Music Monday: UT senior Angel Estrada reflects on latest song ‘Angel’

Prisha Mehta, General Life & Arts Reporter

While playing his guitar, Angel Estrada found himself floating in and out of a daydream. As he sat, experimenting with different sounds and melodies, he thought about what it would be like to escape from the world for a little while and start over. Estrada said he channeled this desire in his latest song, “Angel.”

“I daydream a lot,” said Estrada, a vocal performance senior. “I wanted to get into the space of wanting to get away from everything and fly away.”

“Angel” marked the R&B singer-songwriter’s fifth single and final release of 2022. Directed and produced by a team of 20 students and alumni, the music video for the song was released Dec. 30 on YouTube

The song started out as a project for Estrada’s junior year music production class. Estrada said he wrote and produced the track entirely on his own last fall.

“I wanted to write a song about my name, ‘Angel.’ It started with that idea, but it started turning into something more,” Estrada said. “I was vibing to this guitar loop I made and then slowly but surely, I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I started adding more harmonies, and then it turned into this.”

Since starting to make music during his freshman year, Estrada said he gradually performed more in front of audiences and met fellow creatives.

“I was learning about what it is to be a musician and trying to hone my craft,” Estrada said. “That’s when I wanted to start learning more about production and taking (music) seriously.”

Estrada currently serves as one of the five artists under UTalent Records, UT’s only student-run record label. Estrada said his team at UTalent helped him in his creative process for “Angel,” especially its music video. 

“When I first made the song, I knew I wanted there to be a visual to it,” Estrada said. “At the beginning, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m doing this by myself. I’ll use my little green screen and work it out.’ But over time, it just wasn’t working.”

With the help of his manager at UTalent, Sophia Brinkman, Estrada said he turned his dream for a music video into a reality.

“(Angel’s) big goal for last semester was to make this music video, and my role was like, ‘How can I make this happen?’” said Brinkman, a psychology sophomore. “I started talking to people … It was a matter of finding a place to do it or who’s going to help us.” 

Brinkman put Estrada in contact with former radio-television-film student Emma McCutchen, who directed and developed the vision for the video. 

“I wanted to play with the motif of an angel, but the main concept was a walk down memory lane,” McCutchen said. “You’re walking backwards through all these spaces where none of the people are acknowledging you, and you’re coming out with this larger space where you’re finally with yourself.”

With one semester left at UT, Estrada’s music journey lies stretched out in front of him. The artist said he plans to continue playing live gigs and hopes to release an EP by the end of the semester. 

“I just want to keep performing (and) making music. I want to keep learning about production, keep meeting awesome people like Sophia and Emma and keep creating art and having fun,” Estrada said. “I just want to keep going. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m ready.”