Xenia Flores conquers her fears by hitting all the right notes

Nicole Wong

VERONICA FEYLING, Channels Staff

A smile graces her face as she places the wooden Martin guitar on her lap. As she begins to move her lavender-painted fingernails over the strings a beautiful harmony arises – she closes her eyes and a soft voice trickles out to form a song of her past.

The 20-year-old singer and City College student, Xenia Flores, began her musical journey at the age of 13.

She discovered her passion for singing when her mom pushed her to perform at a local Carpentaria talent show and also the infamous singing in the shower routine. She patiently taught herself how to play guitar shortly after, by using YouTube tutorial videos, and by watching her favorite artist at the time, Taylor Swift.

“It was the craziest feeling, getting up on stage for the first time – it’s so scary, but my mom pushed me to get up there and conquer my fears,” said Flores. “She told me there was this talent show in town and that I had to do it – I was totally against it at first, but then I finally gave in and did it.”

From that first anxious performance on stage, Flores has moved on to more opportunities like performing for audiences here at City College as well as singing on State Street for all to hear.

She recounted how her first performance ended up in an unexpected standing ovation from the audience.

“It was funny, the song was ‘White Horse’ by Taylor Swift and the CD was the background music for the song, because I hadn’t learned guitar yet — but the CD malfunctioned and I ended up singing a cappella for my first performance.”

Flores began her musical career here at City College in Dr. John Clark’s songwriting class and Professor Bill Redman’s guitar class.

“This will be her second semester in the class, she was very good the first time she played and I think being in the class inspires her to write more songs,” said Clark.

While being in the songwriting class, she has written various original pieces, her favorite being the song “Home.”

The song came from a personal experience of the moment she first saw her now boyfriend after 13 years of lost communication.

It was a harmless preschool crush at the time, but 13 years later, to present day, a Facebook message pops up on her laptop from a boy who she thought she didn’t know. After some Facebook stalking, it clicked!

They decided to meet up and rekindle the friendship they had when they were five, and have now been dating for a year.

The musical couple finds themselves at non-other than Guitar Center, often, just to hang out for hours just playing music together.

Xenia has been asked to play at different venues around the Santa Barbara area and plans to play at SOhO restaurant and music club with the City College originated band, “Surprise Me,” later this month.

One of the band members, Joveth Jorquia, has known Xenia for quite sometime now through school and performances together in the past.

“I remember when we first decided to start listening to each other’s music and noticed that we both had a passion for songwriting and singing,” said Jorquia. “Her singing is just beautiful. She has this voice quality to suck you in with her lyrics and melodies. With a voice like hers, it can take her anywhere in the music business.”

Flores hopes to make something of her music career, and flourish as a musician – if it weren’t for her mother pushing her on stage that first time, she would be studying to be a veterinarian right now.

As the smile graces her face, she sings to her hearts content getting inspired by her life itself.

See Flores perform a Halloween themed show with “Surprise Me,” at 8 p.m. on Oct. 30 at SOhO restaurant and music club– the cover charge is $8.