VHS Hall of Fame

In past and present years, Vanden High School has birthed musicians in rock bands all the way to single-act rappers.  The musicians of the new age are working to transform the industry’s perception of independent artistry allowing them to soar without the assistance of record labels and pave their own ways.  Whether inspired by familial influence or an outlet for hard-to-deal-with emotions, all artists have a unique story to tell and even more unique, creative content to release into the world.


Roman Gamboa ‘24

The youngest member of the Vanden Hall of Fame is Roman Gamboa, a guitarist and bassist in the punk rock group History of Punk and the rock group Omakase.  These two bands are affiliated with School of Rock, a music education program in Vacaville that Gamboa joined after seeing an ad on FaceBook.  In reference to the school, Gamboa says, “Yeah, my friend sent me a post about them and it just seemed really cool.” One of Gamboa’s largest inspirations is Metallica because of “how fast” and “how heavy they can play.”  He describes that heaviness as powerful in the way it gets the listen to “bop your head” and truly feel the music.

Gamboa is all about experimentation.  In the span of 4 months, he has learned to improvise solos and play live music with his groups.  He says, “My only goal is to just learn a bit more music theory on guitar and just to perform live more.”  The best part of the creative process for Gamboa is the performing aspect.  He has been performing for audiences for years so the nerves barely get to him.

                                                            Roman Gamboa performs "All Day and All of the Night" by The Kinks on bass

Dania Cuevas ‘22

Dania Cuevas is an aspiring indie artist and musical theater performer.  Musicality runs through her blood as her father, uncle, and two older sisters sing and play guitar.  When she was 12, Cuevas started voice impersonating professional singers; she started really singing and exploring her talents a year later.  Participating in school talent shows made her think, “This is something I want to start doing” but it was not until a voice trainer in theater class complimented her skill that she seriously considered both industries.  In the music industry, Cuevas longs to be an independent indie artist and producer while in the musical theater realm, she wants to be a well-known singer and actress. 

Dania Cueva’s cover of “Another One” by Mac Demarco

She has a featurette with one of her creative friends in the works but today, she mainly focuses on covers (credited performances of other people’s original work).  Her favorite part of the creative process is “beginning to record.”  She does not have any completed projects but being able to work with the musical effects and “see what [she] could do with them” is one of her favorite parts of the creative process.  She gravitates toward the “grungy and 80’s                                   feel” in her indie music. 

Cuevas credits her love for indie music to how dependent the genre is on the lyrics.  She says, “In indie music, the sound is more subtle and mostly the lyrics are involved in it.”  Lyricism is incredibly important to Cuevas, in fact, it is one of the factors she most heavily considers when deciding to cover a song.  She says, “The first thing that catches my mind in a song is the message behind it.  I listen to the lyrics and if I relate somehow to the song, I will put it in a playlist.”  Cuevas is always working on creative content and is set to release a cover by March 2021.


Tyler Bolin ‘22

Tyler Bolin loves to make the music he would listen to.  The Vanden High School junior joins the Hall of Fame as a cover artist and soon-to-be R&B singer and songwriter.  Dating back to the fall season of 2020, Bolin mentioned that he was working on an e.p. (extended play or mini-album) compiled of both original work and covers.  Tyler Bolin’s specialty is his attention to detail and conscious planning.  He aimed to release the E.P. by December 2020 but he says, “I keep learning new stuff about it and I keep wanting to change stuff about it.”  Bolin says he wants to refrain from releasing something he would later “regret.”  His new goal is to release the collection by March 2021.

Tyler Bolin’s cover of “Rushes” by Frank Ocean

Bolin strives to make his music “very approachable.”  He wants to make music for any and every listener steering clear from polarizing lyrics and sounds.  In addition to singing and songwriting, Bolin hopes to mix and engineer his own sounds.  He lists Frank Ocean to be one of his favorite artists and greatest creative influences based on the way he “structures the music.”  Bolin values independent artistry for both artistic autonomy and for protection from the common case of record label manipulation.  He says, “I’ve heard too many bad stories… I just want to keep my music to myself in that kind of way.”

Bolin’s main goals are to put out new projects and gradually work toward producing original work full time.  It is hard for him to imagine himself being a widely-known, successful artist but he says, “that would be cool.”



