Are you happy with how far you have come since B-Side EP, did you expect to have so much success?
I’m absolutely happy, and I’m even happier that you guys have been by my side this entire time. It’s always a nice surprise when something goes how you want it to, especially in this industry, so I definitely thank the heavens on a daily basis for all the blessings that I’ve received.
You’re collaboration with Paul Kim is simply beautiful, how did that come about?
Honestly, I don’t even remember who reached out to whom first. Paul and I have been twitter friends for a minute, and we’ve also been talking for a good minute about doing a duet together. I think we were both really happy and pleased when that collaboration finally happened, and especially at all the positive reception that it’s received. He’s a truly amazing artist.
Are you planning on doing more R&B tracks on your upcoming EP, or can we expect a blend of different genres?
I think that for this next project, you can definitely still expect quite a bit of R&B, but there will certainly be some other influences, inspirations and genres. I’m starting to experiment a bit more with pop, as well as working with a French DJ by the name of Franck Dona. I think you you’ll be really surprised at some of the new sounds and the direction of my future releases.
It seems a lot of artist have some hip-hop, ska , R&B and a bit of rock on their album now to have variety. Do you think this is an advantage to the artist and for their fans that listen to many genres?
I think artists are artists, and artists get inspired. R&B, Hip Hop and ska are almost natural synergies, and then the toughness of Hip Hop and some club driven R&B Pop tunes also translate to the edginess of Rock. Somehow it all makes sense. I think that artists have to create music that they like, but at the same time, crossing too many genres could be an advantage or a disadvantage. I think once you’ve sort of settled into your “sound”, sometimes fans might be thrown off when you put out music that has a different feel. All in all though, I think these things can and do happen pretty organically for the most part, and fans usually appreciate some level of experimentation.
Are you still discovering what kind of artist you want to be or do you know?
Every day! Every day I’m discovering what kind of artist I’m morphing into, and every day I’m discovering and rediscovering what kind of a person I want to be. I think it’s good to be open to learning and discovery and to constantly be challenging yourself to be better, and nicer, and more genuine.
What’s the best tweet or comment you received from a fan?
It’s really hard to pick actually. I love it when I meet new fans that I didn’t even know I had on twitter. Someone will write something super sweet about one of my songs, and I’ll happen to see it and hit them back to thank them for listening. That always puts a smile on my face!
What is the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing for me is being able to connect with people. When someone comes up to me and says that my song spoke to them and helped them get through a tough situation, that to me is what being an artist is all about. I really enjoy the fact that I’m able to have complete creative control over my projects and write music that speaks to my fans so deeply.
Would you perform at the NY State Fair? If so we need to make it happen.
I’ve actually never heard of the New York State Fair! Is that bad? But yes, let’s make that happen!
Since the last interview you have been a busy bee. From photo-shoots, to music videos, to performing in Hawaii. What has been your favorite experience from each?
I think music videos are definitely on the list of favorites. It’s always a thrill to be able to act out the storyline and emotions from a song. To then see it on screen, capture those moments visually and have them live “forever” is just such an amazing experience. That takes it to the next level!
What do your parents think about your career as a singer? Are they supportive?
At this point, I think they’ve come to accept it. I’m lucky to have parents that truly just want me to be happy. My parents realize how happy I am when I sing and when I create, so even if they don’t think it’s the best life decision I could have possibly made, in their eyes at least, they’re content to see that I’m living out my dream.
If you had $10 million dollars just to blow what would you spend it on?
If I had $10 million dollars to blow, I would definitely have to invest it wisely. I would firstly make sure that my parents are taken care of, and I would also probably get a place of my own so that I’m stable for the years to come. I want to invest in my own music as well since that’s what I live for.
I’m involved in so many non-profits and a huge number of great causes, but I think if I had that cash, I may even want to start a non-profit or charity of my own. I think there’s definitely causes out there that may deserve a little more attention or is a little more underfunded, so I would probably do some pretty intensive research to find out what that is, and then develop a way to create a catalyst for change.
What is your favorite song on the radio and your favorite album from 2011?
My favorite song of the moment is Rihanna’s Roc Me Out. I’m actually working on a cover of that for a release in the next week or so! Her latest album is definitely one of my favorites, but I’m also loving Frank Ocean’s album and Elle Varner’s mixtape as well. Those are all on heavy rotation on my iPod.
In our last interview you said that Whitney Houston was one of the people who inspired you. How did she inspire you and what was your favorite song by her? Would you do a tribute cover of one of her songs?
Oh goodness… yes Whitney is one of my all-time favorite artists, one of my biggest inspirations, and a legend that I will forever look up to. I grew up listening to her, and my music is very heavily influenced by her spirit. My favorite song of hers is actually a lesser known song called “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”. Just because you said that, I might have to do a cover.
In school did you ever perform for a Talent Show? If so what did you do?
I actually didn’t really do talent shows at school too much because I was so shy all the way up until college hit, but I was active in choir. I think that helped me to build up my confidence to perform on my own!
Are your currently reading a book? What is your favorite genre?
I’m not currently reading a book at this exact moment but I did just finish Hunger Games right in time for before the movie hit. I really like cheesy teeny bopper books (don’t tell anyone), self-improvement books, spiritual books, and adventure novels.
Can we expect an EP or a full album in the next few months?
You can! I’m releasing a new EP entitled Hunter in mid-June. I can’t wait to share it with you guys!
Who would you love to collaborate with? It could be another artist or producer.
Producer wise, I would love to work with Diplo. He’s not even from this world. From an artist standpoint, I would die to work with John Mayer.
Do you think someone who has talent should go pursue their dream right out of high school instead of going to college? Or do you think education should always come first?
Education should and needs to always come first. Everything’s a balancing act but my belief is that if you want something bad enough, you can always make it work. Education sets you up for life, not only from a career perspective, but also from a knowledge and wisdom perspective so it definitely needs to be a top priority. It took me a little longer than most to get that because I was so deeply entrenched in living out the dream, but that was before I realized that getting a higher education really is a part of that dream.
A lot of amazing movies are coming out, what are you looking forward to seeing? What are some of your favorite movies and genres?
I’m actually really looking forward to seeing Ender’s Game. I feel like it was the Hunger Game of the older generation and it’s just so well written that I would love to see how it translates on film! I’m actually pretty genre agnostic so I enjoy everything from macho adventure films to rom coms.