CHS Students Shiraz Smith and Dylan Baler are “cool k!ds” in the music industry

Shiraz Smith and Dylan Baler have both been into music from a young age. They met during freshman year, right after Smith moved from New York to Claremont, and immediately became friends. Soon after that, they realized their shared passion for music. Smith, a senior at CHS, has multiple interests, including being in BSU and playing soccer.

“[My main inspiration would] probably be Kanye, just because I remember being like, really young listening to 808s & Heartbreak with my dad in the car,” Smith said.

Shiraz, who produces music under the stage name Sh!raz, has released two hip-hop/rap songs on Spotify and Apple Music, “castaway” and ‘cool k!d”. Smith focuses on his real life struggles in the songs, something that is reminiscent of his idol, Kanye West. In the future, Smith hopes to go into the music industry because he has always enjoyed making music, and sees it as a stress-free hobby that he turns to when he wants to relax.

““Music has always been there for me whether or not I’ve been paying attention to it or not… kind of like a soundtrack to my life in general,” Smith said.
Shiraz does the writing and recording, while Dylan mixes and masters it.

Baler got his inspiration from California bands such as The Doors, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Doobie Brothers, and The Grateful Dead.

“Seeing the community around music and seeing local bands perform… and I just really wanted to do it so a few years ago I got a mini keyboard and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and started making beats,” Baler said.

Dylan is more into the sound engineering part of music, and hopes to one day go to college to pursue a degree in that field. However, along with producing he also dreams of being an artist.

“I really want to perform music and be immersed in a community of musicians,” Baler said. Baler, also a senior, spends his free time skateboarding, reading, or just hanging out with friends.

With all that in mind, it was no wonder these two linked up and started working together on music during their freshman year. In fact, they were friends even before they started making music.

One day, they were talking about music and thought it would be really interesting if they tried it out themselves. They started by making instrumentals and were not very good at it in the beginning. However, with practice, they slowly started getting better. Now, “castaway” has over 1000 streams, and Dylan’s song “Deers up ahead” has 300.
Shiraz first makes the instrumentals and structures them, then he writes the music and records it. He then sends it to Dylan who mixes the music and refines it to remove all the muffled sounds that may have interfered with the song. Shiraz and Dylan both love having each other in the music making process, and they both believe that having each other makes the process much more enjoyable.

Both of these CHS students’ music careers are off to a great start, and they will only get better as they keep perfecting their craft.