By SPECIWOMEN Photography RUBY ROSE
"I am a musician, I am a woman, I am black, I am filipino, I am happy and I am complicated"
What drew you to music?
My parents are really big music junkies so most of my childhood was spent constantly listening to music. Even til this day, from the moment I wake up, one of the first things I do is turn on music. There was always something really special about the art form to me because it was so tied in with my upbringing. For me, music really underlies every experience I had growing up so it became integral to my world very quickly.
Do you remember the moment you decided that this was the path for you?
When I went to Grammy Camp and wrote my first song. I think before that I understood that maybe I had some type of a voice, but it wasn’t until that moment that I felt I had anything to say. I felt so intimidated in a space with young musicians who were so classically trained, but when I realized I too had the capability to share my voice with people that’s when I became most obsessed with it.
Where do you draw the most inspiration from?
Musically, there are a multitude of artists, and sometimes it really depends on the day. Otherwise, I would say I pull a lot of my writing from my relationship with myself as well as my romantic relationships (I tend to be a bit of a hopeless romantic). I think being in love feels really nice and falling out of love makes for really good material if I’m being quite honest.
As a woman, how have your experiences shaped your sound?
I think being a woman has been heavily influential in the way I write my music, but I also think there are other interactions that are just as important, like my cultural background and where I grew up and even just my everyday experiences. I am really lucky to have grown up with unique experiences and all of it has really shaped myself and my music in a really positive way.
If you could collab with three people in the near future, who would they be and why?
Sade because she is such a timeless artist and my idol.
James Blake because his sound is so distinct and I admire his ability to blend genres and maintain true to himself.
Joni Mitchell because oh my god, what a writer and legend.
Talk to us about the first song you’ve ever written.
I wrote a song that was insanely corny when I was 15, I’m pretty sure it started off with “once upon a time” I’m honestly cringing just thinking about it, I’m sure I could pull up the old demo I recorded on garageband it was so god awful. The worst part is that I shared it on Facebook ugh I was so proud at the time, but now looking back I’m mostly just embarrassed.
Where does performing bring you?
Not to sound strangely esoteric, but I think performing feels like the freest form of solitude. That’s really the only way I can describe it.
Do you believe that school is a necessary step in one’s life as a musician?
I think it depends on the person - for me it was important because it helped me structure my writing and how I approached music but I think music relies most heavily on the way it makes you feel, and you can’t teach emotion in school.
Name 5 songs that always keep you going.
Shook Ones - Mobb Deep
Fantasy - Earth, Wind and Fire
I’m Every Woman - Chaka Khan
Re: Stacks - Bon Iver
Paradise - Sade