Interview by CREATE.Digital Music Staff
As a female, LGBTQ+, Puerto Rican, artist, and songwriter, what does your music represent?
My music represents all kinds of things, I think it’s more a question of what I’m representing in the moment, being from such a diverse background, my music doesn’t always typically have 1 politic. I would say as a Gay woman I definitely make sure I always express the fact that I have a female in mind when I’m writing about love or sex. I think for me it’s important to be able to be your authentic self and express your true intentions and where your heart lies. I think the worst suppression’s upcoming artist go thru is having to really push the essence of who they are to the side in order to please the labels. We are in a time and age were it’s essential to stay true to yourself. Now being an islander I think I mainly represent culture, mainly my culture of course but I respect and admire all cultures and being able to shout at the top of my lungs that I am proud of my ethnicity is essential for me.
You are bilingual. Explain the balance and approach needed for creating in both English and Spanish. I think being bi-lingual has actually been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Being born in the states and being taken back to PR , a place where pride thrives. It was definitely a culture shock coming back into the states at 8 years old. I remember walking to school with my mother and her teaching me how to pronounce the names of the streets properly and I think that’s where it really lies with me. Being able to make bi-lingual music and essentially projecting my upbringing is my balance. Finding a way to incorporate my native roots into the urban society. Taking a salsa note and running it into the ground on top of a hard trap drop, or taking a smooth r&b pop run and throwing it on top of a Afro-Cuban beat. I believe the essence of it just really identifies me as an individual...
You have deep roots in the Las Vegas community and are active in the culture. How have you integrated that into your music career? I definitely always point out the fact that I’m in Vegas, not from Vegas. Everything is Vegas Vegas Vegas. Mainly because most people think Vegas and they think gambling, casinos, strip...surface surface...blasé blasé. Most people don’t think Vegas has a true culture and I being from it know that information is absolutely incorrect. I think the dilemma thus far that Vegas has had with uprising artist is not the lack of talent in the city. It’s not the lack of support because any local or upcoming artist that’s came thru Vegas and performed at an open mic or a huge club know that the love the community gives is really all there. In my opinion where the disconnect happens is the follow thru. Vegas is yet to breed and artist that is able to make that staple and open those doors for everyone else to have the opportunity to shine and be seen. Especially in a city of performers where you have so many main stage shows and you have artist on the thrive in every corner of downtown. My goal is to be that artist that sews all the threads together and creates this beautiful fabric.
We know that in order to elevate and evolve, artists must diversify. What other business and creative ventures do you currently have? Well being a Latin urban artist I think you have this stigma of being kind of a rebel or bad child at one point In your career. The genre is looked upon as a rough and rugged one so needless to say sometimes I have to be that bad child, not in any major way but cannabis isn’t legal everywhere yet and it is still frowned upon in the white and blue collar communities. Ultimately I am into the healing and love it brings. I’m currently working on business ventures that hopefully I can get into more detail about soon. Also have some super dope merch dropping and just placing myself where I see opportunity fits. Lots of different avenues I’m currently exploring until something solid really flourishes.
How has your partnerships with Tribe Unity, LLC and CREATE.Digital Music impacted your vision for the next year? Oh my, I am beyond blessed to be partners with Tribe Unity LLC and CREATE.Digital Music. Let’s just say God is good and the universe has a way of placing you in the right place at the right time. If you are genuinely good to people unconditionally, that energy reciprocates. People can say what they want to say but I think it’s a proven fact that life at one point or another catches up with you. I think It’s all on us as individuals to make the type of decisions that will either make or break us. So with that being said I am beyond grateful for the Tribe that V Fuñe & Tiana Mcworther are working so hard to build me and CREATE.Digital Music is heaven sent. No more then ever I can’t taste my dreams coming true.
Pull Up on Julian Brittano
"For the past year and some change the world has been in turmoil due to Pandemic, Social injustices, protests, and deaths. My song "PULL UP" is representing of post 1920's depression and Spanish Flu era as they moved into prohibition and social gathering activities. The one constant that never seems to fade away is getting together to improve your mood, whether getting over something negative or celebrating something positive . People need their outlet. PULL UP is my call to action for the World to PULL UP and elevate." - Julian Brittano
For those unfamiliar with the multi-faceted talent of Julian Brittano, please provide our readers with a quick overview of who you are as an artist, businessman, and community leader. I am the Renaissance Man. I have a complete knowledge of how Art & Manifestation work hand in hand. I utilize each component of myself as leverage for the others. As an Artist I can paint pictures thru music or film to convey messages and plant proper seeds to the youth and whoever else is observing. The lives or ground (community) are broken up to receive the seeds by the business practices. As long as we can meet the community where they are and assist with some of their needs, they are receptive to the messages (seeds), and hopefully my life serves as a model and example of what they can do and beyond.
What people, experiences, etc. influenced your early development as a music producer and artist? I was really influenced some by Dr. Dre, Suge, Ruff Ryders, Cash Money, No Limit, the ROC, and those are really more for seeing people that come from communities like mine, making moves. I was really a serial Entrepreneur all my life, so anyone that made their way and carved out the majority of their lane has been some sort of influence in my approach to my identity. Also the many nights Bouncing at various clubs night after night hearing all genres of music has played a role in my production choices.
