Soundcloud Really Doesn’t Need Me

Nicole Shaker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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“How To Sing Better in 5 Minutes,” the clickbait YouTube videos will proclaim to desperate, gullible people such as myself. As I write this, the angelic voice of Frank Ocean is booming from my laptop, and I can’t help but wish those videos actually taught me something substantial.

The truth is, I don’t really believe in the “Anyone can sing!” mantra that vocal teachers preach (although that doesn’t stop me from trying). I was born with a scratchy throat and a relatively unpleasant talking voice, not to mention my asthma which prevents me from holding a note longer than five seconds. So, despite my not believing it, forcing myself to accept that “anyone can sing” is my only option. Despite how terrible I sound to my own ears, I still have hope that, maybe with a little autotune and some distracting backing instruments, I could eventually sound okay.

It’s always been a dream of mine to make music—not to get famous off of it, per se, but to just be able to create nice-sounding melodies that could perhaps complement my mediocre poetry. I’ve listened to loads of music in my life, and so I have a deep respect and fondness for the art form. I really started working towards this goal last year, and I have a new incentive to try harder with the influx of bedroom-pop artists who are currently going mainstream with their simplistic, raw tunes; I could do that! Anyone could do that! It may be harder for me to do than it was for Clairo (how is her voice so pretty?), but I can try.

It sounds easy, for sure, and I know lots of people my age (even people at this school) do it, but for me, it’s like asking a five year old to emulate Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with strictly Crayola equipment.

Sure, in theory, I can, but as of now, would I really do a great job? Or even a relatively decent job? Absolutely not. When I first considered making music, I bought my own guitar and now I’ve been playing for almost a year. I still sound like I’ve been playing for two days. I also started researching musical software; I even watched a few “for dummies” production tutorials, made my bedroom artists themselves. I was embarrassed by how difficult it was for me to follow the steps.

“Bad Religion” just switched to “Pink Matter” and the hopelessness of my case has struck me again. I don’t have Clairo’s voice, Rex Orange County’s relatability, Wallows’ charm, or Conan Gray’s aesthetic. I suppose I could give Soundcloud another young, inexperienced, and lazy artist to mix into the algorithm already overflowing with garbage, but is it worth it? As it is, I only have my non-musically talented self and some half-decent rhymes to work with. 

Throughout the course of writing this essay and examining the pros and cons, I have decided that the cons heavily outweigh the pros. I have also decided that I will ignore that evaluation, and I will continue to half-heartedly try my hand at making music in the hopes that one day, I’ll make something that I’m proud of.

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