2018 alumna Carmen Lily Flores found her passion for creating music at UMW
By ALISON TOVEY
The successful singer added a music major in her senior year on top of the international relations degree she had been pursuing.
“It was the best decision I made in my college career because I was not only able to learn how to use technology to create music, I got to meet so many cool people, I got to travel to Florida and West Virginia and Tennessee to do performances. The more I was living that out, the more I was like ‘this is what I want to do’,” said Flores, “So the moment I decided to add my music major was the moment I was like ‘this is for me’ and I’m still doing it almost a year out of college. It was the moment that I knew this is what I want to do, and seriously what I wanted to do, not just a hobby, like this is a career choice for me.”
Adding the second major pushed Flores’s graduation date a full academic year back, but Flores knew that despite her ambition towards international relations, her future was in music.
“I busted my tail in college and up to this point I was like ‘okay I’m doing this for my parents, I’m doing this for my parents’. It was at that moment I felt like I really started taking- it took me a while- but I took that back and empowered myself,” Flores said. “I think I really made a statement by being like ‘this is what I want to do’.”
Her interest in writing music began in a 101 piano class where she recalls creates her own melodies and basic chord progressions. When she started connecting her music classes and her English classes, Flores said, “I felt like I found the sweet spot for me, wanting to be a songwriter and also incorporating my love for poetry and reading and writing with music which is another passion of mine.”
Now, almost a year out of college, Flores is hard at work creating new music and further developing her signature sound.
“I consider myself an underground artist in the sense that I’m trying to really find my style, but, because I am bilingual and I really connect with being Hispanic but also being American, my music really has a stem in pop and trap and hip-hop while also having a Latin and reggae style. I really try to write from the heart, that’s honestly my thing. I am someone who likes to write stuff that doesn’t sound like what’s happening now. I like to find the new wave.” Flores said.
She cites her first single- set to release March 28- as a marker of her growth as an artist.
“I wrote it a year and a half ago and my mindset is completely different now from where I was when I wrote this track. This is a very vibey song, more darker tones, more in the depression state, but just because I wrote that doesn’t necessarily mean I feel that way now. While I still like my dark hip-hop and pop and trap, I’m turning more to reggae and Latin which is very uplifting dance type music,” said Flores.
“I think my relationship with music just really progresses with time. As I’m growing as a person, my own music is evolving and as I’m listening to other artists and upcoming artists and my music taste is changing, I am also evolving. I think that my music is maturing a lot more. It’s also taking its own identity and it’s own form whereas in the beginning, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I was creating and being like ‘yeah, this is me’ but there wasn’t really a style or sense of identity in itself and I think I’m starting to find that now.”
Flores will be traveling to California to film the music video for her upcoming debut single in the next few weeks.
Leading up to the release of her new music, Flores has been working closely with her producer, recording in his home studio, as they mix and master the songs that Flores writes, arranges, and performs.
“So in the studio, I sit down with my producer and I let him know what I’m feeling. That’s another key, you need to find a producer that wants to work with you and is willing to see your vision and meet you halfway or really try to recreate what you are feeling into this physical thing. I think a lot of people don’t appreciate music as it should be,” Flores says, “Because, example- when you do art or a painting, you can see the process from an empty canvas to this whole picture. It’s the same thing with music where you need to come in with little sound samples and vocals and the lyrics and have how you want it to flow. People just hear the end product, they don’t know that all that stuff had to be constructed and arranged, just this Lego piece being created.”
As for the future, Flores has a busy year ahead of her full of performances, multiple single releases, and collaborations.
“I’m just networking right now which is so exciting because I have different platforms to be presenting myself as an artist and to be dipping my feet into different types of music. We got a whole Spanish track coming out for the people of Central America, I have my own pop, dark hip-hop type track to really connect to my own social circle and my peers, and then I have my more mature Latin-style music that I like,” says Flores.
She adds, “Do you and do what makes you happy, what you want to do with your life. Don’t let anyone else influence you, don’t let other people’s opinions make you choose a life that later down the road you’re going to regret because, honestly, my life goal is to have no regrets.”
You can find Carmen on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/lilydreamsbig and on YouTube under Carmen Liliana Flores.