MP3 Rain - eavesdrop
Rain''s music is a unique blend of solid R&B melodies, classic soul harmonies, and clever hip-hop lyrics.
13 MP3 Songs
URBAN/R&B: R&B Rap mix, HIP HOP/RAP: Hip Hop
One night in April in the mid-1980s, a ball of talented energy was born in Norwalk, Connecticut. This spherical bundle would bloom into a multifaceted individual who can choreograph, act, model, write songs, draw, dance, design, and sing! Joanna “Rain” Raphael is gifted in all performance arts, to say the least, and over the years of her life she has developed and sharpened her talents into skills. Music is Rain’s outlet for expressing her growing pains. She has been singing publicly since she was eight years old
Rain has a unique soulful, jazzy vocal style. Part R&B, part hip-hop, part classic soul, in equal measure. Rain''s music offers something fresh, interesting, and compelling to music-lovers everywhere. While the music industry scrambles to find the next big thing, the right image, and the latest craze for what music should be; strong songwriting remains the number one skill in the industry. She has this skill in abundance.
In the three years since she decided to make her career as a recording and performing music artist, Rain has done literally dozens of shows. Notably, in June 2006, Rain opened for Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo in New London, CT. Also this year, she has opened for Juelz Santana in Meriden, CT; and for Jagged Edge at the Hippodrome in Springfield, MA. In June 2005, she opened for multi-platinum selling artist Ja Rule at the world renowned Toad''s Place in New Haven, CT. Rain has also performed in S.O.B''s Soul Village showcase.
As well as working on her debut album, Rain worked on a project with executive producer Omarr Rambert; gifted producers Troy "Treezah" Johnson (Will Smith, Tupac, Nappy Roots, Kelly Rowland, Solange Knowles, and Michelle Williams); and Dutchafella at Will Smith’s The Boom Boom Room recording studio complex in Burbank, California. She has also worked with Sony producer Chink Santana.
Rain has been chosen as one of five unsigned artists to appear on a new reality TV show. The show, called Da Grind, will be hosted by Grammy-award winning recording artist Murphy Lee (of the St. Lunatics), and will follow Rain as she struggles and hustles her way to break into the professional music industry.
"Rain''s songwriting is already a few leaps ahead of much of the current cross-over hip-hop, because it''s not only honest but clever, too… all strung together smoothly over simply produced beats and overlapped harmonies. Her music is accessible to those just looking for a good track to dance to, but she maintains her credibility, too, with references to strong women and hard living.”
Brita Belli, Arts Editor, Fairfield County Weekly
Rain started as an acronym. Regal. Angelic. Intelligent. Nubian. (For her status, her voice, her mental condition, and her ethnicity...respectfully). It now means to give in abundance.
Stamford artist local first lady of hip hop and R&B
By AMANDA PINTO
STAMFORD — Her rap lyrics combine unapologetic toughness with sensitivity and awareness; her singing voice is reminiscent of Erykah Badu.
She seamlessly combines gritty streetwise wordplay with an unmistakable sweetness — when you enter her West North Street home, she offers an exuberant smile and a glass of apple juice.
Her name is Joanna "Rain" Raphael, and her multi-faceted artistry and persona have propelled her to local notoriety, an upcoming reality show, and acclaim as Connecticut''s reigning First Lady of Hip Hop and R&B.
A Norwalk native, Rain, 22, moved to Stamford three years ago and has pursued her music career. Her first album "eavesdrop ...", an independent release, debuted at the end of September.
Rather than simply emulating her favorite artists — she names Lauryn Hill and TLC as influences — she said she works to weave in various components from other vocalists, while adding her own personality and strengths.
"I call it a hip hop blend of R&B and soul," Rain said. "It''s its own genre in three parts in equal measure."
Soulful vocals set to a hip hop beat drive her music forward, but Rain, who began as a slam poet, said she is "lyrics forward," and that her songs are defined by their content.
"I''m in love with words so I really think my roots in poetry have done me justice," Rain said. "I think writing is my jump shot — like Michael Jordan has a jump shot, that''s my jump shot — I had a lot of people telling me I couldn''t sing."
It was in slam poetry that she earned her nickname — Rain was originally an acronym for Regal Angelic Intelligent Nubian.
She began morphing her poetry into song when she was 18, and has since amassed about 100 songs, she said.
Her lyrical background is brought forward in songs like "Diamondz" through lines such as "Diamonds, the ghetto''s a mine and/ life then cuts and refines them."
