¡Soy Caribeña!: Meet the Artists
August 29, 2018
¡Soy Caribeña!: Meet the Artists
This Thursday, August 30, at the David Rubenstein Atrium, pioneering women join forces for ¡Soy Caribeña!: Womxn's Voices of the Caribbean, a powerful night of music that celebrates Black and Latin womxn, immigrants, queers, and people of color. We asked the artists Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes (a.k.a. Krudas Cubensi), Carolina Camacho, and DJ GabSoul a few questions to get to know them better before the show, which is presented in collaboration with C'mon Everybody and CaribBeing.
Top three influences (musical or otherwise)?
Krudas Cubensi: Cuban hip-hop, feminist music, Cuban music, Black music. Instincto, Queen Latifah, Magia, Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill, Tracy Chapman, working-class women and queer people.
Carolina Camacho: Ella Fitzgerald, AfroCaribbean rhythms, and my father.
DJ GabSoul: Prince, Erykah Badu, and love energy.
Artist/album you have on repeat?
KC: Our own, the new music we are making.
CC: These days, Susana Baca and Totó la Momposina.
GS: Currently, Kamasi Washington Harmony of Difference, and a lot of Fela Kuti.
Last live performance you saw?
KC: Sharon Bridgforth.
CC: Bomba Estéreo.
GS: Black Starr (Yasin Bey and Talib Kweli @ BK Hip Hop Fest).
Favorite city to play?
KC: New York, Berlin, Barcelona, Mexico City, La Habana, Cali, Colombia.
CC: This is a hard one. It's between México City and NYC. And of course Santo Domingo.
GS: Besides New York, Toronto is my fave so far.
KC: We are also painters and vegan chefs.
CC: I like to draw, and paint portraits.
GS: I have a pretty decent singing voice, and can play the drums/percussion.
Favorite book or movie?
KC: Our friends and intersectional people's posts and articles.
GS: Favorite book: Any James Baldwin anthology; Favorite movies: Brown Sugar, Purple Rain, and Anchorman.
Top three pieces of advice for aspiring artists?
KC: Focus, Passion, Dedication. Do it. Practice. Consistency.
CC: Believe in yourself even when no one does. Work hard. Be real and true to yourself in the message you deliver (music, lyrics, and persona).
GS: 1) Be AUTHENTIC. Be yourself. Know your purpose. Don't get lost in comparison. 2) Let inspiration come to you. And don't feel ashamed if you need time to download that inspiration. Enjoy and embrace the journey. 3) If your art is something you want to sustain your lifestyle, find a way to make a living off of it. Don't get stuck in the starving artist stage. And never limit yourself. Teach yourself new things that will help enhance your skills all across the board. Take the proper steps to make your work an official and sustainable business. And be open to but not completely reliant on outside sources for help.
Artist you'd most like to meet (past or present)?
KC and CC: Nina Simone.
GS: Prince and Erykah Badu.
First paying gig?
KC: La Habana, Cuba, 2003
CC: Singing covers in some big resort one New Year's Eve.
GS: It was for my friends' Black History Month art showcase/party. That was the first moment that I realized my sound was unique and my selections would be appreciated by the crowd.
KC: The last project was a movie about Afrocuban women and spirituality. Now we are working on a trilingual musical play.
CC: Working on my one-woman show, back to how all began. And taking mixing and mastering classes.
GS: Latest project: Riddim & Soul mixtape series. Current project: Solful Sessions vibe series
Country you'd most like to visit?
GS: Nepal for spirituality, U.K. for music, Ethiopia for history.
Artist you'd most like to collaborate with?
KC: Missy Elliot.
CC: A lot, from Bobby McFerrin, Concón Quemao, Enerolisa Núñez to J Balvin (yep, that's correct!).
GS: Jhené Aiko or Solange.
First time you realized you wanted to be a musician [or artist]?
KC: Since we were born, always creating beauty.
CC: When I was a little girl (really little), singing in the shower and everything was a mic.
GS: When I was very young and watched how passionately my older sister practiced her violin. I've always loved and been surrounded by a wide range of music. My sister used to participate in her school's musicals and I couldn't wait to be old enough to do the same. I fell in love with performing—acting, dancing, singing, playing instruments (percussion and piano)—and that part of me never left my Spirit, even during periods when I swayed from it. Now that I'm more self-aware and in tune, I'm finally coming into my artist self.
What you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
KC: You are important.
CC: You are your best manager, no one is going to believe more in you than you. Carry only the weight you can, even if that means fewer people on your team until you can afford more.
GS: Trust your intuition infinitely, align with your highest self and walk tall in your purpose every day. Your story was written uniquely for you, so embrace it and don't question it.
KC: Be there on time. Put the biggest effort in the most difficult part. Repeat it over and over again.
CC: Look inside. Hear your voice or the sound that you can give to your instrument from within. Give time to yourself to discover your colors. Be constant and patient.
GS: No matter how good you are, never stop practicing. If you're passionate about it, make time for it in your regular routine. And don't be critical on yourself to the point you stop having fun with it. Make many mistakes, work at it, and allow your ideas to be fluid.
You hope someone comes away from one of your shows feeling...
KC: Mesmerized, inspired. Hope. Happiness. Questioning.
CC: Alive. Happy. Inspired. With positive energy and thinking over things that maybe are not so exposed today, but in a good way.
GS: My goal with every DJ set is for everyone to feel joy and to be comfortable with being themselves, dancing and having fun without judgment.
Next goal or challenge you're setting for yourself?
KC: Keep doing it.
CC: Dropping my rawest song ever, and having my music known and playing all around the world, hopefully.
GS: Unlock my writer's voice fearlessly and dive deeper into my creativity to create meaningful productions that resonate with people and anyone who can relate.