Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bio freshie hailed VSC champ

By Jan Andrei Y. Elizalde | February 22, 2024

First-year biology student Aya Mikhaela Lyn Lubon won the Valentine Songwriting Competition (VSC) 2024 last Feb. 14 at the Silliman University (SU) Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium with her song, “Confrontation.”

Besides winning the grand championship, Lubon also bagged the best interpreter award together with first-year foreign affairs student Jether Malunda.

VSC is an annual songwriting competition organized by the SU Culture and Arts Council and is in partnership with the SU Student Government Sociocultural Committee, Artista Sillimaniana, SU Fine Arts Department Organization, and SU Composition Guild.

Musical prompts

When asked about the inspiration for her song, Lubon said she avoided writing “common, monotonous, and straightforward” songs.

“I didn’t want to write something that is maoy (sad) or ‘I love you so much, my dear’ because that is very common […] I wanted to make it conversational, a duet, and sexy because that’s not something you [hear often],” she said. 

Lubon also said that she did not dedicate the song to anyone. “There was no motive, I just felt like writing it,” she added.

Moreover, she said she wanted to make the song dynamic and include many textures and patterns.

“From the glissando to the very quiet staccato in the second verse […] I [also tried] to incorporate a chromatic scale [and] different types of runs […] I just wanted the song to be catchy,” she said. 

On performing her song as a duet

Lubon performed her song with Malunda, who was also one of the contestants in VSC 2023.

“I chose Jether because we go way back sa Arts and Design. I [also] know if I ask him to perform, he really would perform with me and I really trust his skills,” she said.

Moreover, Lubon said she believes that performing her song as a duet contributed to her win. 

“I think what amplified [my performance] is the different vocal timbers that me and Jether have, especially since my voice is very bright and his is raspy,” she said. 

Lubon also said that, once she was announced the winner, she could not believe it due to self-doubt. “When I won, I [also] felt like all the love I gave that day came back to me,” she said.

She was the only participant in this year’s batch of finalists who performed her song as a duet.

Challenges faced

Lubon noted her time constraints in preparing for the competition. 

“I also had to continue my job as a video editor for the Weekly Sillimanian, doing 3D modeling commissions, and focusing on my academics,” she said.

Besides her commitments, Lubon also mentioned struggling with her vocal skills. “When I first wrote it, I wanted to do my second verse in falsetto. But after going through it and really analyzing the song, I thought it was better to belt it out and make changes,” Lubon added.

Future plans

About her plans to join future competitions, Lubon said that she would “rather perform than compete.” 

“[However,] I often get asked to perform intermission numbers and to help in performance art-related activities with my old arts and design teacher whom I grew close with, Ma’am Wanella Ursos,” she explained. 

Lubon also said she plans on releasing more covers. She also considered writing more original songs.

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