Sophomore singer/songwriter tells her story of experiencing multiple cultures
By: Joe Kelly
A folksy voice, honest lyrics, and a red and brown electric guitar sounded from the stage at this semester’s Gophers Got Talent show. A girl with short, blond-dyed hair sang of rocky relationships and her doubts and questions of love. And for one of her original songs, her lyrics were completely in Spanish. Her name is Manuela Solines, a sophomore student at the University of Minnesota whose home is in Ecuador.
“I want more people to be able to hear music in Spanish,” she says. “People here aren’t exposed to a lot of it. They have very specific ideas of what music in Spanish sounds like and performing my songs is one small addition to it.”
Solines started playing guitar in a band with her younger siblings when she was 13 years old. At the time, she didn’t know she could sing until her music teacher made her. The teacher liked her voice so much that she was placed in vocal ensembles.
“When I was 14, I wrote my first song because a friend of mine got cancer, and I was super overwhelmed with it,” Solines recalls. “So I said, ‘Why not just write?’ I did that to make her feel better.”
She notes that she loves to perform back in Ecuador because of the enthusiasm audiences have there for live music. She is also very well known in her hometown, so crowds usually respond with high energy at her performances.
But, Solines still loves to perform anywhere and expose audiences to her unique style of music. Instead of repetitive choruses and formulaic songwriting, her songs weave thoughts and feelings in an organic way that the lyrics never feel stale. Solines plans to perform in Gophers Got Talent every spring until graduation.