When creative minds are put together and given the chance to hear, feel, touch or see something that they have worked hard to create – it is a very enriching moment. That is what a quintet of local Wisconsin teenagers is about to experience.
Jenna Hufford, 15, Shalyn Leifer, 15, Devon Lem, 15, Sam Lem, 14 and Cassie Zosul, 14; known collectively as “Prom Queen Rejects,” will head to the recording studio this month to start the band’s first EP — an album with three songs on it, according to the group’s booking manager and music instructor Bob Hufford.
“The girls have one original song “Boyfriend” that they regularly perform and are currently writing two more songs before they go into the studio next week,” said Hufford. He has high hopes that their soon to come recordings will get notoriety at the annual Launchpad Wisconsin competition, where the winners get a spot at Summerfest and a opportunity to record a full album.
Prom Queen Rejects are students of Hufford, who owns Mojo Music in Lake Delton, and have an average age of 15. All started as beginners under Hufford’s instruction and later performed in his annual spring and fall concerts.
“We really appreciate Bob cause he has to put up with us and all of our awkward moments,” said bass player Devon Lem.
In 2009, Hufford provided the five students with a weekly practice space and assigned them to start playing songs together. A common interest in music created sparks between the members and friendships soon emerged.
“We’re all really close friends and because we don’t go to school together there is no drama - no reason to get mad at each other,” said keyboard player Cassie Zosul.
Around the same time, when the majority of the band mates were 12-years-old, they wrote their first song “Boyfriend,” which has a pop tempo, yet subtle vocals with lyrics portraying the joys of dating while in the shoes of a preteen girl. Since the song was written when the girls were still in middle school, they recently have decided to change a few of the lyrics to make it more significant to their high school lives today.
The collaboration of five music driven minds has given the group a plethora of musicians who have inspired them. Musicians like Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift, and a long list of 60s and 70s rock groups can be found on the group’s play lists.
On the other hand, Taylor Swift has lost her momentum with some Prom Queen Reject members. “Swift was great when she first started, but she has gone too much towards pop and lost her full potential to portray herself as a great musician,” said lead singer Jenna Hufford. Nonetheless, the entire group still has a great desire to meet the pop-country icon.
With a melting pot music taste, Prom Queen Rejects have little trouble finding songs to cover at their live gigs. The first song they ever performed together — “Just A Dream” by Carrie Underwood — paved a path for the band to include country songs in their performances, but the track no longer makes their set list due to a conflict in tempo. “We were getting older and our set list was getting more upbeat. We just outgrew the song,” said lead guitarist Sam Lem.
In addition to country, the group covers songs in the pop, soul and rock genres. They play enough songs to fill a three-hour set with a limited number of breaks — songs by artists like Train, Adele, O.A.R. and Pink. Similar to these artists, Prom Queen Rejects also like to “modernize old rock songs” and have done so with The Beatles “Day Tripper.”
Four years after their introduction, the Prom Queen Rejects have evolved into a seasoned music group and although they are much younger than most musicians, they have debunked any assumption of inexperience. They can play just as long as any headlining band in the business, write their own songs, socialize with an audience and, most of all, they can astonish.
Prom Queen Rejects can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/promqueenrejects and can be booked through Bob Hufford at Mojo Music (608)254-7649. Their next performance is today, Saturday, at Monk’s at the Wilderness in Lake Delton.