When you decide it’s time to make a new single, is that more exciting or stressful?
Writing the music is normally exciting but recording and releasing it can be stressful since it involves so many other elements. Finding a producer/engineer, deciding on its artwork, debating on when and how to release, etc. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy to see the crisp final product and overlook how much concentrated effort was involved in the journey to get there, but it can be very tedious and time consuming.
You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?
All of my songs are autobiographical. Romance is a strong source of inspiration as it is with most writers, so naturally I find myself writing about various types of love, however unrequited, unhealthy, lustful, or hopeless they might be. I try not to focus solely on romance though, since life is so much more colorful than that. “We All Make Mistakes” is both an apology for doing wrong and a cry for compassion and forgiveness. “Family Portrait” is about mending broken ties within your family. “Rescue Me” is about overcoming body image issues. My favorite part of the process is the amount of creative control that songwriting allows. We can’t always win in real life, but we can win in our songs, and I love using songwriting as a portal to say what I need when the door is closed and have no other way of communicating.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
I have really fond memories as a child, dancing around my house, jumping on couches and singing into hairbrushes, a combination of Grease, Britney Spears, Christmas songs, Aretha Franklin, Shania Twain, and most definitely Celine Dion. I remember going to see my first Broadway show, “The Sound of Music” with my mom when I was very little and leaving the theatre forever changed for the better. I also grew up a block away from the church that my family went to and was always complimented by church choir leaders, and singing on weekend retreats were some really pure, vulnerable, beautiful memories that I hold dear to my heart.
How do you balance your music with other obligations in life? How does it get affected if so?
I don’t know if I do. I’ve always worked in extremes and been a very all or nothing kind of a person but have been working to change that recently, since I know it’s healthier to live a balanced lifestyle. I definitely feel like I’d be farther along by now musically if I had the luxury of not having to work, since I’d have more time to spend creating and promoting my art, but sometimes I wonder if keeping busy on multiple projects heightens my productivity. I try to keep my obligations aside from school and work to a minimal in order to focus on music, so that means that I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of opportunities for romance, but I’m cool with music being my boyfriend for a while.
What is your favorite song to sing live?
“Love in War.” It’s edgy, sexy, and fiery, and embodies a lot of the qualities I admire about myself. If someone messes with me, I’m not shy about standing up for myself and fighting my own battle until I win. I can be an empowering badass when I’m passionate about something, and that’s sexy. A lot of my other songs showcase other sides of myself, like the sweet, sensitive, soulful sides, but they aren’t necessarily as fun to sing. It’s always more fun to play the heroine than the damsel in distress.
Do you have any events coming up or recording going on right now aside from your stunning cover of “Will You Still Love Me”?
My band and I are playing a show this Thursday, the 23rd, at Webster Hall that I’m really excited about. I’m always recording new music; right now I’m especially excited about a collaboration with a songwriter from the UK since most of my favorite artists are soul singers from the UK. Aside from that I’m working on putting the final touches on an EP called “Broken Soldier”, gearing up to release my first EDM track, and working on editing a new music video as well. Stay tuned for more updates and I definitely hope to see you at Webster Hall this Thursday
At what age did you start singing and what inspired you?
I honestly can’t remember when I started singing. I’m not one of those girls who sung her way out of the womb or anything like that. My romance with music started with piano, actually, and I definitely remember singing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” at a family karaoke event sometime maybe sometime in grammar school. It wasn’t until high school though that I truly invested a lot of time into singing though. I had auditioned for a performing arts high school on a whim, and the teachers were really harsh when I enrolled there. They told me that they didn’t think singing was for me and that I should stop, so their rejection combined with my unwavering passion for the craft inspired me to get my first job to pay for voice lessons. I’ve been proving them wrong every day since.
How easily do songs tend to come to you?
I’ve come to realize that songs come to me easily in New York, in that I find creative essence in the constant movement of the city. The hustle or die culture here inspires me to keep producing new work and I find that creating art has become essential to my emotional well-being, almost to the point of survival. I definitely needed art in Jersey, but it wasn’t water there. It’s water here.
If you had a soundtrack to your life what song/songs would have to be on it?
It’d look something like this:
1. Better – Regina Spektor
2. Never is a Promise – Fiona Apple
3. I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry
4. Doo-Wop – Lauryn Hill
5. Family Portrait – Pink
6. Everybody Knows – Leonard Cohen
7. Money Power Glory – Lana Del Rey
8. Breathe Me – Sia
9. Stop the World – Donna Missal
10. Read All About It – Emeli Sande
11. Slow Show – The National
12. Traveling North – Vashti Bunyon
13. Fade Into You – Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio
13. Only Love Can Hurt Like This – Paloma Faith
14. When We Were Young – Adele
15. Ultralight Beam – Kanye West
16. Rise Up – Andra Day
For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words?
Soulful, Sassy, Sexy, Smart, Spiritual
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