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Abby Davis on her new album, Bonus Room


While you’ve got some free time during this Thanksgiving Break, give CHS Senior Abby Davis’ new album Bonus Room a listen. Bonus Room, Davis’ second full-length album, was released on September 30th, 2018 and combines R&B and acoustic funk with soulful, raw vocals to produce a unique sound reminiscent of rainy-day jam sessions. When she’s not recording and releasing music, Abby gigs all around the Triangle, performing at everything from open mics to music festivals. She’s gotten the chance to work with professionals at the Berkeley College of Music, and has even been nominated for a Carolina Music Award! I sat down with Abby Davis to hear about her process in producing music, her journey as a youth performer, and her future ambitions.


Question: How did you get into writing and producing music?


Abby Davis: I started writing my own music when I was thirteen years old, at Martin Middle School. Mr. Yancey, the chorus teacher, had his students do a project where we would all write songs, and he would put the best out on iTunes. He ended up releasing some of my songs, and that really encouraged me to keep writing. I got into producing my own music last year, at my old school. Everyone was always talking about recording their own music, but no one really did; so, I decided I’d be the first one to do it! It started out with me just singing into my iPad—that’s how my first album was recorded. Later, I ended up getting my own recording studio.


Q: How were you able to put your own recording studio together?


AD: My dad has always been into recording music too; he’s in a lot of different bands, being the insane drummer that he is. He told me that I should get my own studio after I had gotten into writing music. He took me to Guitar Center one day, and we got all of the recording equipment. I went home that day, set it all up, and began recording Bonus Room. It feels so good to have my own studio—it makes me feel like the music is really coming from me.


Q: How has being young affected your career and musicianship?


AD: Being young definitely makes people view me as unprofessional; especially being a part of Gen Z, and being in the hectic climate that we’re in…Also, I want to represent the youth and what they want to say, as well as what I want to say, in my music.


Q: Where would you like your songwriting and music career to take you? Do you have high aspirations, or do you view your music as a passion project?


AD: My music kind of started as a passion project, but after I released my first album, A Walk In My Brain, I realized that I needed to pursue a career in music. I knew that I wouldn’t be truly happy if I were to pursue anything else.


Q: Tell me about your gigs around the Triangle! How did you get started, and how far have you come in terms of local performances? Any favorite venues you’ve gotten to play at?


AD: I started gigging when I was about seven years old. I was taking lessons from my uncle at Bamboo Music Studios; he’d set up gigs at places like the art museum or at coffee shops, and have all of his students perform. I started getting my own gigs during my Freshman year; I’d just walk into venues and ask if they needed a live performer! Doing open mics was another way that I got into gigging—one place I’d do a lot of open mics at was the Berkeley Cafe, in Downtown Raleigh. I play a lot of actual gigs there now, usually one every month.


Q: Your second album, Bonus Room, was recently released on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. How did it feel to achieve this?


AD: It feels so amazing—to finally feel like an individual artist, who really puts herself out there. It’s probably the best feeling ever.


Q: Tell me about your experience at Berkeley College of Music!


AD: Berkeley College of Music is one of the most incredible places on Earth; it’s my dream school! This summer, I went up there for a week to do a songwriting camp, and I learned a lot of really eye-opening things about songwriting, a lot of which I had never thought about before. The most important thing I learned was probably that you can’t know everything about music. It was so inspiring to be around so many other people doing the same thing that I am, and we all got super close.


Q: Describe your journey in creating Bonus Room.


AD: So, I started writing Bonus Room this summer, when I was at a camp at the Berkeley College of Music. I wrote a total of 63 songs for it, and I ended up using 12. With my first album, I kind of just “threw it out there,” but with Bonus Room, I wanted to make sure that it was good, and that I genuinely liked all of the songs on it. I took my time in recording it (I actually started recording during Hurricane Florence). I released it through this collective that I’m a part of, called Oak City Mob—my friend Danny Secor, who started Oak City Mob, called me over to record some hooks for his music, and he offered to help me release my own music.


Q: Tell me about your parents’ involvement in music, and how that has shaped your musical career.


AD: I grew up in a very musical family. My mom sings, and my dad plays drums; they were in a rock band together in the ‘90’s. The music they wrote for their band has inspired me and has added a Rock ‘N Roll element to my own music.


Q: Are there any particular figures that you feel have shaped your identity as a musician?


AD: One of my biggest musical inspirations has to be Fleetwood Mac, and especially Stevie Nicks. I’m also really inspired by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Billy Joel. In terms of modern artists, I’m a huge fan of SZA, Georgia Smith, and Tyler the Creator.


