Where are you from?
I grew up in the Bay Area between Berkeley and Oakland. Third generation Cali kid but my heart has always been in NYC. I moved here 12 years ago and had a 2 1/2 year hiatus back in Oakland in between.
What type of music did you hear the most growing up?
Definitely blues, folk and soul music in my home. My pops plays blues guitar and harmonica and taught me a lot about his influences. He’s a huge fan of Bob Dylan so i learned a lot about songwriting from studying him. My mom was a belly dance and middle eastern folk dance teacher so i heard a lot of world music as well. Starting in middle school it was all r&b and hip hop. The second i heard “OPP” (naughty by nature) around 10 years old, i was a lifer. That obsession with hip hop carried through until now.
What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I get asked that question a lot and to be honest, there really wasn’t a moment. I’ve been a singer for my entire life and it never occurred to me to peruse any career other than that.
What sets you apart from other bands/artists today?
I think any artist who is genuine and true to who they are as a human being inevitably sets themselves apart because every human being is so unique. I’m my opinion it’s the artists who aren’t true to themselves who are the ones in danger of sounding like someone else…for me my influences and experiences are uniquely my own. I mean, how many other artists do you know who are queer, raised by California hippies, Lives with chronicle depression, has put together multiple hip hop tours, writes for recovery blogs, sings in an acoustic blues band on the side, Has 13 years of recovery from anorexia, is a bar industry vet, strict vegetarian and has been doing yoga every day for 16 years? I could go on and on about my upbringing and lifestyle but the point is, I’m quirky, raw and influenced by many things and that all shines through in my songwriting and in the way i present myself.
For those who have never seen or heard your music before, how would you describe your music for the public audience?
Hmmmm. A cross between 90s Mary j Blige, Nine Inch Nails, Amy Winehouse and early Madonna with the lyrical influence of Nas, Killer Mike and Homeboy Sandman. Boom! How’s that for unique??
If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?
Alternative soul. I guess…that question is becoming harder and harder to answer!
Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share?
All my songs have stories! Lol. I pretty much never make anything up so whatever you hear has most likely happened. On my upcoming album, “Hangover Music,” i share a lot of things that i was really nervous about anyone else hearing. As far as BAR$ goes, the content is a little lighter. The line “I’m pushing Johnny Blue, no red” was from one night i was working behind the bar and a group of young guys came in throwing money around and i somehow upsold all of them from Johnny red to Johnny Blue. That’s like 5 $95 shots! I definitely dusted my shoulders off that night.
What do you do with your time away from music?
Work…my ass off…to pay to record more music! Haha.
I spend a lot of time doing yoga, being a Spirits dork (wine, sake and mezcal in particular), being a tia to my two baby nephews and sister to my two younger siblings, teaching journaling and meditation workshops and (unfortunately) forcing myself to go on lame tinder dates lmao.
Any upcoming shows/tours/news?
No shows or tours booked right now, I’m doing a lot of strategic planning right now as well as trying to stay warm!
In February I’ll be releasing a special song project for National eating disorder awareness week and in March I’m releasing the music video for BAR$. Then Hangover Music single #2 will be announced!
As far as shows…stay tuned 😉 – MB