16 Year-Old Becomes Youngest Paid Contributor to Top Music and News Sites

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Eli Zeger, a 16 year-old junior at Montclair High School in Montclair, NJ and a music student at School of Rock Montclair, is the youngest paid freelance music contributor to Vice Media, the New York Observer, and Red Bull Music Academy.

Eli Zeger, a 16 year-old junior at Montclair High School in Montclair, NJ, is the youngest paid freelance music contributor to Vice Media, the New York Observer, and Red Bull Music Academy.

Zeger is the youngest paid freelance music contributor to Vice Media, the New York Observer, and Red Bull Music Academy. He'll turn 17 in late July, and will enter his senior year at Montclair High School in September.

Eli Zeger, a 16 year-old junior at Montclair High School in Montclair, NJ, is the youngest paid freelance music contributor to Vice Media, the New York Observer, and Red Bull Music Academy.

Zeger began his musical pursuits in 2010 as a bass guitar student at School of Rock Montclair, an after school music education program. After performing in dozens of School of Rock-affiliated concerts across the New York/New Jersey area (including shows at the Gramercy Theater and Highline Ballroom, both in Manhattan), Zeger became interested in music journalism during his freshman year (2012-13). He was inspired by the film “Almost Famous” (2000), which provided a fictional portrayal of director Cameron Crowe’s experiences as a teen writer for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 70s.

At age 14, Zeger got connected with Crowe’s production company Vinyl Films, and Crowe gave him recommendations of authors and journalists to study as well as encouragement for his interest in writing. Zeger soon began contributing to a variety of underground and indie music sites, including Scene Point Blank, The Wild Honey Pie, and CVLT Nation. His essay “5 Reasons Why Urban Outfitters Is Disgusting” was featured in Huffington Post in late ’13. Jersey Beat, a site that chronicles the New Jersey music and arts scene, gave him his own column called “Eli’s Dope Tunefeed”.

In 2014, Zeger began to get paid for his talents. Vice Media’s music channel Noisey created “Teen Time”, a dedicated column that features Zeger’s articles about teen-related music topics. Subsequently, he became a contributor to the New York Observer, where he’s written about Ornette Coleman, Liturgy, and Prurient. Zeger’s work has also been featured in Red Bull Music Academy Daily and Brooklyn Vegan’s metal blog Invisible Oranges.

Zeger will turn 17 in late July. He will enter his senior year at Montclair High School in September.

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