Sound Off with Shane Phoenix, Interview with “Raquela” Billboard Hit Sensation and Latin American Beauty Queen is setting the club scene ON FIRE!
She says: In the beginning, it was my good buddy and NYC House/Dance producer, Matt Sietz. (Sietzsounds) Back in 2002, it started out as just he and I kidding around and having fun writing a Freestyle song call, “Here We Go Again”. Sure enough, he sent it out to KTU and it got played like crazy…
1.(Shane Phoenix) Hello Raquela, thank you so much for taking the time to sit with us. Your career is really starting to take off, tell us what is one of the biggest attributions to the success?
(Raquela) Most definitely to all the DJ/Producers I have and continue to collaborate with. In the beginning, it was my good buddy and NYC House/Dance producer, Matt Sietz. (Sietzsounds) Back in 2002, it started out as just he and I kidding around and having fun writing a Freestyle song call, “Here We Go Again”. Sure enough, he sent it out to KTU and it got played like crazy! Before I knew it, I had a huge following growing all over the east coast and that’s when I met the legendary Radio/DJ personality, Larry Vee who gave me my first crash course in the music industry. I will never forget everything that man did for me to get my career off and running!
2. (Shane Phoenix) We know that every artist would not be one if not for their fans, what is one of the favorite things about your fans you love?
(Raquela) They motivate me! They push me! They don’t give me a second to even think about giving up. I drive into San Francisco every weekend for one reason, the respect I receive from fans. It’s better than that, they really care about the music I’m creating and performing. There is nothing like “applause” but when there are real caring souls behind those applauses, it gives me that reason I look forward to waking up every morning. Guess what, now I’m driving into L.A.! Talk about being motivated!
3. (Shane Phoenix) Now you are a Billboard Dance Music sensation, but let’s go back a little, as some of your fans may know, you were also a Broadway performer. Can you tell our readers what was your favorite Broadway show you were in and why?
(Raquela) Oh wow, that’s going to be hard to answer. Every role I’ve ever played, I fell in love with. Every company/cast I’ve worked with were my brothers and sisters by the time we finished out first rehearsal. Every story, script and line I memorized, I believed in 100% because of the message it told through song and dance. Musical theatre was invented by Americans in a little town called Manhattan, NY! BUT if I HAD to answer that question, I would have to say the role of Aldonza (Dulcinea) in “Man of La Mancha”. Of course when I played in it, it was a revival version since it was originally done in 1965. The message is pretty hard core and was known to be controversial when it came out… about the same time as “La Cage aux Folles” came out. Guess 1965 was the year of controversial musicals on Broadway! LOL!
4. (Shane Phoenix) From Broadway to amazing songwriter and singer as well as performer, but also a Crowned Beauty Queen! Miss Orange County, what was it like being crowned the very first American Mexican Miss Orange County?
(Raquela) What an incredible amount of pressure it was Shane! But I mean that in a positive way. I needed to learn responsibility and poise. The county of Orange in California is an extremely proud county. Well, let me explain… pretty much all of California came from new money (as opposed to the old East coast money), so I had to make supportive appearances for the Disney’s, the Tustin’s, the Nordstrom’s, and the list goes on! When I was crowned, Orange County held the record for being the richest county in the country. Boy was I spoiled! But the challenge was to stay gorgeous, be intelligent and not let my head grow big. I was representing the riches county in the world, not me. At the time, it was also the largest county in the nation worked by illegal Mexican migrants. That is where the respect thing kicked in for me. On behalf of mi hermanas y hermanos, I was proudly crowned Miss Orange County though the Miss California/Miss America Organization, so everything I did was rewarded with college Scholarships. I never thought I’d say this Shane, but to all you young wanna be singers, go to college and finish before you hit that professional stage!
5. (Shane Phoenix) Good advice Raquela! So Which do you prefer, Singing, Songwriting, Producing, Acting or listening?
(Raquela) Geesh Shane, you may as well ask me, “If you were forced to choose, which would you prefer to lose? Your arms or legs?” LOL!!! Seriously, without one or the other, you can’t be a professional in this business. But how about this, what if I had to choose which was “more important”? Well, to me, that would be LISTENING. Sure, you could be the best in the world at Singing, Songwriting, Producing or Acting, but if you can’t listen, then you may as well give it up. Wow, I’m kinda having chills right now Shane. Like usual, your timing is good. I was just talking to a friend about this. Because we’re all so worried about not being heard, we end up missing out in half of our lives because we don’t listen. A mistake most artists make is “using” their art so they can be heard. Yes, my art speaks for me, but I “share” my dance music in hopes that it speaks for everyone. I choose to listen to my fans and what they want. Just a wise tip to my fellow artists out there… if they’re listening.
6. (Shane Phoenix) well let us hope they listen as you tell us about the Raquela we don’t know. What is your greatest fear, and your greatest triumph outside of your career?
(Raquela) Well, I’m afraid you’ve finally tapped into my weak spot, but I think I share this with many others as well… To be remembered. The true spirit we all share as humans on this beautiful green earth (we tend to destroy slowly everyday) is to make a difference. The other is to do something that you know you’ll be remembered for that helped make this planet a better place. Lastly, to not end up alone when I grow old. Oops, was that three fears? Oops! Well, I see a similarity in all three. Dose that count? The triumph to me is this; to not let fear destroy who I am. I think I’ve achieved this. By getting up every day and planning how I can be a kinder and better soul… to me, that is overcoming fear. To me, that is a triumph. In retrospect, keep it simple and just love. That’s all.
7. (Shane Phoenix) So what would your greatest dream come true be?
(Raquela) No more war! Only peace! OK, is there any other dream greater than that?
8. (Shane Phoenix) No there is not, but what about life and love, is there a special someone that has ever influenced one of your songs?
