Born in Brooklyn, singer/songwriter LATASHÁ‘s sound has been deeply informed both by the flavorful curry that is her borough and upbringing in a home informed by an array of Caribbean cultures.
In her short time making music, LATASHÁ [Alcindor], who is now living in Los Angeles, has opened for Princess Nokia and Big Sean as well as headlined and appeared at various festivals and venues including the Brooklyn Museum, South by Southwest, Afro-Latino Fest and more.
While COVID-19 has interrupted live performances, she’s stayed busy musically with the recent launch of PAST LIFE, an 11-song album mixing r&b, soul and rap. Now available on Bandcamp, all proceeds from the effort will be donated to aid in finding justice for Breonna Taylor.
Prior to the album, LATASHÁ dropped “WHO I AM,” a single featured in Netflix’s “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker” biopic. Next up, she has a new single titled “Gogo Wyne” coming in August that we will have the honor of debuting.
We spoke to LATASHÁ about her journey, upcoming projects and more. Check out our exchange below.
Snobette-What do you consider your hometown?
LATASHÁ: “My home is in Brooklyn, specifically I’m from Flatbush. However, since we’ve moved to California, this is home too. Home is wherever I feel good.
“My mom is Puerto-Rican/Haitian and my dad is Jamaican and Panamanian. I grew up with so many cultures. My mom was really into Jamaican culture, and I grew up with a Haitian grandmother so there was a lot of Haitian culture as well. The first language I learned was Spanish so my Latin roots are deep as well. All of these cultures are a part of me.”
Snobette: Where did your love of hip hop come from?
LATASHÁ: “My parents listened to a lot of reggae and dancehall when I was growing up. There was a lot of [Haitian] Compas and Latin music and I wanted to find a sound that was just for me so, growing up in New York it had to be hip hop especially in the ’90s. I secretly listened to Biggie and Lil’ Kim in my room and blasted it loud. I would change the car radio to Hot 97 whenever I could. I found in hip hop the cousin that I always wanted in my life. It’s always been rooted in my being. Especially because hip hop is a blend of all forms of music, I take that into what I do.”
Snobette: You mentioned in an interview a few years ago, that your decision to be an artist was not fully supported by your family. Have they come around?
LATASHÁ: Yes, ’cause I’m getting paid now lol! You know Caribbean parents. They have to make sure you can make money in your chosen field. In the beginning it was hard for my mother to support my dreams. She once had goals of being a singer earlier in her life and she gave that up to raise me. She had me really young. It’s really cool now though, she’s a regular at my [pre-quarantine] shows. Everybody knows her, she’s been very supportive.”
Snobette: What gave you the the drive to pursue music when you had very little support?
LATASHÁ: “I started in the corporate job world. I worked in banking, I did all the things I felt I was supposed to do. However, I wasn’t being genuine. I used to come to the office with long fingernails and colorful hair. Friends and colleagues would say, ‘You do not belong here’ and I really didn’t.
“There was a part of me that knew I had to be honest with myself. I genuinely believe we have to be honest with our creativity. We prosper more in this life when we do. That’s what pushed me. I knew I was going to be okay. Despite all the hardship I face being a black woman in this business, I would not want to do anything else.”
Snobette: You wrote “Glo Up” as a reaction against being bullied. How did you overcome this difficult chapter in your life?
LATASHÁ: “I’m continuously evolving. One of the consistent aspects of my work is change. I’m constantly growing and evolving. Some artists can look back and say they’ve been rapping in the basement since they were kids. I didn’t have a big crew teaching me how to make my way or inform my craft. Everyday I’m growing. My self evolution is how I overcome.”
Snobette: What’s your creative process as an emcee. Do you freestyle or take notes in phone or write in a notebook?
LATASHÁ: “I don’t really call myself an emcee anymore. I’m calling myself an artist because I will be diving into other forms of self expression really soon. I don’t freestyle, girl. I wish I could but I will not lie to you, freestyling makes me panic every time I try lol. There’s this video of me meeting Lil’ Kim at an MTV event and I was supposed to freestyle for her. I blanked out from the anxiety.”
“As for writing, I am a notebook girl. I have tons of them all over the house. I live in my notebooks. I’ve started creating with a new process. I flow on the mic for a little bit and I also started producing. My next album will be produced by me for the most part.”
Snobette: How do you navigate the industry? Do you have an agent or a manager?
LATASHÁ: “I’ve had managers it never worked out. I still was defining my identity as an artist and in a way I did not want a manager to interfere with my process, who I was, or who I wanted to be. I do have some publishing. As for the music industry as a whole, I strive to not follow its norms and want to develop my own structure.
“Myself and a group of friends also have a company called Lytehaus Media. It’s mainly a production company. We operate as a creative collective and we produce shows and events.”
Snobette: How did “WHO I AM” come to be included in the “Self Made” soundtrack?
LATASHÁ: “That was through my publishing. Shout out to Sugaroo Records which made that happen. We worked on the track together. I’m so happy that the track is blowing up.”
Snobette: You’re also a palm reader, When did you gift your gift? LATASHÁ: “I’m Haitian, it’s part of the culture to have spirituality in your life. My readings are what is called practical magic. I don’t do Voodoo dolls or anything like that. My goal is to send positive energy to people who are creatives. I know how hard it is to be a creator. I know that we can often place limits on ourselves and I hope that my readings can truly support people in their mastery.
“I think I always had this gift, but I was afraid to present it to the world and share it. I do readings on cards and affirmation readings as well. I’m also heavily into astrology and I have some Christian roots in me as well.”
Snobette: What music are you listening to lately?
LATASHÁ: “I cannot stop listening to Tyler the Creator‘s ‘IGOR Project.’ I know it came out a while ago but its on everyday. Lots of SZA, love her so much. Toro Y Moi, Tame Impala. Of course Megan thee Stallion because she is brilliant. Lots of Brandy, Monica, Missy Elliott. I love music so I listen to everything.”
Snobette: What’s your relationship with fashion?
LATASHÁ: “I’ve always loved fashion, that has always been important. Especially growing up in New York, you have to be fly. When I was plus size, it was difficult to find looks I wanted to wear, and wear comfortably. I’m really into comfort. It was tough around the time I wrote ‘GLO UP’ when I was learning to accept my body. I now have a healthy relationship with fashion. I’m more comfortable expressing more sensuality which is something I didn’t really do before. I’m tapping more into my feminine energy, which is a discovery I’m excited about.”
Snobette: Are there any designers on your radar?
LATASHÁ: “I for sure have designers I would love to work with like Virgil Abloh, Olivier Rousteing at Balmain. I love Dapper Dan and all the things he is doing. But I also love sporty looks as well. My aesthetic ranges from being into lots of glitters and glamour to a little more bohemian and earthy.
For example since we moved to California, I find myself wanting to match the sky. As for sneakers, I love Nike Dunk and Cortez. I’m also a skippy kid at heart with my Keds. My friends know me for wearing them and being very happy about it.”
Snobette: One of the expression of women’s hip hop is freedom and a sense of equality especially with sexual expression does that resonate with you?
LATASHÁ: “I think I am just now getting comfortable with my sexuality. I grew up in a home where sexuality was rarely spoken about. It was taboo. When I became an adult, I started to understand my body and my sexuality. Even now, I’m still learning things. The older I get, I find myself being comfortable expressing that part of me. I’m okay with being sensual in my work. I’m all about feminine energy right now, like I mentioned earlier. I’ve exuded lots of tomboy energy in the past, now I want to play with being more femme, showing my legs more. Doing me pretty much.”