"I kind of wanted to be a female Bone Thugs," she said. "I wanted to bring that harmony to it and slow it down a little bit."
Rain, who opened for Jim Jones last week and has performed with other notable hip hop acts like Jagged Edge, Ja Rule and Juelz Santana, hopes to headline her first concert in Norwalk Concert Hall in February.
She described her first disc as "laid back," and expects to further explore her hip hop core in her sophomore album, "Hydroglyphix" slated for release in 2007.
Her career could get a further boost if the pilot for "Da Grind," a hip-hop reality show hosted by rap star Murphy Lee, is picked up for an upcoming season. Rain is among five unsigned artists whose efforts to make it in the business would be followed on camera.
The show''s pilot was shot in July, and it is currently being shopped to stations like HBO and Showtime, she said.
This is not Rain''s first encounter with fame — her first single, Thuggz LuvHer, topped Connecticut charts for 10 weeks 2003.
She was also in talks to form a "2006 Fugees" with Will Smith and Def Jam fixture Black Ice, but the project fell through.
Rain is gaining popularity with the Internet community, with thousands of comments and song plays on her site, https://www.tradebit.com
The diversity of her music is perhaps what endears her to fans the most.
Many songs are R&B flavored, but Rain also puts forth smooth jazz vocals on "Inside" and raps through a hip hop-themed "To Life!"
The content, too, is refreshingly varied.
Several "eavesdrop..." songs like "Nobody Knowz" and "Ten" celebrate men, while tracks like "He''s Sorry," and "Breathe Easy," speak to the violence and tension in intimate relationships.
Rain said some of the material is drawn from her own experiences — her family has struggled with drugs, alcohol and domestic violence — while she also pulls inspiration from those around her.
"I try to soundtrack people''s lives," she said. " That''s what I''m about. I try to give them something that''s about what''s going on in their lives so they can feel a little bit better about it."
The words she employs, too, reveal a dynamic complexity.
In "He''s Sorry," she violently threatens the life of a man who has abused her friend, while other lyrics reveal a softer side.
A portion of the album''s thank yous reads: "If I ever braided your hair of if you ever touched mine, or if you ever loaned me a dollar for the bus, or if you ever took the time to compliment me on the street or defended my name in a conversation, or even said ''bless you'' when I sneezed and really meant it, if it was for a second or for years that we knew each other and our time passed, I appreciate you."
Rain said different sides of her personality come across in her album.
"People who know me will say I''m the strongest person they know, I''m the most self-assured person they know, but I cry," she said.
This sincerity — when transferred into song — helps make her music universal.
In "Breathe Easy," she sings, "Made me the type of chick to question if I like me/ Don''t even know who I am, I became who you needed."
Her music, too, speaks to the struggle of those who grow up poor in Fairfield County.
She sings, "Found in the wealthiest county of the wealthiest country/ but still I have to hustle for this money," in "Hav U Heard?"
Rain, who grew up in Norwalk, where she was a chamber singer at Norwalk High School and vice president of the senior class, said she grew up with a "different kind of poverty," and that influenced her point of view.
"You can imagine what it''s like to live next to some of the richest people, and you eat Ramen noodles every night," she said. "I lived in a home owned by my grandmother, but we didn''t have no lights ... or we had lights, but we didn''t have food."
She has aspirations not only to make it in the music business, but also to eventually open a non-profit school for the arts.
Facilities like this are important to young people who might struggle academically and excel creatively, but lack the money to get training, she said.
"I''m big on giving back," Rain said, "The only reason I do music is to gain the respect of the youth and influence them to do better."
Rain Launches Career Via MySpace
Joanna "Rain" Raphael, born and raised in Norwalk, has been singing publicly since she was 8 years old.
Always supportive of her singing, Raphael''s grandmother would insist to anyone hosting a birthday party, wedding or funeral that her granddaughter provide the musical accompaniment.
Raphael, now a Stamford resident, has moved beyond performing at birthdays and funerals. Today she goes by Rain: an acronym for Regal Angelic Intelligent Nubian, which, her Web site explains, represents her status, her voice, her mental condition and her ethnicity. Though this may be a difficult reputation to live up to, Rain has been proving herself successful in recent years by writing and singing a unique style of music she calls "part R&B, part hip-hop, part classic soul, in equal measure," she said during a recent telephone interview.
