Long Beach State Up and Coming Artists Make Waves
BY: GUSTAVO ORTEGA
Cal State Long Beach has been known for shaping remarkable talent throughout the years, and perhaps now we could be looking at the next set of icons in the world of music. Miguel Orduño, Andie Paredes and Adam Yocum are working toward making an impact in their respective genres. Ordñowants to work his way up into being a music producer; Paredes would like to be a singer and songwriter; and, as for Yocum, he aspires to be a writer, singer and producer. We have three talented young artists, three different types of genres, three distincitve stories, but they all share a common thing - music.
Before starting school at Long Beach, Andie Paredes and her mom used to drive from Oakley, which is an hour away from San Francisco, to Los Angeles once a month for two straight years. They would call this trip “LA in a day,” where they would drive about six hours to come do singing lessons with her music producer, Mark Vopel, for a couple hours. After the lessons were done, they would drive back another six more hours to go back home.
Paredes made this sacrifice because of the love she has for music. She considers singing and songwriting being a big part of her life. Paredes’ vocals are out of the ordinary, and her mom knew she had a gift when they heard her sing back in first-grade choir.
“I find notebooks from when I was a little girl, and I would just write little songs,” Paredes said. “It’s something that I’ve grown up with and love doing.”
Now two years since living here in Long Beach, the sophomore Paredes, who is also a communication studies major, has been working on her extended play (EP). Her style falls into the pop category, but it’s not the typical pop music because of the influence R&B has in it. She currently finished the second track, and she plans to have it ready by May. So far, she has one ballad, two medium-tempo songs, and one high tempo song to put together a package and present it to different labels.
“I’m trying to make [the EP] real like my college experience” Paredes said. “It’s very genuine and has a lot of raw emotions.”
Vopel, who has produced well over 200 recordings and worked with dozens of artists, both famous and new, said that Paredes has the voice to have an amazing career in the music industry.
Paredes hopes to work in the music industry by getting signed to a big label company, or even as publicist or spokesperson for a label in order to make a difference.
“I’d like to be financially comfortable in making music,” Paredes said. “To help foundations and create my own foundations. I don’t want to make this about myself. I would like to help other people.”
At the age of 15, Adam Yocum had recently moved from Washington to Huntington Beach before starting high school. He didn’t know anyone, so it was just himself accompanied by a guitar. Yocum would sit in his empty room and put the guitar on his lap to practice different chords as he had his left hand fixing the tuning pegs while the right hand slowly tested the strings one by one trying to find the right tune. Since then, Yocum’s passion for music began, and he decided to produce and write for different kinds of genres such as R&B, soul and hip-hop.
“On my end, I try to do the basic production, making the beats.” Yocum said. “And eventually act as the engineer, recording vocals and being the artist.”
Yocum plans to work on becoming a better songwriter and instrumentalist on piano. He said he wants to challenge himself to be different and unique in order to keep creating new music.
Your Friend AYO, Yocum’s artistic name, records and produces music in his own studio at home, and he has launched music through a website and apps for people to enjoy.
Yocum has been collaborating with another artists named Nate Klein and came up with the duo name called "Tomorrow Was Over." They both worked on an EP called Suns Up Clear Skies, which just released this year. Some of their work can be seen at soundcloud.com/tomorrowwasover. Yocum plans to keep releasing more singles once school is done.
The junior from Cal State Long Beach, despite being a communications major, will make music his main priority to fulfill his dreams of being a successful producer or artist.
“At the end of the day, I want to make music that people can relate to,” Yocum said. “And hopefully create some emotional response with people.”
Growing up as a shy and quiet person, Miguel Orduño found the perfect way to express himself through music. Orduño, also known as Nvrtd Pyrmd (Inverted Pyramid), specializes in the making of electronic trap music. When Orduño creates his own beats, he becomes a whole different person. His decision to pursue a career in music started when he got a gig DJing at house parties in Sacramento and the Bay Area. Now, he’s a DJ at events called “Grown Ass Pizza Party” in Long Beach, where 100 to 250 people attend.
His passion for music came from his dad and brothers who he grew up listening to different types of genres.
“My dad and brothers taught me so much about music,” Orduño said. “I grew up listening to cumbias, flamenco, hip-hop and electronic music, which influenced my knowledge on different world music.”
Although Orduño will be graduating this May from Cal State Long Beach with a major in journalism, he plans to keep pursuing his music career. The name Nvrtd Pyrmd came in correlation with what he learned throughout his journalism studies. At the moment, Orduño hasn’t posted much of his work out there because he is focused on finishing school first. He said that balancing both would be a tough thing to do, and he would rather wait until he has no school obligation.
“If I put 80 percent in one thing, I feel bad that I put 20 percent on the other,” Orduño said. “I'd rather put 100 percent in everything.”
After graduating, he plans to take his music one step at a time, and in the near future he plans to work on a small extended play (EP) that will include five or seven songs.
“I want to continue to get better at producing music,” Orduño said. “And get to the point where I can go on tour with my friends and do what I love.”