Sophomore Rachel Chen uses social media to promote her singing and guitar playing

MUSICAL+TALENT%3A+Sophomore+Rachel+Chen+plays+her+guitar+and+sings+her+favorite+songs+by+different+artists.+Chen+said+she+likes+to+make+covers+of+songs+and+upload+them+to+her+YouTube+channel%2C+rchenmusic.

MUSICAL TALENT: Sophomore Rachel Chen plays her guitar and sings her favorite songs by different artists. Chen said she likes to make covers of songs and upload them to her YouTube channel, rchenmusic.

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Sophomore Rachel Chen said she considers herself a musician that utilizes contemporary social media to display musical talents over a vast array of internet consumers across the world.

Rachel said singing has been one of her leisure pursuits for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until the beginning of her sophomore year that she finally had the impulse to create her own individual YouTube channel.

“I used to be part of a different channel that I shared with someone, but people wanted me to make my own channel, where it would be just me singing,” she said.

MUSICAL TALENT: Sophomore Rachel Chen plays her guitar and sings her favorite songs by different artists. Chen said she likes to make covers of songs and upload them to her YouTube channel, rchenmusic. CONNER GORDON / PHOTO

Created on Aug. 22, 2011 with now over 100 subscribers, Rachel’s YouTube channel, rchenmusic, features a variety of song covers of her singing accompanied by one or more musical instruments and often another vocal harmony. She said she consider herself to be a cover artist that can play the viola, guitar and a little bit of the piano as well.

“The reason why I started making covers was because I liked a lot of songs by certain artists,” Rachel said. “I thought that if I covered them, it would help increase their popularity.”

Rachel said she actively uploads videos to YouTube from every week to once a month and advertises them via her social networking sites—Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp—that last of which is a site that allows her to post mp3 download links to her songs.

“I usually post (the link) on my Facebook wall right after I upload (a new cover). And if it doesn’t have as many views as I think the video deserves, I post it again. And then, I kind of beg people to watch them and subscribe; it’s effective,”

Rachel said. “With social media, it’s like you have to do one thing and then a billion people see it.”

This, however, causes her parents to fear for her safety over the internet. But, according to Rachel, her parents’ opinions of her publicly revealing herself through the aid of social media have changed over time.

“At first, (my parents) were really skeptical, because they were worried about my security and safety and thought I was going to get my identity stolen,” Rachel said. “But then, they realized social media is starting to get really big, and that it’s safer to use. Now my parents really support me and my YouTube career.”

Liying Chen, Rachel’s mother, who is subscribed to her channel, said, “I was happy for her, because she’s a kind of shy person; so when she put herself on YouTube, I thought it was great for her (to) open up a bit. However, I was also quite concerned about her safety. There are a lot of bad people on the internet.”

Though Rachel’s parents were initially worried for her safety, they eventually realized that social media is much safer than before and felt that she was mature enough. They decided to support her interests in her YouTube career and help her with anything she needed.

“She really enjoys videotaping herself and uploading videos to YouTube, so we invested a lot of money for her enjoyment,” her dad, Yaobin Chen, said, via phone. “If she needed something, we (would) just go buy for her.”
With the support of her parents, Rachel said she plans to continue her musical interests beyond college, possibly making it her side career. For now, she said she hopes to reach her goal of 1000 subscribers by the end of 2012.

“I’m not sure what I’m capable of yet,” Rachel said, “but I’m hoping that I’ll start writing songs that I can sell.”

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