PREMIERE: Viviana Rincón Soars Despite Fear of Flying on “Turbulence”

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Indie-pop artist Viviana Rincón gets nervous on flights. When the plane encounters turbulence, she can feel her heart sink into her stomach. Reflecting on this fear, she realized she didn’t have it when she was little; it developed during adulthood, as she began to ruminate on the possible significance of the bumpy ride.

Her latest single, “Turbulence,” uses this insight as a metaphor for the excessive caution and trepidation toward unpredictable circumstances that we develop as we get older, exploring “this idea of self-sabotage and not letting myself reach my full potential because I have too much anxiety or overthink,” she says.

The structure of the song mimics that of a flight itself, opening against simple, comforting guitar chords that seem to reflect what Rincón sings about: “childlike innocence/celebrating turbulence/celebrating life and all the little things that make no sense.”

She annunciates each word of the verses clearly, in a way that makes the song sound conversational and almost theatrical, describing the anxiety that sets in as a plane takes off, her voice soaring like the aircraft itself as she observes, “I don’t let myself fly.” The tempo picks up, conjuring the image of a plane zooming through the clouds, when she belts about “intricate mazes created by aliens,” then the ending settles back to gentle guitar, as if she is landing.

It’s unsurprising, given the trajectory of the song, that she wrote it on a plane, attempting to capture the wonder she’d feel on flights when she was younger. “I wanted it to feel dreamy and a little childlike because I wanted to juxtapose the idea of self-sabotage with the childlike energy that the song evokes,” she says. She plays a meditative guitar pattern to anchor “rambly” lyrics that reflect the childlike sentiment of the song. Her producer, Tony Ascanio, added the bass and drum parts after she played him a recording of the guitar and vocals.

Rincón started off her career as a dancer and planned to go into musical theater, but dancing became detrimental to her mental health, and she began focusing on music, releasing her first album I Mean What I Say, which was written in her mid-teens, in 2019. Her last single, “Weather,” is about struggling to come out as gay to her father – they distracted themselves with discussions of mundane topics instead.

Like “Turbulence,” “Weather” has a conversational sound, narrating a scene and commenting on it in a stream-of-consciousness, almost rambling manner: “Avoiding critical conversation/emotional isolation/temporary sensation/I’ll make the same pretty face I’ve made all my life/and I won’t cry because that’s overdramatic/it’s safe to say I’ve overestimated my ability to lay it all out there/it’s too cold to care.”

Currently a songwriting student at the Berklee School of Music, Rincón has been experimenting with new ways of writing songs. The latest ones she’s been working on are from fictional characters’ perspectives, intentionally exploring situations that aren’t her own. For instance, she recently challenged herself to write a breakup song, even though she’s in a relationship.

“It’s kind of freeing and liberating because I used to think I had to be 100 percent real and honest about absolutely everything,” she says. “I didn’t realize how limiting that actually was. When I can write in the form of a character, I almost feel like a storyteller. I can pull from experience in the past that maybe is not exactly what I’m writing about, but it can still have a sense of realness.”

While she doesn’t have an album release planned as of now, she’s written a number of new songs that speak to childhood themes in a similar way to “Turbulence” and “Weather,” as well as music tackling more adult topics like mental health and sexuality. While her earlier songs were pop-oriented, she considers her new music to fit more into the indie folk genre.

Though separate from her professional work, her class assignments have included prompts like writing about random objects, and continuously motivate her to push the bounds of how she writes songs. “It taught me that anything can be inspiring, not just what’s going on in my brain,” she says.

Follow Viviana Rincón on Instagram for ongoing updates.

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