For Elena Izquierdo, a freshman popular music student and singer-songwriter, Loyola may feel very different from the New York concert halls she performed in just a few months ago, but she couldn’t not be happier to be here.
“Since being at Loyola, I think I’ve grown a lot as a writer and as a person,” Izquierdo said.
Izquierdo was named the 2020 National YoungArts Foundation Honorable Mention winner in the People’s Voice category two years in a row, but that wasn’t even close to the start of her music career.
“My father was a singer-songwriter. I grew up surrounded by music. I started playing the piano in kindergarten,”
Izquierdo disliked playing classical piano. She knew early on that she preferred to write her own original work. Moving from piano to musical theater to jazz, to working in New York with professional songwriters through the National YoungArts Foundation, Izquierdo always knew she was interested, but performing in New York l most inspired.
“It was the first time I thought maybe I could do this for a career,” Iqzuiedo said.
“Where I grew up, there was no one my age trying to do what I was doing,”
Izuierdo said it wasn’t easy, because not only did the songwriting work, but also the marketing and planning.
Izquierdo’s creative process never stops. She is always on the lookout for new ideas.
“I constantly have to write. It’s just about doing it over and over again and getting into the habit of creating even when you’re not feeling very inspired,” Izquierdo said.
The ideas behind a song for Izquierdo vary a lot, and the ideas usually come at an uneven pace.
“Sometimes I’ll be inspired to write this chorus, and I’ll have no idea what I want the verses to say. I have no idea what I want the song to be about, and then a week later, I’m going to experience something super minute, but it’ll be enough to realize that I want to put this stuff in the chorus, and then everything comes together.”
Izquierdo likes to take the small, sometimes unnoticed details of his life and the lives of his friends and use them as starting points to create new material. She believes inspiration can come from anywhere.
“I don’t believe writer’s block exists. There are always things you can take inspiration from even if it’s not obvious to you. I’m trying to keep this momentum going,” Izquierdo said.
Everything can be a source of inspiration for Izquierdo, but she likes to focus on certain subjects.
“I talk a lot about my feelings. My songs are very emotional,” Izquiredo said.
For Izquierdo, Loyola feels different from the New York music scene. Izquierdo said people in New York were more excited to see his finished products than his work in progress.
“People here are like, ‘Oh what are you going to do with this? I want to help.’ People here are so supportive and so eager to be involved in my creative process, which I don’t I’ve never known before. They hear that someone is doing something really great and they want to get involved. It’s something that I really like to be here.
Izquierdo hopes to release at least three songs before the end of the semester, then begin production on another album this summer.