Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Honestly, it was pretty much just expected of me when I was growing up. I never felt like I actively made that decision to pursue music for myself up until recently. My parents threw me into musical theater and dance at around three years old and I never questioned it. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it, initially. It wasn’t until college that I actually learned the resources and tools to develop a stronger sense of self awareness that I actually began to challenge my beliefs in all aspects of my life. It made me realize that musical theater wasn’t for me and I ended up dropping out right as COVID hit. I stepped away from music entirely for almost a year. Later into the pandemic, I was really starting to miss the opportunity to share my emotional vulnerability due to lack of human interaction and lack of musical exploration. I picked up my guitar and just started writing for the first time. This was the first moment in my entire life that I really felt like I was actively choosing to do music for myself on my own terms and not because people in my life were encouraging it just because they thought I was “good”.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I come from a family of music; my great grandpa used to sing alongside the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr.) and made a name for himself in Vegas. My parents still remind me to this day that they knew I would be a singer before I was even born.. My mom was pregnant with me and went to an ultrasound appointment. She saw my mouth moving in the womb as if I was singing – vibrato and everything. Then at two-years-old, I had been singing around the house and my vibrato was just as prominent. My dad was like, “What?! She has a vibrato!” And they immediately put me into dance and singing lessons.
I was born and partially raised in Las Vegas. Then, my family moved to a conservative area surrounding Detroit, Michigan. Making genuine friends there was difficult for me because we were in a somewhat more affluent area, creating a lot of teens who lacked self-awareness and empathy. I turned to music through choir and musical theater, which really created a solid foundation for me in music theory and provided me with an ability to tap into myself emotionally.
I went on to study musical theater at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music for about a year until I dropped out. I moved around for a bit, trying to discover where I would fit in during this transitional experience and ultimately landed in LA writing my own music.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Since this is my debut single, I am still figuring that out right now. Although I am not new to the music industry as a whole, this avenue of music is a very different experience. The transition from theater to more mainstream music was extremely confusing and sent me into a full identity crisis. The most difficult thing about this was that I had to deal with negative external factors when I wasn’t even sure of myself internally. Stepping into this realm of music, I have already been gaslit on numerous occasions and made to feel as if my words didn’t hold as much value as the people around me. Stuff like this didn’t phase me in the past, but exploring these challenges at the same time I was exploring myself in this new world of artistry really sent me into a depressive episode and shut me down for months.
Now that I have had over a year developing myself as an artist in this avenue of art, I’ve had the time to build a community around me that reminds me of my worth and has guided me through certain obstacles. I am feeling much better about protecting who I let into my creative process and into my environment. It’s definitely a learning process, but I am proud of where I am standing today.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
It has been such a rollercoaster ride for me in terms of songwriting. Theater songwriting is very direct and straightforward, whereas mainstream music tries to avoid that in my opinion. Sonically, melodies and phrasings are also entirely unique from the two genres. I struggled with this transition, mainly because I also never listened to music. I was never taking in enough inspiration to influence or inspire me to create anything. I am that weird friend that drives in silence.
Working collaboratively let me experience new perspectives and taught me how to be a better writer. I’ve begun listening to more music and working on my mindfulness to avoid any chances of me being blocked or shut down when I go to write. I am still very much learning, but I have improved so much in the last year.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs. Any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
My main issue with gigs is the parking. Being in LA, the majority of my gigs end up in West Hollywood – a city with absolutely zero parking. I typically have to walk about 10-15 after finding a space. Sometimes that’s even after paying $20 because it was the closest thing I could find. I feel unsafe when I have to do this alone. I am not sure much can be done about it, I just wish there was more access to parking for artists at these venues.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, in what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Although I am about 4 weeks ahead of my release date, I have found decent success through pre-release promotion. Before I uploaded my song to my distributor, I spent about a week creating a document to plan out every strategy I could use to promote my song before its release. The document includes a list of hundreds of emails for blogs, playlists, and other connections as well as TikTok content ideas, websites to help promote, and all that fun stuff. A lot of my time has also gone into using SubmitHub and Musosoup to secure blog posts and playlists by the time of the release. Then there will be ads through Facebook and Instagram once the song is available to stream.
