Now more than ever, women in entertainment are raising their voices in solidarity, speaking out against the prejudices and injustices they face at the hands of men. And for what seems like maybe the first time in our history as a nation, people are really starting to pay attention. Being a woman in a man’s world is no easy feat and rapper Sinderrella is no stranger to that game. A fierce and strong emcee from the northwest, she’s a unique coupling of both beauty and bravery. When you first meet her, there’s no denying her swagger. From the natural hoarseness in her voice to the way she works a stage, it’s clear that Sinderrella is the real deal. Luxe catches up with the up-and-comer as she plots her next moves.
How did you get started in music?
Well, my first dabbling would have been talking my parents into getting a keyboard from the pawn shop when I was about 6. Then I started playing the drums at 9. [I] played percussion for the next nine years. I started emceeing (rapping) at 19.
Did you start out in hip-hop or another genre first?
I never really created any of my own music before I was rapping. With drums it was always learning other people’s music from Rock to Classical, to Holiday ballads and marches; a little bit of swing too. When I think to the early keyboard days, I was all about building off the funk and jazz preset rhythms.
Who was the first hip-hop artist you fell in love with?
I guess it was Salt-N-Pepa. They weren’t the first I heard, but they’re the first I can remember really jamming out and getting into. We didn’t have cable or anything like that so I remember the first time I saw a music video which was Dr. Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin”. I was stuck staring at the TV.
How’d you get the name “Sinderrella”?
I was thinking of a name that would capture my essence and story. I’m quite a chameleon so I was thinking that, but Chamillionaire had just come out. After hearing my life story, someone said, “So I met the real Cinderella?” Something really clicked with that. But I’m a little more rough than the Disney Cinderella and [in] doing my research, the ambiguity of the original Grimm Brothers story intrigued me, so I switched the C to an S and over the next 48 hours, I saw four signs that all had the name Cinderella on them. I figured that was confirmation that that’s what I should go by. That double R really gets people though.
Which do you prefer: performing live or being in the studio?
That’s tough. There’s something magical about creating music in the studio. You allow sound to enter you and pull out whatever it desires. It’s very sensual for me. But I suppose live wins because connecting with people is what it’s all about at the end of the day. Being able to evoke a positive feeling in someone through music is really something else.
Rap is a male dominated game. Who are some female MCs that have inspired you?
I am a huge fan of a lot of female emcees actually. Where do I start? Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Boss, Salt-N-Pepa, Left Eye, Storm (The only Female Outlaw), Foxy Brown, Missy Elliot, Eve, Shawnna, Da Brat, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage, Yo-Yo, Remy MA, Charlie Baltimore, Medusa, and Bahamadia. As far as some of the newer girls, you got Ill Camille, Angel Haze, Dej Loaf, and Young M.A – they’re all dope. I’m sure I forgot a few. I’m a student of hip-hop so I love studying the greats.
What’s the message you’re wanting to convey through your music?
Man, every song has its own sound which evokes different feelings and messages depending on that sound. But I guess I would have to say above all…my truth, meaning the things that I have experienced, the things that I have witnessed, and the state of existence the world is in. I guess some would say I’m a conscious rapper because I touch on real-life issues, although I don’t necessarily stay limited to just conscious tracks. Everybody got to turn up sometimes too, that’s a part of life as well. I really just want to make the world a better place while I take up air on this planet.
What do you feel has been your biggest challenge so far?
In Life or in Music? Maybe it’s the same answer… money, not having the budget to bring to life all the art inside of me. I come from a very poor background, and LA’s a really expensive city to survive in. I have had nonstop challenges with people “offering to help me” but then they catch feelings, or [are on] some sleazy [stuff], and my lack of interest gets in the way of them following through with their end of the work. I easily have over 100 unreleased songs that just aren’t quite finished to a releasable standard, not for a lack of follow through on my part. And it’s hard to let go of art you’ve created that you can’t control the completion of. It has a piece of you. But I trust God’s timing. I know all I need is a budget, so that’s my focus.
What do you feel has been a highlight of your career?
Opening for Layzie Bone and being onstage while he performed, then having him walk me out that night and tell me I did amazing and to never stop–that was a personal highlight because I grew up on Bone Thugs and I hadn’t even released any music at that point. It was something to always remember when I was feeling discouraged. But one of the dopest projects I’ve ever been a part of is the Sheet Music: Diary of a Songwriter project with 5x Grammy award-winning producer Divine Evans. That project stands for something. And I met all these amazing people that are all my family now. We also made the Grammy ballot in 4 categories with that soundtrack which isn’t too shabby.
What are you working on next?
Well I just dropped a record called “Zombies” on Halloween. It’s the first solo single I’ve released in 5 years. It’s a DJ Leviathan beat that I got from KTF Records, and it’s got a real classic hip-hop sound to it. I’m shooting a music video for it, which I think should be ready to be released at the end of November. That will be on my YouTube channel. I’m also recording my debut EP at the moment, so stay tuned for that.
Sinderrella on Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/Sinderrella
Sinderrella on YouTube: www.youtube.com/TheeSinderrella
Sinderrella on Instagram: @TheeSinderrella)
Sinderrella on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SinderrellaTheeRapper