The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Singer uses YouTube as a platform to express herself

Ruth Maldonado, 19, psychology major, sings a cover of Lana Del Rey’s song “Lust for Life” outside of El Camino College’s Schauerman Library on Monday, Sept. 23 for her YouTube channel. “I want my voice to be heard,” Maldonado said. Patrick Ezewiro/The Union

In her peach-colored room, the sun shines through the window, filling it up with bright lights as she begins to set the camera up. With her blonde hair bouncing over her shoulder, winged eyeliner and white smile she looks into the camera.

Now would be a good time to start recording.

She gives the camera a confident look and begins to show off her range.

This time her silvery voice covers “Let Me Down Slowly,” by Alec Benjamin.

Ruth Maldonado is a 19-year-old psychology major at El Camino College with dreams of pursuing a singing career.

After graduating from the City of Angels Independent Study High School, Maldonado decided to take time off from school to discover herself and avoid the societal pressure of going to college.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted in the future or if college was my dream,” Maldonado said.

While working at Burlington, she realized that Youtube could be a way to achieve her dream.

“Music inspired me to start doing YouTube,” she said. “I wanted my voice to be heard.”

Now, Maldonado balances academics and YouTube, waking up every Monday and Wednesday to film for her channel and going through a heavy editing process after she finishes recording.

She used to post videos weekly, but since school started she is juggling her classes and the time she has outside of school is used to create more content for her subscribers.

“That’s not going to stop me from giving my supporters what they want,” she said.

Maldonado wants to be the next YouTube sensation, following in the footsteps of former cover artists Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara and Shawn Mendes.

Ruth Maldonado, 19, psychology major, vlogs in her car for her YouTube channel as she heads to El Camino College on Friday, Oct. 4. Maldonado's YouTube channel consists of videos of her covering songs and vlogging. Patrick Ezewiro/The Union

But Issin Alibris, founder of Citaldel Media, says that Youtube is competitive and artists must be consistent in uploading content to stay relevant.

“People really like originality,” Alibris said.”Originality is key for content. People like things that happen naturally.”

Maldonado said she wants to break the mold of people on YouTube who she believes are not real in what they portray on their channel as she watches videos and calls most of them inauthentic.

But Maldonado is real. In every song she covers, emotion pours out of her vocals. She has always wanted to find a way to express what she felt inside and she discovered singing gave her that opportunity.

Her favorite artists include Lana Del Rey, who she has been listening to since high school and who motivated her to start her YouTube channel. Maldonado said she heard Lana Del Rey’s voice and was taken aback because it was so beautiful.

It wasn’t until the song “Ride” by Lana Del Rey that she said, “I can do this but I need a platform that people can watch me and hear for themselves.”

Maldonado doesn’t have a camera or the usual equipment most of the celebrities on YouTube have. She uses an iPhone 10 to shoot all of her videos and edits. She added that if she had a camera her videos would be better.

Arlyne Velazco, 19, Maldonado’s friend and supporter, said she watches her channel anytime she posts a new video.

“She is very talented and very motivated to get where she wants,” Velazco said.

Maldonado said she wants to keep making videos even though she is taking full-time classes at ECC. School is important, but she does not want to limit herself and forget about the main reason she started her channel in the first place.

It was on a Wednesday afternoon, the sun was blazing and the campus was filled with students who were going home or getting ready for their next class. Maldonado comes out of class, makes her way to her car in the parking lot and starts filming.

She starts to sing “I love you” by Billie Eilish. She is playing the beat that goes along with the song and then begins to get in the flow of her lyrics. The video goes on for half an hour. She finishes and rewatches the video and immediately edits it.

The following day, the video was posted to her channel. That video received the most views since starting her channel.

Gabriel Escobar, 20, watched the video and is a big believer that she can accomplish what she is trying to do sooner than later.

“When you listen to her sing, personally, you can hear greatness in her voice,” Escobar said.

Many people use YouTube for all aspects of entertainment, news, sports and social media. Maldonado wants to bring in authenticity to her channel. She takes this new experience one day at a time.

“There are no shortcuts in life,” she said. “Hard work requires time, but with time there is a limitless success.”

To watch Ruth Maldonado’s YouTube channel
go to Ruth Maldonado.

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