This past week, Hive had the great opportunity to interview New York-based artist, TRAEDONYA!
The Bride Of New Funk Hipopera just announced her first album (“4 Portraits”) release in over 5.5 years! The album is a multidimensional project, seamlessly tying together music, sports and art. The songs metaphorically represent the four iconic sports figures as paintings. The portraits are Derek Jeter (baseball), Kareem Abdul Jabbar (basketball), Pele (soccer) and Jim Brown (football). Check the music by clicking here!
She is also is running a GoFundMe campaign to fund the design and creation of a unique stage for her upcoming tour. If you want to help out an awesome artist, this is a great way to do it – any amount helps greatly. Click here to help!
Now to our interview with the incredible lady:
Did you do anything before creating music?
I’ve always been a writer, performed, and did concerts with other musicians. I was brought into music; surrounded by family with music. My stepdad was a musician and I would go on tours when I was younger with him and hang out on the road.
When did you begin creating music?
I had my first record deal at 13. I started writing everyday about random stuff. They would start out as poems and then songs. I’ve just been writing songs forever.
How did you land your first record deal at the age of 13?
I would always hang out with this guy from my area and I used to walk around the neighborhood with rhymes. Well, one day, this well-known producer (everyone called him Pumpkin) heard me rapping. My first recording was as a background singer with Spoonie Gee (he was old school, we called him the Godfather of Rap). I was just in the right place at the right time. And that’s how I ended up doing my own stuff.
What is your creative process like?
I don’t like to be stressed out. I have a lot of stress in my life and in order for me to write, I just need to get my mind right. With so much stuff going on, I have to be in the mood and set aside time. I used to walk around with a recorder and say stuff into my recorder to keep track of my thoughts.
How has it been being a female in the music industry?
ROUGH. Everybody wants something; They want to trick you into thinking they can help you! They can’t. You gotta help yourself. The music industry is male-driven, so you’re always dealing with men (not saying I have anything against men). Women really gotta do more work than men — you always have to know the same or more than the men. Guys don’t have to prove themselves like women do. It’s been a blessing being apart of this industry but it’s a lot of work.
Is there a message you’re trying to share with your listeners?
I always got something to say; I’m opinionated. If you’ve heard my song “Another Lie” it was actually about events that happened to me. It was about my ex-boyfriend. I found out that he had another girlfriend and she approached me. Everything said actually happened. I’m always willing to share life events.
How has it been going from vinyl to online?
I’m an analogue girl in the digital world. It’s the same but different – it’s very weird. I just like to sing songs but now you have to be more visual – everyone wants to know my entire life. I did my first periscope last month and it freaked me out. People started to talk to me and I was like it works! haha. There’s always something new so I’m having to relearn everything. I like learning new things but it’s been a very weird transition.
How was it growing up in NYC? I see you were born in Rocky Mount, NC, how did you end up in The Bronx?
I’m a country city girl. Most of my upbringing was in the Bronx. It’s weird, I have a lot of country ways. Kids always picked on me because of my accent. I’m the type of person to always be smiling and talking but the people in New York don’t want you talking to them.
How was it going to the New School Jazz Conservatory?
I went for a Jazz background but I’m a Jazz school dropout. Before graduating, I left and moved overseas to England — school doesn’t prepare you for the world. I was trying to be more in the business aspect. It was a great experience and I learned a lot but it didn’t give me what I wanted. I needed to get out and do my thing. I’m not saying to drop out of school, but for me, from an education standpoint, my education did continue but was more of a hands on. Just keep learning, keep moving. If you get a chance to go overseas, just go. It’ll open your head up. It’s a whole other world.
How was it living London? What are the differences from the UK and USA?
Overseas is different. They try so many things. US is mainstream, but Europe is trying different stuff; they got open arms to sound and fashion. Also, racism is different there. Not saying there’s no racism, but it’s different. You can love who you want to love. You do what you want to do, you might get the crooked eye but you just do you. Always saw separatism when it came to class (in the US) but over in London, class is class. I was staying in an apartment when I was London and I had a Japanese neighbor on one side and a Scottish neighbor on the other side — They all hustling. I thought that was cool, it was beautiful.
I heard you also performed in Moscow, what was it like there?
Moscow is an amazing trip and place. Architecture is exactly what you would think. I was on a mini tour unveiling a private event for Paco Rabanne (perfume and clothing designer) at a RnB/Soul club. I remember listening to the radio hearing the Russian language and then hearing my song come on as advertising for the club. Everything was cray cray. We were going to event and the location was on a dark alley on a cobblestone street. It was strange but once they spend the doors, cameras were going off everywhere. I couldn’t see a thing. We also went to Red Square and they allow public drinking. It was great.
Well, as of today, I see that your song “My Favorite Guy” made it on the Upcoming 100. How do you feel about that?
It’s pretty cool and neat. The whole project “Four Portraits” is about different athletes and how they’ve changed the world. It’s more focused on them. So, it’s really cool.