By FRANCESCA IACONO
urbanation is the project of Bianca Ocampo (@bianca.jpeg), a 21 year-old musician and student making sounds from her SF-Bay Area hometown and northern California college town.
What drew you to music?
As cliche as it sounds, I’ve been into music ever since I could remember. My family really enjoys music so it’s always been a part of my life. Music is like a mirror to me; It’s a chance for me to express every side of me. I also like how it pushes me to be creative in many aspects, whether it’s designing cover art or figuring out how to squeeze in practices before the show.
How did you come up with the name “urbanation?”
It was my handle when Instagram first came out, then I began to use it for all of my social media platforms. It just happened to stick and I never knew what to change it to, though I’m ready for a change…
Do you have any musical inspirations? If so, who are they, and how have they affected your work?
Currently, I’m inspired by 90s music, Beach Fossils, Alex G, Dijon, people I’ve met recently, and cool weird things I never expected to happen this summer. My inspirations change all the time, but usually I write about whatever I’m feeling at the moment and it’s almost always heavily influenced by the sounds I’m hearing around the time I’m recording a song.
Where is your favorite place to perform? This year you’ve been having shows in places from coffee shops, to house shows in your college town, to a venue in Brooklyn—what have these performing transitions been like for you?
It’s been surreal. I just played my first show in New York at Baby’s All Right earlier this month and it was my first time in that part of Brooklyn. I’m grateful to have performed at venues that people I look up to have played, and it’s just surreal to know that I’ve shared that experience with them. I love meeting new people, but I think my favorite venues are the ones that are close to my hometown/college town because it feels like a big birthday party or like, a crossover episode with all of my friends from different aspects of my life.
Name 3 artists that you would want to collaborate with in the future, and why.
Steve Lacy - I’m listening to his new album right now. Can you imagine being nominated for a Grammy for music you made on your iPhone when you were 17? Wild.
Dijon - His music has incredible imagery that I strive to have in my music.
Blood Orange - Do I even have to explain this one?
Being that you create all of your music in your bedroom, do you have any aspirations of creating and recording with a team in a studio/more ‘professionally’?
I record in my room because of cost and convenience, but recording in a professional studio would be amazing. I think it’s just a matter of finding the people I trust with my sound. At the end of the day, making things that are true to myself and true to what I had first envisioned is the most important part for me.
How have your experiences as a Filipino-American woman shaped your sound and songwriting?
Music has definitely changed the way I view my own identity. I’ve grown to embrace my differences more than ever and use them to my advantage. However, I want people to know that making art as a Filipino-American isn’t always focused on our ethnic culture. Although I think it’s important to do that there’s beauty in people of color discussing the common themes we all grow up with, especially in a genre I’ve found to be a predominantly white space. Filipino people get heartbroken too, we are artistic too, we make indie music too.
What’s it like balancing double-majoring at a large university and still writing, producing and performing your own music?
It keeps me on my toes! I love being busy. Being in a college town is a great networking opportunity in all aspects and I’ve met so many people here who are passionate about listening or making music. At times it all gets overwhelming, but I find that being busy with other things only makes me want to pick up my guitar even more.
Any last words? Advice for other women/femmes pursuing music?
Don’t feel pressured to keep doing the same thing. If you’re looking to change things up, don’t feel like you have to be “consistent.” I believe that every artist has their own style regardless of how they view themselves and people really respond to work that’s authentic to the artist anyway.