La Bruja It’s not to often you find an artist who raps, sings, does spoken word, acts, stand up, and models and does them all so extraordinary. La Bruja, who’s latest mixtape “Labrujalicious,” showcases her multiple talents and includes various top name producers and artists. Find out why she is so Labrujalicious.
Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: Explain the La Bruja experience? La Bruja: I call my self La Bruja for a lot of reasons. Basically it’s true to what I see and what I say. Sometimes people can’t handle it and sometimes people are ready for it. What I say is the truth and that is rare in this world today. The truth is hard to find. My art is to create a social change. Even though I use comedy, music, and poetry to steer that, that really is the main goal. A lot of people get inspired because when they see me, I do my thing and they either love it because they never heard anything like it or they’re like “Whoa, I can do that” and try to out do me. That’s great. Once people are inspired to move into action, then my job is done. It’s a very broad experience like my album coming out now is a mix of so many things, because that is what I am. Big mix cause I’m a rainbow child. We’re all going to be rainbow children in a minute because we all have been mixing for a while. We all think we’re so different, but that’s not really the case.
WHO?MAG: When did you first decide to make entertainment a career? La Bruja: With my poetry. I used to take my poetry to the Nyorkarican Poet Café and my friends were telling me about an open mic and that I need to go there. I went to this open mic that Bobbito the Barber hosted that was called the “All That” and I started doing my thing there and people loved it. It was well received and then the café offered me a slot once a month to do my thing. They asked me if I could fill an hour and I was like “yeah, I’ll make sure that I do.” And once a month, I did a skit called “Brujailla” and I got 60% of the door and I was happy. That was how it started and that was about 10 years ago in 1996. That’s what had me doing it as a business. But I wasn’t able to do “La Bruja” independently for a while. I was doing secretarial jobs, I worked at the community center over here teaching about business and art and whatever I was learning and teaching, I was applying to my life at the same time. After 9/11 was when I decided I want to do La Bruja full time because I realized that life is so short and tomorrow is not promised. You have to take risked to do what you believe.
WHO?MAG: Which do you prefer more? Modeling, acting, rapping, singing, or spoken word? La Bruja: That’s like saying which is your favorite finger. You need them all to pack a punch. I really just love art and if I can’t create, then I’m sick. Literally, I get sick. I always have a journal with me, so I guess I would say what comes most natural to me is writing. I write everything that I perform. My foundation is being a writer or poet.
WHO?MAG: What do you feel is the biggest road block you had to face so far in your career? La Bruja: The fact that I intermix my politics and my arts and a lot of people don’t want to hear that. The just want me to make them laugh. And I’m not talking about the audience, I’m talking about the people who pay you. They tell me to keep it light and not to offend anybody. The fact that I like to take the opportunity to say something profound when I have an audience sometimes comes back at you. It’s hard to maintain your morals and say what you really believe and biting your tongue and playing it safe all the time. I have gotten my bumps and bruises and I think I know when to say what. Also being a woman without being on the whole “slut tip.” That’s really hard for people to accept that. Especially men since the industry is run by men. They may be like, “oh, this chick is too deep.”
WHO?MAG: How does writing spoken word vary from writing a rap song? La Bruja: Spoken work is anything written without the music. It doesn’t need the music because it’s a story. It’s raw. Rap is more like a rhyme. There is a flow there and you’re using a beat. You’re spreading your butter over your bread when you rap. With spoken word, you create your own rhythms at any time. It’s a lot more free. Even though music is like that too. Spoken work just doesn’t have any boundaries. It’s a lot of fun because it can be anything. It’s just a lot more raw.
WHO?MAG: What would you like to see changed in the entertainment industry? La Bruja: I would like to see artists step up and do something new; create a fresh kind of message and sound since they have been recycling the same crap over and over, like we regurgitate and regurgitate ridiculous already. It’s a talent to say something that people haven’t said yet. I think that’s when you know when you’re on your toes and your mind is fresh and you try to do things that haven’t been done. It would be nice if people in the industry would take that kind of approach instead of role playing with what is safe. Same thing with the women. They feel they have to play the dumb girl when they should be using their brain. Say something else. Impress a woman instead of trying to please a man all the time. It’s not the only thing we’re good for.
WHO?MAG: With the strong evolution of Latin music, what direction would you like to see it going in the near future? La Bruja: I would like to see it the way that salsa era was back in the day. I would like to see it that way again and see the people in the Latin community come back together again. It was all styles and not just one style. There was a community of musicians and beautiful artists that came together to elevate the music and the people at the same time. I hope that we can accomplish that with Latin hip-hop and reggaeton and the whole spanglish movement. I hope that it just isn’t a Latin thing, but that we cross over to all of the other communities and let them know that they are welcome here and we have a lot in common, so let’s build.
WHO?MAG: What advice can you give an upcoming artist? La Bruja: Perform every chance you get. Whether it’s 2 people, 10 people, it doesn’t matter if you really believe in what you’re saying. Some people think it’s really easy, but it’s not. Word of mouth is the best thing. If you are not deeply rooted within your community and feel compelled to share it with them first, not for the paper or for anything else, but for the message and the connection, then take the opportunity and any chance to make that happen because why be in it if it’s not for the people. I performed in bathrooms, cafeterias, hallways, parks, jails, and anywhere I was invited. That has made a huge difference in my career.
WHO?MAG: If there is one main message that you want to get across, what would that be? La Bruja: Stop hating! I practice the religion of love. That’s my religion. I think if we all found a way to practice that religion, there would be a lot less war and a lot less hatred. I just hope that people can really understand what that really means to put the hatred down and the guard down and respecting each other on a humane level. So if we could all just practice the religion of love, then we would all be in a happy place. And we can set a good example for the children coming up. Think about in the eyes of a child, what the world looks like. It’s really scary.
WHO?MAG: What’s next in store for La Bruja? La Bruja: I will soon be making videos for my music. I wrote a movie called “Famers.” It’s a hip-hop movie. I’m basically a renaissance woman and you never know what is going to come out of me next. I have been writing. Just be prepared to have a Bruja time because I try to make brujo’s and bruja’s. So books, videos, movies, plenty of music and poetry and a lot in a self expression kind of world. And expect a little chuckle hear and there because I like to make people happy.