FUZZ SPOTLIGHT: Coco Mamba
Former Brooklynite, Coco Mamba, has returned home to Virginia Beach to regain focus on her goals as a musician and overall human. After an artist retreat to Brazil, this filmmaker/musician/producer is feeling more inspired & energized than ever. Read on as she welcomes us into her house of vibe:
"I started off writing poems..."
F: So I always like to start with your earliest memories of music to kind of set the tone of your foundation and then we can roll from there. Anything stand out that early that had an impact on your musical pursuits?
C: Well I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember and I honestly wanted to be a singer for almost my entire life. As a kid I looked up to artists like Brandy and Aaliyah - they were just so cool and fly to me lol
I started off writing poems when I was around 8/9 and moved to writing full songs when I was about 11 on.
F: Big Aaliyah fan, gone too soon :/ That's interesting you started on the lyrical side with poems, kinda makes sense since your music has a good lyrical flow. How did you make the transition to start adding music to your poems? Was there a program you used? Or an instrument?
C: Hmmm I’m not really sure. I think I just started singing my poems in a way or I’d be inspired by certain melodies in TV shows I’d watch or songs I’d listen to, so I’d kind of sing the poems to the melodies if that makes sense
It’s something that kind of happened intuitively. I also sang in choir at my church as well as in middle school and high school, so I’m sure that also played a part F: Ahh yes, that'll do it. Sure that helped play a part in the stage performance aspect as well. So I saw you made the move from Brooklyn to Virginia beach. What was the motivation there, and is the beach what inspired the heavy island tones I'm getting from your new EP "The Motions"?
"I feel way more inspired here and as an artist who kind of creates in a full circle way vs linear."
C: So that’s a bit of a long story but I’ll try to condense it haha
So “The Motions” was inspired by an artist retreat I went to in Ilhabela, Brazil in February - March of 2020. While I was at the retreat I worked on the entire visual album there as part of a personal project inspired by “the motions” I was going through in terms of wanting to leave New York but feeling like I needed to be there for my music career. I finished up the project and retreat and was supposed to stay in stay in Brazil (in São Paulo) for another month, but the pandemic hit and the borders were closing up so I needed to leave the country ASAP lol
One of my friends was subletting my apartment in New York, so I came back to VA and quarantined with my brother for the first 3ish months of lockdown (March - June roughly) And came the Virginia Beach to stay with my mom after. While I was here I realized how much happier I was being close to family and being by the beach, so I ultimately decided to pack up everything back in New York and relocate here
So to loop back, yes in a way - the island tones and baile funk rhythms of Brazil are what inspired “The Motions”, but the beach vibes here in VA beach are what’s been inspiring my current music. F: Ahh Brazil!! I was way off! haha
Awesome thanks for that breakdown. I'm curious cuz I moved from Brooklyn myself, but to Miami, which is a beach vibe, but not entirely home. I think the pandemic really gut-checked everyone's reasoning for being where they were, especially New York where you go to 'make it'. How do you feel about the music scene in VA compared to NY? Are you finding yourself more/less productive? Collaborating more/less?
C: Oh wow that’s whatsup! I had a friend who made the same move she’s from Miami originally
So it’s tough because it’s kind of a give and take on both ends I feel way more inspired here and as an artist who kind of creates in a full circle way vs linear (I create my music and visuals kind of in conjunction to each other rather than making a song then making the visual after) there’s a lot more visual options here I also do everything in my home studio so it’s way easier to create in peace vs creating in a cramped thin-walled apartment in Brooklyn lol But on the flip side, I feel like it’s harder to network and meet other creatives here. The culture here is also a lot different than in New York. Most people my age here are married with kids and have a pretty traditional life structure, so being a freelance creative is a bit of an anomaly where in New York it’s a norm. F: Totally. The freelancers are omnipresent in NY, whereas it's just not as solidified in the vocabulary elsewhere. Kinda the same here in Miami. 'Cramped thin-walled apartment' You're making me wanna go back! lol jk Regarding your circular creativity, I noticed your film background and saw you also make beats. You're like, a triple threat...how do you juggle all of this and what does it mean for you to be involved in all of these aspects?
C: Yes, I video edit for work and it’s great because I get to do what I love and also apply those skills to my music career
Before quarantine it was really hard because I felt like I was in a bit of a crossroads. I was a freelancer which gives me a lot of freedom in theory but in order to survive in New York I had to take on a lot of jobs which gave me little to no time to focus on music I feel like now that I’m back in Virginia where the cost of living is reasonable, and also working in the post-pandemic world where a lot of media jobs are allowing editors like me to work from home more, I’m able to really embrace my full creative self As far as production goes I really do it out of necessity lol. I honestly would love to link with a producer in the VA beach area who is on the same wave length musically who I can just bounce ideas to.
With the crossroads part, I felt that I was having more success as an editor than I was as a music artist. I was making good money working for companies like Amazon, Forbes, the YouTube space in Manhattan, etc and making little to no money with music outside of a few cool blog placements. So it’s like, I’m getting older now and still haven’t “made it” musically - is it the time now to just focus completely on being an editor?
F: I think you're really hitting a quality nerve there, can totally relate to that idea of 'do I stop putting energy into this thing that bring in the dough?'
That's awesome. I feel that is gonna be a trend coming out of this where we're not being forced to cram into large cities and eat off the floor just to have a creative side C: Loool at “eat off the floor” But yeah I mean I feel like the pandemic changed a lot for me in terms of my perspective on life.
Like I’m at the point now where I’m just doing whatever makes me happy - and that's both doing film and making music. So I just feel blessed to be able to do both and don’t feel the same pressure to excel at everything because that’s not what creating is about.
F: Good. Don't stop. Cuz if your current reel is any indicator, we're gonna need as much Coco Mamba as we can get :)