Q: What advice to you have for those who wish to pursue a career in music/songwriting?


AD: These are the exact words my father said to me in a conversation we had the other day: “The more you put yourself out there, the more you’re going to be open to criticism, and the more you’ll end up saying ‘screw you’ to all of the criticism. Please yourself, and the rest will come.”



Bonus Room by Abby Davis is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music.

The True Origins of Thanksgiving


The sole attribution of Thanksgiving to the 1621 feast between the Wampanoag tribe and the Mayflower pilgrims is not completely accurate. In fact, that historical feast wasn’t even referred to as ‘Thanksgiving’ until the early nineteenth century, and Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln declared so in 1863. So where did Thanksgiving begin? And what was it originally meant to celebrate?

The feast between the Wampanoag tribe and the English settlers in 1621 does play a small role in the history of Thanksgiving. Most Americans learn the story of Native Americans and their leader Squanto celebrating the harvest after a tough year. In reality, by the time that feast came around, the Wampanoag population had reduced from about 8,000 to 1,500 due to European diseases introduced by the settlers. Squanto himself had been captured by Englishmen years before, sold into Spanish slavery, and returned home to see his entire native Patuxet tribe extinct from smallpox. Squanto worked as a translator for the settlers and the Wampanoag tribe, and he helped the tribe teach the settlers how to farm in the New England environment. In 1621 the two groups joined to celebrate the victories of a successful harvest. This harvest would be an ‘eye of the storm’ so to speak, as it was situated between devastating population losses for both parties.

The positive relationship between settlers and Native Americans was short-lived; the second Thanksgiving was actually a celebration of the massacres that followed the original feast in 1621. English citizens quickly got word of the good conditions in New England, and settlers began to outnumber Native Americans in this region. Broken treaties and disputed claims over land exploded during the Pequot War. One specific massacre during the war resulted in another “Day of Thanksgiving” in the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies.

The holiday as we know it today is not a celebration of the massacre of Native Americans or the brief peace between English settlers and Native Americans. Most Americans don’t sit down on Thanksgiving to remember those two events, so what changed? Well, George Washington issued his Proclamation of General Thanksgiving, which served as a “one size fits all” push for gratefulness. Then, in 1863, to unify celebrations across the country Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as an official holiday. Later, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November to make the holiday shopping season longer. Now, Thanksgiving is largely celebrated as a day for families to come together and give thanks for one another. Families across the country gather around the table to enjoy a large dinner and each other’s company.

Still, the extreme injustice endured by Native Americans is not forgotten. While some may recollect grade school plays about pilgrims and Native Americans, Thanksgiving is also the National Day of Mourning. Established in 1970 by the United American Indians of New England (UAINE), the National Day of Mourning is set on the same day of Thanksgiving every year. The UAINE and others across the country use the day to remember ancestors, protest the treatment of Native Americans by the US government, and connect with spiritual beliefs. So whether you’re relaxing this weekend after your Thanksgiving festivities or protesting in the streets of New England, be sure to take a moment to recognize Thanksgiving as it was, as it is, and as it becomes.

Affirmative Action: The Facts


Affirmative action has been a controversial program ever since its initiation in 1961. The latest controversy comes from Students for Fair Admissions, which originally sued Harvard in 2014 over their affirmative action policy.

What is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative action is defined as a policy that favors groups of people who tend to suffer from discrimination. In 1961 President Kennedy issued an executive order that instructed federal contractors to use affirmative action to ensure that minority applicants receive the same consideration in employment applications. This policy is frequently used in the college admissions process for elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. Universities are allowed to consider race as a part of their admissions process, but the school cannot have a quota on the number of minority students that they admit.

What are the Benefits of Affirmative Action?

While it may seem counterintuitive to consider race in the admissions process, it has proved to be beneficial to the campus as a whole. Affirmative action has increased diversity by 23% in universities which plays a major role in a student’s education. Diversity drives innovation and fosters creativity in students while promoting student growth and understanding of the world around them. In order to succeed in an increasingly global business world, one must be able to collaborate and understand different backgrounds, cultures, and religions.

What are the Drawbacks of Affirmative Action?

This program may have been implemented to put an end to discrimination, but it can potentially promote “reverse discrimination” by accepting less qualified applicants because they are a minority. This can lead to an overall less qualified student body and high dropout rates of minorities in affirmative action schools.

What About the Harvard Case?

