"Artists to Watch: RVA Edition"

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Giving artists their flowers while they can still smell them

Written by DJ ALLNATUREL

From an early age, music and I have been inseparable. It’s a way for me to escape from the pressures of reality. I love how it can bring people together from different cultures and backgrounds. Everybody can be connected through the manipulation of vibrations of sound. 

I don’t really let people into my world. Fortunately, through the gateway of music, I get to share a vital piece of myself. The purpose of this passion project not only will be to share  what I stand for, but who I am as a human being as well. Once a month, my article will have a theme and a mini mix. Each mix will reflect the theme I choose. 

For this month’s theme, I’ll be diving into the local music scene of the Richmond, Virginia area. I’m glad to be able to share my exploration of the emerging sounds of RVA. Last November, I had the pleasure of speaking with five artists that bring individuality, passion, and creativity to their music. It can be difficult for smaller artists to catch drift without the support of their community. Showing love to up-and-coming artists fosters growth in the music scene. Check out the featured artist below! 

Featured Artists:

Saaint:  @sirsaaint 

Saaint is a rapper from the Richmond area, but currently resides in New York for school. He has only been making music for two years. In October of last year, he released his debut project, Carpe Diem. In this project, Saaint shows how his captivating voice can flow over beats. Almost exactly a year later, Saaint dropped his second project, LAAURAANT. It encompasses five songs. In “Gloria”, you can’t help but to bounce with Saaint’s flow. “Danger” carries a softer tune with help from guitarist Cam Folks (Saaint’s younger brother). One thing about Saaint, he isn’t confined to a box. His creative expression goes beyond music. His painted nails and interest in street fashion is just another extension of himself. Be on the lookout for more of Saaint!

For fans of: A$ap Rocky, redveil

My Favorites: Saaint’s Story, Danger

Random Question: What is the worst color invented, and why do you think?

Saaint: I’d probably say white. But he makes it clear that all colors have a purpose.

“I’ve always been different, I’ve never wanted to be like anybody else.”

 

Vazya Soleil: @vee.soleil

Whether Vazya Soleil is talking about being “boo’d up with your chick” or putting her lyrical twist over Chance The Rapper’s “Acid Rain” beat, she finds a way to express herself. Her passion for arts started at a young age. In middle school, she started doing spoken word. Poetry was just a sample of what Vazya Soleil has to offer. She is always trying to push the boundaries and present her best self. Music has always been therapy for her. Authenticity motivates her the most. “I have to be the first of my kind, and that’s a lot of pressure,” Soleil said. Being a black disabled queer person can be extremely isolating. However, it doesn’t stop Soleil’s drive. She wants to be a representative for the underrepresented with her music. 

For Fans of: Chika, IDK

Fav Songs: Ellamao, AroundTheSun

Random Question: Most annoying animal if they could talk?

VS: A gnat, they’re already so annoying

“I get to be what I wanted to see as a kid.”

Catie Lausten: @unclecatie

She is not a native to Richmond, but over the last couple of years has made it her home. Indie pop artist Catie Lausten doesn’t always find it easy to express her feelings. However, in her songs, she likes to wear her heart on her sleeve. Her love life is the subject of most of her music. Each song resembles a diary entry. In her most recent single, “Hate Me,” she details the yearning for a past love. Earlier this year, she released two songs with her dance-pop artist friend, Benét. While creating music, Lausten values collaborating with people she feels comfortable with. For some, it may be hard to express their feelings. However, through music, she finds comfort in being vulnerable. 

For Fans of: Faye Webster, BENEE

Fav Songs: Hate Me, man, ur not my man

Random Question: Would you rather have no nose or no arms and why?

CL: No nose because I don’t care about smelling stuff. I love hugs, I need multiple hugs.

“I use my music as ‘here is what I want to actually say when I can’t say it in person’.”

 

Diego Grit: @diegogrit

At the beginning of his music venture he was strictly making beats, but that wasn’t enough for Diego Grit. In 2017, he began taking rap more seriously. At an early age, he was inspired by New York hip-hop. Diego was heavily molded by the New York hip-hop collective, Beast Coast. He references the supergroup as his religion. You can hear the Beast Coast influence in his single, “no static.” We hear a smooth rap flow over soft melodies, which is definitely a theme throughout his music.

For Fans of: Joey Bada$$, J.Cole

My Favorites: no static, Spielberg

Random Question: If you were a fruit, what fruit would it be?

DG: Pineapples, because they’re just good.

“I’m just embracing the journey.”

 

Moneá: @picklebery

Peaceful and transcendent is how I would describe Moneá’s sound. She may be new to the music scene, but it’s clear that she’s making her mark. Her first solo single, “Universe,” has gained listeners from across the world. It has received over 19k plays since September of last year. This recognition gave her the boost she needed to take her career even further. In her newest single, “Loner,” she embraces being alone and being true to herself. Monea isn’t a stranger to the creative field. From a young age, she has been writing poems and is currently in school for film at Longwood University. I recommend paying close attention to Moneá in 2022.

For Fans of: Jhené Aiko, Raveena

My Favorites: Universe, Brunch in the Garden

Random Question: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Moneá: Lamb.. I’ve never had lamb before.

“I’m always in the mood to create though, it’s crazy.”

 

Check out my mix of all the artists below-

https://soundcloud.com/djallnaturel/mix-008-ink-magazine