(Raquela) Yes, yes and yes! Makes me crazy thinking about that. I think I wrote more than 300 songs in my lifetime dedicated to someone I either loved, got broken by or I was obsessed by. OK, that last one… come on! Anyone who says they’ve never stalked someone before, is lying! You know! I know it! HA! Yes, I’ve written so many songs based on a significant other and I have to say, those were my best. But I also wrote a song a long time ago about stalking someone. Dance music loves that kind of twisted humor. Explains why “You’re Gone” made it to the top of the UK charts back in 2005 when I finally decided to release it. Kinda scary when you think about it. LOL! You probably wanted me to get all serious and romantic and sexy for that question, eh? Another thing about me is, at the end of the day, I’m just a big ole’ goof!
9. (Shane Phoenix) Well your music is no goof girl! What is your favorite song, outside of yours of course? and why?
(Raquela) Believe it or not (and don’t laugh, ok?) Irving Berlin’s 1925, “Always”. Do you know the story behind it? Have you really listened to the lyrics? Do you understand the simplicity of the writing? Like Cole Porter, no one will ever be able to write like that again. I know I told you I was a big goof, but if you want to calm me down, that’s how you do it. Big Band Music and, “Always”. To me, was the most romantic song of all time. Irving wrote it as a gift to his wife who he literally married a year later after she heard it. What a masterpiece it was! My Grandfather sang it to me at night as a lullaby to get me to fall asleep. Eventually, it worked.
10. (Shane Phoenix) So what is the next big step for you?
(Raquela) To finally produce and release a track on my own! Before the internet took over, I was able to rely on labels and DJ/producers to do all the licensing and releasing. But things are different now. I want do this. I’ve met so many great promoters who I’m dying to work with now. I have this great song that I’ve started a fundraiser for. Because of how the internet and media have taken over the industry, it’s become extremely expensive to release a single. I’m doing a digital fundraiser (like Kickstarter) for it. It’s called, “OMG (I Just Keep On Dancin’)”. The hook and melody are tight as hell. The bass bangs hard. The signature line will blow you away dude! You’ll never forget it, even after playing it once. I’m so excited about this track Shane! I wrote it with my buddy in Sweden, LA Rush, otherwise known as Lennie Andersson. Such a talented musician and dance music producer. We’ve been friends for a long time now and been through enough. I think it’s our turn now. I’m really hoping a lot of people will believe in me and this song enough to go to the fundraiser site and donate some bucks to the project. We want our fans and fellow artsits to be a part of this. There will be several hot remixes and a slammin’ music video production for this project. Its gonna be oober sweet!!! Tell everyone to just go to my website (raquela.com) and the information will be on the home page.
11. (Shane Phoenix) You have worked with some of the greatest artist in the business and some of the best DJ’s in the world, what would you say is the number one thing you have learned from them?
(Raquela) Patience! Even after you think your project is a wrap, wait, wake up the next day on a new ear and maybe get outside opinions. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board and even start over again. The other thing I learned was, don’t be so quick to accepting everyone’s opinion right away. Trust your instincts and listen to your inner voice. At the end, there’s just you. Just be who you are and stay true to your art… the way you want it to be expressed. Remember, opinions are meant to be taken or not taken. If your friends don’t understand that, then maybe it’s time to review who your friends are, ya know?
12. (Shane Phoenix) As success grows for you, what advice would you give others just starting out?
(Raquela) Be prepared to be betrayed and just let it go and move on. It’s sad but true. Many are quick to be nice upfront, but as soon as you turn your back, you’re thrown under the bus. Getting caught up in gossip is so stupid. I’ve caught even myself saying, “I hate drama”. Of course we hate drama! No duh! Everyone does! But why is it that two seconds later after admitting that, we’re sucked back into the act of gossip. Be careful what you hear or believe. 10 times out of 10, it’s not true. Trust me! Another thing…. Cockiness will never get you anywhere. Confidence will. So many end up thinking they’re being confident when in turn, they’re just plain cocky, yo! No one wants to be around that. Success can be the greatest fool of them all. Being respected has to be earned, so don’t always think your right. Keep from saying “I know” too often. Be prepared to learn, no matter how much you think you know the business. Just when I thought I saw it all, I didn’t. Be prepared to apologize. Be prepared to say you were wrong. You’re not supposed to be perfect. I mean, geesh! That’s just too many bricks on one shoulder, ya know? Be prepared to make mistakes and never let that depress you. Just do your best to not repeat your mistakes. You’re not alone. AND never think your audience is dumb, because they are NOT dumb!
13. (Shane Phoenix) Well obviously your are NOT! If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?
(Raquela) To actually care about why we are a part of this business in the first place. For the music and the fans. I meet so many industry people behind the scenes that are really all about themselves and getting their egos filled because of some dysfunction or hidden past agenda that they never got fixed in their heads. I call it being, “stuck doing business with poopy heads”. Please don’t get me wrong. I say this with a ton of love and unconditional passion. I’m not just talking about artists. I’m talking about producers, DJ’s, record labels, promoters, agents, managers… the list goes on and on. I think the only peeps that should be allowed to get away with that are the fans. That’s what the music is for in the first place. I admit it, the money gets in the way. So many professionals get caught up in the fantasy because they experience a euphoria and suddenly, it “feels” good. When that happens, they’re all talk and then… they’re MIA. It means they really didn’t care and conveniently forgot that this is a business first. It always was. Support the artist by paying your performers and buying their music. Please! I always say, YES, I will bring you the DIVA! And when I bring my Diva-ness to your stage, get off it when I’m on it! BUT, when the show is over and the curtain is down, I will give you… Raquela. Hi! How are you?
(Shane Phoenix) Raquela Thank you so much for taking the time to sit with us, we wish you much more success and to keep climbing higher!