With the crowd still chattering, Yuping Zhu ’21 strummed the first notes of her original song “Hey Betty” on her guitar during this fall’s Coffeehouse. One of the only freshmen performing, Zhu was an unfamiliar face to most people. As her voice rang out, the audience’s voices quickly died down. According to Zhu, she drew upon her personal experiences and memories while writing this song.
“[The song] is about this friend of mine for a very long time who essentially betrayed me. But the next day I woke up and I was like, ‘You know, I’ll just make the best out of this situation and write a song about it.’ And basically the song’s about how it’s okay if someone betrays you or breaks down your trust, because it’s a learning experience, and you shouldn’t be upset about it for a long time,” said Zhu.
Zhu first discovered her love for singing in fifth grade and has since performed for a variety of different events, from school shows with friends to larger scale festivals, such as Saint Agrippina’s Feast in Boston’s North End. She now has a YouTube channel and an Instagram account where she posts song covers as well as original songs. According to Zhu, singing helps her open up about her feelings and talk about bad experiences.
Celestine Gonzales ’21, friend of Zhu, commented on Zhu’s different demeanor in her YouTube videos.
“Usually when I’m with Yuping, she’ll make lots of jokes, and she acts like any other teenager. She’ll hum quietly if we’re working on homework, but she doesn’t try to show off or anything. In her YouTube videos, you can see a more serious side of her, and you can tell she’s really passionate about music [and] singing,” wrote Gonzales in an email to The Phillipian.
Zhu uses her own experiences to try and spread positive messages to others through her songs. Her passion for music has also helped her deal with personal struggles.
“My favorite thing about [singing and songwriting] is that at a certain point, you yourself feel a lot better since this weight is lifted off your shoulders. And you know that other people in the world might be feeling the same emotions that you’re feeling, or dealing with the same problem, and to know that you can reach out to that kind of level and help people is also really cool,” said Zhu.
Zhu hopes to continue to write songs that people can relate to and reach out to others through music.
“I think [the hardest part is] the pressure, because you want to write a song that’s really great, you want to write a song that people can relate to, you want to write a song that’s beautifully written, and when people see that lyric they immediately make that connection,” said Zhu. “I’m just trying to get out there as much as I can.”