Speaking to LA's upcoming neo-soul artist on the honesty of her debut project, her genre of Flower Trap and the close-knit LA music scene.
Introduce yourself …
I’m Neo-soul NURD, I’m from Los Angeles, California. I make music, have been writing since I was ten and singing since I was three, so it’s all ingrained in me.
What was the inspiration for your latest single, ‘Manifesto’?
'Manifesto' is basically just a message to myself like just telling me to get your shit together and just like, you have things to do, like don’t worry about the small things you have to do, you have a purpose. You’re telling other people like don’t take it personal it’s not about you it’s about me right now and if you feel the back burn of that, then that’s your fault - It’s kind of unapologetic.
What was the inspiration for ‘Healing”?
It was a process behind it, I went through a break-up and it was horrible, it was a horrible, horrible break-up. I was just stuck in this mood and I had the feeling to get it out, so I talked to my best friend who is also my producer and we just came up with five tracks in a week and she was just like ‘let it out’ and we just let it out, mixing it was a bit of a nightmare because we literally had a week to mix it down. Even now, you listen to it and it’s not that great but it was just something I needed to get out - I had to get it out.
What’s your creative process, do you write, produce etc?
I write, mainly I work with my producer sometimes with others but my producer is called Cruel Ententions, we’ve been best friends since middle school so we’ve been making music all through middle and high school so just me and her, we literally walk into a room, she asks me how I’m feeling, we play around with sounds and try and figure out if it needs to be a mellow beat, or a hype beat but we just go from there. Either on the spot, I’ll come off the top with something or a rough draft, take a couple minutes to jot something down and we make a hit, it’s just like that.
How was it creating such a personal project with someone so close to you?
She’s my best friend so she knows exactly how to get me out of this place, like she knows what to say or how to say it, to convey what I’m feeling. I’d rather work with someone personal with those kind of projects but even if not, it’s just finding motivation in yourself to get it out.
What are your thoughts on the LA scene? Who are you listening to?
Right now, whose inspiring me? I love Ari Lennox , Tierra Whack . LA artists of course Nipsey , rest in peace, that will forever be my influence, Dom Kennedy , you have a whole bunch of underground artists here and the crazy thing is we all live in a 50-mile radius of each other. So you know somebody, that knows somebody. Mainly I listen to Jazz and Blues, growing up I lived in a household that mainly played Neo-soul and Jazz. I was raised by my mum and my grandma, and my grandma, she plays a lot of Jazz and Blues and she sang a lot so it was Gospel and everything. So, it was kind of like how do I find a mash-up between the old and the new, that makes sense and then make it my own.
Is there any new music that is inspiring your current or future sound?
Honestly, 'Manifesto', Billie Holiday kind of influenced it in a sense, just because of the rawness she has. Erykah Badu , forever, will be an influence but yeah just those two. It was kind of like I used myself for inspiration because I was just like, ‘what do I want to say’? If you had one message to say to the world, what would you say?
What is that message for you and your music?
That you’re not alone, that we all go through things and it's going to get better. Regardless, of what you go through, it’s going to get better.
Do you think creating ‘Healing’ was that process for you?
Oh, most definitely. Once I released that project , I felt such a weight off of my shoulders. We did a showcase to showcase the song and showcase other artists in the area at that time and during the performance everyone was crying, I was crying, a lot of my close friends were like, ‘we had no idea you were going through this, like the fact that you can take that and transform it into this is amazing’. It was a weight off of my shoulders, that will forever be my favourite project.
Looking through your SoundCloud I kept seeing ‘Flower Trap’, could you explain what that is?
So, Flower Trap ... my grandmother, she has a huge garden in our backyard, and flowers you know they’re soft, they’re sweet, they smell good and they invoke life. But lately, not that it’s dying but at the time when I really started focusing on music, Trap music was the pinnacle of music, everybody wants to do it and sound like it, so it means kind of like soulful but savage. I call myself as a joke like the ‘Soulful Savage’, so it's kind of like a mix between hard-cutting beats but the sweetness or the raspiness of my voice and the melody.
You also put ‘Love’ up on Spotify, how would you say your sound has grown?
I would say that I’m becoming very unafraid to try new things and to just expand on what I talk about, like when I started doing music it was like I have to be cute and talk about love and heartbreak all the time. Like now, I’m in the place where I can talk about self-assurance and problems that I have with it, just deeper things that I feel people in music, like they’re starting to get there but at that time everyone wanted to turn up and forget their problems but now I can sit here and talk about my problems. ‘Love’, I wrote that right after the breakup and it was to see that I was dependent on somebody to really make me feel a type of way but with ‘Manifesto’, I had to look deep inside to channel something.
When did you start creating music seriously?
Like 2015-16, maybe a little bit further than that but I know I had just graduated High School and was starting College.
What have been your favourite projects this year?
My favourite project so far, like I said, I love Ari Lennox, ’Shea Butter Baby’ is so timeless to me. Another favourite that I’ve been listening to, I’m a huge J.Cole fan and he’s just dropped Dreamville’s ‘Revenge of the Dreams III’ , I think that is another timeless album.
Did you catch the documentary?
Any smaller artists you’ve been listening to?
Madison Rose , I listen to a lot. I listen to Baby Rose a lot too. Oh, Lucky Daye , incredible. Diamond White, there’s so many artists, I just put my phone on shuffle and let it play, so I don’t always catch it!
Recommend five artists?
Yoski vintage, Noah James, Madison Rose , if you love pop music listen to her, Baby Rose if you love Billie Holiday and blues she’s very good at that, and my absolute favourite, Young Baby Tate. She can sing, she can write, she can do everything. I am blown away by her all the time, she has to be on that list.
What’s coming up for 2019?
I’m very spontaneous so I’ll probably release more singles and drop a project in the new year.
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Art by Amelia Deacon
Interview by Emily Fortune