Rising Latinx Powerhouse Vocalist Talks With Us About Becoming LOUDA
BoldLatina came across 27 year old Laura “LOUDA” Raquel Camacho on Facebook and instant fandom it was! Louda most recently contributed her singing talents at the Dreamer Fund artivism fundraiser, in San Francisco. Born in Chicago, Illinois to a Puerto Rican mother born in Chicago and Mexican born father from Ciudad de Hidalgo – her parents met at a house party where her father was the DJ – yes, you can say musicality runs in the family.
You are the only person who can see through your eyes, feel what is in your heart and express it. Do not out live your passions and desires, keep them ever flowing. ~ Laura ‘Louda’ Camacho
LOUDA’s hustle goes like this – by day she is a home assistant to a big family of 8 AND a youth in arts program advocate at a non-profit – Marsh Theater Youth Group (MYT) in the Mission District of San Francisco. The MYT youth programs have activities like trapeze, hip hop class and teen theater. This season, LOUDA is helping with trapeze class. LOUDA is drawn to MYT because it offers outside help and scholarships available to all students. Considering LOUDA’s upbringing, her family was never financially stable to enroll her sisters or LOUDA in after school programs. As LOUDA’s family could barely keep up with the mandatory school fees for graduation or supplies, she had to return home after school and help out till mom and dad came home – she became tired and sad. Like many underserved, low-income and at-potential (we like to say ‘at-potential’ vs. ‘at-risk’) youth seeking to express, learn and belong – without access to after school programs or extracurricular sports or arts programs can lead our youth to turn to drug abuse and gang activity. At MYT, LOUDA hopes that she can provide inspiration to kids to truly be grateful for themselves – early on.
With a degree in Vocal Performance from Northeastern Illinois University, LOUDA’s goal is to take her passion and studies to a full time professional level.
Enter… LOUDA Music. ?? LOUDA’s a powerhouse Latinx vocalist serving up unforgettable performances with vocal fluidity you will not find in popular music today. Fusing pop, hip-hop and dreamy 90’s R&B melodies to her own cadence, LOUDA is a sound of its own. LOUDA’S progressive lyricism and thespian experience sets her apart from the best emcees. Paving her solo career, LOUDA is a determined mujer with a lot to say. LOUDA expanded her role to co-produce Los Bad Hombres, a multi-lingual recording artist and lyricist, classically trained performer on the urban side of music.
Our interview with LOUDA
BoldLatina: Laura or LOUDA, we love your style, what’s behind the name ‘Louda’? Can you tell us more about artists that perhaps have inspired or influenced you? If you could do a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Louda: Oh boy! LOUDA is my way of forcing non-Spanish speakers to say my name in its Latina beauty. No need to roll the “R” in Laura, there is only one. Simple little flip and it’s almost a “D.” I’m a powerhouse vocalist making my OWN path through the music industry. No agent, no tour manager, no record label, no public relations, no media marketer, no set sound engineer aka ‘genie’. In order to have the breakthrough and longevity I desire, I’ve got to stand out. Got to be LOUDA.
When I was very young, I prayed to Selena, like a guardian angel. With age and experience, I began to admire vocalist and producers like Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Ella Fitzgerald, Erykah Badu, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams and Miguel. Between learning about their strifes in the music industry as much as their glory, I could only hope to take a performance lesson from each of these phenomenal artist. I would be so honored to have just a chat about auditory aesthetic, keeping a strong mind – and yes, lets COLLAB!
BoldLatina: What can our audience expect from you this year of 2018? What sort of projects you have going on, if any? Or is the goal to push out more of your current music?
Louda: The current immediate goal is to push the music I have to reaware my audience of my sound, and invite new listeners to this old content. Every release has been a learning experience. That said, I’ve planned releases in March, June and September 2018. I’m working with two seperate bands (Subele in Chicago and Bad Hombres in San Francisco) with hopes to book more summer festivals as well as aux/backing track sets nationally and internationally. Included “press” or oppourtunities are, South by Southwest in Austin Texas, New Artist Showcase in Atlanta Georgia and an interview in Japan with hip hop podcast, “BlockFM.”
When to expect LOUDA MUSIC drops ??:
3/18/2018: LOUDA y los Bad Hombres EP
(Latin tunes with R and B grooves, we bring new versions of some new LOUDA favorites.)
3/18/2018: LOUDA – Bells (Single, 20XX Prod.)
3/18/2018: LOUDA – Pheromones (Single, HarmonicSapien Prod.)
