Influential people come in all shapes and sizes. You might be influenced by someone close to you, or someone you have never met; it could be a speech they give, and action you witness or the way they conduct their life.

These are excerpts from song journals written by high school students discussing who influenced them musically.

"After my back surgery I took piano lessons…and my teacher noticed that I could sing. She sorta pushed me to start singing at church more, and my love for music slowly developed."

"Many people influence my writing style such as Corinne Bailey Rae and Laura Izabore because of the realness and feelings in the music, that makes it so much better. I want to influence others as they influence me."

"All types of artists who are humble, well presented, and mannered are influential to me in music. They are influential to me because the stories and tragedies they had and currently go through make them strive to do better and become better people. I look up to people who push when it's hard in life and not give up."

"Surprisingly Eminem is very influential to me in music. He has the powerful way of producing the best work while he's in his storms. They say he is not a happy person, I say "he's a hurting person". He inspires me to take everything I go through and convey it through music in a way that many people can relate to. Whenever he performs he allows the audience to really experience what he's been through and it's an amazing feeling. I admire Eminem, I really do because he's also not afraid."

"Pharrell Williams is the most influential person in music to me. I respect him not only as a person but his muscianship as well. You may know him from the multi talented diverse group known as N.E.R.D. Like Pharrell, I also play piano, rap and sing which is my main focus. All my life I've grown up listening to Pharell, watching his videos, and figuring out ways I can be like him inside and outside the studio. The type of music Pharell creates is the type I enjoy vibing to. He has combined hip-hop, techno, rhythm and blues, funk and created his own type of musical feel."