Name a skillset from your acting career that has helped elevate your music career.
I have to laugh but Acting has taught me how to appreciate my own voice and style of delivery. The more grounded I became with my sound on camera showed me to slow down and enjoy each line. In acting we call it being present or in the moment.
As an individual who has a positive impact on the youth in your community, what do you believe is key to increasing the access that youth have to develop skills that are required for success? They Key to increasing the access for our youth is, developing more pipeline programs via our own (PPP) Private Public Partnerships. Meaning creating opportunities and experiences for them to tap directly into their purpose and passions with guidance and resources along the way, while cultivating an environment for innovative thinking.
Who is your favorite rapper turned actor? Why?
I'm my favorite Rapper turned Actor back to Rapper. LOL It's been a real life changing experience to utilize my past to bring me full circle. However there are people that I have to give props to such as, the late DMX, Will Smith, Mos Def, 50, LL Cool J, Xzibit, Method Man, Ice Cube, and there are quite a few more. I know what it's like to balance out your energies to deliver on both platforms.
COVID-19, the economy, social injustice, and other variables have negatively impacted people's mental health. What piece of advice would you give to a fellow creative who is struggling to stay motivated during these times? People need to hear from you all. Help tell stories that people can meet you at or connect, and from there take them on a journey. One that impacts those around them and create some form of legacy.
RaneRaps’ bodacious new single Look Alive alternates between the uncanny trap sound of Kenny Beats and a classic Timbaland bounce. Bursting with thunderous drums, gripping bass, and off-kilter synths, the self-produced record urges you to dance. Better yet, look alive!
Which one of your outfits should be on display in the Grammy Museum in DTLA?
The outfit of outfits: my fishnet bodysuit, white leather cutout pants, gold boots, and red studded leather jacket. It has a Thriller quality to it but I still manage to make it my own. Any person seeing this on display would be captivated. And if they weren’t familiar with my art, they’d be compelled to research me off the strength of the clothes alone. Furthermore, I’d expect the Grammy Museum to double up on security. This outfit is so incredible that somebody has to hypothetically plan to take it for themselves. It looks that good.
As fashion visionary with no limits to your style, what brand would make the best collaborator for the creation of RaneRaps product(s)? If I were to partner with a larger brand, it’d be 1 of 2 for me right now: FashionNova specifically for an underwear and legging line or Hot Topic for a line of neon fanny packs. But, being one always down for the community, I’d prefer to reach across to a smaller Black-owned brand Jada Lebour. They carry a range of apparel but we could make magic with a run of bodysuits. I’m thinking patent leather, animal prints, and a whole lot of skin showing! The people deserve to look their best in the wildest of creations so one of these brands has the know how and the aesthetic to help me pull this off!
Starbucks or Boba? Boba forever and always. I’m caffeine sensitive and also highly disagreeable to the taste of coffee. More power to those who drink it but it dang sure couldn’t be me! That being said, coffee does smell great. If Starbucks wants my vote, I’ll revise my answer for a nominal fee!
What is an uncommonly known fact about your hometown of Inglewood, California?
Where the new Rams stadium stands was a once-famous horse racing track called Hollywood Park. While the park wasn’t profitable in the long term, during its reign it consistently drew a large crowd of gamblers, horse race enthusiasts, and fans of sport at-large. My grandfather was all 3, ahah! The only thing left of the park today is the casino. Fortunately my dad took me to watch the jockeys practice a few times and I got a chance to see up close just how magnificent the spirit of the park was. The races must have been electrifying!
Name a non-Rap/Hip-Hop influence on your current music progression.
George Benson is a major influence right now. J Patz put me on to him a few years ago. I grew up hearing the song “Give Me the Night” but never knew who sang it. Ever since, I’ve built it into my repertoire of songs to study and internalize.
I’ve become a better producer thanks to Give MeThe Night, primarily in drum groove and transitions. I learned a lot about how hi-hats establish a groove and the use of risers or synth lines to help move a song from verse to chorus, chorus to bridge, and so on. Although I’m not driving much during the pandemic, I use my in-car time to air drum as much as possible, playing that record at high volume. It’s built my knack for coming up with drum patterns and playing them in live on my records. Look Alive is a great example of my finger drumming. You can hear my imperfections establish a push and pull in the beat. That’s what makes the record so addictive - it’s living, it’s breathing, tense and loose all at once.
With the impact of COVID-19 on in-person live shows/festivals, what do you see as the advantages and/or disadvantages of live stream shows/festivals?
Live stream festivals give smaller acts more opportunities to play gigs since it’s less about sales and popularity and more about the ability to perform: showcasing charisma, musicianship, and storytelling. Many acts lack those key traits yet they stay booked in a non-pandemic world. Performance should not be going through the motions. It MUST BE extreme passion and purpose. The biggest disadvantage of no live shows has been a lack of instant feedback. I make music alone to give my fans my truest self. But, when I perform, I need them live and direct. We feed off of each other’s energy to translate those words into raw emotions. I love observing people lose themselves in the moment and become one with the experience. I’m rarely thinking on stage and totally in the moment but when I become “aware” of the present, I relish in the crowd’s laughs, cheers, and more. No emoji in the comments can outdo that communal experience.