According to a press release from Rain''s publicist, Kofi Dwinfour, Rain has performed in dozens of shows over the last three years. She has opened for Ja Rule, Ne-Yo, Juelz Santana and Jagged Edge, and she has performed twice at S.O.B.''S (Sounds of Brazil, a club in SoHo, N.Y.) Soul Village showcase. Her debut album, "Eavesdrop," produced by Troy "Treezah" Johnson, who also produced albums for Will Smith, Tupac and Michelle Williams among other artists, and Dutchfella, was released on Sept. 8. Rain also will be featured in "Da Grind," an upcoming reality television show hosted by Grammy-winning recording artist Murphy Lee.
Rain is part of a new generation of artists to gain fame digitally. She said that she''s received all of her opportunities through her Web site on MySpace. About a year ago, Dwinfour decided that MySpace would be an effective way to make Rain and her music known, she said. According to Rain, he was very right. Since last year, Rain said that she has secured 33,000 fans.
Rain''s MySpace account is updated nearly every day by either herself or Dwinfour, and it provides all the information a fan could want, including pictures, videos, music clips, notification of upcoming shows, album purchase information, informal blog posts by Rain about her experiences in the music industry and space to post adoring messages to Rain. Fans can familiarize themselves with Rain as a person, including her musical influences (Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu), her favorite food (chicken flavored Ramen noodles), her ultimate turn-on (confidence), her primary hand (left) and her addictions (denim, jewelry and shoes), among other things.
Rain''s music is also telling of her personal life. The songs on her new album "Eavesdrop" were inspired by her own life and the lives of women close to her, she said. "I try to expose some truth, but it''s not one of those sappy albums," she explained. "It''s definitely a journey through life about becoming strong and self-assured. I''m trying to empower women by exposing some of the insecurities we have and some of the things we go through in life."
Rain said that she has learned an incredible amount from the lives of her maternal grandmother, her mother and her aunt. "I give them a lot of credit for who I am," she said. Now past the days of securing birthday party gigs for Rain, her grandmother is still very supportive of her career. "She makes sure I don''t starve as an artist," Rain joked. But, she added, "I don''t like to involve my family in my music career too much because I want them to just be my family."
Beyond enlightening eager fans about Rain and her career, Rain''s MySpace account is responsible for much of her professional success, including her discovery by producers of the upcoming reality TV show "Da Grind." Rain, along with four other artists, two from St. Louis, Mo., and two from Houston, Texas, will be challenged in "Da Grind" to leave their native environment (in Rain''s case, Connecticut and the Northeast) and travel around the country trying to "solidify some buzz" for themselves in every city, according to Rain. She explained that the point of the show is "to answer the question: what does it take to get a deal? You don''t just become a star overnight, so what do you have to do?"
So far, only the pilot episode has been filmed, and producers are currently in talks with several different networks to find the best place for the show. Networks being considered include UPN, MTV, BET and Showtime. Rain said the show is expected to start production around November and hopefully will air sometime next year.
In the future, Rain said she aspires to be one of the highest selling R&B, hip-hop artists in the world. Her "B plan," she said, "is to own a host of alternative high schools and group homes to provide children with the opportunities that [I''ve had] to pursue performing arts, without the costs." This ambitious "B plan" is not an "in case of failure" alternative. Rain said confidently that she will "do it all" create music and help her community. "It''s just about being focused," she explained.
Though still quite young, despite her insistence on MySpace that she is "old enough to not have to tell you my age," Rain seems to know exactly what she wants and how to get it. She suggested that other young people hoping to break into the music industry do the same. "First and foremost, know exactly who you are, because in this game, they try to tell you exactly who you are every day. And they don''t know," she said. "If you know you and you know exactly what you''re capable of doing, you shouldn''t have any problems."
For more information about Rain and her compact disc, visit her MySpace Web site at https://www.tradebit.com . The CD can also be purchased at https://www.tradebit.com
©2006 MediaNews Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Interview with.....Artist of the Month: RAIN
Once again my Bottomline people we are back for another exclusive interview. This time around we got the first lady of hip hop and r&b herself, showering us with your beautiful presence. My people I give you this month: RAIN.
So who is Rain really?
R: Welp! Rain''s a boss! (laughing) Nah, Rain''s a very opinionated, vibrant,
necessary thought. I''m a person, but Rain is the person I''d like to be.
Shooot, Rain does what she wants, says what she wants and takes the
criticism like a champ. That''s unrealistic in terms of gaining success in
the world. (pause) I love her though! (laughing)
Where''s your home town?
