Oct 26, 2014

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Latina Spotlight on Dominican-Born Songstress Roxiny

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There’s no denying the fierce femininity evoked by her presence, Roxiny (pronounced Rox-E-n-E) defines the experimental- electro-femme-pop genre and carves new paths with lyrics drenched in magical realism. As a Dominican-born and internationally raised singer-songwriter/producer, she lights the way for a new kind of pop culture femme.

When did you know music was your calling?

I’ve been singing since I can remember. There’s a story floating around about me telling my mom early on that I was going to be a rock star. I must have been around 4 or 5 years old. I believe we know our calling early on. As we grow older we either move with it or ignore it. I chose the path of my dreams.

 Who are some of your musical influences? 

This list is very long, so I’ll just name a few- Fever Ray, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks, Hole, Tina Turner. Bob Marley for his contagious spirit and the positive message he gave the world through his music. I love the palo musicians that make up the folklore of my country (the Dominican Republic), my mother who always sang me lullabies in Spanish from her childhood and dedicated songs to me like “La Bohemia” by Charles Aznavour. I’m also influenced by so many other things…my dreams, visual artists, spiritualism, the love and abundance of energies surrounding me, relationships, my experiences.

How has your Dominican cultura impacted your sound? 

The reason music runs through my blood is because of my Dominican roots. My parents played an integral part in making sure our family stayed connected to our culture even though we were raised in so many different parts of the world. From the food to the music, history, to experiencing “home” every summer of my childhood, my country and my culture was something I grew up very proud of. I remember listening to the old merengues like “Compadre Pedro Juan” by Luis Alberti and so many others. I’ve also become fascinated with the chanting and beats of palo musicians from my country, and I’ve incorporated it into my live shows. It’s amazing to see how music brings people together. When I start my shows with the chanting and drumming, people who have never heard it before, can’t help but to be moved and move to it. That’s what I love most about music. It’s a universal energy that can’t be denied.

Which of your songs best describes your life?

I would say Qoya is the song that best describes what I represent, and the most encompassing of my nature and what I hold sacred. It is a song that, more than any other, honors the feminine. I am not only a champion for women’s human rights, but also for a more balanced world in which our feminine energy is honored as much as our masculine. Each of us is made up of both, but for too long, we’ve neglected one for the other. Balance is key.

Your music has been described as “electro-femme-pop.” Why is that?

I’m making music from my perspective–a feminine perspective. Me and all my friends are tired of being objectified. I feel like every party I go to all I’m hearing is some song or another yelling “bitch” or “ho” at me through the sound system or asking me to shake it, drop it, and so on. I’m just trying to make music that’s honest and fierce, like we are.HERO

You describe yourself as a creatress and a gangstress. Why have you chosen those titles for yourself?  

As girls, we are natural born creators. Yes, we have the ability to carry life into this world, that’s the obvious part, but it’s a powerful energy in so many other ways, that once harnessed, can literally change the world. An empowered woman is a positive force to be reckoned with y punto. She is powerful, she’s a creatress, she can move mountains. I see the Benedita Da Silva’s of Brazil, the Mirabal sisters from my country, Eva Peron, Frida Kahlo, Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Mother Teresa; these women were instrumental in creating social change, and integral parts of cultural and creative movements. We have to continue to embrace that fierce, creative, and loving energy within us. That’s gangstress!

What inspires you to write music? 

Music is in my nature. There is no definitive way I go about it. It really just depends. I do my part to stay connected and receptive. I wake up, I meditate, I light my candles-that’s my daily ritual, but the lyrics come when they come. It usually happens when I’m in the shower or in the ocean strangely enough. My boyfriend knows this far too well. A melody will come and he’ll have to run into the bathroom with my phone in hand. So many of the new song ideas on my phone have water running in the background. The subway too. I have so many lyrics in my phone. They will all eventually find a home in a melody down the line.

How do you deal with creative roadblocks, such as writer’s block or creative differences with partners? 

I try as much as I can to go with the flow of the universe. If a song isn’t going anywhere, I move on to something else that inspires me; usually it’s something visual. This gives me a chance to express myself creatively still but with a different medium. In terms of differences with partners, I’d say we’re all pretty good at being considerate to one another; however they’d probably claim that Ms.Piggy is my spirit animal.

How have you chosen producers and collaborators? 

When I was with Sony they were chosen for me, As an independent artist, it’s always been more of an organic process. I don’t think I’ve ever chosen them, I’ve worked with many people..there has to be a creative connection. I’m always willing to give a new relationship a try, but my home team is made up of Shan Nicholson and Lawrence Gordon. They are like family to me. We trust one another and we can be vulnerable in our creative space. That’s something you don’t chose. It just happens.

What do you hope listeners get from your music?

I hope they get what they need to get. My songs tell stories, but those stories only become personal when they touch someone deeply.

What are you working on right now?

I’m finalizing my second EP. “Hero” was the first single and it’s still growing. We’re working on some great remixes for it, as well as a few more songs. I recently began to align myself and support some fantastic organizations for girls and women’s rights. I’ve decided to give a portion of the proceeds from my music to different causes I believe in.

For all of you who would like to join me, you can follow the link to HERO on my Bandcamp page, download the song, and help stop violence against women all in one easy step.  I’m also starting to catch little glimpses of inspiration for my next body of work. It’s always a beautiful process…I don’t try to control it, I just let it take me.

Watch Roxiny’s music video, “QOYA” below:

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Tanisha Love Ramirez

Tanisha Love Ramirez

Tanisha is the Managing Editor at NEW LATINA, and a social commentary and pop-culture writer/blogger from New York City. She studied Sociology and Women's Studies at Bowdoin College, where she developed a strong interest women's issues and community advocacy. Tanisha has written for the Bowdoin Orient and has interned at BUST Magazine and Jezebel.com.

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