STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Gabriel Masterman


Michael Pickett, Reporter


Talent. If we were all stripped of our various talents, then what would we be? Worthless? Hopeless? Fleshy blobs with no meaning or benefit to them?
A deep question indeed…
But that’s not what we’re here for! We’re looking FOR talent, specifically, talent in the young and bright minds of our students at Urbana High School! Amongst all others, sophomore Gabriel Masterman may have JUST THAT!
Mr. Masterman is not only an experienced skater, with links to many with the same hobby in Urbana and outside the state, but is also an experienced producer, who has rubbed elbows with their fair share of talented artists.
I may be a bit biased choosing him for a profile feature, since I’ve known the man since kindergarten, but trust me, there is more to him than meets the eye.

Gabriel Masterman always had a knack for music.
“I’ve been playing the guitar for as long as I can remember” he states.
In middle school, his interest in beat-making soon arose. He would spend day and night watching tutorials, looking for equipment, all the necessities he would need to get in and make his own.
“I remember I used to have this dinky little button box where you put sounds in and tapped the box and you could make, like, simple beats with it. I think that’s when I really started to realize that this was something I wanted to kind of dive into.”
Starting out in music is never easy, and often there are barriers one may face. We decided to ask him how he managed to overcome his obstacles as a new producer.
“Now, I didn’t tell you this, but piracy is KEY. At least when you are starting out. Good software can run you from like 200 dollars and ABOVE. So like, let’s say you wanted FL Studio (a program you can make music in), that’s 200-700 bucks just for the ENTRY. OR you could just Pirate it from a zip file, easy-peasy, maybe buy it later.”
With morally ambiguous decisions under his belt, it was time for Gabe to start getting serious with this hobby.
“I would spend day after day after day just making beats. Of course it would get tiring, but you have all these ideas, and you want them down as fast as possible in case you forget them. So I would be making one beat one day and then jot down an entirely different beat the next day.”
Gabriel Masterman is now a seasoned beat-maker. He has dabbled in multiple genres, but has found a general liking to the style of Phonk, a genre that combines hip hop, Memphis rap, and funk.
Since his beginnings, Gabriel has been no stranger to working with other artists.
“My favorite would have to be Yungmaple.” He said when asked about what his favorite collaboration was.
“Ever since I started making beats he was the one I really wanted to collaborate with the most, I always strived to get to his level… Finally getting to be able to work with the people you look up to man, it’s just an entirely different feeling.”
Who knows where the future will take Gabriel Masterman and his production skills. Who knows, he could be producing for the next Kanye West one day! He has said that he plans to “continue to make sick beats… maybe collab with a few more artists. I got a few new projects coming out with some other producers so stay tuned for those, they’re sick.”


Music isn’t all Gabriel is good at, though. He is also a pretty darn good skater in the Urbana community.
“I just really needed a hobby, something to keep me active instead of just beat making, and I always messed with skating… thought it was super cool.”
So, he tried it out! Of course, Masterman wasn’t good first try, and this was certain. Gabriel said that many times he considered giving up and finding a different hobby entirely, but he decided to persist.
A main encouraging factor for him was the community.
“I think it’s pretty neat… All these people coming around to do something they just kind of… enjoy doing. There’s a lot of drama sometimes though, but you try to avoid it. If  you get past that stuff there’s some genuinely cool people.”
Gabriel has since overcome his fears and challenges as an early skater, and along the way has made new friends.
“If it weren’t for skating, I wouldn’t know a lot of my close friends, and without THEM, I… honestly don’t think I would be where I am today.”
When asked about if skating had a beneficial impact on his life, Masterman had a lot to say.
“There’s been a few lows here and there, though, but you push through it… For skating, I just had to dig through all the negativity that a lot of the posers throw at ya’, and the skill gap, and eventually I found one of my favorite hobbies and some of my closest friends.”
Gabe, being fairly well known among the skaters of Urbana High, also had some words of wisdom to say to new skaters coming to the scene. We decided to ask for his insight and anything he would say to the new skaters trying to get into the hobby.
“Don’t let the negative people get you down… Keep practicing, and eventually you’ll get there. I know everyone says that, but it is what it is. Oh also don’t be a… How do I say this… Don’t like… BE THE PROBLEM. Treat other skaters with respect. Treat the environment with respect, don’t do stupid stuff that’s gonna ruin someone else’s day, and you won’t have any problems.”
I think what Gabe is trying to say here, is that it’s fine to be new to the skate scene. Nobody really cares if you’re bad, just keep pushing through, and just be kind, and you’ll be treated equally.
As for where he will go in the future, when it comes to skating, Gabe isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m just going to keep practicing, hangin’ with friends, the usual. Really not much else, I just do this stuff casually.”

While Gabriel Masterman may seem like a grizzled-veteran in both of these fields, even he has had the same struggles early-on as many others  did when they wanted to start out in similar hobbies. I hope that by reading this, people can realize these things, while they may seem daunting at first, could eventually become your next favorite hobby, you just have to persist.

If you are interested in Gabriel Masterman’s musical endeavors, check out his soundcloud here.