This case is different than many previous because it alleges that the Harvard undergraduate admissions program is “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures” against Asian-American applicants. Past lawsuits have not gained such national momentum, as they often feature a white student suing, but this time it’s a minority group. Harvard has denied these claims and defends their use of race in admissions, yet continues to state that race is never used against an applicant or as a deciding factor for any applicant. Students for Fair Admissions filed the case in November 2014 and the case is expected to head to the Supreme Court. Over the course of the hearings, Harvard has been forced to reveal some of their admissions policies, and it has been confirmed that it is harder for Asian American students to be admitted into the school. The arguments on this topic are complete in federal court, but it is likely it will take a few months to hear a decision. Considering the current status of the trial, it is possible it may end up in the Supreme Court.

The Future of Women’s Health Care Is At Stake


The U.S. Supreme Court now has a conservative majority that is more than able to overturn the supreme court case Roe v. Wade. The addition of Brett Kavanaugh is all that is needed to overturn the law, as he replaces the previous swing-vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy. If the case is overturned, it would give state governments the power to ban or legalize abortions. According to history, at least half of the U.S. would criminalize abortion if this occurred.

In 2016, Texas imposed laws that forced more than half of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down. These were overturned by the Court, with Justice Kennedy casting the deciding vote. However, with Kavanaugh now on the Court, it is probable that he would allow such state-imposed restrictions to stand.

As a judge, Kavanaugh has never directly ruled on abortion. But based on prior precedent, it is clear how he would decide on the issue. He dissented on an appeals court decision that allowed a pregnant undocumented teenager in federal custody to have an abortion, which gives an indication to his views on the subject.

In addition to being anti-abortion, Kavanaugh is also opposed to birth control. One might suspect Kavanaugh would be pro-birth control, seeing that the purpose of birth control is to reduce the chances of a baby being conceived, but he isn’t. During his confirmation hearing, he described contraceptives as “abortion-inducing drugs.” It wasn’t clear which methods of birth control he was speaking of (e.g. pills, patches, and IUDs or emergency contraceptives); however, the term “abortion-inducing” represents a gross misrepresentation of contraceptives, as none can terminate a pregnancy. As Kavanaugh sits as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come, the rights of women to health care and abortion that took so much time and effort to gain are at stake, and there is no guarantee what the future holds.

Toyota Announces 2019 Supra to Debut at Detroit Auto Show


In a press release just before Halloween, Toyota announced that the long-awaited 2019 Supra will debut in January at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The release described the release timeline as “one of the worst-kept secrets in the auto industry.” It’s the one part of the car that has been so poorly masked. Toyota has tantalizingly held the car just barely in the public eye for some time, debuting only masked versions thus far. Having whet the appetite of both auto enthusiasts who remember the original and new enthusiasts, the reveal will be one of the most anticipated events at the Auto Show this year.

If leaks are to be believed, the car will have a straight-six powertrain producing 335bhp and 332 lbs ft of torque, which will allow its 3300 lbs to careen to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. Toyota developed the car with BMW, who was working on a replacement of the Z4, another well-respected sports car. The motor is part of the German partnership, as is the gearbox, which is purported to be an eight-speed automatic. The top speed is unknown as of yet.

Though the release date and some specs have been common knowledge for some time now, much remains to be seen. For example, we’ve never seen it except in camo. We don’t have any idea what the interior will look like. What is clear so far is that whenever the Supra finally comes to production, we’ll have a fun-to-drive, quick, aggressive, bona fide Porsche killer.

A Culinary Journey Through the NC State Fair


This year’s North Carolina State Fair, now nearly a month past, attracted almost a million folks to the fairgrounds in Raleigh. Some came for the gardens or the old-time cheer, some came for the rides, and some even came for the cows. But most fair goers shared a common experience, or rather, a common meal.

The food at the state fair is a collision of NC classics and new (usually deep-fried) creations, a delicious and relatively affordable dining experience for all. My friends and I entered 2018 fair with one main goal: to eat some local, delicious deep-fried goodness. Join me on this tasty journey through our local history and culture, as I review the North Carolina State Fair’s most iconic foods and hunt for that “Gotta Be NC” flavor.


Deep Fried Oreo: 5/10

Fried oreo

I’ve had many deep fried Oreos in my day, and in this time I’ve observed a few quality-determining factors: the balance of the dough, cookie, icing, and powdered sugar; the flavor and texture of the dough; and the quantity of powdered sugar. This dough was, well, too doughy! It was more than twice the size of the actual Oreo and overpowered the other flavors. The powdered sugar and icing were lacking, but the Oreo cookie’s perfect sogginess and the satisfying balance of dense dough and fluffy sugar saved this dish from complete culinary desolation, raising my rating to a (mediocre) five out of ten.







