Her name is Felicia Douglass! If you have not heard about her - you will. I discovered her on FB, where I had an opportunity to listen to her sing. After listening to a few tracks from her SoundCloud page, I was blown away! Felicia has a voice that is reminiscent of the 90’s R&B queens from our childhood; add in some electro soul from today, then top it off some 80’s influenced melodies, and BOOM! LEGIT Listen folks! I was grateful that I had an opportunity to interview Felicia about her art, what inspires her, why she considers the songwriting process to be a puzzle, and her drink of choice. Check it out:
O.C.O: How did you get started with playing – and creating – music?
F.D: My parents got me started with piano lessons when I was little and I was also in chorus and musical groups elementary school through college. I'm very thankful for that today. I didn't start writing my own songs till middle school. I got pretty attached to my 4-track recorder.
O.C.O: What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
F.D: Free by Deniece Williams.
O.C.O: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
F.D: Anywhere and everywhere. I am the weirdo on the train platform singing into my phone to record a voice memo. I'll still sift through memos from years ago and find something to expand upon. I don't have a set process, sometimes I’ll start with a short vocal idea and build around that and other times I’ll work on beats and synth parts. It's always possible to get stuck but I really enjoy writing lyrics and switching out words, it's a puzzle. Collaborating with other musicians has helped me change my outlook on generating material and being open to trying out ideas. If something's not working and you can't fix it, it's totally fine, just save it and make something else. I consider it all to be valuable.
O.C.O: I’m interested in your musical roots – which musicians and songwriters have been the greatest influence? F.D: What are your favorite albums?
I grew up surrounded by music. My father is a music engineer and when I was younger he turned half of our living room into a music studio. When he worked at other recording studios in Manhattan I'd visit and be a fly on the wall. I loved it. I was introduced to a lot of RNB, soul, funk, rap and rock music through osmosis. I really admire Sade, Sly & The Family Stone, Beck, Janet Jackson, Fiona Apple to name a few. I definitely listened to Supa Dupa Fly by Missy Elliot non-stop for a long while.
O.C.O: How would you describe your current sound?
F.D: Tropical future funk.
O.C.O: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
F.D: That's a tough question. Maybe the glorified rockstar lifestyle? I think some people forget that when we're performing at a bar or nightclub it is still our version of work. If I drink too much I won't perform well, if I'm stuck around smokers I'll feel horrible, if I'm at a loud bar all night I'll lose my voice, and I need my voice to work. Tour can be exhausting and financially taxing sometimes. When I have a long string of shows I should just wear a t-shirt that says I DO NOT WANT TO PARTY in huge letters.
O.C.O: If we’re going to buy you a drink, what should it be?
F.D: Nothing special, anything fizzy with some fresh citrus.
O.C.O: What do you think about the internet as a tool for promoting yourself & your music?
F.D: I think it's extremely helpful! I've been able to connect and work with so many artists I admire because they've come across my work, or vice versa. I'm pretty lax about posting unfinished songs and videos of the process on social media. With my solo music, I am in complete control and I like sharing different stages of my work along the way. As a visual artist, I often use Instagram as a tool to share new work. I'm also big on spreading love and positivity, inspired by some artists who are doing it right like Sinkane and Dam-funk. I didn't plan ahead when I started them but I have a few hashtag series, #felmoovs is a collection of my impromptu dance and movement related videos, mostly to songs I love, my own music, or city background noise. I'm currently up to 59 videos. My other series #trashreflections is used when I stumble upon a broken mirror set out as trash on the sidewalk and take a selfie. Sounds mundane but I love how different the settings can be, from capturing a vibrant blue sky in the reflection or carefully balancing to take a shot without falling into bags of trash. It's also transient by nature. Pass by the same block the next day and it will all be gone. I'm a New York native and I’m not sick of wandering around in the city yet :)
O.C.O: What are your plans & hopes for the future with regard to your music?
F.D: I hope to do music full time! I've been doing more songwriting collaborations with other artists which is a dream come true and I'd love to do more of that in the future. I have a few albums in the works with my bands Gemma and Ava Luna that I'm very excited to share. They'll be out in due time.
O.C.O: What advice would you give aspiring musicians?
F.D: It's a gift. If you love it and you believe in yourself stick with it!
Felicia will be performing in at Unit J in Bushwick this Saturday September 23rd! Here are the details-Spacey Presents: Felicia Douglass / Photocomfort / Inalukt / John Kengla . Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @feldou
Be sure to check out Felicia's site: http://feliciadouglass.com. She has some rad artwork! I plan on buying her CASTLE drawing!