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Lance Cpl. Johnson has been in the Marine Corps for almost two years and plans on pursuing a career in music when she gets out. She draws her musical inspiration from artists such as Tupac, Missy Elliot and Mark Morrison. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Medina Ayala-Lo/ Released)

Photo by Pfc. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I've Learned: Ruthiea Rebecca Rashawn Johnson

8 Oct 2014 | Pfc. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

>I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger. My mom has all the poems that I’ve ever written; she always encouraged me to go with it. My little sister would always ask me to write her a song. My older siblings are grown so they didn’t live with us but they were always supportive of everything that I did.

>It was just a school project at first.

>In my junior year of high school, I was in this media class and my teacher had equipment to record on. I was doing a project for this contest, so I used my imagination and came up with this song. I created the beat and I won first place. From that point, I started writing random songs.

>My first song was about equality. To me, it had a message because back then I never used profanity in my music. I wanted people to get the message without me having to get angry or express myself in that type of way.

>A lot of my music was about my life, situations I’d been in or situations I’d seen my friends go through.

>I make all my beats. At first, they were horrible. Then my teacher showed me some things and I thought, ‘I don’t like his idea that much.’ Yeah it’s cool, but I want it to be my own.

>I still write. I pick and choose beats from YouTube because I don’t have a laptop to create my own but I still write songs to them.

>My mood impacts my words; people around me could impact my words. Life impacts my words. I could read a story and want to write about it. It’s kind of crazy how my mind works, it’s the little things. It’s the character of the person I respect, that’s where my writing comes from.

>I listen to all types of music. I listen to rap, country, rock, gospel, I listen to everything. My favorite type of music would have to be old-school rap.

>They actually are speaking about life and it’s real. It’s not about money or sex or cars. They’re saying you made me feel this type of way, this is how I feel and I’m going to express this through a song. Or I went through this as a kid but it doesn’t matter because I’m here now and I’m making music for people who haven’t made it yet. Stuff like that inspires me, it motivates me.

>A lot of my music is old and soulful. I like to chill, I think a lot. I use my brain a lot because I write a lot.

>I’m in college. I’m learning about music history and how to mix things. Kind of like a producer type stuff.

>I love basketball. I played basketball from the time I was in elementary school all the way up until middle school and high school. I was a starter all four years of my high school basketball team.

>I’m a point guard ... can’t touch me from the three point line.

>With me being in school and being in the Marine Corps, it motivates me a little bit more to study harder or to actually go on and do my classes.

>Music and writing, all the togetherness of it, is my safe zone. It is my golden era.

>In the Marine Corps, if you want something you have to work for it. Nothing is given, everything is earned. What the Marine Corps has taught me so far is if I want to pursue something, I have to go get it myself.

>If I look back 20 years from now on my life and I get my music degree, I know that was my golden era because, I did that.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms