Interview: Singer/Songwriter Bianca Raquel

We're always on the lookout for emerging talent and singer/songwriter Bianca Raquel is just that. We first head her on the "Prom Night" track with Anamanaguchi and recently caught up with the New York native to talk about her musical influences and upcoming projects.

Let’s start off with the basics and let people know who are you as an artist.
My name is Bianca Raquel. I’m a singer, songwriter, producer and arranger, and I take all those things seriously. I’m from New York, particularly the Tri-State area because I grew up in New York City, went to high school upstate, and right now, I’m living in New Jersey while commuting back and forth into the city. Jersey is a better focus for me. I get more work done when I’m out of the city.

Tell us a little bit about your music without categorizing yourself. How would you explain your music?
As a writer, I write everything. However, my music as Bianca Raquel is a mixture of R&B and soul with a hip-hop edge. I can even have an alternative edge sometimes. I’m mostly just R&B with an edge, though.

When did you realize that music was not only something to listen to, but an actual outlet for your expression?
Honestly, I was a weird kid. [Laughs] I remember being in the bathtub with toys making up Barney & Friends-type songs. I was just entertaining myself. As I got older, around the time I learned to read and write, my dad was like, “Is that Whitney Houston? What are you doing?” He thought I should start writing these made-up jingles down, and I would write my songs down in my marble notebook. At the time I didn’t know anything about recording, so I would memorize music. I would hear vocal arrangements like a song in my head. When I was 9-years-old, my dad took me to the studio and said, “I want you to sit here, sing your song, and tell me what the instruments are doing.” That was my first lesson in production. I learned that each instrument has a place in a song. It was definitely a defining moment for me.

From there, I really started writing. I had tons of notebooks full of songs that I memorized. If my dad had time to squeeze me in, I would go into his studio and record something. At 13, there was this John Lennon songwriting contest someone told me about. I ended up winning the contest with two other boys. We did a song, and ended up on the news. I was like, “Wow! My song is on the news.” If I listen to it today, it’s really corny, but it was really cool to have that experience. At that age, I decided I really wanted to be an artist. That same summer, I was the youngest kid to get accepted into the GRAMMY Foundation’s annual GRAMMY Camp. I got to go to California on my first trip to L.A. and be around all these musicians and songwriters. I started taking my craft very seriously.