Student turns life into melody
When I broke the seal on "Sealed for Your Protection," I thought I might be in for a rare treat. What I found inside was an artist with some tricks up his sleeve.
Ramiro Orellana's first album started as a four-song ep, but he said it "grew into these great songs." "I'm very passionate about songwriting," said the 21-year-old, in his second year at SCC. Orellana describes his album as a "movie running through my head, and 'Sealed' is just the first act." The songs on "Sealed" certainly don't lead me to think of your average box office hit, or an act from a play, for that matter.
The album is a strange medley of techno-pop infused with clear, semimelodic vocals. With hefty use of vocal effects, the album comes across as part Duran Duran and part Killers, but definitely not what you would expect to hear from a young music student. More like a throwback to the early '80s than the young, clean-cut Orellana. But this is not your average young musician. Orellana said he grew up with music and that his influences come from many genres.
"It goes back to my dad playing classical music when I was a kid," he said. "I would turn things into songs to memorize stuff for school." Born in Peru, where he lived until he was 12, Orellana said he was exposed to everything from late '70s and early '80s pop to heavy metal.
"I have a very broad sense of what music is," he said. This "broad sense" comes through in "Sealed," as it is hard to put into a single, or even multiple, genres of music. "I don't want to put a label on it, to limit it to something," Orellana said. He said songs like, "Gentleman in the Jacket" are inspired by life experiences.
"A guy in a grocery store pointed behind me, and says, 'It's behind the gentleman in the jacket,'" Orellana said. "I took out my phone and just stood there while I wrote the whole thing down."
Songwriting should come almost naturally to someone who has been singing on some level since he was six years old, and grew up with artists. "I'm very passionate about songwriting," Orellana said. "I'd like to think that the ability to write songs is a gift, it helps people get their emotions out."
While I would hesitate to say that "Sealed" is a musical masterpiece, it's the sign of a good work in progress; the mark of someone who is serious about doing music. Videos of his live shows will attest to that.
Orellana said he is currently working on the next "act," with three songs written that will be part of the next story. He said it will, however, have a happy ending. But the songwriting is what matters most, Orellana said.
"I managed to sing a sad song that made someone cry, and they said they felt better after it," he said. "If I can do that for one person, I'm happy, I'm satisfied. I succeeded."
Daniel DeMay - Editor in Chief