Candy Apple: 9/10

candy apple

When I tried a cinnamon candy apple for the first time last year, it wasn’t my lack of appreciation for its two major ingredients that disappointed me, but the fact that it got stuck in my teeth—and hair! As a result, I was hesitant to try this fair’s apple offerings, but the cutesy allure of one stand caught my eye. I was blown away by the freshness and lack of grittiness of this bona fide North Carolina grown apple, whose bitter skin perfectly complemented the sweet candy. The apple was juicy, perfectly sweet, and perfectly priced, ringing in at only two dollars.  This apple earns a nine out of ten for its delicious taste and well-balanced textures. I can’t wait to eat one next year!






Fried Green Tomatoes: 5/10

fried green tomato

A delicacy rarely recreated well north of the Mason-Dixon, fried green tomatoes are one of my favorite foods, and I was excited (though unsurprised) to see them being sold at many of the fair’s booths. Alas, I was mostly disappointed by these particular tomatoes’ lack of flavor and their unpleasant texture. The tomatoes were far too ripe to have that classic sourness—almost as if they were straight off a lackluster deli sandwich. The thin, flavorless crust didn’t help, and their blandness even coerced me, a self-proclaimed health nut, to douse them in salt. These disappointing tomatoes were offset by slightly less disappointing ranch, but ultimately, while I appreciate the effort to incorporate vegetables into the State Fair diet, this is not the way to do it. I give these pathetic tomatoes a four out of ten for shaking me to my Tar Heel core.







Corn on the Cob: 8/10

corn on the cob

I love corn on the cob. Something about plowing through the kernels is animalistic, and the fibers between my teeth always trick me into thinking this food is healthier than the calorie count suggests. The pictures inundating my Instagram feed of State Fair corn, char-roasted, dripping in butter and covered in seasoning, had tempted me for a week before I went to the fair. When I finally found corn that seemed high enough quality to buy after a thorough search for kernelled perfection, I ate it with ferocious, blissful speed. Even with just butter (I forgot to add seasoning in my feverish rush), this sweet, salty, and filling snack satisfied my taste buds and my appetite for hours. I give this corn an eight out of ten, and I highly recommend that your next state fair experience includes a freshly shucked treat.




Deep Fried Pickles: 8.5/10

deep fried picklesAlthough I’m not a pickle aficionado, the intrigue of deep fried pickles compelled me to invest in a seven dollar container from a Mount Airy-based barbecue booth by the lake. To my surprise, this exotic food was worth its cost. The crisp cucumber, sour vinegar, crunchy crust and overall pleasant saltiness made for a perfectly balanced evening snack, and despite my love of ranch I didn’t even consider using it to add flavor. This dish will definitely be on my state fair feast list next year, and though my friends’ dislike of it serve warning that it is an acquired taste, I give these fried pickles an eight-and-a-half out of ten.




Frozen Banana: 9/10

frozen banana

After eating the fried pickles, which have a wicked aftertaste, I was craving something cheap and sweet to cleanse my palate before I went home. A chocolate-covered frozen banana with sprinkles did just the trick. Ringing in at a mere four dollars, this banana was sweet, cold, and super indulgent, a relatively healthy snack that fulfilled my craving for dessert. I give this banana a nine out of ten, bringing my “fruitful” culinary journey through the NC State Fair to a stupendous (and stuffed!) end.

Baker Unseats Four-Term Sheriff Harrison


Democrat Gerald Baker has unseated four-term incumbent Donnie Harrison in the race for Wake County Sheriff. Harrison has been relatively popular in recent years, making his deputy’s victory surprising.

In this most recent term, Wake County began partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The county can transfer detainees to federal custody if they are suspected to be in the United States illegally. Harrison described the policy as being essential to public safety, while Baker said he was concerned the program tears families apart. The American Civil Liberties Union, while not endorsing any candidate, mentioned Baker’s opposition to what it considered an inhumane policy.

The sheriff’s race was seen by some as a referendum on Harrison’s ICE policy in Wake County; however, Rep. George Holding, who endorsed the policy, won his race against Linda Coleman.

Police brutality also played a role in Harrison’s downfall. In April, a Wake County deputy loosed a dog on a Raleigh man. Kyron Dwain Hinton suffered serious injuries at the hands of a Wake County Deputy and two Highway Patrol Officers in the incident.  The Deputy is still on administrative leave and Hinton has sued the sheriff’s office over the incident.