Downey seniors use musical talents to promote school spirit

DOWNEY -- Members of a homegrown hip-hop group called Royal Dynasty, Downey High seniors Jamiah Lindsey, Gabe Estrada and Robert Molina spun their musical talents into gold by turning their songs into spirit songs and pre-game anthems.A vocalist and rapper, Lindsey-who also goes by his stage name of Syre-says he wrote the lyrics to a 2-minute song entitled "Downey Vikes" last year before the homecoming game and recorded the song around that time by working closely with Molina, who produced songs for Lindsey and Estrada by using a computer program called Logic Pro. "We wanted to pump up school spirit through these songs," said Lindsey. "Then we recorded them on a CD and took it to [principal] Mr. Houts's office. He liked it and called up most of the football coaches into his office and they listened to it." "We wrote these songs to hype up the football team and give them energy," said Molina. "Right now we're creating a mix tape and we're really excited and surprised that we're doing this." Lindsey said the coaches sat and listened to the song and he allowed Houts and the coaches to use the song according to their discretion. Eventually, "Downey Vikes" was played at football games, the spring blood drive and at rallies held in the school's gym. A new, updated version of "Downey Vikes" was recorded and produced this year called D's House. Lindsey says this version includes the names of schools in the San Gabriel Valley League, which Downey sports teams are a part of. Estrada, a vocalist and rapper for Royal Dynasty who also goes by his stage name of Young Prince, says he gets his inspiration from rappers. "I get most of my inspiration from [the rapper] Drake," he said. Estrada sang the first verse of D's House, while Lindsey sang the chorus and second verse of the song. Molina, dubbed Maestro for his role as the group's producer, says they never had any experience with recording or producing prior to last year. "We never had any lessons," he said. "We're all self-taught and we just love music so we put it together and formed Royal Dynasty." Molina produced both Downey Vikes and D's House by composing the songs' beats using his bedroom-turned-studio. The group is no stranger to the adage "practice makes perfect." According to Lindsey, Royal Dynasty "breaks into sessions of writing, rehearsing and recording at least once a week." "We're teaching ourselves what to do and what not to do in the first stages as a band," he said. Houts says he discovered Lindsey while evaluating a new instructor last year and asked Lindsey to make a song to promote school spirit. "The kid's got a lot of talent," said Houts. "I asked him to make a pre-game song and the coaches liked it. While I was evaluating the Music Appreciation teacher, I asked Jamiah to write a fight song for the pre-game." Downey football coaches such as varsity coach Dexter Davis say they enjoy it and that they worked with the guys who wrote the songs and collaborated with them for the pre-game song. Molina says he hopes Royal Dynasty can someday create an album and turn it into an actual business, but for now the group chooses to remain loyal to their school in supporting it through their music. "At the fourth football game of the season, we're performing live," he says. "We're building our fan base and starting out in our hometown."

********** Published: October 7, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 25