Our Day Dream consists of: lead guitarist, Giorgio De Battista, rhythm guitarist, Nathan Gernert, singer and bassist, Ruth Amar, and drummer, Tyler Mendoza.  The group of 4 connected during quarantine.  

Giorgio De Battista

In the beginning, De Battista and Gernert, two longtime friends, found that they had musicality in common.  Gernert played piano but eventually moved toward guitar.  Once the two of them decided to start a band, they contacted Amar knowing she sang and was in their grade.  

Tyler Mendoza

Mendoza’s start with O.D.D. is a bit different.  He is the 3rd member of the group to try out as a drummer.  As De Battista described, the others “weren’t as active” and “Tyler actually talks to us and spends time with us.”  The group dynamic holds a special balance.

While De Battista is the lead guitarist, there is an appreciation for everyone’s voice in the group.  They decide on what songs to cover together.  Amar says that because everybody’s musical influences are so different, they have to pick songs that coincide more with elements of the music than the songs themselves.  She lists “funky bass lines” and music that will sound good with each person’s voice as things to look out for, stemming from her

Ruth Amar

appreciation for the 70’s sound.  She explains that they try to pick songs that also relate to everyone’s interests. Mendoza likes Metal and Rock whereas Gernert likes Lofi music and De Battista likes a combination of them all.

Nathan Gernert

When the school closures were first announced as Spring Break, one of Vanden’s JROTC (Junior Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) instructors invited O.D.D. to perform at the annual Military Ball.  They were working on a setlist but due to quarantine orders, they have not been able to practice all in one space.  Gernert says, “It’s kind of hard to play over (Google) Meets or FaceTime calls because it’s laggy and you can’t really get the timing right.”  The group hopes to make original music after they have more practice with each other.  They all agree that individually practicing their parts in various covers is the easiest option during quarantine.


Keaton Stout ‘21

Trumpeter and indie/pop artist Keaton Stout is the first of the Hall of Famers to release a full studio album.  On August 14, 2020, Stout released his 8-track album titled Storybook Lovers on all music streaming platforms.  

Stemming from his classical and jazz background, Stout already had a handle on the arts.  He has played trumpet and piano in many different music groups as he grew into a young teen but it was not until mid-sophomore year that he found his passion for singing and songwriting.  He says, “As I got older, I started focussing on sports but eventually I realized that music was my real calling.”  

Some Vanden students may remember Stout’s group performance at Vanden’s Got Talent in April 2019, the middle of his sophomore year.  He debuted an unreleased song which he credits as his first “serious” song that was “a major turning point” for him.  He laughs about it now, but Stout says that before he performed the song, he “started out writing love songs for girls.”  The feeling of writing about his true feelings and expressing them for an audience made him realize that he wanted to write about an array of things and not “just love songs for girls.”  Stout acknowledges that song as “the inspiration and foundation to what [he] writes today” holding his music to a “standard.”

Storybook Lovers upholds that standard.  The album tells the story of two people in a romantic relationship.  Each song has a different mood and style to take the listener through each emotional stage of a partnership.  Stout pulled from every source to get the feel of a true romance.  His work is based on his own experiences, accounts from his friends, and even outside stories he has heard.

Once Vanden closed down in March 2020 due to COVID-19 school closures, the members of his old band, his friends, found it difficult to organize rehearsals and spend time together.  This newfound alone time prompted Stout to carry out his dream of “releasing music that [he] produced, recorded, performed, and [wrote] on his own.”  As his creativity naturally flowed, Stout finished, promoted, and released the album in August 2020.  He says, “It was a wonderful journey and I was excited to express my musical feelings and share it with others.”

Stout wants to be a song performer for “the rest of his life.”  In the fall of 2021, he is seeking higher education to earn a degree in Music Industry, where he will learn “the many facets of the music industry” and all things music business such as “marketing, management, budgeting, legal issues, and digital media” according to Keystone Bachelor Studies.  He is always working on new music and is set to announce his partnership with another band in recent coming months.  Stout knows that he “will be happy anywhere in music whether that be playing trumpet in a symphony, working for a label company, or advocating for [himself] as an artist.”  In his most natural state, he is an artist but Stout recognizes that his degree in Music Industry will smooth out the clerical work of independent artistry.


