Singer songwriter and activist synead returns with her new single ‘Zenith’. The track, produced by Broad City music supervisor Matt FX and Cabo Blanco, is a soul pop-meets-caribbean record that combines everything from dancehall to 80s reminiscent pop writing.
(Full review here)
Here’s what happened when we spoke about her new single and more.
With the success of Lost in the Wild and Tropicao is there any pressure for ‘Zenith’ to follow suit?
Hell yeah! When your work is well-received, you want, at the very least, to come back with something that’ll have the same affect. I just focus on remaining steadfast and gracious with myself during the creative process. As the ideas come, the music shall follow.
What is the song about and what does it mean to you?
“Zenith” is one of my favorite songs of all time. Right before this track came together, I was coming into a relatively new place in myself and in my life. I was leaving a few tumultuous years behind and looking forward to a better future and this was the initiation of that new beginning. It literally means everything to me. It’s a symbol of ascension. It’s my personal reminder to always lift myself up because that’s where I belong— above all the BS
Describe the transition from dancer to recording artist. What made you decide that music was the path you wanted to go down?
I was always following these endeavors simultaneously- singing, dancing, acting, recording, etc… So there was no real transition necessary because I was already just kind of doing it. I will say that dancing helped me find my voice. There was something about the movement that really helped me tap in. Getting in tune with my body allowed me to tap into different parts of myself and discover all the ways in which I could really utilize and play with my own sound.
In addition to being an artist you are also an activist, do you ever find the two hard to balance?
Being an artist is being an activist. You have an opinion and it is, sometimes, the artist’s duty to express that whether people agree or not. I think I have a harder time balancing being an opinionated, confident & assertive black woman who makes art with what I believe the rest of society expects from me. But expectations steals a lot from us so I try my best to not focus on that. I rather focus on the work in progress.
Are music and activism separate for you right now and how do you see them intertwining if at all?
There is duality to it. There are times when I my work will be influenced by something I experienced more specifically as a black woman. Sometimes it won’t and it’ll be more universal. I’m not necessarily organizing anymore, but one’s activism doesn’t just stop. It’s a life-long commitment to the advancement of my community.
You spent some time in London after high school, what was that experience like and do you think it influenced your music?
I just went to London in August 2016 for a theatre program. It was at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts. It was just for the summer, but it was just enough time to encourage my prolonged visit. There was so much to soak in: grime, garage, afrobeats, but I really got attached to the UK funky house vibes. I got put on to artists like Kyla, Crazy Cousinz, Katy B, Donaeo, Gracious K, and a bunch of others. I love the rhythm. It makes you move. I love that I can’t help but move when I hear it.
There is a clear reggae/dancehall influence on your song ‘Zenith’ does this stem from your Trini-American upbringing?
For sure. Trinidad has a diverse community so there are a lot of other cultural influences- Indian & African are the major ones- getting blended in. Just being brought up in a Caribbean household/neighborhood, you interact with other types of cultures from the West Indies and they all just really inspire one another. There are their differences for sure, but it’s always cool to see where we all link.
What was the songwriting process like for ‘Zenith’ and was this different from your previous songs?
Writing the other songs was a bit of a process. It wasn’t difficult per se. It required a bit more thinking and finesse. Specifics. Zenith? It was like water. It kind of just poured out. Me, Matt & Corey Cambridge (who helped co-write) met up at a studio in Bushwick/Bedstuy area and Corey initially came up with a melody for what is now “I just want to see it”. There was just something about that and from there, everything really came together seamlessly. In a few hours we had the first cut.
With all this great music coming out should we be expecting an EP or a tour anytime soon?
So…….an EP may or may not be in the works. That all depends! But a tour? Well, many things are moving at the moment and that is one of my main goals. I will be heading to Europe around August to work on some things. A lot can happen in between now and then.Can we actually make this a thing because your girl is trying to see the world! Especially Asia. That’s a dream!
What was it like working with Matt FX again, you guys seem to make great music together?
I mean I’ve known him since I’ve been 13 years old so I see him pretty regularly lol. He’s iiiiiiight tho! Not a bad lad lol. We have a very good rapport. So good that sometimes I don’t even realize how good until he emails me something and then I think to myself “wow, this track/beat is fire”. He knew. But I think we just know each other well enough that we just get it. That’s the fam.
Any last shoutouts or plugs?
Shoutout to my mama! To my family really. They truly hold me up and support me in all the ways possible and there’s nothing I could do without them. Also mad love to the squad for always working day and night to push all this forward. Lastly, to all the people who are even reading this, listening to the tunes, who share it with their friends, everyone out there supporting and really genuinely into all of the things I’m doing… I really love y’all. Oh and one more thing: Donald Trump is Scum and Black Lives Matter…forever and ever and oh yeah, ever.