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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Through the artist’s eyes: Bianca Ocampo discusses life as a student singer

Finding solace, balance as a self-made artist

Dream-pop student music group Urbanation, headed by fourth-year psychology and communication double major Bianca Ocampo, has amassed an impressive following as they move toward the release of their indie-rock album, scheduled to be released later this year. The album touches on life as a student, and the band looked back on opening for Beach Fossils at ASUCD Entertainment Council’s Winter Quarter event “Petrichor.” 

The Bay Area group met by playing different house shows and they have been performing together since Ocampo’s second year, when she began performing unexpectedly in an effort to share her lyrics about the uncertainty of being a young adult. She realized early on that inward lyrics of struggle hit a vein with students. 

“When I make music, it’s usually about a really sh-tty situation,” Ocampo said. “Once I started putting things out there, I realized that I could take this period of time where I had no idea what I was doing and transform it into a song that people listen to. It’s a way to cope with things.”

One of her songs, “Shouldn’t You Be Doing Something Too?” is about the identity crisis she went through when she decided she no longer wished to pursue a career in medicine. Many students have felt the gravity of the moment when the life they thought they wanted isn’t for them anymore. 

“I feel like that song marked the beginning of this process,” Ocampo said. “I felt like I could keep doing this [music].”

Ocampo writes and produces all her music. A strong dedication to her craft and the catharsis it brings along with it is what keeps her motivated to balance music with her packed school schedule.

“Being busy with school and work makes me want to pick up my guitar more and have that outlet,” Ocampo said. “Davis is a good place to be creative.”

Her vulnerable lyrics resonate with the anxiety-ridden young adult life for the mistake-filled fiasco that it is, in all of its splendor and headache. She says it’s a balancing act, and she’s been working on her upcoming album for more than a year.

“I’ll record something, take the bus to class, listen to it all day, and on the bus ride home think, ‘This is terrible,’” Ocampo said. “And then I’ll love it the next day.”

Ocampo said she wonders what her music would be like if she quit school and worked on her music full-time. It’s the constant need to reevaluate what’s important that keeps her writing new songs.

“I’m trying not to get too caught up in the little details,” Ocampo said, saying she wants to reach as many people as she can.

“I want people to be able to relate to my music,” Ocampo said. “I feel that I focus on the lyrics the most. It’s like people are listening to my diary.”

Ocampo says she relies on her family and close friends as her main support network, and in the pursuit of a career in such a cutthroat industry, it seems to be the right choice. Her family attended her most recent, and biggest, performance at the Mondavi Center. 

“They were actually at Petrichor,” Ocampo said. “I was really happy they could make it to this show.”

Urbanation is available to stream on Spotify. 

Written by: Josh Madrid — arts@theaggie.org


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