R: Norwalk, CT! Born and Raised in that little town...yup.
They call you the first lady of hip hop and r&b in your city, is that because no other female gets down like you?
R: They call me the first lady of hip-hop and RnB in my state! (laughing)
Let''s be clear! But nah, the title came from some of the Connecticut Music
Pool Dj''s, bless their hearts. They''ve gone as far as calling me the Queen
of Connecticut Hip-hop and RnB. I''m a little too humble to say it myself.
Rain dubs herself the illest in Connecticut, but I work hard and it''s gone
uncontested for the past three years so....yeah, I guess no one does it like
I do it.(shrugging her shoulders)
How would you compare yourself to other female artists in the game? or is there a comparison at all?
R: I hate when artist refuse to acknowledge the struggle of the artists
before them and say they are incomparable. No my style is not like anyone
else''s, to me, because I don''t know anyone else in the game right now, who''s
taken Miss Hill, E Badu, Ms. J. Blige, Toni B, Exscape, TLC, SWV, on up to
Destiny''s Child and Alicia Keys, and then, paired that with Mahalia Jackson,
Denise Williams, and male artists like Al Green, and Sam Cooke and just
music in general, like I have. My interpretation of these people is
different from anybody else''s interpretation. So, yes, I''m unique, but my
originality isn''t all that original in reference to its origins already
being well known. You get it? I know. It''s deep. So, in short? People gon''
compare me to whatever they know until they get to know me. I embrace that.
You feature four tracks (Come High, Don''t Tease Me, Thuggz LuvHer and Feelin'' Him). Can you break down the significance of each track?
R: Those are all historic monuments in my career. They represent the
pillars for what I''ve become. My latest music is a lot different from that.
However, Come High? That''s from a mix tape I did summer of ''05. To this day,
it is lyrically one of my best creations ever! It''s about my grind and my
frustration with the industry. Love it! Love all my records!
Don''t Tease Me- it''s a creative song. I was just chillin'' with my boy Touch
who produced it and he was like, "Yo Rain, I got a track I want you to do
for me. " It came out sexy, seductive. I be dat sometimes! (smiling)
(Sighing) This is a deep question man! (laughing)
Thuggz LuvHer- You know, that was the first song I ever wrote? Wrote it when
I was 16 and it''s crazy how long it''s rode out with me. For me? The song was
my first attempt at celebrating men. The men I saw at the time were
hustlers, but I felt like and I still feel like these labels we give our men
come off so negative. Man, I love these dudes out here tryin''
to make somethin'' out of the nothin'' they''re given. Now, I don''t support or
"condone" the drug game, but my Daddy''s a hustlah legally and has paid his
dues for the illegal side. My boys? My brothers? Thugs! Or potential thugs.
Why?? ''Cause a thug is a "young violent criminal" by definition and they
ain''t no suckahs. You''d be surprised what you''ll do when you feel like your
hand is forced. So, yeah, I''m a thug''s lover and I love all my thugs ou
there. And the thugs? They love ''her" because she ain''t wrap up in what they
do. She''s worried about why they do it. I respect the reasons behind it.
Most of which are admirable!
Whew! (wiping her forehead) Okay.
Feelin'' Him. Welp this is less deep. It''s a feel good lovey dovey track in
my theme of celebrating men. I''m a Jay-Z fan lyrically and it was my first
shot at paying homage to men and hip-hop. Period. (Sipping some water)
You look and even in your music you come off more aggressive and confident than your female competitors, Is that how Rain really is or it''s a mask to stand out in the industry?
R: Damn Oprah! (laughing) Like...shit! (laughing) Um, Rain, like I said, is a lot stronger than the person pushing her out is comfortable being, socially. However, the person behind her, in all honesty, is much stronger and much more complex than Rain, and I tunnel that through her. You know? I give y''all pieces of me and most of y''all are full from that! Like that''s enough! All of me is hard to handle. So, to answer the question? The confidence and aggression ain''t even half of it and for balance, you can imagine how deep the opposite of it is. Someone that confident and that sure
has got to know what it''s like to crumble in insecurities. It just makes sense! I''m human. People forget that about artist. I don''t though, and my confidence is genuine. I''ve overcome a lot and I ain''t afraid of my story,
but just know that every smiling face ain''t happy.
Does Rain really have a love for the Thug Men or the strength that they imply?
