There are a million ways to be heard in today's social digital world. Everyday there is a new overnight success story going viral. While the possibilities of reaching the masses can seem endless for new artists, it can also be difficult to set yourself apart as an artist with the potential for longevity and to capture the attention of industry veterans.
As Fat Joe's protégé and a Roc Nation artist, Angelica Vila is already building relationships with the industry's most respected. Preparing for a career in music since the age of seven, the Bronx-based R&B singer was discovered through YouTube. Today, through her social media savvy and undeniable talent, Angelica is strategic about making moves that are memorable. The video for her breakout hit "More In The Morning" garnered over a million views in the first week and has currently climbed to 9 million audio streams.
Taking to heart the advice she received from her mentor Fat Joe, "You can never make a first impression twice", Angelica is also learning the art form of business. Recently, we spoke with Angelica to get her advice on what artists can do to stay true to their vision and get their music heard by the right people.
Bet on yourself.
Photo credit: Mark Clennon
"I had to stop doubting myself. When I left high school, and I was working at American Eagle and college didn't work out, I just felt like it was a little bit difficult for me. I remember this was before I got signed with Fat Joe and Roc Nation, I was going to take a job at Skechers. The first day I was supposed to start my shift, was the same day that was Fat Joe's birthday party. He had invited me and my uncle. It was like a yacht party. So I thought, 'Do I take this chance?' Because no deal was ever in conversation or anything. We were just vibing and getting to know each other in a business and a creative aspect as well. So, I just went with my gut and I said listen, I'm going to go to this yacht party." With zero plans of looking back, taking that risk to follow her gut solidified a business partnership between her and Fat Joe.
Use your platform strategically.
"Social media is very important, especially if you want to be heard [and] if you want to get your name out there. Social media helps you gain your fanbase. Whenever I had to make a singing video or if I was in the mood to make a singing video, I would just do it on the spot and post it at the right time. I feel like more towards the nighttime, people really pay attention to my page. Around 8 pm, people are scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, etc." Having this deep understanding of what works is what has garnered and kept eyes on Angelica since she first made waves with a response remix to Justin Beiber's hit "Sorry" in 2016. Knowing how to use her talent to cut through the noise online is what has ultimately set the stage for the millions of people now tuned into the music she releases.
Photo credit: Mark Clennon
"Sometimes you are not going to get it right the first time. But it takes time. I've been doing music for 10 years now. I'm just now starting to get recognized. It really takes time and you have to be patient with yourself."
Patience will get you furthest.
"Believe in yourself and don't let others' opinions cloud your own judgement. Also, if you have a Plan A, don't plan a Plan B. Once you start planning your Plan B, you are already doubting yourself on what your true passion is. If your first way didn't work out to make your Plan A happen, find another way. Really, it is just about consistency and growth. Sometimes you are not going to get it right the first time. But it takes time. I've been doing music for 10 years now. I'm just now starting to get recognized. It really takes time and you have to be patient with yourself."
Stay true to you.
Photo credit: Mark Clennon
"A lot of times what happens is that an artist can have an idea but there are so many people around them that there are just way too many opinions. It just kind of confuses you because you may have a creative idea and then someone else says, 'I think it should go like this.' It can be tricky sometimes, but in order for you to stick to your sound, you shouldn't listen to other people. Also, you can listen to music for inspiration but don't compare yourself. Music is a vibe. As artists, we overthink a lot of what we are making. We think about what is popping now and we try to go for that rather than actually going with what you feel in the moment."
For more of Angelica, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image by Mark Clennon
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For years, actress Yaya DaCosta has graced our TV screens as a radiant and familiar face from her roles in My Kind of People, Chicago Med, and as the runner-up on cycle 3 of America's Next Top Model. Watching DaCosta’s career evolve from her early days in modeling to becoming a leading lady on hit shows is not one of mere happenstance — in fact, DaCosta credits her steady rise in Hollywood to the power of visualization.
During a recent interview with Oprah Daily, the new star of Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer, season 2, says that the practice of journaling, meditation, and utilizing vision boards have been go-to's for her manifestation toolbox.
“Vision boards are something I got into not that long ago—maybe in 2017,” she tells the publication. “My favorite thing about them is being able to look back at them. It’s this amazing invitation to have gratitude for the universe.” DaCosta recalls putting the goal of hitting six seasons of Chicago Med on her vision boards and ended up accomplishing that exactly — proving that words have power.
“When you actually put them on paper, it’s proof that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do—that we’re on the right track,” she says. “And that we’re being heard, and while we’re receiving our blessings, we’re also doing our part.”
But when it comes to visualization, the 40-year-old actress likes to take things up a notch by doing what she calls, “vision playlists” that give her a soundtrack to turning her dreams into a reality. “For whatever theme I’m working on, I find songs that support that and play them on repeat,” she explains. “A lot of that music feeds that part of my brain that is working on the level up in that area. And let me tell you: It’s been working.”
Between her many projects and balancing motherhood, DaCosta finds time to unwind and reconnect with herself through self-care practices that nurture her on a spiritual and physical level. “I love dance, yoga, and travel. I am also a doula,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time doing birth work and learning about different healing modalities, whether it’s practicing reiki or tuning in to other forms of wisdom and having conversations around mysticism and why we’re here.”
With all the time she spends keeping her hands busy and pouring into others, she emphasizes the importance of women keeping their cups full so they have enough to give themselves and all that demands their attention. And before you experience burnout, DaCosta says that one question every woman should ask themselves is: “Are you giving from the overflow of your cup?”
“I think women are natural nurturers and givers. We are receptive by nature and by physical design, and we are also taught to give. But oftentimes, we’re not taught to give to ourselves first.”
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