Vanden Veteran Hall of Fame

Dillagent ‘19

Dakari Dillagent Bowen is a Vanden 2019 graduate.  Even while he attended high school, he was a known rapper around campus for his SoundCloud productions.  Now a SoCal resident and full-time college student, his career is gaining traction.

Dillagent’s unreleased track “Zone”

Dillagent’s musical interest derives from his dad.  He says his dad was “heavy into music” and that he always represented that enjoyment around the house.  He says, “[My dad] always had a bookshelf full of C.D.’s and I would always take them and listen to them.”  That influence drove him to join his school band where his passion for musical artistry flourished.

One of Dillagent’s first large-scale projects is his involvement in PRJctDrmRm or Project Dorm Room.  Started while he was in college by Dillagent and his friend MICKYAS, the group has a growing 25 members.  He explains that, “right now, it’s more of an organization than a [music] group… “ but that it is “…a group of creators that go against the grain of everything” that the music industry has laid out for artists.  

All members of the organization are independent artists that support each other throughout their solo careers and occasionally collaborate in one space.  He says that everything is “in-house” and made by them.  He explains, “We are all about artist independence and about artists creating for themselves and not for a check or a label or anything like that.”

Creatively, the group works as a collaboration.  Dillagent explains that because they are all so close, living under the same roof and being friends, they listen and watch music videos together to start the creative flow.  “We listen to whoever we feelin’ that day and we get inspired.”  The group will then go to their in-home studio to create a beat inspired by the videos they absorbed and then have a big freestyle cypher.  According to the Wikipedia page for Freestyle Rap, “A cypher or cipher is an informal gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakdancers in a circle, in order to jam musically together.”  

Kendrick Lamar, Drake and J-Cole are on Dollagent’s playlist to flow his creative juices.  His favorite part of the process is “hearing it all come together at the end.”  After mixing and mastering the beats, verses, instrumentation and everything else on their own, the final product is “pretty beautiful.”

As he releases music in the future, Dillagent’s overarching goal is to “change the whole music industry.”  He believes that being an artist should be equally as valuable as any other professional career and that independent artistry should have the same benefits as being signed to a label.  His theory right now is to create a system that allows artists to see the industry with transparency and avoid getting “messed over” by labels as artists past and present often have. 

He expresses, “I just want to get rid of all the little unfairness.”  Dillagent wants artists to be able to create music because they have a passion for it.  “If you love it, do it; that’s all I can say.”


DC Sings ’19

Devon, or DC Sings, Tumulak is another 2019 Vanden graduate who took after both his parents’ artistry and pulls passion from a high school band background.  Sings records covers as well as writes and records original music.  

In the beginning of his artistic career, Sings had a different purpose.  “When I first started writing music, I was always trying to write for someone else or do it as a token of appreciation for a person” which is present through “Arlene (Pretty Little Heart),” a song Devon wrote for one of his friends.  It is the first project Devon released under the pseudonym DC Sings.  He says, “When I originally became DC Sings, I was trying to get back in the flow of songwriting and figuring out who I was as a young adult.”  He now appreciates music as a sort of “therapy” that he can use to “flesh out some of [his] hard-to-think-through emotions.”

Some of his favorite artists are Bruno Major and Mac Aires for their musicality and Billie Eillish for her vulnerability.  “A lot of Billie’s music is very personal… it’s talking about a lot of things  that are gut-wrenching to hear and it’s gut-wrenching to even tell.”  DC Sings can be seen taking  after Eillish’s transparency in a cover of Eillish’s “Everything I Wanted.”  He says, “You kind of have to entrench yourself in some of the pain that you’ve experienced and really feel it out.  It brings up a lot, the true marks of an artist is someone well versed in their own experiences.”

In producing covers versus original music, DC Sings says that covers are a good way to establish what you like.  He says that it is “a really good breeding ground for individualism” while still providing more guiding structure.  Sings says that while covers are great for practice and expression, there is “a sense of pride to know that people really like your music.  It’s like someone saying, ‘I like what flourishes out of your mind.’”

In terms of goals, Sings is “a firm believer that art comes with life.”  As he moves to create, he wants “to give [himself] the artistic patience.”  He has an album in the works and is always releasing covers on social media.  Lastly, DC Sings says, “It’s always good to do music for yourself.”