Student explores racism, self-image in his self-produced album.
By Valerie Champion
English sophomore Miguel Alcorn, 19, has a story he’s ready for the world to hear — and he is telling it with an album that fuses poetry and hip-hop.
“The Tree of Broken Hearts” was scheduled to release Sept. 23.
The album took Alcorn two years to complete. He said he got the idea for the title after reflecting on how he and other people in his life are “broken” after facing hardships.
Alcorn said he was inspired by the metaphor of people as trees. “Trees have to be rooted in deep ground to produce fruit,” he said. “(But) despite being broken, we are in control of mending things.”
That concept led to lyrics such as, “Although we may not come from roots in deep ground, we control the fruits we produce.”
English Professor Patricia Portales met Alcorn about a year ago when he performed a poem titled “SAC is Great” at this college’s 90th anniversary celebration.
“He really captured the audience,” she said.
Portales encouraged Alcorn to submit his poems to Sagebrush Review, a literary magazine at UTSA that accepts submissions from local college students. Portales said the magazine accepted Alcorn’s poem “Tamed Lion,” which is also a track on his album. He did a reading last spring at UTSA.
“He has a really strong interest in being a poet,” she said.
A musical artist, too. Alcorn, whose inspirations include Propaganda and Walla, said he really wanted to take the time to get everything perfect and brand himself as an independent artist.
Although he features a few other artists throughout the album, he made his own beats, wrote his own lyrics and produced his own unique sound. He blends poetry and hip-hop in a way that defies people’s expectations.
“There’s a lot of people who doubt me,” he said. Alcorn said certain peers, friends and family members see his musical career as a hobby. He said he believes this album will change their perspectives.
His closest friend introduced him to music at a young age. He started making music himself in the eighth grade and released six mixtapes over the span of a year while in high school. He felt like he was trying to find his sound. Alcorn is half Puerto Rican, and he said a lot of people don’t see that aspect of him because of his name and skin color.
“There’s a song on the album called ‘Thin Ice’ where … I really try to tackle racism because I don’t think it’s right,” he said.
Alcorn mixed and mastered “The Tree of Broken Hearts” using Apple Logic. He said the relatable aspect of making music is comforting, and the real focus of the project was being poetic. He said he loves poetry and believes other people will appreciate the artistic aspect of the album.
“I feel like I found myself on this album,” said Alcorn, who plans to transfer to a university in Colorado after this semester.
“The Tree of Broken Hearts,” written and produced by Alcorn, is available on all digital streaming services, including Apple Music, Google Play and iTunes. Alcorn said students can find his music on bandcamp at ajmmusic.bandcamp.com or follow him on Twitter at @ajvibes_.