"Who's Hot?" Interview
By: Omar Cook
This week's "Who's Hot?" Artist of the week is Los Angeles singer, B.K. Habermehl! B.K. Habermehl is also a singer, songwriter, pianist, producer and actress so you cant just put her talents into a box. She credits her music style to influences such as Erykah Badu and Astrud Gilberto, and of course her own self. She received first acting gig at 8 years old, when she was a member of Madison, Wisconsin’s Young Shakespeare Players. This was just the beginning of her involvement in a wide variety of choirs, plays, and musicals, culminating in her admission to New York University.
At NYU, B.K. created her own major studying music and Africana studies, and named it “The Self Sufficient Recording Artist and the African Diaspora.” After graduation she moved back to her home base of L.A., and began taking classes with Faline England at Diana Castle’s Imagined Life Acting Studio, as well as working with Grammy nominated talents such as Akon. She currently is recording her debut EP and performs her original music throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
We talked with B.K. Habermehl in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
QUESTION: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
B.K. Habermehl: I have been singing since I popped out the womb, but I first started writing my own original songs when I was 11 or 12. My mom had an old keyboard that was gathering dust in the garage, so I asked one day if I could relocate it to my room! I covered it in Harry Potter stickers and started playing chords by ear and finding melodies to sing on top of them. Been writing tunes ever since!
QUESTION: Musically, who has been your biggest influence in helping you along your journey and who are your favorite musicians?
B.K. Habermehl: Vocally, Toni Braxton and Erykah Badu are huge influences to me, because they opened my mind to exploring various timbres and ranges in my voice. I'd say my favorite musician is definitely Cory Henry, he is absolutely sickening on keys.
QUESTION: What artists would you like to collaborate with and why?
B.K. Habermehl: Missy Elliot would be a dream to collaborate with, because she is just such a creative powerhouse. Also, Erykah, because she is MUVA.
QUESTION: What do you feel is your best song/project ever released and why?
B.K. Habermehl: I'm really excited about my debut single, "Owe Me That"! It's a love letter I wrote to myself to help me stop seeking my worth externally. Sonically I think it bops, and lyrically I think everyone could relate to it. You can find it on all platforms!
QUESTION: What projects can we look forward to in the near future?
B.K. Habermehl: I have some singles in the pipeline over the next couple months, as well as a project coming out in the next year!
QUESTION: How do you generate new ideas for your music?
B.K. Habermehl: All sorts of things can spark my ideas for music. Sometimes I might hear a particularly poetic phrase.. just yesterday I read the phrase "liquid alarm" in Richard Wright's Black Boy that immediately inspired me. Other times it will be situational or emotional, fools making me giddy, fools letting me down, or me being a fool and putting my own self through it.
QUESTION: What motivates you and how do you define success?
B.K. Habermehl: I'm most motivated by what I feel is the power of my potential. I don't want to let myself down. There are different ways to gauge success, but I mostly would define it by having a positive impact with my art and the influence to be able to push the cultural needle. And also I'd like some shmonies.. ain't gotta be Jay-Z but I would definitely feel successful if I was able to be financially self-sufficient purely through my art.
QUESTION: How do you describe your music to people and what separates you from other artists in your genre?
B.K. Habermehl: I usually say that my music is jazzy pop with a touch of soul, and what separates me is that I am one of one! I am an emotive and unique being.. the pastel pianist princess. But I don't mind comparisons or similarities with my contemporaries, combined we can all make an awesome sonic tapestry.
QUESTION: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
B.K. Habermehl: The biggest variable in the success formula is perseverance. I think that feeling like a failure and getting to the brink of giving up is almost required. I can't think of any artist who hasn't felt that struggle at some point. The stardom comes in how you push through it.
QUESTION: Who is your greatest inspiration?
B.K. Habermehl: My mom, Dr. Deirdre Habermehl. She has always gone above and beyond for me and I absolutely cannot wait to repay her in every way I can possibly conceive. She's already pre-ordered a fancy whip, so I gotta get my hustle on!
QUESTION: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
B.K. Habermehl: I think that influence and success don't always go hand in hand, depending on your definition of success. Some of the artists who have set the creative template for music today don't always enjoy the monetary rewards that more commercial artists get. But if I had to pick one artist that covers both, I would say Drake. He's got every rapper singing, and anything he drops is guaranteed to blow.
QUESTION: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
B.K. Habermehl: This is hard to pinpoint, but I feel like the visualization of the emotions my music has right now is the sunshine after the rain. Acknowledging and giving space for my pain, and then peeking out beyond the clouds. Joy can feel fleeting sometimes, but sadness is just as temporary too. I'm just trying to navigate and express my journey through both. But I'm a Cancer too.. so you know I be crying.
QUESTION: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
B.K. Habermehl: Monetarily, I'm definitely not as balling as I could have been had I went to law school or something similar after college. But it's not really a sacrifice to me, because I know this is what I'm meant to be doing.
QUESTION: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
B.K. Habermehl: I get absolutely geek hype when I write a melody that I just KNOW is hitting. The tunes themselves are thrilling, but the polishing and promotion process can definitely be tedious at times.
QUESTION: Where do you see yourself and your music in 10 years?
B.K. Habermehl: As the illustrious Raven Symone once said in her titular role on "That's So Raven"... Imma be grabbin' Grammys!!
QUESTION: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
B.K. Habermehl: Whew chile. First of all, brace yourself. Don't fall head over heels for every opportunity that comes your way. But at the same time, do everything you can to believe fully in yourself and your path. Also don't burn any bridges!! The industry is a lot smaller than it looks