R: Just to elaborate on my song breakdown a little more...um, where I''m from
a thug doesn''t fit the dictionary definition or the TV portrayal. Tupac was
a thug. Jesus was a thug. Malcolm X? Thug. There are women thugs too.
Harriet Tubman shot your ass if you punked out and wanted to go back home.
Thugged out! (laughing) But it''s the motives behind it though, that''s what
I''m attracted to in men. Yeah-It''s the strength these fellas have to live or
die to be free to say and do what they believe in. That takes a lot of balls
and it causes a lot of misery, and I respect the willingness to bump against
"what is" to make what "will be." Shit''s hard! We need it though.
What was is like opening up for Juelz Santana?
R: It was aight. My one word summary would be "educational." I''m grateful,
though. I wrote a blog on myspace about it.
Would you call that a huge step in your music career?
R: Um...huge? Nah! A step further though? Yeah. How much further, I won''t be
sure ''til some time has passed and I can look back on what I''ve accomplished
and see how that plays into it. You know? It was April 06 so it''s kinda
Are there other artist''s you have opening up for that left an impact on your life?
R: I opened for Ja Rule June 2005. Now looking back on that? Yeah. I changed
my grind that night. I became real bossy about my mic checks. (smiles) But
the most important thing I took from that night, well there were two things.
First, no body respects the unsigned quite like they do the signed. I was
home and Ja Rule was visiting, and the love we gave him was a hell of a lot
easier to give then the love for our own artist. It defined my grind a
little more. Ja was in my shoes once upon a time though. So I learned the
love is earned. The second thing was, outside there was a guy selling his
album for 5 beans. He was so sincere in his approach. He explained that in
order to get a deal? He had to sell a certain amount. That was big for me,
because I was not Ja Rule or this particular artist. But I''m gonna be both.
Those are the steps you take along the way. The grind is serious! I was
like...Damn! So, I bought the album.
Who are some of your musical influences?
R: Well you know. Lauryn, E Badu and Mary kinda hold me down. A few I
didn''t say would be Bone Thugz in Harmony, B.I.G. and TLC. Oh, wait I said
TLC. Faith Evans then. Faith.
Why did you choose this genre of music and what message do you want to portray in your music?
R: Hip -hop and RnB chose me! I guess that''s where the music of my heart
fits! Um, my messages will change as I change, but my goal is to provide a
conversation between men and women and families. I wanna get us to respect
one another. So I go about it by keepin'' it as real and honest as possible
for me. I wanna give people incite into what I see is wrong with us, or even
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for a song?
R: Life. Relationships. What I''ve seen and felt, and no doubt...the fellas!
(covering her heart) I got a soft spot for the guys, for real. I have two
brothers, both who love hip-hop and RnB but they get tired of hearing the
male bashing and women playing up the weak times in life. They are addicted
to lyricism, and I try to give them that, even in the introspective songs I
do. I started doing music for them and guys in general, to kinda help
balance out the reality depicted in the industry. ''Cause my boys don''t know
women who hate men all day long, or who spend their days on the couches,
red-nosed with tissue, and if they do? They don''t like ''em! The women that
surround them? My grandma, Auntie, My mommy, and me? We don''t play that!
Shoot. We got jobs! (laughing) So, I represent women like us. We feel those
emotions, yes, but we ain''t got time to be sulkin''. The women who love my
music play it on their way somewhere. It empowers the insecure parts of them
and it soundtracks reality, ya know? Love''s hard but we gotta do it!
(smiles) My brothers? They love my music and you know what I find? Most men
who don''t really dig RnB, do too. I think it''s ''cause after hearing it they
think they''re women experts or something. I don''t know! (throwing up her
hands, she smiles and sips some water)
What''s your next project?
R: Mm! My album. It''s tentatively called Eavesdrop, and it''s due this
summer. So, look out for it. We''re releasing it independently, me and the
Team Rain crew, and we hope to sell. You never know, but it''s a banger!
How did you get involved in this industry?
R: God. I ain''t gonna get all religious or nothing, but I am very spiritual
and I know nobody but Him made the things I''ve accomplished possible and I
ain''t gonna front on that. I started a little over three years ago, seriously
and I''ve done some things its taking other people ten and twenty years to
do. I recorded my first hook when I was 16, with one of my boys. Since then
I''ve been so blessed in the people I''ve met. Ya know? The people on my team
wake up in the morning and they''ve dreamt the same thing I dreamt last
night, me on-stage before a sold out crowd blowing a kiss of appreciation
for supporting me and my music. That''s real to me. And God did that.