What kind of juices and berries do you use to maintain your fro?
While I don’t readily eat avocado, I have to praise the effects it has had on my hair. I’ve spent years using awful (in terms of results and ingredients) products on my hair and I finally found a brand that became my elixir: Design Essentials. They make a great avocado based leave-in conditioner. Aside from that, I use lots of WATER. That’s the foundation and then you throw in some shea butter, coconut oil, and a host of other herbs like marshmallow root that are magic. Honey is a great resource as well. It’s a humectant, so it’ll help your hair stay moisturized. I still haven’t cracked the code on getting the ultimate fro but I know my regimen has maintained my hairline in a life like this! That’s no small feat! May I age like Ronald Isley and have these curls forever more!
As your audience continues to grow, what sector of consumers do you aim to gain more engagement from? I hope to break into 3 markets: gamers, skaters, and environmental activists. I grew up a hardcore gamer. I’d be up till the AM in elementary school playing RPGs online and that habit stayed with me long into my teens. I enjoyed the community of playing with people all across the world and making friends that I could chat to even outside of the game. That same capacity for community is even bigger now! Long live Final Fantasy!
I don’t skateboard anymore, but I do longboard. Skaters tend to be open-minded and have great taste in music. It’s just a byproduct of being “counter-culture” I suppose. With songs like mine, any kid at the park can get in the right mind to show off their best tricks. My tunes are easily digestible, groovy, and expletive-free for max volume listening. Besides, who doesn’t want to land big flips while listening to Look Alive? I guarantee if anyone skated to that song in an X-games comp, they’d take home first in all competitions.
And sustainability is a big thing for me. I don’t shout about it 24/7 but I do my best to recycle and upcycle goods, shop at a co-op, etc to reduce my carbon footprint. While corporations are largely responsible for the current environmental crisis, I’d like to use my platform to signal boost activists, fund projects in the space, and compel people every day to become more environmentally-friendly.
If you had to trade in your boots for one, which would it be, Crocs or Chuck Taylor's?
Crocs. Unironically. They’re the polar opposite of my boots in terms of comfort and I think a strap-back shoe is at least mildly cool, right? I had a Chuck phase in middle school. But they left the soles of my feet in agonizing pain after each game of pickup basketball. Aesthetics: 10. Durability: 0.
The majority of your catalog is clean by radio and DSP guidelines. Why is that important to you as an artist? Is there an advantage business and branding wise to that approach?
I was forced to listen to only clean music when I grew up. Not that I cared, but it was just a part of my listening experience. I would hate for the youth to miss out on my music and message for the simple fact that it might have a strong word in it. Therefore, I opt to make clean music. Additionally (and in my opinion), curse words don’t add weight to a song the same way a striking visual can. I’d rather impact listeners with the cinematic quality of my lyricism and/or narrative than an empathic expression of a four-letter word. Clean music forces me to weave together a good story and squeeze the most out of every idea! I love challenges.
CREATE.Digital Music Staff
On the eve of his Oh That's Filthy/CREATE.Digital Music collaborative debut "Got Me Some Love" feat. Endz, we stepped into the energy that is Noa James.
Noa James, it's an honor to be blessed with your presence and energy, Please give our audience a short background on you as an artist and what your brands represent.
Blessings! I’m an emcee from the Inland Empire that makes purpose driven music. Creating music truly is my therapy. I rap about what I love, from self love & healing to growth to anime to wrestling & more. Everything I do, I do with love with my music, online store & other ventures.
Your new single "Got Me Some Love" feat. Endz drops 3/5/21 on Oh That's Filthy/CREATE.Digital Music. Give us a synopsis of the song concept and how you hope it will connect with your audience? Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. This track in another vitamin filled with big magic. The hook is a manifesting spell for the audience to cast.
You're known as a positive energy, spiritual, and emotionally grounded artist. What's the first thought that comes to mind when I say "Love?" Strength & power. When I’m thinking of love, it’s always about how it helps you overcome & find hope. To make love last, it requires effort & effort is strength to me.
As a pillar in the Inland Empire (CA) music community, what do you believe is its biggest contribution to music? What is an area of growth needed for the next 3-5 years?
The IE has its own unique style. You have from Hit-Boy to Travis Barker being from out here. We contribute a lot in the festival scene from major concerts to indie. I feel like we need more music media in the IE; blogs, journalists, magazines, different media outlets to help shine light on the artist.
Your fitness journey is well documented. We applaud your continued effort and inspiration. Give us your top 3 keys to maintaining that focus. My Granny really wanted me to get ahold of my weight so she’s definitely one of the keys that helps me maintain focus. I like being up & active, it’s the lifestyle I want for myself so I know I have to be healthy to be able to live it. I see it as, I have to be healthy to achieve the goals that I have set for myself. I’ve been in diabetic comas, that experience made me change my habits. I’m pre-diabetic now & I don’t want to go through that again.
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