Obviously, I won’t really know how well my tactics are working until my song is out and I have concrete data to evaluate, but I think the main tip I have is to just try everything you can. I read a lot of reviews on Reddit before making any commitments to spending money and honestly, this has been a life-saver. It is the perfect platform to read real, unfiltered experiences of other artists. TikTok can be a great tool for this, too!
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
- I got attacked by a monkey in Thailand.
- I swam with sharks in the ocean.
- I have been to Europe twice.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I actually just watched a TV series about Spotify on Netflix called, The Playlist – I recommend this show to EVERYONE. I think Spotify started off with really pure intentions to not only help its customers, but also the artists. As they gained more power, I think they lost a lot of support for artists and now focus more on the attention from labels and consumers. The average artist will never be able to make a living off of streaming alone and the average artist also does not have the ability to protest and take their music off of Spotify because that’s where the majority of their fans are going to be listening. Fans typically are not going to go out of their way onto a different streaming platform to listen to an artist they barely know.
I am not an expert in the music business side of things, so I’m not sure what exactly can be done to solve this problem, but I just want to see more support for the artists. I hate that I have to see me and my friends skipping out on meals and events just to be able to afford rent that month.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I learn things unbelievably fast and learned multiple languages in the past. At one point I was speaking and writing in Chinese (Mandarin), Hawaiian, and Spanish. It’s been so long now, that I am not sure how much I remember.
I never had to study for tests in school either. I would take one look at my study sheet about 15 minutes before the test and would always do well. My brain was like a sponge growing up. I’ve lost some of this as I’ve gotten older, mainly because I have lost a lot of passion and excitement for learning.
Can you tell us about your upcoming single?
Yes! “Gas Station Bouquet” derives from an 8-song project that I did back in August of 2022. This one is definitely the most lighthearted one, while still feeling super immersive and honest. I worked on the project with 2 producers and 2 co-writers, which definitely helped the creative process fly by. We spent about a week just writing and recording, getting anywhere from 1-3 songs in a day. I absolutely love hammering things out in a small time frame like this because of my OCD. I obsess over accomplishing something whenever it crosses my mind, so being able to just get it done so quickly was like scratching an itch in my brain.
The song is about a young love I experienced as I was moving all over the US. We wrote this as I was finally settling down in LA. Creating the song was an impactful moment for me. I had just experienced one of the toughest years of my life and it was such a valuable opportunity to actually sit down and write about something positive in my life amidst all the negativity swarming my mind. I don’t think I take enough time to appreciate what I have.
Talk me through the thought process of the entire project.
Since this was my first project ever, we all decided to pinpoint eight specific things in my life that shaped who I am today. My life was very stagnant at that moment in time, so I didn’t want to write about anything in the present moment. I felt like there was so much of my past I never got to explore and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. We created a list of as many things as we could about me and would use that as a reference as the producers would loop some music. Each beat would spark an idea or mood for the song from my life experiences and we would all agree on the overall message, then start writing from there.
What was the recording process like?
I rented out a studio in North Hollywood for three days, so we had to accomplish about 2-3 songs a day. That was including the backing vocals, which took a bit longer because we were basically doing those on the spot. We would all take turns with our ideas and just switch in and out of the recording booth, singing different harmonies and background melodies until we found one we liked. I am a choir nerd, so that part is usually my favorite.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
So much. As I was saying earlier, transitioning to a more mainstream sound was very confusing and difficult. Initially, I didn’t believe in myself, so I just accepted what everyone was doing around me. I sacrificed a lot of what I wanted because I believed I was objectively wrong. I got lost in the excitement of everything, too. I never really took a step back to question myself and if things were at the level I wanted them to be at.
I had a phone call with a manager in the industry and without any context, he said, “I feel like you try too hard not to be a burden. You try to make things easy for other people you’re working with, instead of speaking up for what you want.” This man had no idea who I was, no idea of my personality or life – we had maybe spoken a few words to each other before. I immediately broke into tears because I knew he was right.
I spent so much time walking on eggshells around others because I didn’t ever give myself credit for the almost 2 decades of time I have been putting into myself and my work. This was really the start of me breaking down my walls and opening up again. I won’t let that happen anymore and I will not let anyone tell me that their opinion holds more value than mine.
PRE SAVE HERE