MUSIC: Q&A with TRAEDONYA!
SULTRY SOUL SIREN’S CAREER TAKES OFF AROUND THE GLOBE: Q&A WITH TRAEDONYA!
Genre-defying songstress TRAEDONYA! wears the title “New Age Funk Bride of Hip Hop” well and she’s on course to uphold her end of the deal with a sound that’s operatic in scope. Originally born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, she was raised in the “Boogie Down” Bronx and released her first single as a mere 13-year-old. In the early ’90s, she worked with the “conscious rap” group X-Clan, later making her presence known as the lead singer for Sample This! on Elektra Records and studying with jazz masters Chico Hamilton, Reggie Workman and Bernard Purdie. A fateful decision to move abroad as a solo artist now finds Europe and Asia embracing Traedonya’s vocal prowess but, have no doubt, she stays humble and true to those American roots.
“I appreciate my journey and realized awhile back, that there are many music legends and other entertainers that came before me, who had to cross the pond first, in order to bring their talent back around to their very own stomping grounds,” she says. Her new single, “I’ll Give It 2 U,” is climbing international charts amid critical praise. Find out more about this insightful woman in the following Q&A with Tania Fuentez Media.
NOTE: All photos courtesy of Prohibition Entertainment.
TFM: What’s making you smile these days? Anything new in your life to share with fans?
Traedonya: My new fans make me smile, they hit my Web site and Twitter page up hard. Yes, I have new music for the fans, coming out this fall. The “I’ll Give It 2 U” remix EP, called “The Remixes,” is doing so well! I’ve shot several videos for it and been doing a lot of press, online and in print publications. The fans will be seeing and hearing a lot more from me this fall.
TFM: How would you describe your music and overall style to those unfamiliar with TRAEDONYA!? What originally attracted you to the highly competitive, male-dominated Hip Hop music industry? Have you been able to maintain a peace of mind amid the chaos of landing gigs, performing across the U.S. and Europe, and the all-important studio production.
Traedonya: My vocal style is always soulful and honest. As far as my song production is concerned, I mix a lot of different sounds up with my music, I don’t really place myself in any box. I dig Hip Hop, Funk, Electronic, Dub, Dance, House, Blues and Soul, you hear all that in my music. Growing up, I always hung out with the boys and listen to the MCs battle on the block with their rhymes. I got hooked on Hip Hop when I moved to the Bronx. I actually recorded my first record at the age of 13, the record is called “Do The Boogaloo,” on Tuff City. I’ve been able to maintain peace of mind by staying busy and focusing on my purpose in this game, whether I’m gigging or not, I’m always working on my craft.
TFM: I read somewhere that you’re a big fan of country music. Ever thought about stepping out on faith in that arena or somehow merging genres for a completely new musical hybrid?
Traedonya: I dig country music, I love the stories! I wouldn’t mind doing something like that down the road, it would have to be good, tho.
TFM: Do you view yourself as a role model for young women? What hard knocks in life would you warn them about as they navigate through society’s unrealistic expectations and pressure to fit in or stand out?
Traedonya: I’m always fully aware that the younger generation pays deep attention to those of us in the music and entertainment business. So, to me all sports, film and music entertainers are role models. Should we be … no, I don’t think it’s fair. The parents and family should be the role models that they look up to on a personal level. But, I guess that’s they exchange that we all make for being allowed to do our thing and be in front of so many people, that’s the exchange for the “lifestyle.”
Society in itself, is just screwed up. Women, of all ages always have to fight society, around the world. We’re always told what to wear, how to speak, what we can do, can’t do, should do, you’re too skinny, you’re too fat, who to love, who not to love, you need to get married, don’t get married, you should have a child, don’t have a child, what career we need or don’t need, that skirt is too high, that skirt is too low, that nail polish is too bright, that nail polish is too dark … your ass is too flat, your boobs are too small, and so on and so on. I could go all day about the silly shit that we as women are told throughout our lives.
All I can say to females in the world is be true to who “you” are, find out who “you” are. Videos, TV, magazines are not real life, it’s all fantasy. It’s all prepped, pre-prepped and post-prepped. So please, do not try to copy what you see, you’ll need a glam team every single day. Almost nothing that you see, is real.
TFM: While Europe has embraced you with welcome arms, the U.S. seems slow to catch the wave. Why do you think this is and what are you doing to shift that in your favor?
Traedonya: It’s all a growth process, that’s how I look at my entire career journey in the music business. For me, the crossing of the pond as an entertainer and showgirl, has been in my favor from day one, I’ve learned so very much. Europe is where I got my chops up as a performer and became fearless of this crazy music game. The ups and downs of it, I embrace. There is nothing like grinding in a foreign country, you can’t buy it or rent it. You have to be there or be square. Living and grinding in a foreign country, you have no choice but to get stronger and get better, simply because a place that you know nothing about will chew you up and spit you out. It’s the same way when people from other countries come to the U.S, they have no choice but to get stronger or go back home. It’s one of the best moves that I’ve made in my life, moving overseas.
I believe that music lovers overseas respect the hustle of a performer far more than Americans. Americans actually expect you to beg and crawl before they show you some love, it should not be like that. My mother says that for some reason, it’s always been like this. Only when you’re on the big time do most Americans respect your craft, they don’t respect your grind. I find that most Americans want instant soup first, instead of the slowly brewed good stuff. I’m that slowly brewed good stuff, they are finally catching on to what it is that I bring to the game, as a solo artist.
I appreciate my journey and realized awhile back, that there are many music legends and other entertainers that came before me, who had to cross the pond first, in order to bring their talent back around to their very own stomping grounds. For my generation though, my story is a beautiful one, because there are so many other directions that I could have taken in life. I’m really a Hip Hop baby born in the dirty South, the country in fact. Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is my birthplace, I was raised in the north part of the Bronx, New York, and moved around parts of the West Indies while growing up. None of those places were hardcore street life for me, but they weren’t cake walks either. I’ve really been blessed to run around the globe due to my love of music, to meet so many amazing human beings and get to vibe with so many different cultures. I’m not mad at all, my experience is part of my makeup.
Right now in the United States, I do have a fan base and a lot of DJs along with new music fans are finding out about TRAEDONYA! for the first time. So, the shift that you ask about, is already taking place as we speak. I believe that real music fans respect my journey in this game, they know it’s real.
TRAEDONYA! official Web site: http://traedonya.com/index.php
TRAEDONYA! YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TRAEDONYATOURSTATION
TRAEDONYA! on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/traedonya/id145704387