Early beginnings offer only a glimpse of these young artists’ musical futures.
“One day I was bored, and I was like, sh—, I’ma make some music. So I made some music.”
Vaishnav Desabhatla (11) is his name, but everybody calls him VAISH. He started back in quarantine, rapping over pre-made beats with an immature voice like a middle schooler who’d just figured out Garageband. Except instead of hearing lyrics about Fortnite, you’d hear lyrics about depression that just didn’t make much sense.
“Like yeah, at first it was bad, but you just gotta keep at it, ya feel me?”
Over time, his music changed. VAISH went from basic YouTube beats to more instrumental sounds, immersing the vocals of samples with his own voice, serving a chaotic but interesting texture.
“I love Earl Sweatshirt—I got an Earl CD. I also got, like, two MF DOOM vinyls. And Mac Miller. I f—kin’ love Mac Miller.”
He’s cited those artists as his inspirations, and their influences can be seen in his melancholic lyrics, or angsty musical texture: a unique style for a culture of SoundCloud rappers so poised on appearing tough. Because, at the end of the day, VAISH’s goal is to tell a story that his listeners can relate to, some comfort for their own tales and troubles of life.
“I was listening to Kid Cudi and I was just sad, you know? And then Cudi said something, and it was like, ‘Oh, he feels that, too!’”
During the interview, VAISH stops to scream “STREAM VAISH” to some poor souls passing by. They nod their heads and leave. Later, they return to tell us they enjoyed one of his tracks.
And that phrase VAISH is a familiar phrase for students at American High. Along the lockers and whiteboards and supposedly every single school bathroom stall, those two words appear in their striking large fonts, the bad hand-writing most synonymous with VAISH.
“You just gotta build up your name one way or the other.”
Like Martin Scorsese before Mean Streets, auteur VAISH shamelessly self-promotes at every chance he gets. At one point, he was mentioned on the school intercom during morning announcements.
“We were just supporting our boy,” says super-fan Ashwin Bhat (11) who was doing the announcements that day. “VAISH’s name is one that needs to be heard around the world.”
Even with some of his most die-hard fans, there is a question of their sincerity. Do they really like his music? Or are they just following some cruel joke?
“Some people are just gonna hate, man,” says VAISH with his back slouched and his legs on the table. “This one guy told me he hated my stuff, so I just said to him, I said, ‘I love you, too.’ And the next day, we were cool.”
Contrasting VAISH’s humble beginnings, THE ROACHEZ bursted into the scene in August of 2022, releasing an EP, titled… EP. It’s a team of three: Farhan Chaudhury (11), Adrian Vidthiyani (12), and James Dingle (12). Their genre is a bit unclear. Would it be fair to call them anti-pop? Funk? THE ROACHEZ move beyond one singular genre, contrasting rough 808s with a soft guitar, changing rhythms in the middle of their songs. Or how they describe it as…
“Sexually appealing,” says Dingle, who plays bass. “Orgasmic.”
“My favorite artist at the moment, number one, is obviously THE ROACHEZ,” says Farhan Chaudhury before flexing his SpotifyStats. All six of his most played songs are select tracks from THE ROACHEZ’s EP.
So how did they start? Why make music their thing? Well, all members have a band background; Chaudhury’s been at it for a while, claiming the first song he made to be all the way from kindergarten. “My brother had a trumpet. And, like, I saw the trumpet. So I made music on the trumpet. Blew the horn. That was it. ”
Unfortunately, it was never recorded. And so, Chaudhury’s first song is forever lost in the void of faded memory. He plays the sousaphone now (although, evidence of this instrument being a real thing is lacking). Sometimes when the day is over and students wait for their time to leave, his playing can be heard, roaring from the grass field, deep buzzing from the clearing.
“Or you can hear him screaming like a madman,” one witness noted.
Then there’s the fans. Even VAISH admits he likes some of their songs.
“I like SNEAKY LNK; they be doin’ some cool stuff there,” he says.
What about competition? Any bad blood?
“Nah,” VAISH nods. “They’re the homies.”
In truth, THE ROACHEZ are doing quite well for their beginnings. It’s been three months, and they’ve already accumulated over 2,000 listeners on Spotify.
“Eventually, we want every single Spotify user to listen to our music,” says James Dingle. “Especially our German following. Shout out to the Germans.”
“And achieve GOAT status,” Chaudhury blurts.
There’s an air of similarity among these artists. Upon asking VAISH about his direction, where he believes his music will go, he holds a simple answer.
“Somewhere big,” he says. “That’s all I know.”
And there’s not much else he has to say. He sits there silent for a moment, staring out behind him. Then he walks away.
One band. One artist. Their early beginnings of musical careers offer only a glimpse of their future.