Do you find it hard being an independant artist in the industry?
R: Nah, I prefer it in terms of a solo career. I can only depend on me to do
my music and I''m reliable with that. In terms of the industry as a whole?
Yeah, it''s hella hard, but what''s not?
Is being signed something that you strive for?
R: Um yeah. But being felt and recognized is more important to me. I wanna
help people by doing what I do and love doing. If a deal would help me help
y''all who listen? Yup! I want a deal, but if I help on the levels I''m
looking to help on without a deal, then amen! (laughing)
What advice would you give other young people trying to make a name in this industry?
R: Grind non-stop. And when you think you''re doing enough? Grind harder.
Learn as much as you can from others who''ve come before you. Be a student of
the game. Study flows 101, songwriting 103, stage presence 105, I mean
getcha game up, because what you don''t have? Someone else does and that''s
all they wanna know in order to say no. And you do that by being a great
listener. You ain''t gotta pay for that. Shoot, listening as opposed to just
hearing music''ll make the world a better place! That''s how the unsigned real
talent will get deals. If we as listeners raised the bar on what we listen
to? Better music will be made. Feel me? Oh, and pray.
What is in the future for Rain?
R: Oh I''ma make it do what it do baby! (laughing) I keep lots of irons in
the fire. You never know what doors are gonna open first. I''m really busy
right now and I love it!
Any plans to come to Toronto to bless us with your gifted talent?
I''m actually working on it, believe it or not? Something in the summer of
06. We''ll see. Keep in contact with me for updates. I''ll let you know.
Either through https://www.tradebit.com or through my pending website
https://www.tradebit.comwhich should be coming soon.
Top 5 hip hop albums ever made?
Top 5? Awww that''s tough... I''m not gonna go as far back as Helter Skelter
and Boot Camp Clik. Which, no frontin'', I just recently fell in love with.
I''ll stay kinda current. In no particular order,
Reasonable Doubt- Jay
Ready to Die- Big
East 1999 Eternal- Bone
Worst album you ever heard?
R: As an artist I can''t morally do that one, Craig. Nah, I won''t ever
degrade another artist like that, ''cause I know what it takes to make an
album and to try and get a deal and nah...I ain''t got nothin'' to say. Rain''s
real, but I''m not disrespectful and there''s a big damn difference. (shaking
Rain, it''s been a shower of blessing having this interview with you. I wish you all the best in your music and hopefully we can get you out here in Toronto for you to do your thing for us.
R: (smiling) No doubt! Thanks a lot! I appreciate the opportunity.
Remember, the album, Eavesdrop is coming strictly for music listeners real
soon. Go cop dat!
That''s a wrap people see y''all next month for another interview.
--the brave becomes great, the great becomes legends, LEGENDS becomes forgotten stories that we see in HEAVEN-- https://www.tradebit.comus/https://www.tradebit.comus
© 2006 bottomline entertainment. Service terms and conditions.
After The Rain: Comes Strength.
By Tachelle Shamash Wilkes
Tachelle: Tell us what energies makes up Rain?
Rain (laughing): Oh okay! So you''re goin'' deep today, huh? (pausing) I guess if I had to break it down I would say that I''m 100% positive. That 100 percent would break down into 60-20-20, for my freedom, creativity, and inquisitive manner, respectively.
T: Where did the name Rain come from?
R: Ah, the infamous pregunta...Rain started off as an acronym. It meant Regal, Angelic, Intelligent, Nubian- for my birth right, my voice, my mind, and my ethnicity. Over time it''s come to have many meanings for me, but the most current is, "to give in abundance." You know, to Rain down or shower with gifts? Yeah... I''m Rain.
T: When did you start singing and writing songs?
R: I have been singing all my life. My grandma was always volunteering my voice to some event as a child, but I took it seriously, as my career, in 2002. I was pretty well known at the local poetry sets and decided to write music, but as a rapper. I thought the transition would be easier for me and I was trying to impress the fellas. I didn''t decide to pursue singing until the opportunity was presented to me. One of my boys, who was a stranger at the time, heard me singing in the corner store. He was already into music and asked me to do a hook for him. I wrote the hook to a beat that night, laid it down and the rest is history! From there I began grindin'' and reaching out to get my music recorded. I ran into some great people along the way, some still around, others long gone.
T: What musical genres do you encompass in your artistry?
