By: Lauren Royer
HipOpera isn’t a genre I hear thrown around often. So, of course I was down to check out TRAEDONYA!’s latest EP “4 Portraits”. The EP features sound paintings of Derek Jeter (baseball), Kareem Abdul Jabbar (basketball), Pele (soccer) and Jim Brown (football) with a bonus track about Serena Williams (like I even need to say tennis). Then I learned that this NYC artist actually grew up in the Bronx hip-hop scene back in THA day. Basically, this gal has experienced the music world from two super distinct sides and we both agree that the grind needs to return. Fast.
Her voice is operatic no doubt, an actual hip-hop vocalist. While the latest EP may not be your traditional old school hip-hop, it for sure adds something classic and different in one listen. Her past was deep into the Hip Hop world as she used to run with Large Professor (he actually did ‘Invincible’ on the EP). They worked together on a few things throughout her career and continue to be friends (although she hella had to have been blushin’ when she told me they used to be more than that). Check out her vibes, check out her sounds, and I don’t know… maybe bring back the grind?
Tell me about your beginnings as a teen in the Bronx
When I first came out here, I was like ‘oooh ahh..’. Everything was bright, shiny and dirty, grungy… I was excited just to be out here and be around music. My family, we all did gospel and I always knew I was singer. Lot of people get into the game starting with their family. In the Bronx I was just always hanging with the guys, I was tall so I could keep up with them. We were always going to parties and that’s just what you did then. Hip hop was everywhere and everyone out there made music. I actually started as an MC.
So you’ve been in this for a minute now, what are some of the differences you’ve noticed about the music industry today and back in the day? What does this world need to bring back to the industry?
I think the difference is, like for the artists today, they don’t have any work ethics. I think everything is handed to people. They can create a song on their computer and whip it out there. They don’t have to worry about studio equipment. Back then, you also really had to know someone who knew someone and would have to lay down $5000 dollars to cut a demo. Plus what if you have a live band? You’d have to hire them too, no matter what kind of music you were putting out there. Plus as a woman, you really had to fight to get studio time anywhere. But you know, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to put music out there and it’s a wonderful strange thing people can actually do now.
L: Ya there’s not really as much struggle now, so there is a certain quality lacking in music because a lot of that true art comes from true struggle…
T: YA! Bring back the care: Caring about the music, caring about what you put out!
How did you and Large Professor start working together?
*giggles* well we used to date, we met through a friend and we continued to work together on a few projects over the years. He actually has taught me a lot. He taught me a lot about the industry, the business side and all. I still talk to him when I need his opinion on something.
“Four Portraits”, your latest EP feature sound paintings of iconic sports figures. What inspired you to create a whole EP with this theme?
These guys are not only active in their communities, they’re active with their fans- Serena has multicultural fans looking up to her and I hope she hears it. I hope these change the way people see themselves. I really wanted to inspire people with the work these figures have done.
You’re about to start touring with this latest EP, I think your message will be crucial because not only are you a female in this industry, but you’re tackling subject matter that normally belongs to men with the portraits you’ve done. What are you hoping to bring out of people in your tour?
I really just wanna bring out the fun! There’s not more to it. The records are the records. I want people to enjoy it and still get something out the content but I do wanna have fun and hope people will enjoy my energy.