There is something deeply powerful about self affirmation; it’s tangible and nourishing, fills you in ways that comments and compliments from the outside simply can’t. M3cca, undoubtedly one of the most thoughtful musical artists MUD has connected with, is well aware of this power and taps into it directly for her lead single “A’TWINKLIN”. “No sinking… / No shrinking…/”, M3cca repeats almost as a mantra, surrounded by her familiar and rich use of vocal harmonies. She will note later in her interview with MUD that “The lyrics I’m saying, I’m speaking to myself but I want you to say it like that’s you, like that’s your word” and the truth of this offering is in full view on this latest release.
For an artist whose spirituality and focus on caring for the self is ever present, the upbeat production from new collaborator MUFASA offers a new energy for M3cca’s work towards positive and joyful affirmation. It’s the first taste of what M3cca’s hints will be a higher energy, more rap-filled project, “Bridge To East”, created in full partnership with MUFASA to release in late summer.
MUD caught up with M3cca for a rainy day indoor shoot (pre-pandemic) and since checked in via digital channels to see how the Houston-based creative is managing the lockdown, as well as get insight into her forthcoming project. For a deep dive into her two creative homes to breaking down her influences and what she wants people to take away from her work, trek deep into M3cca with our conversation below.
You’ve spent significant parts of your life in both Houston, your hometown, and Dallas. Can you tell me what you love about and find missing from each?
Well Houston is home, it’s where I’m from, where I was raised. I love the culture out here, I love the community I’ve been able to grow up in and be a part of. It’s also just chill, like the energy out here is a little bit different than Dallas. I like Dallas but it has a bit more of an intense energy.
In terms of the music scene, I think Houston is a bit more unified and people are just working and doing their own thing. Dallas is a bit more demanding, they want to see you’re doing a project or see you heavily promote yourself. In some ways though it is a bit easier to access things, with places like Deep Ellum where you can keep at it. In Houston you have to find the right places, the right niche and area – I really like that in Dallas there is space where you can go there and find what you need and branch out after that. There are also a bit more professional opportunities in Dallas, it’s easier to connect with the bars, and venues and get a residency than it is in Houston.
Two years out from your initial album release in 2017; how have you changed and grown since then? In your music and/or your personal life.
I was like 22 or so back then so I’ve basically grown up [laughs]. I feel like I haven’t necessarily changed, just like I’ve grown in my talents and grown in my writing and the way that I create and what I create. That’s what I feel like it is. The things that people see from me on this next project and the music I put out after this, they might be like “Oh, she’s changed” but I feel like it’s sounds I already wanted to put out, it’s things I already wanted to write about. People are just now being able to see those sides of me.
I’m a Gemini so… you know [laughs]. There’s so many different sides of our selves. For me, the main thing has just been growing. I would also say learning not to give a fuck too, when it comes to creating. That’s one way I’ve changed, after I put out my project I had a bit of anxiety for like a year or two and I’ve just now getting out of that. I’m learning it doesn’t matter what people think, just make what you feel. I would send out what I was working on and here that I shouldn’t switch it up too fast and getting too many opinions on what I’m doing. I’m learning now that I have to enjoy it and if you all enjoy it, that’s good too.
One of my personal favorite projects of yours, WTR Philes., is like an entire EP condensed into a single song. What made you choose such a unique format to present all that work and how did you approach that project?
I been inspired by a lot of my favorite artists that are in the underground scene. I love the way some of my favorite soundcloud artists were just doing the Prince method and giving you the whole thing in one track so you gotta listen to it or fast forward to the parts you like. I wanted to do that, plus all of the songs I had were 1 to 2 minutes so it felt pointless to break them up. It’s also supposed to be like an emotional experience and I just wanted people to get it all in one.
You have something new coming out. Tell me a bit about the project; what can people expect compared to what you’ve done before?
It’s called Bridge to East and it’s by me and my childhood friend, homeboy, Mufasa Enzor. We’re putting it out on August 29th. I’ve known Mufasa since like 7 or 8 years old, we met at a summer program that I went to almost every summer [laughs] I even became like an assistant group leader once I became a teenager and was too old to go, I started working there.
