How one teen explores — and escapes — through music

Rio Samaniego by Vanessa Valencia-Lopez. Portrait Project High School Journalism Institute 2018.

Rio Samaniego came home from another isolating day of school.

Once again, he sat alone during lunch, ostracized by his seventh-grade peers.

He lay in his bed and put on a new album recommended to him by a friend: “Worlds” by Porter Robinson. To Rio, the album conveyed nostalgia and sadness, themes that he related to and distracted him from the bullying at school.

“You can block out the negative aspects of life,” Rio said. “Some people use poetry or art, but I use music.”

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Local teen hopes to create a happier world through music, poetry

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — If you’re going to pray, don’t worry. If you’re going to worry, don’t pray. One recent high school graduate truly believes that, which is why it’s one of her favorite sayings. She prays a lot. She writes a lot. She sings a lot, and she smiles a whole lot. People who know her think that’s what makes her a ray of sunshine.

Her name is Ke’J Taylor, and she turned 18 in February. Thirteen years earlier, at the age of five, she says that’s when she started writing poetry.

“As I learned more, experienced more and started to face some of life’s challenges, the poetry got deeper,” said Taylor.

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