “And how … much better my life is now compared to before, because of this.” Photo by Justin Vernam.
by Justin Vernam, STAFF WRITER
17 April 2019
The morning is cold. The clouds lie low and gray, a thick blanket between the barren parking lot and the bleak sky. In it, a red Chevy Corolla sits parked, exhaust trailing slowly out of the rusting exhaust pipe while low bass resonates beyond the constraints of the little, old, compact car. Inside the car sits a teenager, leaned up against his window with his feet up on the middle console. Inside the car his head gently bumps back and forth, mouth spewing words incomprehensible from outside. Inside the car is warmth. The warm rumble of 808’s, the warm resonance of the aging heater: a small red capsule of warmth, like a beating heart, alone in a lot, standing strong, handbrake set steady in a cold sea of gloomy realities.
Senior Kyle Cachero’s no stranger to those freezing waves. The tumultuous waters, white capped with many day to day challenges are familiar sights to the 18-year-old senior. Just last year his life hung off the edge of a scale as he juggled thoughts of suicide, now he hangs off the coattails of his dreams as he tries to make something positive of himself and the world around him. Now he puts all his feelings on the pad. Now, he makes music.
Against the wind
“I started because like, I was going through — you know– a rough time and I was like so toxic before. I used to be really self destructive, but when I found out I could rap my feelings and s**t, or write my feelings, from there on I used that as an outlet.”
Kyle’s new approach to dealing with his feelings came late last year following an out-of-the-blue break up with his girlfriend of two years among other personal issues. Atop all these waves breaking on the hull of Kyle’s heart was MDD, Major Depressive Disorder, a condition he deals with everyday which can cause low self-esteem, interest, or motivation, along with a low mood, for extended periods of time. Now though, sitting in his car, an instrumental playing behind him, he sits comfortably, words and feelings rolling from his conscious with a genuine levity to the harsh realities he faces.
It all started as a way to deal with his feelings. Now Kyle is working to make a career out of his love for hip-hop. His objective isn’t in money or fame, but rather in being able to live occupied with something he loves. With this goal in mind, Kyle recently began applying himself more to his newfound passion. In his room, he sacrificed a bed for an at home studio, an area to work and record with his ever-growing collection of equipment which he continues to expand on as often as possible. The walls are covered in posters of rappers like Eminem and the Wu-Tang Clan, legends of the genre. Below them is a single mic, hanging over a corner of his room, wire running from its base to a Mac with editing software illuminating the screen as loops sit repeating and audio feedback is analyzed and edited. A TV and a single couch are all else that occupy the room, along with the many hats which he is fond of. With this equipment only, he commandeers his voyage through life. Scattered about are the notes which he recites: lyrics and nondescript rhythm’s scribbled on paper ranging from notebook paper to Post-It’s and napkins sit in stacks on his desk and couch for him to turn into full songs. Most of what he shares is recorded in his room where he works up instrumentals and writes his lyrics, then performs them on camera for his Twitter followers and Snapchat friends to enjoy. However, he wants more, and continues to swim upstream towards his paradise.
Kyle hasn’t released much music, but is working towards paying for professional studio time in order to begin sharing his music more. All the while, he continues to work to gain more traction, and to get his name in the hat of local names in hopes of growing from that. Contacting producers and attending open mics gets his name in the mix of local artists, while also building his confidence in sharing and owning his music. Beyond just contacting producers, Kyle has also been contacted by a producer by the name of Jewls, whom he now works with to speed up the music drafting process. Prior to this, Kyle would need to produce his own beats which he is still working to learn. However, working with a producer allows him to request a type of beat and get a quality return quickly, which speeds along the writing process as Kyle continues to generate songs to record once he can afford studio time.
The process for Kyle now begins with a decision, emotionally driven or not, over what sort of song Kyle is looking to write or get out, whether it be happier, somber, aggressive or otherwise. This typically then leads to a FaceTime call between he and his producer where they get into the details of what kind of beat Kyle is looking for. The tempo, tone, sound, and various little details are discussed between the two and the producer sets off to generate the instrumental. Once Kyle receives it, he gives it a listen and gets an idea of what he can do it, to which he begins writing.