R: Well, I like to keep my box as large as possible, but I believe I am a blend of Hip-hop, RnB, and Soul. You gotta kinda let me have all three, because a classic example of a Rain song will have a well constructed RnB melody with soulful harmonies and some witty hip-hop lyrics. It''s a lot to hear on the first listen, I know (laughing)!
T: When did you make your entrance onto the music scene?
R: On a local, unsigned, national, and minimally international level, I would have to say that I "premiered" as opposed to "debuted" in Summer of 2004. I had my first show as "Rain" at Jackie''s Blues Cafe in New Haven. Shouts out to Ms. Thomas! I say premiered because I haven''t released an album yet. To me, that date will be my entrance or debut into music, officially.
T: Is the artist and person one in the same?
R:Mmmm...I gotta say yes. Rain is me, from my point of view. She''s the girl I know that I am. She lives by my rules and my morals and to meet her is to meet the person I am most comfortable being. It''s a little complicated, but Rain is real. She cries in public, makes mistakes in public, puts her insecurities out on the line, and puts herself in very vulnerable situations- the situations "real life" passes judgement on. I live as Rain so that I am free to live. ''Cause as the average young woman, people will take advantage of my honesty and it can put me in harms way. You understand? Basically, Rain can spit a 16 that tells the story of a girl having sex with two men and ending up pregnant. No matter how real that is in our world, if Rain was that girl she''d be labeled a whore, and people would ignore the lesson instead of learning from her. The benefit in a song like that is that truth heals people, but people can''t handle the truth because they can''t handle judgement. Rain can handle judgement because she''s not real or is she? And that question grants me immunity while I soundtrack the realities around me. Make sense? I know, it''s heavy. The industry''s in trouble.
T: Your music is so soulful and unique – how do you describe your music?
R: That''s like asking a painter to describe his talent. Like any real artist would, I have to say my music varies with my mood. After this interview, you might describe my music as thought provoking! (laughing) Nah, in general though, it''ll always be a window into my thoughts and opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. I hope to do that and only that, really, really well.
T: I know you are definitely on the move with your music. What are some of the challenges that you have overcome in this music industry?
R: I would say the most dominant obstacle is having to provide a platform wide and sturdy enough for my views, talent, and genre blends, but that also remains flexible enough for growth. So that, whatever I come up with is accepted as a possiblity for me. Ya know? When people become Rain supporters I want them to deem me capable of anything, limitless. Maybe that would inspire them to be limitless in life, too. I''m gonna take a lot of risks just because I believe in me, and me is good enough to just be me. I know who I am before the industry knows me and me and myself are koo''l However, in an industry of pigeon holding and containment, I''ve got a major fight ahead of me.
T: Who are some of your inspirations and why?
R: Aw man, the kids. Now the judgemental folk will say my music isn''t suitable for children. I swear, I speak of sex, crime, struggle. And you know what? I wouldn''t buy the un-edited version of Rain for a child who''s been blessed to be separated from vulgarity in all medias. In fact, I''d be interested to meet someone that different from me. Now with that said, I know what type of music kids around my way listen to. I know how we live. How we speak to each other. I retain my reality in my music and through it expose the truth behind the issues. In hopes that maybe it''ll spark conversation amongst us and through conversing we''ll gain some understanding and make change without passing judgement on those who evolve slower than us. My plan behind music, is to provide the opportunity to pursue God given gifts for as many inner-city youths as possible. I don''t promote the negativity. I understand that there are internal issues behind it and I want to bring those emotions to the fore. Cop the album, you''ll see.
T: Seeing that you are putting Connecticut on the map how does your hometown influence your artistry?
R: I''m from Norwalk, CT. It is one small city, of the richest county, of the richest state, of the richest country in the world. Our hoods are far from the worst, but you can imagine the mental condition of someone living in minimal conditions while being a next door neighbor to luxury? That''s Norwalk. I know what it is to have no heat, no light, no gas, no food, no money, no clean clothes and no hot water, but while living in a house that my grandmother owned. It was hers! She was bustin'' her ass to keep it while falling victim to the trickle down of warped Connecticut mentality. I never lived in the projects but my hood experience was there and it was officially hood. That reality is true for a lot of people where I''m from. I guess that''s why my music, and I would hope Connecticut''s music, is conceptual and heavy, because the tribulations did more damage mentally and emotionally than physically for it''s residents.
T: What venues have you performed at?
