Wordplay, diction and vocabulary are all important in poetry; they allow for artists to convey their messages and draw a picture. So what happens when you add music to these ideas?
You get Thomas Braun, also known as Thomas the Poet, an artist who began his work during freshman year. At 14, stress began to build up for Braun. He didn’t take part in sports or theater, so he turned to music.
Braun has always been interested in music, pulling inspiration from everything that played on the radio. His style has shifted as his favorite artists changed throughout the years. However, it is artists like Kendrick Lamar who help guide Braun’s music.
“[Lamar] was able to tell the story, [and] do it with what the industry calls his conscience rap. He talks about serious issues but [is] still able to achieve success because a lot of mainstream rap strays away from that and goes towards more partying type things,” Braun said. To Braun, it is the lyrics that are the most important part of music.
He isn’t satisfied with all of the music he has written; some of it is more surface level and other pieces he feels can reach out to connect with listeners. It’s hard for Braun to share his work with the world; he is always learning more about music and the process of writing it.
Often he finds himself looking back and feeling he could have done so much more with it. He constantly tells himself, “I can do better next time.” He’s really hard on himself because he wants to make sure anything he puts out is as good as it can be.
It takes Braun a while to write a full song, sometimes scrapping the entire thing and starting over. He begins by brainstorming, allowing anything that he’s feeling at the time to wash over him as he mumbles lyrics. Behind these lyrics, he hopes to hide a message for his listeners. Much of his music varies greatly not only in style but in content as well, so he keeps it to himself until the right time comes.
“It was a confidence booster, and more people were exposed to me as a person because of the music,” Braun said. He recalled some interesting times where he put his music out, and strangers who he had never spoken to would approach him in the hallways and comment on his work. Inspired that somebody enjoyed something that he just did for himself, Braun is dedicated to making music a part of his life.
Music has allowed Braun to express himself throughout high school, but he’s not going to pursue it as a career. As Braun moves on to the next chapter of his life at Western Washington University, he say he’ll keep music around. It just won’t be his focus, he said, unless of course, something takes off. Until then, he’ll focus on his major, computer science.
Computer science was one of Braun’s focuses in high school. He was involved in the Science Technology Math and Engineering program and took many AP classes. It wasn’t an easy workload to carry and required a lot of self-motivation to complete, but it taught Braun an important lesson—if he wasn’t interested in something, he shouldn’t stress about it. This doesn’t mean however that he didn’t put his best foot forward in the classes he took.
Braun’s only regret is that he didn’t try harder on all of his subjects from the very beginning. He became a Link Leader and aimed to use his prior experience to help others. Braun advises, “Don’t be that junior in a freshman class.” As a Link Leader, he encourages incoming freshmen to not be shortsighted, to work hard in every aspect of life, and to seize opportunities.
Not only does Braun strive to help other students, but he also wants to give back to his school. Being the Associated Student Body Representative for the Class of 2017, Braun aimed to help guide his class to success and promote school spirit.
“I wanted to make this school year better for us and change anything I can for other people coming in,” Braun said.
As Braun gets ready to enter the next phase of his life, he hopes he has left behind a great legacy for the Class of 2017.