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Secret Lives: Kenny Cordeno Rubinos

By Nina VasiljevicSpecial to the Chronicle He is a graduate student attending Higher Education, Leadership and Policy Program here at Hofstra. But Kenny Cordero Rubinos is not your average college kid. He is also a creator of the “International Song Contest: The Global Sound”, a contest that brings together 95 countries of the world, reaching them through You Tube or social media. He says that the whole idea “came from Europe.” “I’m a huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and I watch it every year. And it’s basically the same thing. Whole Europe chooses a song or artist to perform in an actual live show and a lot of countries vote. I always thought about, why there shouldn’t be one for the world? It was always in my head, but I would have never imagined it happening.” Rubinos says that in the beginning, his international friends suggested songs that should represent their own countries. But as he started promoting this competition through You Tube, more and more suggestions came from people around the world, who wanted their countries to be a part of it. “I basically grabbed a group of friends from all over the world and I asked them to choose an artist from their country. And then it happened, and I did the first contest. I was expecting to have only 50 people, and I ended up having 55 for the first edition. And then a few You Tube users randomly saw it and I got e-mails.” Apart from his European friends giving him suggestions, Rubinos also started receiving e-mails from different African countries, China, Hungary… And the list goes on. He added that the whole process of creating this contest is “very simple and complicated in itself.” “I have to have a whole time gap for people to choose a song. It’s more of them picking a song. I don’t want it to be me choosing a song in any possible way.” After the songs have been chosen, he contacts the labels to ask them for permission to use the songs in a promotional video. “I e-mail the labels and I explain to them what’s going on. They want to know if there’s any monetary value, or anything they can get compensation for.” The labels sometimes do and sometimes don’t answer to e-mail. If the artist has a status of a superstar, you might as well expect that he or she won’t bother to reply.  But this competition truly matters to unknown artists as a way of promoting their work and reaching out to as many people as possible. “If it’s like a new artist, labels will try to do as much as they can to promote their artist. And they’re just going to be ok with it. Cause they are only going to be seen by more people.” After contacting the label, Rubinos starts tweeting to the artist about the competition they’re part of. Just like the labels, some of them react to it and some of them just don’t. After he gets the songs legally, he creates a playlist for You Tube featuring all the participants. He also posts the video to Facebook and Twitter. People who choose the song that represents their country are called the jurors, and they get to vote first. After that, the voting is open to the public. “The public votes and the jury votes get added together. And then you get the results.” If the artists win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, they sometimes reach out to Rubinos. Just like Sandra Muente, a famous Peruvian singer. “She won 3rd place, she was very happy, she retweeted it. Her fans were so happy that she got 3rd place. Cause 3rd place is like a big deal.” Rubinos was also contacted by Frederik Elsner, the lead singer of Greenlandic band “Nanook”. “We’re Facebook friends now. He just said, “this is so cool”.” Rubinos was also added by Mampi Mukape,a Zambian singer whose song  “Walilowelela” was a summer hit in the whole Africa. “She said she was very humbled that she was chosen”, Rubinos explains. Muente, Nanook and Mukape are not the only ones appreciating the whole idea of this contest. Rubinos’ tweet about The Script winning a 2nd place in the 3rd edition of a contest was favorited by the band. But it doesn’t end there. Rubinos’ list of Twitter followers includes famous artists around the world, such as: Nina Badric (Croatia), Monsieur Perine (Colombia), KES the Band (Trinidad and Tobago), Kitty from Las Culisueltas (Argentina), Antonio D’Angelo and already mentioned Sandra Muente (both from Peru). The contest has the goal not only to promote the artists, but countries as well. It carries a certain educational and cultural value. Rubinos added that the whole concept of the contest “is to expand and allow countries to express themselves musically.” He also believes that, “this is a way for the countries to, not only have the representation in something international, but have their music and their culture exposed to anyone. ” Rubinos has a goal that he set for himself, and hopes to make it “actually a televised event, to make it a World Cup for music.”

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