A&E The Point Weekly

Student Musician is Making Waves

Musician and entrepreneur Ernesto Figueroa is making waves in the San Diego music scene.

Figueroa, a PLNU sophomore, has been rapping and making music for several years and recently chose the media communications major to further his audio production knowledge. The City Heights resident spends his free time producing and recording music with his close friends at home and in their studio.

Aside from performing in Kaleo chapel in spring 2013 and being a serious independent artist who has his own albums and singles and regularly performs at local concerts, one of Figueroa’s biggest accomplishments is his contribution to the local artist support company, Shoebox Collective.

Shoebox Collective is a group of artists, musicians and other performers that showcase their talents in San Diego through a live radio broadcast that streams 24/7 on their website.

Tanner Blackwell, an artist and audio engineer for Shoebox Collective, described the concept. Blackwell and fellow audio engineer and brother, Dustin Blackwell, are the creative forces behind Shoebox Collective.

“It’s really hard to get anywhere in the music scene in San Diego,” Blackwell said. “The way the music scene works is pretty much ‘You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.’ Well, the goal of Shoebox is to be the exact opposite. It’s more like: ‘I’m gonna help you out because I want to, and I believe in you. If you want to help me out too, that’s cool, but I don’t expect you to.’”

Tanner not only broadcasts but also records many of Figueroa’s songs.

“Me and Ernie have been working together since he put out his first album back in 2011, and we’ve been friends since our freshman year of high school,” Tanner explained. “We definitely work well together, and I think that shows in the songs we record. If you go back and listen to some of the earlier things we’ve done, I think you can hear both of us progressing as artists.”

Figueroa joined Shoebox Collective in early 2013 and has enjoyed the atmosphere and work concepts it embodies.

“Shoebox is more than just artists showcasing their stuff,” Figueroa said. “I’m in this for the long haul. We are actually going on tour this January 3-11 in San Diego, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle with the main Shoebox Collective groups like iamdustinblackwell, Slow Graffiti, and me.”

Another featured artist from Shoebox Collective and one of Figueroa’s musical colleagues, Christian Alvarado, has worked with Figueroa and frequently contributes to the Shoebox Collective broadcasts. Alvarado and Figueroa created an EP track, “Hey!” that was featured on BBC Radio 1 on the Annie Nightingale Show and two weeks later was followed by another broadcast of Figueroa’s opening track of spoken word.

The exposure Shoebox Collective gives local artists provides musicians a step-up from others trying to succeed in the cut-throat business.

“Shoebox Collective is where artists have the opportunity to have their voice heard,” Alvarado said.

“Tanner and the rest of the gang have really helped and encouraged me to keep making music,” Figueroa said. “It’s all about the passion and when I can create a message with my music and share it with others.”

Check out Figueroa’s music at shoeboxcollective.com.