Student Spotlight: Andrea Recalde

The vocalist from Quito, Ecuador, talks about songwriting across language barriers, taking inspiration from family, and rediscovering dad-rock.

December 4, 2023

What’s it like to study at Berklee? Our Student Spotlight series asks current students all about their Berklee experience—what they’re learning in class, what kinds of projects they’re involved in onstage or behind the scenes, how they recharge, and of course, what they’re listening to. This week, meet vocalist Andrea Recalde, a fifth-semester songwriting and music business/management double-major from Quito, Ecuador, who performs under the artist name DREA.

Tell us about your path to Berklee. What made you decide to come here?

I didn't plan on attending Berklee initially. In high school, I hesitated to pursue music due to self-doubt and my brother's success in the industry. One day, I saw a Berklee ad on Instagram, and my phone mysteriously led me to the application. Wearing a Berklee shirt at that moment, I took it as a sign and applied. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad I found my passion for music.

What's been your favorite class so far, and what has it taught you?

My favorite class is conducting with Professor Kristo Kondakçi. Conducting connects on an intimate level, and Professor Kondakçi's teaching style resonates with me. He uses visuals and real-life applications, making learning enjoyable. Conducting is about emotion, body placement, and connecting with people's energy to shape music. It's been my favorite class this semester.

What's a project you've worked on since coming to Berklee that you've been especially excited about?

One of my favorite Berklee projects was performing an original song in Spanish that I cowrote with a friend/roommate. We performed it at an open mic, and the collaboration, despite the language barrier, was a memorable experience.

Andrea Recalde performs her original song, "mientras tu te vas":

How do you typically recharge or find new ideas outside of class?

To recharge and find new ideas, I take walks, long showers, or naps. Sleep is essential for a clear mind. I also meditate, go on walks, read books, and journal to clear my thoughts and spark new ideas. Finding what works best for you is crucial for well-being.

When you think towards your own future, who inspires you most?

My biggest inspiration is my brother, who has succeeded in the music industry. He's taught me about the industry, the value of self-worth, and the power of connections. Collaborating with him has been a privilege, and I aspire to share my music and work with diverse artists like he does.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to your high school self?

Advice to my high school self: High school is just a small part of life. Be true to yourself, never change for others, and trust that everything happens for a reason. Relax and let the universe guide your path.

Andrea’s Top Five Songs Right Now

We asked Andrea to list her five favorite songs of the moment. Here's what she said:

1. “Strawberry Bubblegum,” Justin Timberlake

This track is from one of my favorite albums of all time, and I love the way it switches in the middle, and it seems like it's a completely different song, but it's not. It’s honestly just such a vibe all throughout, and it always makes me want to dance.

2. “Cough Syrup,” Young the Giant

This song just makes me feel good when listening to it, and it’s really fun to listen to on bike rides, which I take every day so it's definitely in my top favorites right now.

3. “Carolina,” Sebastian Llosa

I met this artist at a showcase for Warner Music Latino, and I fell in love ever since. His songwriting is amazing, and I love the way his melodies mesh with his lyrics. I also just want to keep promoting him because he is a Latin artist who deserves to be much bigger than he currently is.

4. “How You Remind Me,” Nickelback

I just started listening to this song again, and it’s just a classic dad-rock vibe. I enjoy listening to it from time to time and it really is a kind of song that you listen to when you’re in a specific mood.

5. “The Bird & the Rifle,” Lori McKenna

I was shown this song by one of my songwriting teachers; she used it to describe third person narratives while telling a specific story, and I love the imagery that is shown.