Writing for Kyle is very expressive, and he wastes little time writing lyrics that don’t mean anything to him, everything that travels from his head to the paper comes from the heart first. An experience, thought, feeling, or observation about life can all lead Kyle to want to write a song. They’re not always negative things, often Kyle finds many things to be grateful for and incorporates them just as much into his rhymes as the other more negative topics which encouraged his writing to begin. And although many of his songs are incomplete at the moment, he spends every second perfecting his work to chart a perfect course towards his destination.
Finding the courage to be so open about his feelings through rapping has helped him stay afloat among the unpredictable and often poor drifts in life, and as he discusses them in his car he lounges comfortably, speaking with a relaxed tone of contentment through often tender topics. However, they’re not always so easy to put to words, having to reach down “deep into his heart,” — and, admittedly, even Kyle understands that the phrase is cheesy and perhaps cliched, even as the words spill from his mouth — (which even Kyle admits is cheesy to say, immediately after saying it) in order to grab around for the words to fit the feelings.
“It’s kind of hard to do it because … once I’m reaching in, it’s really hard to,” and Kyle pauses, searching for the words to match the familiar feelings, “get out of that because … I’m reaching into deep feelings.”
Once he’s got it all out though, he’s able to take a step back and see a canvas of himself on his pad, and feel proud to own the heartstrings which he’s sewn together as words in a song.
Through sharing these deep emotions as music, Kyle has managed to put more meaning in his work, and provide something all artists aspire to: a voice to others. As he speaks of a message he received, his voice blends into a smooth stream of euphoria and excitement about this person who related to Kyle, and told him he had given him a voice when he was down. The person hit Kyle up after posting a recitation of one of his pieces and they discussed the various issues that come with such difficult emotional challenges.
When he started, he hadn’t thought much about affecting others, but now, ever since that message, he keeps that in mind. Not just when bailing out the chilling overflow from the world around him, but also when expressing feelings of happiness or accomplishment. His work has become about more than just himself, but about anyone that can hear what he says and relate to the struggles of feeling alone, or depressed, or like a failure, as well as to those who are working hard to overcome those issues among any others.
Smooth sailing from here
To Kyle though, the greatest outcome has been the change it’s made in his life alone. Before he started he was drowning under the weight of life, gasping for air and questioning whether it was worth the battle, and to this day, he questions if he would’ve made it back up without hip hop. And while describing his room-studio hybrid, he recalls a revelation he had that continues to drive him to this day.
“I just realized one day,” Kyle begins, speaking between tangents of what he owes to his art, “that all of [that] wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my writing and listening to hip-hop and all that. So when I started out writing, it just changed the course of where my life was going at the time, and I’m pretty sure it changed it for the better.”
Through the many tides life sends our way, Kyle has found a buoy on which to float, a raft on which to drift, and a ship upon which to sail, all in search of inner peace, “since writing my feelings out and topics out makes my emotions get out and makes it easier to cope with. That’s a major part of it, of why I’m better now,” and a love for life.
With this newfound love for and within his life, Kyle finds himself in a new mindset, and by working through his issues with hip-hop, he’s discovered a new approach with how to deal with the shifting currents in life.
“If you actually focus on what’s going good in your life, then everything will just blur out soon enough. It won’t happen in one day, but time will always heal, no matter what. Whether it’s gonna be in a week, in a day, in a month, whatever, a year, you will always get better just as long as you don’t give up.”
It can be as important as a dream, a small as a getting a grade up in school, or as big as the direction and worth of your life, if you don’t give up it can only go up. With this new found love, Kyle has turned what appears a lonely entity, afloat in a gray sea into a resuscitated heart full of warmth, a haven for the troubled and solution-seekers, open to share his stories of hardship and triumph with the world.
Justin Vernam is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl.