Luis Lugo and Dennis Soubinh have always loved music, but neither knew they’d study it one day as a career.
Lugo always loved to sing — with his family and in the car, but he didn’t know he wanted to be a professional singer until high school, he says. His major is now music education, and he says he aspires to be an instructor.
Despite years of practice, Lugo says he still gets nervous when taking the stage, especially when he doesn’t feel he is ready.
“When you can’t really see [the audience] and they’re far away, that’s the best situation,” Lugo says. “I feel great if I’ve studied my music properly, and I think that it’s up to par for me.”
Unlike Lugo who has been singing forever, Soubinh first began singing at the age of 19. He describes his style as a more “classically trained” sound.
“I didn’t really start singing until my third semester at City College,” Soubinh says. “I just kind of fell into music.”
Overall, what Lugo says he loves most about music is learning more about it and developing as an artist.
“My favorite part about singing is just getting more information and developing it, getting to realize what is my own voice.”
While Lugo enrolled at City College with intentions of majoring in music education, Soubinh, did not. Soubinh says that his original plan was to major in marine biology. After struggling with depression, Soubinh says he found an escape through music.
“I loved my experience with the guitar so much, and felt as I owed so much to music as it saved my life,” Soubinh says.
When it comes to his biggest struggles as a pianist and vocalist, Soubinh says his health is an issue.
“Over the last two and a half years I’ve discovered that I had myelodyplastic syndrome, a bone marrow cancer,” Soubinh says.
After undergoing surgery, Soubinh says he ended up contracting graft-versus-host disease, a complication that sometimes occurs after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant where the newly transplanted material starts to attack the transplant recipient’s body. This caused his body to reject the donor’s bone marrow.
“I often got sick, so it made it very diffi cult to even practice singing,” Soubinh says.
The largest audience that Soubinh has ever performed in front of was a crowd of more than 1,000 people. Soubinh claims that he is always nervous when onstage, no matter how prepared he is.
My heart is racing and my hands are always shaking, especially in the beginning of the performance,” Soubinh says.
Despite this, he says that the nervous energy actually pushes him even more to do better, and it shows that he cares passionately.
“What I love most is that I’m able to inspire that feeling of hope and joy in others upon playing in the same way that music had done for me when I had listen in times of darkness,” Soubinh says.