BLOG: Race In Music

I am sick of hearing “White people ruined Hip-Hop.”

Yes, it offends me.

Firstly, I am not fully white. My mother was born in Mexico, which makes my brother and I first generation Americans. My father has an Irish-English background, making me a mixed baby.

It is easy for people to generalize a genre of music and say “Hip-Hop is for African Americans, Latin-influenced music is only for Latinos, Rock music is only for White people.” But by saying this, you are displaying how absolutely close minded and judgmental you are. There are no rules in music, and as an artist I can vouch for the fact that we do what we speaks to us, regardless of stereotype and agenda.

I grew up in Houston with many different musical influences, most of which being Hip-Hop. I grew up on artists such as Biggie, Common, JoJo, Asia Cruz, and many other influential, multi- racial artists. When I went on to college, I became heavily influenced by artists such as Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, and Jhene Aiko. Never once have I thought I should not be listening to this because of my background or skin color. It does not make me a “poser” or a “wanna-be.”

Upon moving to Austin in the pursuit of music, I played stereotypical singer songwriter “girl with her  guitar” type music. I played shows, received positive feedback, and went on to release two albums on Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, and many more distribution outlets.

This was all fine and dandy, but the only problem was I had a horrible sinking feeling I was not being myself. I was playing shows from a molded perspective of what I thought people wanted to hear. I was sticking to the “Taylor Swift” genre out of fear people would judge me and throw negativity towards the art I truly wanted to create. I played this music for four years, never truly feeling happy, fulfilled, or proud of the art I was producing.

It wasn’t until my second album release that I got fed up. I retired my stage name, put all my music in a memory box, and vowed to myself that I would stop pretending. I took on a Hip-Hop project with a few talented individuals who believed in me, and I have never been more inspired or proud of my art. This is where I need to be, and this is what  I need to be doing.

I will get judged, I will get told what I am doing is stupid, and I will get laughed at. But to this, I say bring it on, because I am bulletproof against negative people. I am happy, and therefore have no reason to put anyone down. When someone is in the spotlight, it allows for commentary and negativity from people sitting behind a computer, too scared to be bold themselves.

“My mind is unshakable. Words of hatred and anger shall not pass my lips. I will surround my enemy with thoughts of sympathy and pity that flow out from a mind filled with compassion for all sentient life.”

I am inspired by other artist’s ability to break outside of stereotypes and do what makes them happy. I am inspired by their ability to forget and disregard what people think they “should” be doing. I have never categorized an artist by race, and never intend to.

There is no good or bad, right or wrong, or race in music. It is all perception and individuality. Art is art because it is unique and boundless. - Bateau