Soundclash, an exhilarating and lively music competition, was hosted by the Associated Student Programs Board (ASPB) on Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. The event was held virtually with all performances available on ASPB’s Instagram for all to see. Unlike previous years, this year’s Soundclash accepted online votes. Every student was allowed to vote twice under each contestant’s Instagram posts. Students could vote by liking and commenting on a post. Voting opened up on Feb. 22, and the artist or group with the most votes by the end of Soundclash received $200 and a performance slot in ASPB’s “Spring Nooners” 2021. Voting lasted approximately three days and closed early Thursday morning.

First to perform was Pooja Kylasa, a second-year psychology major who performed Alicia Keys’ hit song, “Falling.” Kylasa’s performance was very powerful, and her vocal skills shined. Kylasa also provided a piano accompaniment which allowed her to have fun with her performance. There were a few instances where I felt goosebumps just by listening to Kylasa hit some pretty impressive high notes, and I was stunned at how easily she was able to change her pitch. 

Courtesy of PoojaKylasa via Youtube

Viewers were then met with a dreamy and beautiful performance by Kieran Aine. Aine performed two original songs, “Home” and “Vivid,” both available on Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud. I couldn’t help but be completely engrossed by this performance. His voice, the lyrics and the beat all blended together beautifully.

Delfino Squared followed Aine’s performance with music that they described as “a bunch of boys playing songs about their feelings.” They performed three songs and gave the audience a snippet of their upcoming single, “CA 5(1)5(0).” This band’s music was cozy, relaxing and made you feel at home. The video that played alongside their set showed the band members going out thrifting and hanging out at the park. Seeing the band partake in relatable activities personally made me feel comforted.

Strawberry Piano’s performance began with more comforting tunes. Strawberry Piano, also known as Alex Chen, is a fourth-year computer science major with “too much time on (his) hands.” He performed “Itsumo Nando Demo” from the famous Studio Ghibli film “Spirited Away.” Watching his hands fly over the piano keys, was awe-inspiring.

Shifting away from the calming sounds of the previous performances was Boloor, a rapper who gave an explosive show. He rapped a few songs that showcased his lyricism and skill. Boloor surprised me with the words he would incorporate into his music. With every song he wrote, he attempted to make his audience feel something through his art. Needless to say, he successfully achieved this with his Soundclash performance. 

Boloor was followed by Lawn Darts. This student band sang songs, such as “Indacouch” and “Your Name,” which are available on all streaming platforms. They draw inspiration from 1980’s new wave, alternative music and their Southern California roots. In their Instagram video, the three of them are seen performing in a backyard area. Their songs made me want to get up and move along to the beat and enjoy myself.

Courtesy of @lawndarsmusic via Instagram

The string of performances concluded with rapper and R&B artist Jaystrange who performed three songs. One was unreleased, and two are available on Spotify. His unreleased song “Take Time” was followed by “Out of Touch” and “Rosemarry.” Overall, his music was fun to listen to, and the beats were contagious. Even after listening to his set, I could still hear the lo-fi chill beats playing in my head. 

Many comments expressed how much they loved the music and every performer received a virtual round of applause. On Feb. 25, the winner was announced via the Soundclash lecture featuring Brie Larson. Larson is an Academy Award-winning actress who is most notable for her roles in films such as “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” “Room” and “Captain Marvel.” Aside from her acting career, Larson has also dabbled in the music industry and has recently begun a YouTube channel. 

The event was moderated by Adam Daniels, UCR’s interim senior coordinator for UCR’s Student Life. For the first half of the lecture, Daniels asked Larson a series of questions that he had on hand. In this section, Larson opened up about her movie career. She described her experience working on “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” as “surreal” because it was one of the first big roles she was entrusted with. 

She’s currently focused on preparing for her role in the upcoming sequel to “Captain Marvel.” When prompted for information about the sequel, however, she said, “I can dish nothing. I can dish that it’s going to be rad.” She joked that the Marvel police will knock on her door if she shared any spoilers. 

Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Instead of a live Q&A, Daniels began to ask students’ questions that were submitted to ASPB’s Instagram. In this portion, Larson revealed more about her involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She claimed that playing a hero has helped her gain more confidence in her life. One question asked Larson to describe the inclusivity on movie sets. Larson expressed, “In my corner, I don’t feel like I have to constantly bring it up and fight for it.” However, she also addressed that there is more diversity in front of the camera than behind the scenes. She hopes that this will someday be amended, and she wants to help push for diversity when she can. She complimented our generation for taking strides toward a better future. “The youth have been the ones that have been inspiring me the most,” stated Larson.

At the end of the event, Larson announced that the winner of this year’s Soundclash was Lawn Darts. Larson expressed her joy at watching many of the Soundclash performances, and she exclaimed that everyone’s “musical abilities were off the charts.” All performances were special and lively. One could easily see how dedicated to their art each and every contestant was. Despite there only being one winner, these artists were able to expand their following and make a few new fans. If you want to rewatch some of the performances, visit ASPB’s Instagram page, and be sure to check out all the amazing artists Soundclash 2021 had to offer.