AKO and Linear launch their music careers

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After discovering their love for music, seniors Mandy Lanier and Kobe Tako—better known as linear and AKO—wrote, recorded and produced their own songs. Most recently, Lanier released her debut album “The Comedown,” and Tako is currently working on more music coming out soon.

Although both students started learning to play the guitar at age 7, Tako hated it originally. After deciding to continue a few years later, on his own accord, he found his love for music. As Lanier ventured into dance in her childhood, she realized the same.

“As a dancer, I spend over 30 hours a week listening and dancing to music, so I always think about dance while I create my tracks. My favorite thing about dance is the storytelling aspect, and that’s definitely translated into my music as well,” she said. “Dance and music are both forms of art, so I treat them with the same respect and care, valuing the artistic qualities that fulfill my creativity.”

The first song she wrote was a Christmas song, around age 9 or 10. 

“I was kind of sad that a lot of my friends didn’t enjoy Christmas as much as I did, so I wrote a song about how it’s important to keep the holiday spirit alive. Pretty silly concept but I was super young and obsessed with Christmas movies at the time,” Lanier said.

Tako’s background looked relatively different. Inspired by the synth pop 80s songs that he had heard from his parents, Tako wrote and produced “Synthetic Revert,” which he still considers to be his best song today. “The first song I released was ‘Egosphere.’ I used to not be confident enough to record myself actually playing or singing so I made electronic music instead,” he said.

After the couple met, they were inspired by each other’s take on music. Lanier believes that Tako was a huge part of the reason she began releasing songs in the first place.

“Kobe’s impact on my music career is truly immeasurable, as he’s the one who pushed me to start releasing in the first place. We collaborate all the time, and he’s always teaching me new things and helping me be a better musician. He’s a huge inspiration to me and his talent and humility is something that I truly admire,” she said.

Tako’s career began earlier, as he has already released three albums. “To be honest, nobody used to listen to my music [at first] so I didn’t have the pressure of making good music. I could experiment and just released what I liked, eventually building an audience of up to 5000 monthly listeners, releasing one electronic album and two rock albums, with one more on the way,” he said.

Writing music begins with writing lyrics, according to Lanier, but Tako typically starts by experimenting on either the guitar, bass or piano. After moving over to his computer to mesh different instrumentals together, he develops the melody. Although they structure their respective processes differently, Lanier later focuses on the tune, combining guitar chords with percussion using Garageband.

Lanier, however, began by releasing “satellite” Oct. 29, 2023 to compare a satellite being in orbit to a person being in love. Her artist name, linear, is both the phonetic pronunciation of her name and a reflection of her love for math.

“I received a lot of support for ‘satellite’ which definitely helped, but I knew I had more music to make, so the album felt necessary. I started working on my album “The Comedown” shortly after my first couple singles came out, and I didn’t stop until I felt I expressed what I intended and told the story I wanted to tell. Music is a constant driving force that’s always pushing me to create more,” Lanier said.

She released “The Comedown” Feb. 15, consisting of 11 tracks. Her Spotify profile is available here.

As students listen to her songs, they relate to her version of the teenage experience. “I view Mandy’s music as authentic and outer-worldly. Her lyrics paint pictures of what falling in love is like and the pain that goes along with it. She uses different styles and themes for her albums that reflect her eclectic taste in music into her discography. I’m so grateful to be able to create with Mandy as we’re both extremely passionate for music and I consider her a great musician and friend,” senior Mira Levinson said.

From recording to producing to filming their music videos, seniors Kobe Tako (left) and Mandy Lanier (right) work together throughout the creative process. “[Lanier] serves as a big inspiration for a lot of my music and helped me care more about my lyrics, which have definitely improved since she showed me how important they are,” Tako said. (Photo/Kobe Tako)

Now a senior at American Heritage, Anya returns as Editor-in-Chief of the Patriot Post. With her passion for journalism, she is Co-President of the Quill and Scroll Honor Society. She started an organization called “ActionPAKT: Projects Advocating for a Kinder Tomorrow” to educate youth about current issues and help them take action; currently, she has expanded it to 15+ chapters in multiple countries, raising $17,000 within the Heritage chapter itself. As a Youth Ambassador for Bullets4Life, Anya advocates for gun control. She leads the top Model UN program in the nation as President, competing nationally and organizing conferences at school. To relax, Anya hangs out with friends, swims, goes on walks and binge watches Netflix. She loves the beach, good food and her lazy little dog Simba more than anything.