QUIÑ at SXSW
Where are you from, and how did living their influence your music?
I’m from Altadena, and the only thing that really influenced my music, by being out there, was [my ability] to play outside and be free. My mom never stopped me from doing that, so it was more who I was growing up with, rather than the setting. I had a really cool backyard—my mom planted a sunflower garden for me when I was 3 or 4, and it was imagination station. I was able to be free, and that is the main thing that influenced what I’m doing right now.
What is your ideal recording environment?
Me and my homies…low lights. Maybe even just me, but I’m still learning how to engineer myself.
When did you decide to pursue music professionally?
I was 19. I lived a whole life knowing for sure that I was not going to pursue music for the rest of my life because I was too afraid of it. I knew that in my world at that time, it wasn’t realistic, but then I grew up, moved away to west Oakland, and in that short amount of time, I was able to meet myself and really uncover what my purpose in life was, because otherwise I would have just gone to school and been a psychologist, which is fine, but that’s not my thing because I have these gifts that I need to share. The token was I [always] knew I could sing, but I could [also] write, so I had words to put with this voice that I was born with. When you’re born with that thing, and you eliminate the distractions, you realize what’s always been there…when I built the confidence to say I’m good at this, that’s what changed everything.
Tell me about the ‘universe’ you’ve created within your music.
I created this whole space for myself, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s [space]. A lot of people [ask] ‘what kind of music do you make?’ And I call it Fantasy Soul music…I created a space in my mind, or maybe this space revealed itself to me, but it’s called Galactica, and I named her myself, but it was kind of a vision that I had, and in that island in space is infinite possibilities of settings. I established the main setting, and now with every project I do, you’ll be able to experience a setting in that setting, so it’s factoring down to infinity. I can do whatever I want [in my universe].
What’s your favorite album of all time?
Woo that’s a hard one. Songs in A Minor was a big one for me. Survivor was my shit—everything my mom played…it changed my life because I knew I could sing when I could sing along with women like that.
What is your most memorable place you’ve traveled to?
I haven’t been to many places yet, so I would say the Virgin Islands because I was able to be inside a Caribbean sea for the first time. I had never done that before. That clear water—warm but not too warm. Puerto Rico is next.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a musician today?
For me, it’s a self-challenge to stay motivated—not that I’m not motivated to do this for forever, but just to constantly be tapped into the creative space where you’re able to work…it’s not the most challenging, but it’s the most exciting challenge.
What are your plans for this year?
I’m trying to travel, put out a new project by May, make that blow up, and travel with it. [The goal is to] have Galactica be siblings [with each music project] because they will all eventually add up to one giant book of music. It’s not about me. I really want to share this music with everyone.
Find music from QUIÑ here.