The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

7k Pyro: Student by Day, Artist by Night

Photo via Instagram @7k.pyro

For many, music is an escape from reality, with each genre telling its own story. For musicians, it’s a passion and a form of creative self-expression. School-wide known, two-year Homecoming performer and artist ‘7k Pyro,’ has deep passion for the art of music. Behind the name ‘7k Pyro’ is an athletic, academic scholar: senior Karol Chmielewski. 

Chmielewski started making music at Clarence E. Culver Elementary School, and with the help of a teacher, he launched his music career.

I started making music in seventh grade, around spring 2019, after my band teacher, Mr. Lindemann, showed us how to record samples onto a digital audio workstation (DAW), Soundtrap, in guitar class,” Chmielewski said. “I opened the app on my home computer and randomly started throwing melody and drum samples together and just threw these beats up onto SoundCloud and mixed my own beat tapes. Lowkey, it was kind of silly, but I always felt excited to put something out, no matter how simple or trash it sounded.”

As the Covid-19 pandemic was a dark time for many, Chmielewski took advantage of the social isolation and found a way to entertain himself through the boredom.

“I dived deep into recording during the first COVID-19 lockdown. With school being online and me not being able to leave my house, it left me bored. I spent hours almost every day during quarantine finding beats on YouTube, trying new vocal presets and just creating. I made probably around 20 songs [and released] three during spring [of eighth grade],” Chmielewski said.

Outside of music, Chmielewski participates in competitive track and field and recreational basketball, and he enjoys watching YouTube videos about economics and the stock market. His two interests–business and music–converged when he joined DECA, a competitive business club that enabled him to develop a music marketing project. This project landed him a spot at the international DECA competition.

With his hands full with athletics, academics and art, he has found a way to balance them so that he can be successful in each and reach his goals.

“Academics and athletics are for the week, while music and everything else is for the weekend. Within track and field, I’m working to qualify for IHSA State and New Balance Nationals for the Triple Jump event, so each day in the week has its own focus. Monday might be the day I run 400 intervals, I might have a statistics test on Thursday and I might have a couple of hours on Saturday to record or mix a song. That’s my thought process,” Chmielewksi said.

Through his music success, he has had supportive guidance from his peers and family friends like Phillip Jackowski. Jackowski is a producer who makes beats for Chmielewski and someone who has stuck by his side. He boosts Chmielewski’s ambition and dedication to the art and his natural talent.

“At first [Karol and I] just started messing around making stuff that we thought sounded cool, but I was quick to notice his talent. We started taking it more seriously and as a result, we have helped each other become more successful by giving each other advice and opinions and frequently working together on songs,” Jackowski said. “His talent along with his ambition and dedication that he puts into everything he does, even outside of music, has helped him become better and better over time,”

Another one of his childhood friends, senior Adrian Canchola, sees Chimielewski as one who sees setbacks as opportunities.

“What is special about Karol is that he loves hearing he can’t do something. It fuels him to prove you wrong and he won’t stop working until he does,” Canchola said.

With college on the horizon, Chimielewski intends to commemorate his high school experience on his next album.

“There will be another album before I graduate in May 2024. I think I’m going to call it Euphoria. It’s going to be a musical recap of the feelings of the past 4 years of my life, the finisher to my and my friends’ high school experience. Also, it’s not just going to have rap; I’m throwing in some of that 2012 EDM and nostalgia. It’s going to be different,” Chmielewski said.

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