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Interview: Barbara on her recent release Kandystore, the importance of building a community & more

Congratulations on your upcoming single 'Kandystore' with French producer SpunOff! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track and how the collaboration with SpunOff came about?

Thank you! It’s been one of my favorites for months so I’m really happy we can finally share it with the world. I fell in love with SpunOff’s EP “Aquagym” and I actually have no idea how it found me on Instagram but I guess everything happens for a reason. I reached out to see if he’d be interested in collaborating and he said yes. I just had this feeling that our two really odd and quirky styles would blend nicely together. 

SpunOff sent me a few instrumentals to sing on and “Kandystore” was one of them. You can check out our other tracks “Bingo Beats” and “Trance in Vegas” from our EP of the same name out now on SpunyLove Records. 

So he sent me the instrumental for “Kandystore” while I was staying with friends for Art Basel Miami and I remember this idea of candy came to me immediately. Because the track was so bright and playful and felt like euphoria listening I was called to sing about this whole candy world. I even packed a candy bra to wear that weekend to the Circoloco party so I guess I had it on the brain. Then meeting the New York City street artist Whisbe and seeing his vandal gummy bears it just made sense. But you want to know a little secret? I was dating this guy at the time who had an insane addiction to Haribo gummy bears. I’m talking like two bags in one sitting; he could not have any other brand level guilty pleasure. So I wanted to make the track a little extra spicy for him. He broke up with me in January saying he just wasn’t “excited about me anymore” ouch. So I hope he enjoys all the cover art to the track with me laying in bed in my candy bra covered in Haribo gummy bears. ❤️

How did you and SpunOff approach the creative process for 'Kandystore'? Were there any unique challenges or memorable moments during the production?

The whole process was memorable. From getting to know him through messaging, sharing more about our styles, being in Miami when the idea came for lyrics and feeling so sexy and adventurous. When you find this type of collaboration it’s really very magical. We felt super comfortable to share ideas and feedback with each other and be as crazy as we wanted. The fact that we somehow connected despite being from different countries and speaking different languages felt great. Then we discovered we have a deeper connection as we both have heterochromia - when one person’s eye color varies between their two eyes or within a single eye itself. David Bowie is one of the most famous musicians with this condition. Heterochromia is incredibly rare and the fact both myself and SpunOff have the condition and found each other speaks to the profound nature of creating art and music as the universal language to unite us all.

'Kandystore' has a vibrant and catchy vibe. How does it reflect your musical journey and the diverse genres you explore in your DJ sets and productions?

It’s very on brand for SpunOff and I. I would say we’re both avant garde, experimental, driving and unexpected in our styles. I think it’s quite boring to stay in one lane. As an artist, I'm a kaleidoscope of sounds and constantly inspired by all different sonics so I bring that into the music I create, how I sing and what I play. You can always expect it to be funky, sexy and a little edgy however…signature sounds.

How has the adjustment to partying sober impacted your performances, connection with the audience and networking?

This is a really important topic and I’m glad you brought this up. A lot of people think that to enjoy dance music and rave that you have to be on substances and that is absolutely not true. People ask me how do I go out so much and have so much energy and it’s because the dance floor makes me so happy. It’s so healthy to move the body to heal trauma and music helps us connect to others. It gives me so much energy to perform and dance. 

I was never that much of a drinker but I found myself using alcohol a lot more as a coping mechanism last year.  The past two years were really intense from making my album, deciding to get a divorce, family health issues and relocating back to New York City. I was turning to alcohol to numb myself and really didn’t like how I felt. My skin started to look differently and waking up after a night out was not great. We also have substance abuse and addiction issues that run in our family so I made the decision to cut it before it became a problem. 

Being sober has allowed me to be fully present and myself in all situations. I am sleeping better, my skin glows and I feel so much better all around. I still go out a lot but just feel really clear and grounded which is important for my mental health as an artist. Sometimes it is tough because thoughts of my divorce or imposter syndrome creep in but I rather feel my emotions fully to process things versus trying to escape or numb the pain.

What are some of the benefits you've experienced since choosing to party sober, both personally and professionally?

As a vocalist and performer, alcohol is one of the most harmful things to put into your body. It is the worst for your vocal chords in addition to any dairy products, tea and lemon. The tea and lemon was a new one for me that my vocal coach shared is very drying so I switched to a throat coat and olive oil. So because I’m choosing to live a very healthy lifestyle without alcohol it’s helping me get stronger and build my endurance. Now that’s not to say I won’t still enjoy a glass of champagne when I choose to celebrate big life moments but I do it very rarely and when it is very special. 

Do you have any advice for other artists or party-goers who are considering making the switch to sober partying?

Try it out! It’s not for everyone but know you can have some amazing nights with friends and performing completely sober and you’ll love how you feel the next day. I also don’t think anything needs to have hard and fast rules or be so black and white. Even reducing your consumption down is good for your overall health. 

Community seems to be a significant part of your journey. How are you building and nurturing your community within the music scene?

It is my everything and it’s how we push and inspire each other as artists to become better. Instagram and going out have been the main drivers for building my community. I mainly use Instagram these days to message with artists all over the world and share my music. Folks will reach out to me after they hear my vocals on tracks of very diverse genres or I’ll message folks to see if they’re down to collab. You never know what can happen when you put yourself out there. Then we typically move to WhatsApp to share vocal ideas and feedback. I feel very grateful to live my passion so it makes me feel really good to give back and support my community when other artists are performing, want advice on tracks, need an intro to someone or are releasing new music. Support your fellow artists friends!

Can you share some specific initiatives or events you've been involved in that have helped strengthen your connection with your fans and fellow artists?

