Rocky Abreu

Rocky is currently a rising sophomore (class of 2023) at Brown University. She is planning to concentrate in Geochemistry and Environmental Science with a Sustainable Development track. Rocky also runs a blog that can be found here:(

Below is Rocky’s take on the Self-portrait challenge. As a singer Rocky chose to focus on using her voice to convey how she sees herself through music, and the challenges in doing so.

Words From the Artist:

For as long as I’ve had the words to describe who I am, I’ve considered myself to be an artist. Growing up I always felt at a tremendous loss when being told that my passion for science and my passion for music were two separate entities that could not cross paths. I either had to “pursue the hobby” or “pursue the money-maker”. It is so limiting to feel that you have two aspects of yourself that are expected to be compartmentalized entirely. Today, at nineteen youthful years old, I strongly oppose those outdated beliefs. Throughout my freshman year of college I’ve met some of the most phenomenal music artists who were all individually pursuing concentrations such as Computer Science, Economics, Applied Mathematics, and more. It was the first time in my life that I was affirmed by the realization that human beings have interests and qualities that can progress in parallel. Two areas of our lives can be growing–simultaneously. For myself, I found that listening to and writing music has helped me heal emotionally, physiologically, and mentally. It has given me the boost that my holistic self needs to tackle the career that I hope to pursue. 

I am a perfectionist when it comes to my vocals. In reflection, I’ve realized how irritated I become when I am not able to nail things vocally how I envision I should be. I came across several different challenges with this short piece: vocal control, hitting my runs, and improvisation. My voice is naturally able to cruise through adlibs and runs, however it typically ends up being a lot natural and wholesome when I improvise. This clearly creates conflict with my perfectionism: I typically refilm covers at least ten times before being satisfied, yet by that time, the novel sense of improvisation drifts entirely. To the outside listener, my covers and performances sound like my best.

To my perfectionist mind, I have entirely too much work to do.

“Let go of the perfectionism. Surrender to the flawed, human messiness and do the thing that your heart and soul desperately wants to do.”

Katherine Mackenzie Smith

I simply believe that the mashup is what the people need. SZA and Frank Ocean are at the top of my list as Black, modern R&B, femme, and/or LGBTQ+ artists. Both have contributed to my current stylistic vocal and lyrical traits- to which I have acquired through binge-listening each and everyone of their songs, since I was around thirteen years old. SZA is this ethereal, magical, Black woman whose lyricism invokes so much raw pain and explicit ownership of her flaws. The Weeknd is such a radio-normalized song, but it has to be-it is just too good. Her description of her comfort in her sexuality and how she redefines what it means to be a woman who is in a non-exclusive relationship is beautiful. Frank Ocean: indescribable. He has the ability to describe love as an extensive process of longing, dwelling, and possible mourning. Each and every one of his songs that pertain to his experiences and idealities of love are like a delicate addition to an overall personalized definition. Thinking Bout You is yet another one of my radio favorites, where Ocean delves into his ability to fantasize a future with someone who might not be thinking about him at all. I adore how he was intentional with his honesty on his personal relationship expectations and this portrayal of how he seems to have to hinder these expectations to conform to a lover. The mashup was this perfect balance of vulnerability and confidence that I feel melded perfectly and expressed some of my current views on love and relationships.

I am currently a rising sophomore (class of 2023) at Brown University, and I am praying to the God that I believe in to concentrate in Geochemistry and Environmental Science with a Sustainable Development track. Feel free to give me a follow on my instagram page (@raquenel.m) and please check out my blog ( 

Follow Rocky:

Instagram – raquenel.m

Her Blog –

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