Friday, November 21, 2014

On Sound(Cloud) Nine

11:07 PM

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“Oh glob, you’ve got some potential! Do you have a SoundCloud(??)”

To crack up a toughly-shelled confession: Some time in my life, I recorded my voice, my singing voice, in the hopes that I could do justice to my favorite band’s song. Yet how heartless fate could be, I thought: every time I played the audio file freshly squeezed inside my phone, I did nothing but incessantly cringe for every second I heard myself sounding like either a whale, a squealing seven-year-old girl, or both combined. You get the picture. It won’t get better no matter how many times you’ll listen to it, darling, I mumbled to myself, still red-faced as if I was not alone in my room.
Now I can say, without doubt, that this is the sole reason for my eventual interest in SoundCloud. Rummaging through an assortment of sounds in the sea of courageous voices, may it be a float of original compositions or of song covers, regular listeners would agree that every second spent on the website is always worth it.

Evidence? Well, after the navigation through the sea of the bravest of the braves, here are the artists I am elated to present to you:
She’s known as “Chels” or “Ronqs” by her fans — and her fans are ridiculously plenty. But I kid you not when I say that this Taylor Swift-influenced artist is set to make it big, and her plate-full of mouthwatering breaks counts as proof; she’s even collaborated with well-known celebrities. If you’re carrying the hopeless romantic in you and have the will to feed it today, play her and Julian Estrada’s cover of “Find You,” originally by Zedd, Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant. On plans for the future, she confesses: “I would love to play the drums and the violin! It would be really cool if I knew how to play the drums like a pro.”

Jose Gerald “Jarvis” Cubias 
Aside from his being influenced by John Mayer, Sleeping With Sirens, and Bamboo, a verity you should remember about JG is that during competitions and general assemblies (and on SoundCloud, of course), he creates a ripple effect of calm for his listeners with every strum of his guitar and every note he makes with his serenading voice *insert a dozen reasonable squeals here*. There is no doubt that he just owns every song he ever sings, and I would suggest you go play his cover of Stephen Bishop’s “It Might Be You”! When asked what more to expect from him soon: “More covers and hopefully, a couple of originals!”

Mikaela “Mix” Fenix 
“I base my songs on both experiences and stories I make up in my head”, says Mix, a girl beyond the to-gush-for mien. You might have already chanced upon her during a stream of gigs, debuts, family-related fetes, and sports events – you might have actually heard her on Magic 89.9 with her band one time. With her EP, entitled “Mind Games” launched just this year, she definitely looks to be geared up for some awesome bass guitar and alternative rock. Have her original “Fine Wine Sinking” to start that fangirling(/boying) bound to happen.

Lorenzo “Nikko” Cid
The Ed Sheeran season calls for nothing else: Nikko’s “All of The Stars” cover (or come on, it’s mainly his voice, really). Although he admits that he is still the shy type, he works to kick it up a notch by performing in family gatherings as a starter, whilst being open to other possibilities: “SoundCloud made me really know how valuable it is to actually know how to play an instrument, and that’s what I lack and I admit it. I hope I can find time in the future to learn how to play the piano."

Assuming that these particulars are not enough, I let them speak for themselves!

1. Hello, awesome earthling! We’re pretty eager to know about the beginnings of your SoundCloud-venture: what encouraged you to sign up for SoundCloud in the first place?

Chelsea: I was encouraged to sign up for SoundCloud because of this guy named Luigi Yotoko. He became famous because of his appearance in Showtime [a variety show in ABSCBN]. I am a huge fan of him and I find him really, really cute... (laughs) anyway when I was stalking him on Facebook and Twitter, I saw this link he posted and it said "listen to my cover on SoundCloud". I checked it out and thought I could sign up since I love to sing as well.

Jarvis: I wasn't a singer back then. Actually, I was in a band, J4E, with my high school friends only as the rhythm guitarist. I really never wanted to sing. I only wanted to focus on the guitar and work on my skills there. I do know that I can hit the right notes when I sing, though. Then a friend of mine, Zette, who is also a singer (way way better than me, still is), told me that I should try to sing. And so I guess that's where it started. During my 1st year in college, a video of me covering Collide by Howie Day went viral among some my blockmates. I made that video so she could assess my singing skills to gain somehow a bit of confidence, because I didn't think I had the skills. And according to her it was okay and that's why it went viral.

Mix: Well, I was a part of Repertory Philippine's summer workshop in 2012, and many of my classmates either already had SoundCloud accounts or were in the process of signing up. Many of them encouraged me to join in, so I did. I also saw this as a convenient opportunity for exposure and to share the songs I'd written so far.

