When singer-songwriter Karol Bedoya and her friend Nina Giancola, open mic coordinator for Boston College Music Guild, walked into the songwriting club for the first time, they arrived late, giving them only 10 minutes to write their song.
Giancola said that the short time frame did not matter for Bedoya, who she said carried the songwriting task for the both of them.
“She has an amazing voice, and she’s super talented,” Giancola, LSEHD ’25, said. “She’s a great lyricist—I only have good things to say.”
Bedoya, CSON ’25, said she wrote her first song when she was 15, but didn’t start taking songwriting seriously until she was 17. She has an Instagram account where she posts mainly original songs, but also short covers of songs like “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga and “Zombie” by The Cranberries.
When she’s not writing music or strumming melodies, Bedoya is also a member of Vida de Intensa Pasion (VIP), a Latin dance group on campus, and is a country representative advisor, a position that oversees the students who are in charge of researching and planning events surrounding the cultures of different countries, for El Centro, the Central American Student Organization at BC.
According to her friend and roommate Daisy Ortiz Valdez, CSOM ’25, Bedoya organized an event through El Centro this past semester to raise awareness for Temporary Protected Status, a program that allows people who migrated from countries that are deemed unsafe the right to live in the United States for an extended period of time. Ortiz Valdez said that Bedoya told personal stories about why the topic is so important to her at the event.
“She’s half Colombian [and] half Honduran, so VIP fulfills that salsa in her and then for El Centro, her Honduran side is a lot more of her advocacy for things that are important to her,” Ortiz Valdez said. “And her music just tells her story.”
Bedoya said she predominantly draws inspiration for her songs from personal experiences such as love and heartbreak. One of these original songs, “Everything I Never Told You,” is Giancola’s favorite out of the many songs Bedoya wrote. Giancola said she felt drawn to the song, which is about a breakup, because of the rawness of the emotion in it.
For these personal songs, Bedoya said she typically writes out her feelings for the lyrics first.
“It’ll usually end up being a poem, or I’ll write a letter and I’ll take words or like parts of the letter and I’ll use that in the song,” Bedoya said. “But I’ll usually be humming like a melody and then figure out how I can kind of combine both, and then add the instrumental portion.”
Ortiz Valdez said that her favorite song by Bedoya is “Love Letters,” a song fittingly titled according to her songwriting process. Ortiz Valdez said that the first time she heard Bedoya sing was on freshman move-in day in 2021, when Bedoya played “Love Letters” to her on her ukelele.
“I didn’t know that she really sang,” Ortiz Valdez said. “I knew that she had her account tagged on her Instagram, but I never really looked into it. And so it just came up with a conversation, and she’s like, ‘do you want to hear a little something?’ And so she whips out her ukulele.”
Ortiz Valdez said that Bedoya had previously written songs before coming to college, but that she has heard her writing them firsthand through sharing a room with her the past two years.
“I’ve seen her come up with lyrics [and] I’ve literally heard her strum until she finds a melody that she likes or something that fits to the lyrics that she wants,” Ortiz Valdez said. “She shows me every single recording that she makes over the summer. I’m very up to date with the music that she makes, and I get a little VIP experience. It’s really nice.”
Ortiz Valdez isn’t the only person who has gotten a sneak peak into Bedoya’s songwriting and performance abilities. Ortiz Valdez spoke of a time when she and Bedoya were sitting in their room with 12 to 15 of their friends, and Bedoya started to play songs on her ukelele.
“Everybody ended up turning off the lights,” Ortiz Valdez said. “We whipped out our little flashlights and were waving [them] around. It was super-duper cute.”
Bedoya said that she finds songwriting cathartic and sees it as a mode of dissecting her feelings and expressing her emotions when words can’t.
“I think [songwriting] is a very effective way to put what you’re feeling into words,” Bedoya said. “And when I’m not able to do that, I feel like being able to just play a melody openly on either piano or ukulele translates those feelings in a way that words can’t.”
While Bedoya said that she has tried to write songs in Spanish before, she feels more comfortable writing songs in English with double entendres and other literary devices. She said that, throughout the years, she believes her songwriting has become more creative and she has been having fun experimenting with melodies, rhyming schemes, and instrumentation.
As for what’s next for Bedoya, she said she hopes to release an album soon full of her own original songs. She said that she has had a concept for an album for two years now, but she has not gotten around to recording it yet.
“I just want to be able to write about a lot more experiences that have to do with love or heartbreak and just enjoy writing about everyday activity,” Bedoya said. “I do want to share my music with other people.”
If all goes according to Bedoya’s plan, then soon, more than just a privileged few will be able to hear her self-written melodies.