Teen with musical aspirations is eager to inspire
Chloe Pleznac is a musician, performer, writer and youth advocate
Chloe Pleznac started writing songs when she was just two years old.
"I am told that I wrote a song about my parent's friend's "Big Lips" and when I discovered rhyming, three-year-old me wrote "Bad Dad" more to the wonder of rhyme than any lack of parenting," she said.
When she was five years old, her love for music and guitar was apparent and her father began to teach her chords.
"He taught me the basics and then I went off on my own and taught myself how to play my favorite songs or songs I heard on the radio that caught my attention," she said. "Eventually, this turned into me making up my own chords, melodies and songs."
She finds songwriting to be very therapeutic.
"All my songs are like a journal of my feelings, the emotions I'm channelin?in the moment that I write them," she said?"I can leave a song alone for years, not relate to it, and then experience ?similar situation an?come right back to it?It'?soothing to realize tha?I'v?gone through these things before and survived."
When she was 14 years old, Pleznac formed a girl band with a group of friends, called Officeboy. The group of three performed at the Homer's Jubilee youth talent show and at venues around the community.
The group did not last very long, but Pleznac considers this time to have been a major stepping-stone in her personal growth as both a performer and a songwriter.
"We were teenage girls more than anything else, with a few creative differences about what we wanted the music to sound like, and where we wanted to take the future of the band," she said.
Today, Pleznac continues to play guitar, and write songs and poetry. She takes choir at Homer High School and is in the swing choir.
"Kyle Schneider, the choir director, has inspired me to be a better musician and to be more confident in my voice," she said. "I think I'm maturing in both of those areas as time goes on."
Over the last two summers, Pleznac has recorded some of her music, thanks to a friend with recording equipment, and shared them on SoundCloud. She hopes to record a compilation of what she considers to be her best music and release it after she graduates.
Looking towards her future, Pleznac would like to work in the music business professionally, either working for or owning a record label.
"I'd love to discover new talent and match them with producers, as well as eventually sell my own music," she said.
Her favorite record labels are Sub Pop and Righteous Babe and one of her favorite musicians is Ani DiFranco.
"I saw her in concert last spring and she is just an amazing live performer," she said. "She has this incredibly strong female presence that I aspire to have someday."
In addition to her passion for music, Pleznac is passionate about youth advocacy. Since April, she has been working as a peer educator at Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic's Youth Enrichment and Coop (R.E.C.) Room, advocating for Homer youth. She was inspired to do this work after taking a Promoting Health Among Teens (PHAT) class as a freshman.
"I loved that it was my peers, people that I respected, teaching the class," she said. "I've always been the kind of person who wants to get up and lead the room, so I was really drawn to this."
Pleznac has been teaching about sexual health and wellness in the Homer Middle School since November. This coming semester, she and a team of others hope to be teaching in eight schools on the Southern Kenai Peninsula, reaching an estimated 750 students.
"I think that the most important part of my role as a peer educator is the ability to provide my fellow students with information to help them make healthy and informed choices in all areas of their lives," she said. "When I took the PHAT class, I didn't know anything about sexual health or the wide variety of choices I would be facing in the coming years, so being able to spread that knowledge and help others realize their responsibilities as youth is super empowering."
Homeschooled her entire life, Pleznac has been taking classes at Homer High School since she was a freshman. After graduation, she is considering attending a private liberal arts school in Oregon, returning to Homer after she completes her degree.
"I've been inspired by so many strong women in this town," she said. "I'd love to help this community grow and inspire other youth the way I have been."
Pleznac is excited about the New Year.
"I accomplished all my goals and more in 2016," she said. "I'm excited to improve my abilities as a musician, performer and writer this year, and for any and all opportunities that come my way."