Bianca Raquel is a singer songwriter that has music in her veins. The 21-year-old newcomer is the daughter of Ray Chew, known for his stint as a member of the Saturday Night Live band during the early 80’s, and more recently the music director of American Idol.
Racquel’s not relying on her pedigree to get by, however; she’s grinding it out through hard work in the studio, the proper way.
TheGrio caught up with this emerging talent to discuss her college days, the joy she receives from songwriting, and her ambitious musical project Detox.
What drove you down the path of being a producer and singer/songwriter?
It was always just an instinct that I had. It was something that had been inside of me for my whole life and it just came out at a very young age and lucky for me, my dad is a musician and a music producer himself. When he saw that talent in me, he was able to help direct me in the right path. I had been writing songs in my head at like 3 years old, and just remembering them and reciting them around the house. After I learned how to write, he said “Okay you need to start writing your songs now.”
By the time I was in elementary school, I had all these little notebooks filled up with songs and at 9, I went downstairs to my dad’s studio and said, “Hey I want to record one of my songs.” He sat me down in the studio and said, “Tell me all the different parts that you hear” and we spent the whole day getting that track together and I got to record my little song. It is crazy to look back at that now and see from then to now, and now is only the beginning, I’m still young, I’m only 21.
If you can describe your sound in 5 words, what would they be?
Soulful, authentic, avant-garde, true, and freedom. A lot of my songs come from real life situations and music has been my outlet on how to deal and process those things. A lot of times, if something negative happens to me, I kind of just put it away , but songwriting helps me deal with it. Songwriting is my vice, my peace, my everything.
What attracted you to songwriting?
It’s a gift that God has given me that I’m able to write any type of song in any type of genre. I am able to be free on my piano and with my notebook, I can do anything I want and be anything I want to be.
Are you comfortable being in just the R&B space or do you plan on branching out?
When you hear the whole project in its entirety, it may be a little difficult to see what space I fit into. It will always have that R&B undertone because that’s my root and who I am, but I am also very into alternative music. I’m also an arranger so a lot of times when I do things it’ll be a different interpretation. It’ll be R&B with a twist that you may not have heard before. I plan on writing songs for other people as well because as an artist; I’m trying to spoon-feed myself to other people.
What do you think about the current state of R&B?
I think music in general is changing and I think there is a wide open lane for new artists that don’t fit within a specific category. Before you had to be Usher, or Beyoncé or Taylor Swift; you had to fit a mold. I think now the plates are shifting in a way leaves room for people to just be who they are. The public will receive it well because we’ve heard so much of the same thing and we need something different. I’m doing what I do and I feel that you can’t just do things just to get a profit off of it; you have to really be authentic with what you’re doing and be true to yourselves.
What is your proudest achievement so far in your career?
Recently I did a show I think in August and opened for Dwele in Philly, and that show I really stepped up my performance and I felt really good about it. Ever since that performance it has just been on a different level and I just want to keep that up and give people a show that they haven’t seen. I’m based in New York but I was born in Philly.
Is there anyone in the game that you strive to be like?
As far as a complete artist that has extremely good work ethic, I admire Beyonce so much. You can see her growth from Destiny’s Child; from then she was great but now she is at a whole different caliber. She knows who she is and owns it and for that I have so much respect for Beyonce.