Student releases album, gets hundreds of thousands of streams

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Cover of Arya Yektafar’s album

Senior Arya Yektafar started singing and songwriting when he was around 10 years old. This year, he was able to share this passion with the world by releasing his album, “Thoughts Leave Scars.” 

“Thoughts Leave Scars”, which features four original songs and a remix, was released on April 27 and now has about 300,000 streams across multiple platforms. The hip-hop album was released to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube, and iTunes

Yektafar started writing his own songs as a way of dealing with being a teenager and his everyday emotions.

“Everyone has to deal with the pressures of school and life and everything like that, teenage emotions and going through all that, and [songwriting] was just sort of my outlet,” Yektafar said. “Whenever I couldn’t talk to a friend or something like that, I could write a song about it.” 

He used his emotions as inspiration for the songs featured in “Thoughts Leave Scars,” which he said are about the “weight of emotion.” 

“It’s [about] how [emotions] can affect you and they never really truly heal, and you never really get over them,” Yektafar said. 

After receiving encouragement from his family, friends and rappers he direct messaged on Instagram, Yektafar made the decision to release his music this year “I started meeting people that would help me with my music and they told me that what I was doing was pretty good and they liked it, so they asked me to release [my music],” Yektafar said. “There’s people that are my friends and my parents, people around me. There’s people that I actually DMed on Instagram and got into contact with, famous rappers like The Game [and] 24kGoldn. Numerous people all help[ed] me in different ways.” 

The professional rappers gave Yektafar advice while he worked on his skills as a musical artist. 

“They’ve been amazing and [have] help[ed] me out so much, and it’s just been great to be taken under the[ir] wing and have a mentor that has gone through the same things that I’ve been going through,” Yektafar said. 

When recording the songs for his album, Yektafar also received help from some of his friends who share his interest in music. Beat producer Kai Musalborn, a friend of Yektafar’s,  created the beats for two of his songs and made some additions to a third. 

Musalborn and Yektafar worked on several songs together, some of which were not put on “Thoughts Leave Scars.” For some of the tracks, Musalborn used his live acoustic guitar to make the beats. 

“I messed around with [my guitar], recorded it on my phone and then did a whole bunch of processes to put it onto my computer and make it sound good [and] added some drums on top of it,” Musalborn said. 

Musalborn’s favorite song to work on with Yektafar was “Half Full” because he enjoyed the creative process of making its beat. 

“Originally, his vocals were on another beat, and while I was listening to the vocals, I was like, ‘Let me just grab my guitar and play it.’ I was playing it under the vocals, and I got a melody to work, so we ended up using my own beat instead, and I thought it was very cool,” Musalborn said. 

Musical artist Eric Smith, who considers Yektafar his “best friend,” collaborated with him on the song, “Devil Had A Good Year,” which was released in December 2020 as a single. When Yektafar was releasing the song, he asked Smith, whose stage name is Honeycombb, to write a verse with him. 

“He made the beat and he sent it over, and I liked it, but I’m not gonna lie–I didn’t love it, so I didn’t really think about it that much. But, then, he showed me the idea he had for it, and he said that it would be cool if I had a verse on it,” Smith said. “I plugged in my computer, and then I had that verse in 10 minutes. It just clicked in my head.” 

When writing the songs for the album, Yektafar used his relationships with people like his family and friends as inspiration. However, his biggest source of inspiration was his own introspection. 

“Personal reflection is probably the most important thing. It’s always been hard for me to go to sleep because I would always lay in my bed and think about everything that was going on, and as stupid as it sounds, I feel like music has probably made it easier for me to go to sleep because all the things I was contemplating late at night,” Yektafar said. 

Once he finished his album and released it, he was surprised by the amount of support he got across all streaming platforms. Specifically, he was happy about the positive comments he received on the songs from people who he hadn’t met. 

“The comments have been some of my favorite parts of this whole process because before releasing a song, I didn’t know if my music was listenable,” Yektafar said. “When I got those comments,…it just reassured me that my music was listenable because strangers and people that I didn’t know were the ones giving me comments…telling me how much they loved my songs even though they didn’t know me.” 

Yektafar plans to continue releasing songs after this album and, if possible, eventually become a full-time professional artist. 

“I don’t plan to ever stop [singing and songwriting],” Yektafar said. “I’m not thinking of putting all my eggs in one basket and pursuing it exclusively as a career, but definitely, if it takes off, I would be willing to do it over anything else.” 

Click here to stream “Thoughts Leave Scars”.

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