By SPECIWOMEN Photography RUBY ROSE
"I was always very shy about singing and never really called myself a singer until I was about 13 when I started writing. I realized then that I wanted to pursue music."
Tell us about yourself.
I am a singer-songwriter from Hoboken NJ. I am 18 years old and in my senior year of high school. I am super excited to be attending the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts in the fall. I have been writing, performing and recording since I was 13 and although I am still experimenting with my sound I would like to say I have found myself as an artist through recording my new pop/R&B EP. I am super excited for people to hear it.
How did you get into music?
My mom was a singer back in the day so I grew up around great music like Aretha Franklin, Cat Stevens, Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder…. all of the greats. Our household was very creative. I grew up training as a competition dancer. I also did some local musical theater and I had a 2 year run in Broadway’s Billy Elliot as a Ballet Girl. I was always very shy about singing and never really called myself a singer until I was about 13 when I started writing. I realized then that I wanted to pursue music. Coming from a strict and constricting dance background, I was really drawn to the free nature of music. I love that what I am creating is completely unique to me.
Have you performed?
Yes! I love performing, it is one of my favorite parts of the business. I love getting the opportunity to actually connect with my audience. After working on something for so long in the studio, it is refreshing to actually see people’s reactions. There is a certain energy I get from performing live that really transforms my gigs. I was gigging around the city last year at places like The Bitter End, Rockwood Music Hall and The Bowery Electric. I also did some Hoboken music festivals and other events. I usually perform with my 4 piece band and we have all become really close and their talent has been key support in bringing my vision to the stage. I am really excited to start gigging again after this EP comes out!
How do you deal with nerves before a show?
I get really nervous. I always trick myself into thinking I will forget the lyrics because once I forgot the lyrics to the National Anthem in front of a medium sized crowd and it was the most humiliating moment ever. (It all ended up ok, the audience stood up and sang the rest with me, still a mortifying experience). I am also still a bit awkward when it comes to transitioning from one song to the next. Singing is honestly less nerve racking than talking on stage. But it has gotten easier the more I perform.
What genre of music do you play?
I would call it pop/R&B. I am really influenced by soul music, blues and hip hop.
What are your favorite places?
New York City is my favorite place in the world and I never want to leave except to visit elsewhere! I am so excited that I am able to stay here for college. People are always like “don't you want to get away from all this and have a real college experience?” I am like uh no. I wanna stay here forever. I visited Charleston last year and I thought it was the cutest place ever. It reminded me of a colorful mesh of my hometown, Hoboken and another favorite spot of mine, San Juan Puerto Rico. I considered applying to college there, but NYC will always have my heart. It is really ideal for what I want to do.
Who inspires you?
Amy Winehouse is my music hero. I am obsessed with all of her albums. I love how she masters combining more urban hip hop beats with a classic jazzy soulful tone. I definitely try to balance the old and the new in my music. My friends and all the crazy experiences I have had also inspire my work. I write about what I know…and what I know is drama. My favorite kind of song to write is a nice witty revenge song. So I suggest you stay on my good side:)
Do you have any other interests?
I am really into fitness. I am always spinning, boxing or at a Pilates class. I also love latin dance, especially salsa.
How is being a woman impacted your life?
I come from a long line of strong women. Both my grandma, Gigi (“Gorgeous Genny” as she likes to be called) and my mom, Jane, came from very humble means and rose to success on their own. They both practically raised their children themselves. They hauled ass as my mom would say. They have both taught me that being an independent woman is the most important quality. I am so proud of where I come from and I hope to leave a similar legacy as these two fierce ladies.