Senior pursues passion for making music


Calleigh McPartlin ’23 records in a studio getting ready to create music and release on multiple streaming platforms (photo courtesy of McPartlin).

Cooper Anderson, In-depth editor

Music has always been an integral part in the life of Calleigh McPartlin ‘23. What began as piano and voice lessons as a child has grown into something much more than that; it’s a form of art and self-expression. McPartlin’s journey with music dates all the way back to kindergarten where she learned the basics of the piano. 

“I was classically trained learning sheet music, and I hated it,” McPartlin said. “I didn’t like being told what to practice and when to practice.”

From that point on, McPartlin became self-taught, she said. Despite her inability to read sheet music due to stopping lessons at a young age, she took it upon herself to learn how to play chords. She accompanies most of her songs with her own piano playing, which only need chords. If she wants to learn a full piano song, she will utilize the internet or videos on YouTube to teach herself.

Ever since McPartlin could talk, she was constantly singing for those around her. McPartlin’s mother, Erin McPartlin, remembers Calleigh sharing her love of music with everyone around, which began with her love of the musical “Annie,” her mom said.

“She knew all the songs and demanded an audience at most family and neighborhood gatherings, even standing on a table or chair to perform,” her mom said. 

Even though McPartlin was very outgoing as a young child, that quickly faded into becoming more shy and introverted with her passion for music as she got older, she said.

“I still don’t love performing in front of anyone,” McPartlin said. “Music for me is a very personal hobby, and I mainly like doing it for myself and my own enjoyment.”

Once McPartlin got older, she became a little bit more open to the idea of sharing her singing with those around her, she said. In middle school, she created an Instagram account where she would post covers of songs she sang with her music teacher. This exposed her singing to her friends and other peers for the first time with it being received very well from those around her. At about the same time she began participating in open mics at Fitzgerald’s Restaurant in Berwyn, after having her music teacher convince her to put herself out there. McPartlin was only able to do a few more open mics before the pandemic shut them down. In replacement of this, McPartlin would play porch concerts at her own home which were very casual setups where she would sing and play guitar during block parties or gatherings for some live-music.

In these past couple of years, McPartlin has gotten the opportunity to take her passion to the next level by recording her own music, which she writes, at a local studio in Brookfield called “The Jam Lab.”She was connected to this studio a year ago through her voice teacher who knew the owner, and ever since then she goes into the studio at least once a week to work on her new songs or ideas for songs. 

Although music is a very personal experience for McPartlin, the songs she writes most of the time are not about her own life. 

“I’m very bad about writing about my own life, and the vast majority of my songs are either about made-up scenarios or a fantasy storyline I created, ” she said. “It’s easier for me to tap into characters then try to almost expose myself.”

Currently, McPartlin has three songs out which are titled “Afterlife,” “Let You Go,” and “Hypothetical Crush,” and they can all be found on any streaming platform. After releasing her music and promoting her own work for the first time, she received lots of positive feedback from her peers.

“I got texts from so many people that I didn’t know, which was so cool and made me feel very confident about my work,” she said. “It was perceived so positively and was such a unique experience.”

A close friend of McPartlin, Natalie Aubert ‘23, is excited she is beginning to share her music with others on streaming platforms, and believes it has shown tremendous growth.

“She has a new passion for music and is more excited to songwrite and share her music with everyone else around her, and hopes they enjoy her work as much as she does.”

As for now, McPartlin doesn’t have any goals set in stone for her music career and hopes to continue releasing music she has recorded for others to hear, she said. The most important thing is that she is creating her own music that she loves.

“The goal is not to make money or please others, it has always been to make music that is for myself, and that’s what has made this so enjoyable,” she said. “It is just for myself.”