Nikko: It was roughly two years ago when I decided to make a SoundCloud account, and it took a lot of thinking. I was never the type of person who freely showed the world my talents, and it’s not just because I was shy but because I felt that it wasn’t really worth sharing in the first place. My family and only some of my closest friends knew I could sing and that was as far as it went. Weird, I know. I was going through my archive of humbly recorded acapellas in my laptop (I have more than 50+ in a folder) and I stumbled upon my "Little Things" recording. It was my favorite one among all the other recordings. I found the thrill in getting people shocked that I could actually sing because that’s a side of me that I never showed, so I guess that’s what motivated me to upload my first cover. I shared it on Twitter and a handful of my close friends listened to it. It was a weird feeling at first to have people listen to you sing, but then I started to realize that it was completely fine and I actually liked the fact that people actually took the time to listen to me. So I guess I got the confidence boost after that. At this point, I could honestly say that uploading that "Little Things" cover was one of the best decisions I've made.

2. You've got a lot of followers rooting for you: How do you think you’ve changed because of that?

Chelsea: I really don’t think that there is a need for change. Although I would like to be more famous in the future, I think that the only change I've noticed since the start of my career is that I've become more confident of myself and now, I am happier to sing in front of a large crowd. I've seen my followers grow as time goes by but I never really felt like I should start calling people my "fans". I mean, I would love to become more famous in the future but I will always be the old "Chelsea" that people knew for a long time!

Jarvis: Gaining lots of followers only means that there are more ears listening to my covers. And having this fact, I just learned how to be really meticulous of everything I'm producing. From the arrangements, to my guitar playing, to my voice, up to the recording quality, everything has to be really well polished. Also, it has been a year, that I have been in a Facebook group with talented Filipino artists who are active SoundCloud users. I've already personally met some of the amazing artists from the group. They're all really talented. You can check out some of their cool tracks here:

Mix: When it comes to SoundCloud, it's especially flattering when people comment on your recordings! Seeing that others appreciate my music is not only a pat in the back but also pushes me to work even harder to share the art in my music.

Nikko: The number of followers I have now makes me realize how much people actually appreciate and like what they are hearing from me, and it gives me the assurance that I’m doing a good job on making people happy. It really gives a big boost in confidence. But most importantly, it gives me the motivation to do my best every single time I put out a new cover because now I have followers who expect that I put out something great, and I think the challenge of doing so is a good thing.

3. Oh, one final thing: which of your song covers do you think best represents you as a budding musician?

Chelsea: I think that the song that identifies me the most for now is "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. I was never really confident of my external features until I heard her song. I made a cover of that song and posted it on SoundCloud without knowing that it would be a great hit to people.

Jarvis: I'll go with “Isn't She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder as my favorite song cover among all, simply because I enjoyed doing the cover. Singing the song and playing the guitar with that song arrangement at the same time was really challenging. Same goes for me, it's challenging to hone my skills but I enjoy doing these things as a musician.

Mix: Personally, my favorite cover on my page is "Sweet Nothing" by Calvin Harris (featuring Florence Welch of Florence and the Machines). The lyrics and the melody of the song enabled me to express the feelings I've been keeping in my chest; feelings such as those from the pain and difficulties in life, that there's no use in giving up despite these hardships, and that the real world will never be simple. These represent the shock that we all face at some point/s in our lives. The best part about singing this cover was how I reached a point of singing notes I had never sung before; for some reason putting an ache in my chest as if I went through a bad breakup (laughs).

Nikko: Definitely my cover of "All Of The Stars". Everyone gets their own big break and I consider this cover the one that changed everything for me. Honestly speaking, this was a cover made out of boredom and I wasn't expecting so much from it, but I really liked the song even if it was vocally challenging. I even thought it didn’t sound good enough and I was this close to not uploading it, but I did anyways. For a few days it was just the normal frequency of listeners, the usual one gets from a mere 32 followers. Then one day my notifications flooded and I was baffled by it then I realized I was reposted by an already SoundCloud famous, Chelsea Ronquillo. To cut the story short, her followers listened to my cover because it was the latest post on her page for a really long time, so I guess I have no one else to thank for that but Chelsea. I can't thank her enough for sharing that cover out there in proportions I never expected it would reach. Musically, I really think that cover showed how much I can do vocally and I still think it’s one hard cover to top, it has become the basis of comparison to the other covers I put out.

Article by Jelou
Art by Isa
Photos courtesy of Chelsea, Nikko, Mix, and Jarvis
Mostly seen holding a pen on one hand and a camera on the other, Jelou (struggles) to stand firm on her personal ground rule, "to fathom the unfathomable". She is into oozing-with-cheese pizza and late-night free verse poetry reading. Also, she works to keep up with: being a college student, living as a cheerful extraterrestrial, and staying as the chinwag buddy of her dog. You can find her attempting every possible thing at

Isa is 18 years old, currently studying graphic design and illustration. She is known for her erratic sleeping schedule and over usage of exclamation points and smiley faces so she doesn't sound mean on the Internet.


  1. Check Chlara Magtultol! :) She's amazing too.