The (Song) Writer

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Photo Courtesy of Noel Ayala-Gallo

Ayala-Gallo enjoys listening as well as writing about music in his Wikipedia articles.

By Lucia Gabel, Harrisonburg High School

Editing and writing Wikipedia pages is the unconventional hobby which allowed senior Noel Ayala-Gallo to appreciate music in a way that was far beyond the average music lover.
“I’ve been asked the question before, would you rather be blind or be deaf. I’d rather be blind than deaf because for me, music is such a good way to resonate,” Ayala Gallo said. “Music is an art and it’s made me appreciate the beauty of art.”
In his eighth grade year, Ayala-Gallo began writing Wikipedia pages. After noticing many famous artists and songs were missing articles on the site, Ayala-Gallo decided to utilize and expand his knowledge on different artists by creating pages for each one.
“One that stood out particularly to me was the song ‘Party Monster’ by The Weeknd, who’s my favorite musician. I noticed they had an article for ‘I Feel It Coming’, which at the time was actually less popular than the song ‘Party Monster’, so I decided to create an article for that song,” Ayala-Gallo said. “It was badly done at first, it got deleted, but then I later recreated it, [and that’s] what really grew my interest in [Wikipedia].”
By using the platforms available to him, Ayala-Gallo began to find the songs that were becoming popular and researched more on the trends of music. Ayala-Gallo’s love for music and research on artists ranges from his roots of latin music to popular hip hop and rap artists.
“I started getting really into the music industry, and I started watching the Billboard charts to figure out what songs were the most popular songs of the week. [I watched] Spotify charts, weekly music video charts for YouTube and Apple Music, I was really fascinated by that. [I first] started reading articles on Latin musicians. People like Maluma, J Balvin and stuff like that. Then basically I just started working more on other articles by other artists such as The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Travis Scott and Drake. I’ve done work for the SICKO MODE article or the song In My Feelings by Drake [as well as] for Blinding Lights [by The Weeknd],” Ayala-Gallo said. “My Wikipedia obsession comes from my love for music.”
Although his dream job is far from the music industry, it stems from his love of music and the many different cultures that appreciate music.
“The reason I want to be a US ambassador or have a job that will let me travel to different countries and experience other cultures is because of music. I like to listen to music from all over the world, it ties into human culture,” Ayala-Gallo said. “I want to be a person who can help us progress more as a group of people and as a human race so that we can avoid conflict and intermingle cultures.”
With his mom from Cuba and dad from El Salvador, Ayala-Gallo has exposure to many different cultures. The story of his family and heritage can be found in the music that his parents  shared with him.
“Music made me appreciate my heritage. Music is how we appreciate all of the different cultures in the world because there are such different people that like to listen to them. Because of my mom’s influence, I listened to a lot of 80s music and 90’s music but also reggaeton and salsa. My dad would listen to late 90’s Spanish rock and also west coast hip hop like ‘Snoop Dogg’. Currently, I like more of the modern sound but their influence has been tremendous,” Ayala-Gallo said.
By expanding his musical horizons, Ayala-Gallo has also been able to expand his awareness of where that music came from.
“[Music] has also made me look into different cultures. I remember when the soundtrack of Black Panther came out it included a song called Redemption. It included a South African singer and after listening to that one song I looked into different other songs from South Africa. Music has made me appreciate my Latin heritage and the cultures from all around the world,” Ayala-Gallo said.
Not only has his music knowledge grown over the years, Ayala-Gallo has been able to further his writing and research skills.
“It’s made it so that I am able to find resources more easily and support my claim [better]. I am able to write about nonfiction and can work with different data formats. Wikipedia has helped a lot with my writing and I’ve learned a bunch of different words and their definitions like more technical terms,” Ayala-Gallo said.
By finding his passion in music and Wikipedia writing and recognizing the benefits that it has introduced into his life, Ayala-Gallo encourages other high school students to dedicate the time to find what they are enthusiastic about outside of school.
“Look into what you’re interested in. Take some time to do other stuff besides school work and spend time with your friends. Enjoy your high school because once you get to your senior year you reflect on everything you’ve done, you want to have connections and strengthened bonds,” Ayala-Gallo said.

This story was originally published on The Newsstreak on January 21, 2021.