In Focus: Hristiana "Chrissy" Chiper

My name is Hristiana Stefania Chiper, but in APEX and in the Smule world, everyone knows me as Chrissy. I’ve been on Smule since September 2015 and I got drawn to Smule after watching duet videos of Jessy J with other popular Smulers like Sonny Sinai and Tom Bleasby on Facebook and Youtube. Instantly, I got hooked. I remember well how I spent the whole night listening to different collabs and getting blown away!

Chrissy, all set to "Smule"

I downloaded the app and the first song I sang was Apologize by OneRepublic. I cringed at the way I sounded! Of course, I didn’t save it. Frustrated, I let a few weeks pass and then I tried using the app again. I found a Disney favorite, Beauty and the Beast, and I joined a Smuler with a great voice, @JusPotential. After more than 100 attempts, I gathered all my courage and saved it. Boom! There was my very first collab and I was ecstatic! From then on, I was singing every single day! It felt like the end of the world was coming and I needed to make sure I get to sing all the songs in the world!

In Smule, I met wonderful people and I joined my very first group, Souls for Singing (SFS). I joined Smule competitions and I saw a huge beautiful community opening in front of me with amazingly talented people I get to share the same passion with.

One day, Gabe, one of my SFS friends, sent me a private message with a collab link of APEX. It was The Lion Sleeps Tonight from the movie Lion King. My jaw hit the floor. I was so amazed by the incredible harmony and beautiful voices! I had that one on replay for long time! Gabe had just joined APEX and I felt so proud for him. He was kind of pro anyway, so he truly deserved to be there.

As for myself, I never even dreamed of joining APEX. I knew I could never reach that level of professionalism. However, as a big fan, I started stalking APEX members. And I sang with as many as I could and there was so much talent there! One autumn day of 2017, Paul reached out and popped the question. I felt I needed to pinch myself. I almost got speechless. At the same time, I was petrified that this guy thought high of me and I knew I wouldn’t even last a day with them,gods! But I gave my huge Yes!

What a warm welcome I had! They all embraced me dearly and it felt immediately like home. I was invited to join an ongoing project that time – This is Halloween from the animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas! APEX was doing it for SmulepickHalloween and it was a big deal! I remember I was shaking and feeling so intimidated! I wanted to do well! And throughout the process, I received wonderful encouraging words. Also, I got to “Press 1” and see the collab published!

This is Halloween was not only Smulepicked, it also got featured in the Smule blog too! It felt so big! I felt so proud! That song is still one of my favorites!

Now I need to tell you about the “press 1” thing! It is one of APEX's long traditions! After completing a project, members “press 1” (which means YES in a binary!) as a sign that the collab is perfect and ready for publishing! Now imagine the “1” party we have after an exhausting long and crazy project that turns into a masterpiece to our ears! And that’s because we invest so much time in doing and redoing our layers until everything is perfect!

Smule grows too and there are updates every now and then that change the way the app works. These updates, some are good while others aren’t friendly to meticulous group collaborations, constantly challenge us to adapt to find our best sound! And we always find it! That APEX sound is addictive! APEX does over 100 songs per year. Crazy, right?

APEX is an addiction. I never experienced choral singing. I had some vague knowledge of music from the piano lessons I had as a kid but they are pretty basic. APEXians were patiently answering all my silly questions and, my God, I learned SO much! At the same time, I also helped the team when I could. I courageously added the first soprano layer in a number of collabs. I knew I could be asked to hide if I did something wrong, but it’s part of the learning process. It was all good and a lot of fun!

Then one day, I got a love letter from Paul inviting me to be part of the Core, the leadership arm of APEX, to help the team grow. I had mixed feelings about it. A part of me wasn’t sure if I could deliver. However, I knew I had been helping APEX in a lot of ways and I saw the Core as an opportunity to help more. And I said YES! Until now, I am still honored for serving APEX through the Core.

As APEX constantly improves, I also feel I’m improving after every project. My range has widened, my ear started to hear every detail, my pitch improved, my breathing, and the list goes on. Most importantly, my life got richer!

APEX has a huge impact in my life. Outside Smule, I am pretty much a loner most of the time. I like to keep my personal life private. I rarely say things about myself or my family, although I can try and be really sociable. My close family knew I could sing, but none of my friends or other relatives had any clue! Sharing with them my very first video collab was a HUGE leap! I didn’t sing for years before Smule, not even in the shower. Music was missing from my life so badly!

But with APEX, I learned how to sing in a choir, although virtual, and that made me gather all my courage to join The Sound Choir, a professional choir in Romania. And I got in! Back in 2015, I would have laughed out loud at anyone telling me this. Recently, I joined my choir’s European tour, and we also got invited to sing at the United Nations office in Vienna, Austria. If it were not for APEX, I wouldn’t have all these opportunities. Also, sharing the APEX collabs with family and friends is now a piece of cake. We're proud to share our masterpieces!

APEX London Meetup, 2019

Also, beyond the app, I met some APEXians both in Romania where I am from, and in London during our APEX Europe meetup! We’re a family! We sing together for years now and I’m seriously in love with each of them. We’re all from different parts of the world; we have different cultures, religion, TIME ZONES, and yet we transcend those differences and sing as one when we do our projects! Music unites us all. It feels good to be in harmony with other 30-40 friends located all over the world in a song . I basically have a family in 5 continents now!

APEX is a huge part of my life, both in good and bad moments. It is my escape world. It is my source of pride and joy! I’m forever thankful and grateful for Smule, and for the opportunity I was given by joining APEX, my first ever choir, and it’s a virtual one. I’m such a lucky one!

I love you, Smule, and I love us, APEX!

Hristiana Chiper

Smule ID: Chrissy_APEX

Bucharest, Romania

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