Between doing choir and concert band growing up, Juliana Concepcion has always been surrounded by music.
But she really discovered her passion for it when one of her high school film teachers played a lo-fidelity hip-hop mix on YouTube during class.
“I just like all kinds of music and I’m interested in how it’s made, how you can create a sound that makes somebody feel something, and create meaning out of sound,” said Concepcion, who goes by the stage name Jewelssea.
Jewelssea is a sophomore film and media arts major and producer of lo-fi music, which she describes as a “crunchy beat” that sounds less clean and processed than pop music.
In January, her song, “darlin,” was selected for “Women of the World Volume 2,” a compilation of music by 50 women producers around the world.
The mixtape was released in honor of Women’s History Month and proceeds benefited the nonprofit Share the Dignity, which provides personal hygiene products to women experiencing homelessness, and cover funeral costs for families of domestic violence victims in Australia.
The compilation was released in March on a double cassette set and digitally on Bandcamp. Jewelssea was excited to be featured on the same project as Eevee, one of her favorite lo-fi artists, who was on the tape’s first volume.
“It was just crazy to think that I could do that, too,” Jewelssea said. “I’m not that far away from those people I guess, even though it seems like I am.”
A lot of beats are based around samples, or sound clips from TV shows, movies or other songs, but most of her lo-fi beats are melody driven, she added.
“I’ll flip [the samples], chop them up and make interesting soundscapes with it,” Jewelssea said. “A lot of it is also about ambient sounds, like some birds. They’re slower beats that I kind of listen to here or just at home.”
Jared Daley, a sophomore communication arts major at Delaware County Community College whose stage name is JJARED, met Jewelssea through mutual friends on Instagram. The two met in person last January and have since produced about 12 songs together, including their four-track EP, “Transcend,” which released last summer.
Jewelssea was one of the first people JJARED collaborated with outside of his immediate friend group, JJARED said. Jewelssea and JJARED produced most of their songs in JJARED’s basement.
“It just makes the creative process normal and what it should be, which is fun,” JJARED said. “A lot of people are doing it for the wrong reasons, and I can tell she just loves to do it. She just loves making beats, and I’m down for that.”
Temple film and media arts professor Catherine Pancake currently teaches Jewelssea in her Experimental Video and Multi-Media class. Jewelssea’s sound stands out to her because she pulls from a variety of genres and has a strong personal vision, she said.
“I really see that people know her and admire her work and want to work with her, and that’s such an important part of being an artist, having people be attracted to your work,” Pancake added. “She just continues to make a name for herself.”
Jewelssea hopes her full-length album will move her music closer to the electronic genre. Producing, no matter the genre, allowed her to find her passion, she said.
“In the past year, I realized I can do something like this and I really like it, and it’s made me grow as a person a lot,” Jewelssea said. “I feel like I know myself better, and I feel like I’m happier. I have a better sense of my place in the world.”