The Scene Kid: Music has the power to highlight and bridge communities

first_imgHannah Abrahim, a sophomore majoring in popular music performance, took the stage next. Whether she was playing covers or originals, Abrahim incorporated her own rich, soulful vocals into the music. Fusing together pop and R&B, her persona and music gave the Kehlani-types of the world a run for their money. She moved with grace and strength as she sang, making the stage her home and her comfort zone. With Love, a common study spot for Trojans, acted as both the venue hosting and the charity benefiting from our event. As a grocery store, cafe and nonprofit that hosts free classes about topics like healthy eating and yoga, we saw the cafe and market as the perfect fit for our show’s goals to unite and give back to the South L.A. community. Our diverse audience indicated our achievement of these goals. Taking this class has been an absolute dream. While I’ve been an active audience member and photographer in the Los Angeles music scene, I’ve only just started booking shows. Having this opportunity to do what I do for fun on a larger scale has been a tremendous learning experience that I can see myself using throughout my life, whether for my career or as a passion project to promote diversity and safe environments in the music world. Even as a class assignment, the process was fun rather than overly academic. I encourage USC students to bond with the South L.A. community surrounding our campus far more than we do already. Often, we only interact in passing, at stores or on the sidewalk. But I believe college feels like less of a bubble and more like an integrated part of a city when we choose to bridge the gap, transforming students into community members instead of keeping those titles separate. Vibras pa la Cultura did exactly this, and it was rewarding. People sipped horchata and snacked on de la Rosa marzipan candies as they bobbed their heads to the young local musicians on stage at With Love Market & Cafe last Thursday night. The event, Vibras pa la Cultura, did justice to its title, serving good vibes and spreading Latinx culture to a diverse audience: young and old, Spanish-speaking and not, student and local. I feel so lucky to have helped plan this event. As a music industry minor, I am currently taking a class on live music production and promotion. The final project requires students to produce a show from start to finish (which still seems so crazy to me — I can’t believe I go to school for this!). From booking a venue to finding artists to marketing the event, in hopes of selling enough tickets to break even and donate the profits to charity, my group, Hermanas Vibras, had major work cut out for us. First, junior psychology and popular music performance major Mariah Quintero warmed up the crowd with her powerhouse vocals. While I sat outside selling tickets and checking people in, multiple people walking by the venue slowed down their pace and peered in the window to listen to her belting. Clearly, Quinetero is captivating. Passersbys don’t even have to be in the same room as her to appreciate her voice! She has an elegant yet brassy sound, like a Latina pop princess. Fiona Pestana is a junior writing about Los Angeles’ local music scene. Her column,“The Scene Kid,” runs every other Thursday.center_img (Katie Zhao | Daily Trojan) Latin pop artist Alex Ricci closed the show, spreading peppy energy to the whole crowd. His music moved me to dance while working the food table. I couldn’t help it; I felt it in my corazón. The artist transformed first-time listeners into fans as he invited the audience to join in on the chorus of one of his tracks. His latest single, “El Muerto,” will definitely be added to my party playlist.  In the meantime, keep an eye out for more local shows, whether from this class or otherwise. Support diverse talent in your school or geographical community. Trust me, it feels incredible to brag about artists in close proximity to you. Latinx representation was our top priority. Of the five members in my group, three speak Spanish and two are Latinx. Besides this personal connection, my group also recognized USC’s position in South L.A., a region with a predominantly Hispanic and Latinx population. There exists a divide between USC students and the local community, which we wanted to close. When I watched my friends’ bands perform in high school, they were usually the only people of color; they shared the stage mostly with white boys. Since I’ve started booking my own shows in college, representation and diversity across a lineup have become top priorities for me. Having the chance to uplift the Latinx community in an artistic space was so rewarding. And, although the performers all shared that heritage, the bill was not homogeneous, as it included men and women with different musical styles and flare.  Next was the local reggaeton artist Lalo, who quite literally moved the crowd with his Latin beats. He performed songs from “Mienteme,” meaning “lie to me,” a project he released in February. His track “SoLa” captivated me and my friends in the crowd. At the end of Lalo’s set, Alex Ricci, one of the other show headliners, joined him on stage, performing with Lalo and giving the audience a taste of how Ricci would entertain the crowd later in the night. last_img

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