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The Student News Site of Jupiter Christian School

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The Student News Site of Jupiter Christian School

The Beak

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Lil Cheerio: Indie Artist and Full-time Student

JUPITER CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, FEBRUARY 06, 2024 – Imagine having a secret talent that you wish the world knew about and working hard to make that a reality. Until recently, this was a reality for sophomore Joe Licata, lately better known as Lil Cheerio.

Joe has been recording his own music since he was younger, estimating that his first recorded song was in eighth grade. The first recorded song that he thought was “really good,” however, was “Dancing Alone in the Dark,” which he released early in January of this year. In our interview, Joe defined the genre of his music as a mix of Hip-hop, rap, and pop. When asked about the muse for his lyrics, Joe emphatically denied the presence of one, and the subject quickly shifted to his artist name.

During one bus ride back to school, after a long track meet in seventh grade, Rebekah Ambrosius asked him to freestyle. A little speaker was produced, and a beat began to play. “I free-styled,” Joe admitted, “and one of the lines ended in ‘cheerio’.” Joe credits Travis Gould, older brother of teammate Josh Gould, with dubbing him “Lil Cheerio.”

Joe Licata, a.k.a Lil Cheerio, arrived to the Homecoming dance decked out for the Y2K theme, ready to celebrate his team’s satisfying victory the night before.

The nickname stuck, Joe says, because Brian Lafrance and Jamarr Fleuridor, who were both on the Track team, were also on the Football team, which Joe had recently joined. Within the next few days, Brian and Jamarr had started calling him “Lil Cheerio” in front of the team, cementing the nickname. Even as a sophomore, some of Joe’s coaches, like Coach Bee, still call him “Cheerio.” Because of this, the decision to use the nickname while releasing music on Spotify was an easy one.

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Joe runs alongside teammate Lizzy Shaw, enjoying his participation in Track and Field.

Although releasing music is a fun hobby, Joe does not see it turning into his career, stating that, “It is not the career that is in my future.” Instead of producing songs, Joe sees himself getting involved in media, specifically something related to entertainment, which will pave the way to his dream career of video production.

Joe is a hardworking student and dedicated athlete, activities that can be very time-consuming, so naturally the question of balancing work and play came about. Joe shared that he balances sports, hefty course loads and recording music by recording the later mainly over the weekend. Any free time he has throughout the week is also dedicated to production.

Despite the handful of minutes it takes to listen to each song, the production process is actually quite lengthy. Joe records his songs using beats that he makes, which has been taking him roughly an hour or two for recent songs. The process of writing lyrics also takes time and having to restart when they don’t work out lengthens the process. On top of it all, the song itself takes one to two hours to record. Joe mentioned that one of his goals for improving his music is getting a better mic, which will improve the quality of the music he can produce.

Because Joe is still living and interacting with his family on a regular basis, the question of how they feel about his hobby naturally arose. Joe’s parents and oldest brother, Brandon, think that his music is good and express their enjoyment and support of his new hobby. Jack, Joe’s little brother, really enjoys his music and Joe fondly calls him “one of my biggest fans.”

Collaborations are not uncommon in the musical industry, so it is no surprise that Joe recently had one with fellow student B.K., or that some people already have ideas for who his next collaboration should be with. Joe’s collaboration with B.K., a remix of one of Joe’s older songs, was recorded via FaceTime one weekend. As for future collaborations, Joe says for the most part he is open to the idea. Ultimately, however, he says that it is his decision whether or not he wants to collaborate with other up-and-coming artists. “My project with B.K. went swimmingly,” Joe reflected, “so maybe I would collab with someone else. But I guess we’ll see,” he said, ending his response with a cliffhanger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Katherine Weda
Katherine Weda, High School Yearbook Staff
High School Yearbook Staff Class of 2024  
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