You can expect me to definitely be rapping more on this project. Don’t expect it to be Fruittape [laughs]. We wanted to really channel the energy of Missy Elliot and Timbaland, that female artist/producer tag team, you know like your Lion Babe. We wanted to channel that energy and have some hype tracks, some fun tracks, but at the same time it’s still a spiritual project, the bones are spiritual. With some more shit talking [laughs].
Tell me about your creative process. Does it start with music, lyrics, or does it depend? How do you know when you’re on the right track creatively?
It depends for each song. I write a lot anyways, my phone is full of notes and lyrics and I have a whole bunch of notebooks and lyrics. When I’m in project mode, it’s whatever comes to me first, like if the beat comes to me then I’ll write to it. If I have an idea for a song, I’ll hit [Mufasa/a producer] up with the idea. It’s a bit all over the place for me.
How I know if it feels right, it’s really just a feeling. Like if we’re in the studio and getting hyped, then you know, but sometimes too it’s just hearing it and you can feel it’s right. It’s hard to explain but when you know, you know.
You’ve cited Erykah Badu and Beyoncé as influences; how have they impacted you and are there any other influences from the South that inspire or otherwise touch your work and creative process?
Definitely Erykah and Beyonce because you know, it’s Beyoncé. Beyonce just makes you feel empowered, like that’s why she’s a big inspiration to me. We’re not the same type of artist but just the way she empowers you is inspiring. Other artists from the South, definitely Outkast, especially Andre 3000 because we have the same birthday, Left Eye too [laugh]. She’s another big inspiration for me just because her style and her being weird and unapologetically myself has always inspired me, like as a little kid I always looked up to her.
Lauryn Hill is probably my biggest inspiration, just because she looks like me – like physically, looks like me. Her sound is dope, she raps and sings like I do. Every time I listen to Miss America I cry because growing up as a young dark-skinned girl and not people like you, Lauryn Hill was very pivotal in my life. I always think her career could have gone so much and as an artist, I want to take what she did and bring it to another level. I feel like every female artists looks at her and are like I gotta take that and move it forward. Whatever she was going through in her life after releasing such a fire album and the difficulty of following that, it must have been a lot.
What’s something you want people to take away from your music?
My biggest thing I want people to take away is to love yourself. I think one of my biggest things is self-love and self-preservation. You know, f’in with yourself, that’s the big thing. I’ve had people tell me that my music has helped them through stuff and that’s all I wanted. I want to help you through it, help you realize that you’re often. The lyrics I’m saying, I’m speaking to myself but I want you to say it like that’s you, like that’s your word.
“The lyrics I’m saying, I’m speaking to myself but I want you to say it like that’s you, like that’s your word.”
Your talents go beyond music; from clothing design to other production, what’s something else you’ve been working on recently?
I’ve been working on my idea for a Youtube show! It still had to do with music, it’s a funny little show about being a music artist. Kind of a variety show, but my life as an artist. Joking about it, joking about things I deal with, like depression or imposter syndrome. My goal is put out like one video this summer,
Oh! And working out [laughs]. I’ve been working on my fitness, like I want to be ready for a tour when this pandemic is over.
Put us on. Are there any new/up and coming artists we should be paying attention to?
Well I’ma name my homies first [laughs], my best friend Jazmon the Healer is definitely someone people need to hear.
What does self care look like for you during quarantine/social distancing?
Getting on my meditation, sometimes we fall off but we get back up [laughs]. Trying to get centered, getting spiritual guidance. Working out, meditating, chilling, eating as right as possible. At first it was really easy at the start of this to eat as crazy as you want to but now… [laughs]. Spending time with family also has been a big thing, hanging out with them as much as possible. Focusing on getting myself right for the music I’m about to put out.
Also reading! Sacred Woman by Queen Afua is my current book.
What’s something you want the world to learn moving forward?
I know I panicked a little bit during this time and I shouldn’t have, so I’m learning to trust that what happens is what happens. What is for me is for me and I can’t be afraid of that. Also patience, like we don’t know when things will be back to normal so we have to be.
I actually had a childhood friend pass from the virus, and that’s when I knew I really had to trust and value the people that we have with us, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Actually, I think that’s what I want people to take away. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Whether you need something or want to check up on somebody, don’t be afraid to be a bother because you never
know, you might not see that person again.
One Sheet // M3CCA