Travel has been #1 and being open to anything. I don’t care if it’s three people on the dance floor or 30,000, I show up the same way and “give it life” as my manager says. My good friend Alberto from Modular Project invited me to Milan to DJ the “Nothing is Real Takeover” with Linea Milano and I said hell yes. It is one of my best experiences to date playing in an underground train station and seeing people of all ages and backgrounds dance to my music. Participating in Miami Music Week and connecting with folks was a game changer for new collaborations and I’m also really grateful that Mia Moretti hooked up my Coachella pass this year. Being there at the festival for my girl Mia as she was DJing and dancing and meeting so many more people in the industry was incredible networking. TSQ Live organized by Times Sq Arts and Femme House was really special to connect with fans. They organize free concerts throughout the summer and again to see people of all ages, backgrounds and all over the world enjoying my music was such a gift.

How has a knowledge of marketing influenced your approach to promoting your music and brand?

I would say it has influenced my brand or “look and feel” but I must admit I don’t feel great at it. Even though I work in marketing for my day to day I have a hard time promoting myself and asking for things. I usually default to what makes me feel most authentic when I’m having a difficult time making a decision. It’s overwhelming to build your audience and connect with fans across so many social media platforms (plus I would really like to spend less time looking at screens) so I’ve focused on Instagram. I now think of creating content and reels as telling a story and know it’s all part of being an artist these days. Quality over quantity and everyone will always have an opinion so just keep doing you.

Can you share some strategies that have been particularly effective for you in reaching new audiences and keeping your existing fans engaged?

Reels and stories! I love to share behind-the-scenes from the studio, performing, where music brings me around the globe and singing live. I respond to comments and love to message with fans and keep a dialogue going. Always say thank you and appreciate the opportunity. 

With the fast-paced nature of the music industry, how do you stay ahead of marketing trends and ensure your promotional efforts are always fresh and relevant?

I’m honestly not doing a great job of this. I do stay in my little world creating and posting what I feel best represents me as an artist and what I’m here to give to the world. I don’t pay attention to trends, they come and go, and fundamentally I have my own signature style but love to keep it fun and unexpected. I don’t think too much about it or stress about views or likes, you can pay for anything these days. I’d rather focus on improving my craft, getting better in Ableton, conditioning my voice and creating. I’m a musician first and foremost but recognize I need help amplifying my music and reaching new audiences so I’m really grateful for interviews like this where I can tell my story and connect with your readers.

Your music often carries powerful messages. How are you using your platform to drive social impact and raise awareness about issues important to you?

If I have a voice I better be the voice of good and change. A lot of the tracks from my album Palm Dreams are about female empowerment, self love and equality. I am not afraid to be controversial or state my opinion when I feel something is unjust, cruel and harmful to our society. I don’t hold anything back. For example Roe versus Wade was overturned in the United States which was a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court that protected womens’ rights to their bodies. “My body, my choice” is the slogan that reminds people that indeed we are in control of our health choices. I was writing “Don’t Do” at the time and was truly saddened and horrified with this decision. I proclaim when they come don’t back down, you can’t back down and what makes you think you have the right to take my body away without a fight as the lyrics. This is just one example of where I will always stand up to protect women and all non binary individuals. We all have one body and one heart, we should be treating everyone with kindness and respect. And I’ve made it my mission to be an example of love. 

Are there any particular causes or movements that you are passionate about and actively support through your music or other initiatives?

Equality, women’s rights, educational opportunities for our youth and animals. These are all causes very near and dear to my heart. I recently started donating to a charity with each single release. The next one for Kandystore will be Boys & Girls club which provided after care and outlets for art after school as well as Femme House run by LP Giobbi and Lauren Spalding. I wouldn’t be here today without their support, encouragement and community.

How do you balance creating music that is both enjoyable and entertaining while also making a meaningful social impact?

You can do it all :) write from the heart and the rest will follow. 

With such a dynamic career, how do you manage to balance your time between performing, producing, and managing your label, Good Crazy?

I honestly have no idea! My manager says I’m an “omintasker” which makes sense. I’m very high energy and high functioning which is why dance music is so healthy for me. I eat really healthy, meditate every day, stay very organized and hydrated and I think cutting out alcohol has helped me stay sharp and focused on achieving my dreams. I don’t sleep that well but I’m testing out Moon Juice which is this all natural magnesium drink before bed and it’s helping. I also really like yoga Nidra on YouTube. Ultimately my music gives me so much life that it’s having positive spillover benefits in all areas of my life and giving me so much energy. 

What can fans expect from you in the coming months? Any exciting projects or collaborations on the horizon?

Oh boy, buckle up! I’m not holding anything back in how I’m singing, what I’m writing about or new genres I’m daring to explore. There’s only good music ahead and some really cool collaborations in the works with Nhii, Harji, Lisbona Sisters, Model Man, Ede, Selim Sivade and more. I’m very excited to be back in Europe this summer in Ibiza creating and collaborating with even more artists. Follow me on Instagram, Spotify and SoundCloud as new music is released and I announce my gigs.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who are just starting their journey in the music industry?

Be true to you. Go with your gut at the end of the day. Don’t pay too much attention to the social stats or let negative opinions get to you or hold you back. We are the creators of our destiny and anything is possible. Don’t force anything that doesn’t feel right or make a choice because you think you “should.” Surround yourself with people who believe in you but also inspire you and push you to be better. Your audience is out there and your people naturally will find you. There’s always a new technique that can be learned, we’re learners at every age. Never give up on your art no matter what. And I’m here to be your cheerleader and support you however I can. We’re actively signing tracks at Good Crazy so please send us your music at 

Keep up to date with Barbara here.


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