By, Saphire Broxton, Events Intern
This summer, ZUMIX has a new group of youth staff members working here as part of the John Hancock MLK Summer Scholars Program! We caught up with them and asked some questions about their lives, their connections to ZUMIX, and their connections to music! This week, I interviewed Lesly Monroy – here are her responses:
What’s your name and age and where do you live?
Lesly Monroy, 15, East Boston
If you could describe ZUMIX in one word, what would it be?
Growth. First of all ZUMIX itself has been growing so much since it started, because we started off in a living room but now we’re in a firehouse that can hold lots, but also because it helps the community grow as people and musicians. When I came here I was not the me I am now, it’s definitely a place where you can explore and learn about yourself.
How has ZUMIX impacted your life?
I came to ZUMIX in the 7th grade during the spring semester and I wasn’t the most talkative kid especially, when being around new people. I started with radio, rock ed, music theory, and fix it, and from there I got to explore what my interests were and I definitely knew that music was one. Here I started playing music more in depth than in school, and I started my love for music here and soon enough I started my own band then, my own radio show. and started doing a lot more active work with the office people. I became the opposite of who I was then, meaning now I talk more, am more interactive, and try to introduce myself first to new people and welcome them. There’s definitely been a change of personality, but I also view the world differently now because ZUMIX is active in social justice and the community, so now I help out in city life and on the issue of gentrification. ZUMIX has changed me in many ways and I have grown as a person into someone who isn’t afraid of welcoming new people and ZUMIX has also increased my love for learning in basically every subject.
Who would you recommend to visit and learn about ZUMIX and why?
I would want my mom because she has never been here despite many invitations and she has never taken it seriously and never been as interested to learn about ZUMIX and what it does. She would get to know the stuff I do here rather than just know me as a girl who’s never in the house anymore. She seems to think of it as me just playing music and not being productive, so it would be a good thing to show her that it’s more than just a regular music program and that ZUMIX does way more like tutoring, dancing classes, offering tech gigs at events, etc. If my mom got the chance to see that I think she’d be more supportive of ZUMIX and maybe even consider donating every year. I think she would have a bit more respect for what we do here rather than how she thinks of it now.
What is your most prominent memory at ZUMIX?
They’re all sort of equal level but I guess one of the most prominent would have to be working with MIT co-lab. This is because I got to explore how people use one of the tactics we use here in the real world. We were making a radio podcast on topics around Boston, and my group worked with a newspaper writer who also does a radio show here and we got to interview him and make our own podcast. Later it was put on another podcast from California and the co-lab blog as well as SoundCloud. We got a lot of feedback from the people we worked with and a bunch of great reviews; it was one of the experiences where I got to work with adults and students from MIT which is a college I would love to go to. It was also amazing to see how it is to work with other people outside of ZUMIX and it was a very helpful skill to learn.
What about music is most important to you?
Music has been my stress reliever a lot of the time; playing it and listening to it releases stress for me. When I don’t know how to handle a situation or I feel overwhelmed, I tend to look at music to calm down. Sometimes I listen to instrumentals to chill out and relax, other times I’ll use the lyrics to help me motivate myself to move out of a place I’m stuck in. Music makes me really happy, so I’ll just pick up my bass and start playing. It’s a healthy response to my stress and it positively affects my mood and behavior.
If you were a genre, which one would you be?
I think I would be indie rock because it can have many different vibes but normally it’s very chill and fun; it’s always very fun to play as well in my personal experience.