Student artist Rae Marquez releases debut single ‘Be Aware’

Prisha Mehta, General Life&Arts Reporter

Last summer, minutes before Rachel Marquez sat down to take a morning exam for a business class, news of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade broke media outlets across the country. Shocked and frustrated by the outcome of the decision, Marquez decided to channel her emotions into song. 

“Over the summer there (were) a lot of different things going on in and out of the classroom,” said Marquez, an oboe performance junior. “I was upset about how divided everybody was. So, I started messing around with this real bassy sound, and it turned into this (song) … my single.”

Marquez released her debut single “Be Aware” on April 7 across streaming platforms. As an oboe player with classical music training, the song’s contemporary sound marks a new step in Marquez’s musical journey as a pop vocalist and songwriter. Within the song, Marquez nods to the importance of staying informed while expressing how ongoing political and social issues impact young people. 

“As much as I love the classical field, I’ve always been interested in making music,”  Marquez said. “Since I had a passion for singing I thought, ‘Why not try to do something where I can express what I’m trying to say through my voice?’”

Despite her lack of training as a vocalist, Marquez did not shy away from pursuing her passion for singing and songwriting. After writing the song over the summer, Marquez auditioned for UT’s student-run record label UTalent Records. Marquez said that UTalent not only helped her turn her idea into a fully produced song but also helped build her confidence as a singer. 

“It was a little scary because most people I’m surrounded by are aiming to win a spot in an orchestra or do something in the classical field,” Marquez said. “But I just realized that if I really have a passion for making music, I should just go for it. So I pushed myself to try to make music in my own way, outside of my oboe music that I was focused on.”

With the song released, Marquez continues to promote her single through live performances. The singer-songwriter most recently performed April 8 at Cactus Cafe, where UTalent Records held their annual Reverb Showcase. 

“I was really impressed with how natural Rachel felt (on stage),” said Alexa Milsch, a public relations freshman and Marquez’s manager at UTalent. “She just looked like she belonged there.”

Valeria Lopez, a radio-television-film junior who serves as Marquez’s marketing director, said she thinks Marquez’s new song sends an important message to students who struggle with mental health issues in today’s polarized political climate. 

“I feel like (the song) really speaks to what a lot of college students go through,” Lopez said. “It’s hard out there; it’s lonely, and I love the fact that the song speaks to digging your feet in and standing up for yourself.” 

While Marquez continues writing new music, she hopes “Be Aware” encourages people to be more understanding of others’ experiences.

“We have to be aware that there’s (not only) a lot of things going on within our own lives, but (also) a lot of things going on outside our own lives,” Marquez said. “I think other’s experiences aren’t as unique as we think. I think a lot of us struggle with the same things. Just realizing that is important.”