How “First on SoundCloud” artist Christelle Bofale built her community

How “First on SoundCloud” artist Christelle Bofale built her community

Two weeks ago we introduced you to Che Lingo, whose MO is all about DIY mentality – and this week we’re introducing an artist who’s leveraging the power of her community. 

When you press play on a Christelle Bofale song two things immediately stand out: her velvet vibrato and swirling guitar chords. The Austin-based songwriter/guitarist owes both in part to her first generation Congolese-American upbringing. “I was always listening to music at home, whether it was played by my dad or sung by my mom,” she reminisces. “Other musicians influenced me as I grew up, but that original spark of inspiration comes from home.” 

With such a musical upbringing, Christelle was predestined to be an artist. Picking up her father’s guitar after amassing a notebook full of song ideas finally sealed the deal. After a friend introduced her to SoundCloud, she shared her first track, a cover of Drake’s sad-boy classic “Marvin’s Room.” More than anything, by uploading she hoped to connect with new people. In her words, “SoundCloud was really my introduction to releasing stuff, that was really cool to realize I could access the planet here.” 

SoundCloud is a massive mecca of creative communities where you can still find your own. To Christelle, that community is everything. Though her family introduced her to music, it’s been her friends and her steadily growing fanbase that have kept her going. Her secret to building such an organic groundswell of support? Shows – and lots of them.

“You play 100 gigs and you make 100 friends,” she says, thinking back to her days as a solo performer, “If you can find your people that’s really all you need.” 

Eventually Christelle transformed her voice-memo melodies, pages of lyrics and weekly guitar jam sessions into a stunning EP, “Swim Team.” Along the way she found her band, linked up with legendary label Father/Daughter, and became one of Austin’s rising stars. With her latest track “Miles” freshly released on SoundCloud, Christelle continues to explore her own artistry, all while bringing her community along for the journey. 

More of what’s next

For the next few months, we’ll be introducing you to the rest of the “First on SoundCloud” 2020 class. Next up is a Jamaican songstress who went from singing in church to collaborating with Vybz Kartel and counting Rihanna among her many fans. In two weeks, check back here to find out how it all happened. 

Find your people 

While “lots of shows” right now might not be an option, you can still lay the groundwork. Check out your stats to see where people are listening, ask fans for feedback on your new tracks and answer any questions in the comments. Download this SoundCloud stationary so you can start penning lyrics like Christelle did, or even write a personalized thank you note to your #1s. Looking for more ways to build your community from behind a screen? Here are 5 tips we picked up at A3C.

If SoundCloud is the first place you share new music too, we want to hear you. When you upload original music tag it #SCFIRST for the chance to be promoted across SoundCloud’s playlists, social media, newsletters, this blog – and maybe even see your name in a future First on SoundCloud campaign.

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