BY KELSEY LYONS
Not long after Lauren Quiquero could talk, she could sing, with a perfect pitch at that.
The 19-year-old Sheridan student sang at the open mic/poetry slam at The Marquee to kick off Black History Month on Feb. 23. She had the crowd going long before the song ended and they gave her a standing ovation.
“I used to perform all the time. I used to do open mics like every week in Oshawa,” Quiquero says. “I missed performing, so when they said there were openings I was like, I might as well just try it.”
Quiquero won the $100 prize for best performance that night.
“I was nervous and excited,” she says. “It always goes this way, I get super nervous, get on stage and once I start singing I just get into it and I don’t really think about anything to be honest. I just sing.”
Quiquero’s friends were pleasantly surprised by the performance.
“They knew I could sing, but they’ve never really heard me before and they were like, ‘We were crying, like we knew you were good, but we had no idea you were that good’, ” she says.
Visual Merchandising student Chelsea Kumar says she was really impressed. “She kind of sounds like Arianna Grande, like she has a very similar soft, but powerful voice.”
Quiquero performed the song “Listen” by Beyonce.
“I used to sing it all the time, and I just love it, it’s such a powerful [song],” she says. “And I love how emotional it is and how it gets the crowd going, you can see the crowd going, like every time there’s a key change or when it goes crazy the crowd goes wild.”
Quiquero’s father, Mario, says he first noticed her talent when she was just two years old.
“When Lauren was two years old she sang ‘I’m A Little Teapot,’ ” says Mario. “So [Lauren’s grandfather] looks at me and says, ‘Wow she has perfect pitch,’ and I said, ‘Well how can you tell, she’s two.’ And he said, ‘Well it doesn’t matter, at her age she shouldn’t have that, she’s going to be a singer’. ”
Mario says that as Quiquero got older, music was something that she gravitated toward and not just with her singing.
“From a very early age she started writing her own songs, as early as nine years old,” he says. “They weren’t just like kid songs, they were always insightful, very thought provoking.
“I’m always amazed by the lyrics that she writes and most of it I would say is based on personal stories or things that she’s gone through in her life and you know different trials and tribulations that she’s gone through.”
Quiquero released an EP in November 2014 with three original songs. One of those songs is “Temporary Love.”
“It’s about somebody who is just here for the day and then they’re leaving or they’re not thinking about the long run, but you are. It’s just temporary for them,” she says.
Quiquero wrote the song when she was 12.
“Which is weird because like temporary love, what do you know about temporary love when you’re 12 years old?” she said.
Mario says that his daughter has always been in touch with her emotions and the emotions of other people.
Quiquero has a tattoo of the name of another one of her songs on the EP, which is called “I Am Enough.”
“I am enough is a really personal song,” she says. “It’s the most honest song I’ve ever written. Just about mean people and being like, ‘No, screw you, I am enough.’
“I think just those three words are powerful, because everybody needs to hear that.”
When Quiquero was 16, she started working with Cole Kidd, lead singer of the band Hello Beautiful.
“Cole really loved Lauren and her style, you know her lyrics, her writing style,” says Mario.
Kidd worked with her to create the EP.
There was a big launch party and that reminds Mario of one of his proudest moments of his daughter.
That night she performed about 10 songs.
“She would talk about the song and a little bit what the song was about and what it meant to her and what she was going through when she wrote it,” says Mario. “I was just in awe, she was 17 at the time and for her to be able to do that, and get up in front of that crowd, and pour out her emotions like that.
“It was hard for me, a couple times tears escaped for sure, because I mean I was just so proud of her and everything that she accomplished and how she handles herself on stage, just incredible to me.”