R: Well! For most of 2005 I was out creating buzz. I''ve done the world reknown Sound''s of Brazil (SOB''s) twice, I opened for Ja Rule that June at Toad''s Place and up until my recent opening for Juelz Santana April 13, 2006, I have been to countless venues in between Mass, Connecticut and New York.
T: Tell us about your new projects.
R: If I tell you...you know what''ll happen! (laughing) What I will say is that there will be very great whispers in the wind for 2007 and I hope to have my personal unsigned album completed this fall.
T: What do you talk about in your music?
R: Recently? Um, I''ve been embracing the female prospective. I would like to provide an insight on our insecurities and strengths. In hopes to gain some feminine appreciation up in here! (laughing) I wanna do it honestly though, I don''t get off on male bashing. They need us and we need them too. I think if we can get back to that respect level for each other it''ll balance out a lot of things in society.
T: How do you balance motherhood and music?
R:I have kids, Tachelle? Where! I wanna meet them! Nah, I''m kidding. I''ve never given birth. I''m quite motherly by nature and I do mother those surrounding me, who need it, but I''m gonna let God decide when I can take on that load, officially. The child on my myspace site, is my nephew/son and the lyrics in Thuggz LuvHer come from me portraying what I have seen. Some of my songs are the soundtracks for other people, but through my understanding of their struggle. No babies for Rain! Yet.
T: You speak of gifts and the power of womanhood – what powers of womanhood do you possess?
R:(singing) I''m every woman, It''s all in meeee...Shooooot, we women are some bad mamma jammas! What! Girl, real women do things other people can''t even imagine. How many women fall in-love with a man and raise all of his children like they were her own? Or better yet, don''t love the man and still raise his children and the nieghborhood''s children! We give birth to healers, loyal souljahs, leaders, winners, and more phenomenal women, who will bear more men of quality. We embody creativity. Look at the variety of women clothing, just to look the way we feel takes hours of shopping! We are the most complex creatures walking this earth, to be praised and respected at all times. I love being a woman, because being that is the most appreciated gift to a really good man. And with men walking around lookin'' like Wade, thinking like Common, running things like Jigga, and taking care of their responsiblities like my Daddy, my brothers, and my good friends I see everyday? I''m glad to have the opinion that matters. So, when I say to my fellas, I''m proud of you, and I love who you are, they believe me, because at the bottom of everything I''m a woman and they appreciate that!
T: In what ways do you hope your projects will inspire women and men alike?
R: I hope to be a conversation starter between the two. I want to bring up those things that go unsaid for years. Hopefully, I will inspire people to get comfortable with their truth, understand other people''s truths and respect the differences while working with the similarities. I want to create some "judgeless" relationships through my music.
T: Where do you want to be by the end of the ''06?
R:I wanna be listening to my first album, content and happy. Preparing for a great 2007.
T: What pearls of wisdom do you have for women who are working day to day to pay rent who feel that their lives are in vain?
R: Girl, I would say that, that feeling is real, and it may be your reality for awhile, but remember to find or take your free moments when they come or when you need them. We all deserve a haagendaz ice cream bar after lunch sometimes, or to take an extra ten minutes in the shower massaging our scalps, or even to make PB&J for lunch all week to take yourself out to dinner before coming home on friday. My mama used to play this game on us. She would say "I''ve changed my name." We''d be worrying her to death and she''d change her name for twenty minutes to have some hot chocolate with marshmellows while we tried to figure out her new name. Take your minutes to breath! Damn that! Take ''em!
T: Please share all other thoughts, feelings and a website address. Thanks so much Rain!
R:Tachelle thank you for such a thought provoking interview. When you converse with others you learn something about yourself evertime. In parting, I''ll say...if you listen? I mean listen not just hear my music. You''ll learn something new on every spin. I promise you. If you don''t buy the Rain album? Listen to music anyway. ''Cause that''s the only way we''ll get better music on air, and artists like myself will have a shot. Oh! If you can''t listen publicly to Rain, for whatever reason, eavesdop on what I''m saying and keep where you got the message to yourself, when spreading it. Hint, hint. (wink)
T: Please add your website so people can keep up with your projects and performances.
R:Oh yeah, https://www.tradebit.com is up an running in the 5 digit strong friends list! Somewhere around 13,000 people have heard my name last time I checked and YOU are welcome to join in. My personal, official website https://www.tradebit.com is coming soon! Thanks again Tachelle! Shouts out to Team Rain! We comin'' for ya head in 07!
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