6/18/2018: LOUDA – No Worries (Single off the LP Feedback)
6/18/2018: LOUDA – No Worries (Video Release)
9/18/2018: LOUDA – Feedback (LP, 12 tracks)
The spectrum of learning from my collaborations with prestigious studios and personal DIY friends with recording equipment, you get a bit of two sense from everywhere. The most important is, create a project when your audience demands one. There is no reason to go through the trouble of pouring my soul into large project to share, with no one to share with. Already, my peers are like, “But I CAN’T wait THAT long, when I say the drop is in September. With some reading, self teaching, and observation – think this “rollout” is pretty fail proof.
First, I have to create my audience to “buy” my brand, which is tough for an artist that isn’t back by a huge label or you know…at a Jay Z level of artistry. Next step, is to keep my audience interested; to keep people on their toes all year in preparation for this big release. With every smaller release, I’m opening veins for new audiences to find LOUDA, ultimately reaching my goal of being a versatile, multi lingual international recording vocalist, pop lyricist and show stopping performer. The goalssss.
BoldLatina: How long have you been creating, writing your songs/singing? And what made you take the leap to pursue?
Louda: Growing up, our home was always loud and full of music. If it wasn’t my mom playing her latest mail order Jerry Rivera CD and stripping the house of its weekly stanky impurities, or my dad ringing the house with his Saturday morning DJ preparations for his evening wedding gig – I was singing something. My sister and I were also cast as Annie in the elementary school play! We are quite the entertaining bunch. I moved on to wanting more a more tangible music experience. I insisted on having a piano, then a guitar, then a ukulele between 13 and 15. My parents paid for weekend acting classes via the infamous, John Robert Powers. There, I learned about rejection. There, my determination was rooted and interest in performance never lifted.
Auditioning for high school music directors, Mrs. Gaye Klopack from Jones College Prep, was my guardian angel. All four years I was a member of the advance choir, and one her few prized students to have a voice lesson during lunch period. After losing my first volleyball game freshman year, it was decided – I’m not gonna be a volleyball star. I’m gonna be in jazz choir after school and master my scats. I spent high school struggling between satisfying my teacher’s goals, (which I didn’t consider my own till I was an adult) and early onsets of F.O.M.O.. Unregrettably, she opened my eyes to a career in music I never knew existed! I was in scholarship contests and CPS contests as a classical soloist, an experience I would never have had if it weren’t for playing little orphan Annie in 3rd grade.
Sliding into her alma mater, Northeastern Illinois University, with a talent based scholarship and the help of financial aid, I graduated with Bachelors of Arts, focus in vocal performance with Cum Laude honors. Singing in the operas, chamber choir, jazz band and song writers concerts, I was exactly where I needed to be. I studied how breathing is just as important as making sound, how to research characters and text, and maintain a healthy and professional attitude. It was very important at the time, as I was juggling classical repertoire and writing and singing music for Chicago Ska band, Run and Punch; old high school friends. I would NEVER survive my studies if I continually lost my voice after every punk concert. Though only a short beloved 5 years of my life and an album of lyrics written, it was time to split from Run and Punch, October 2015.
I was a mess. Out of school. No band. No musical ambition. I needed something. With my songs, (a.k.a. Feeling of depression and anxiety) piling up, I needed an outlet. 20XX Productions are friends from 2007, who then had nothing to offer beatwise then, although we cooked up some originals we never worked seriously till 2017. Perfect timing is all I could say about “Dealbreaker.” I had beats from 20XX, a fresh broken heart and a confused brain on how to even begin. I dyed my hair indigo, and started writing to beats.
BoldLatina: Now, you are originally from Chi-town? How are you liking San Francisco – what brings you out to the city by the Bay?
Louda: YEP! Born an emergency cesarean at Norwegian Hospital in Humboldt Park, Chicago Illinois. Born and raised and had to leave for a bit. Feeling like I had exhausted my audience with Run and Punch and hitting the same few open mics, progress was tough. I jumped into a cover band for a while, good money – but I was not happy. Trying to excite musicians with professional jobs, or excite musicians who also participate in 4 or 5 other groups is HARD WORK. I became aggravated that I couldn’t break through venues with my sound. I became bitter, that maybe someone one caught the wrong vibe, or that something negative about my LOUDA air was traveling through the city. This, and the desire to never be a Chicagoan that has always lived in Chicago. My desire to travel and share music is what pushed my move. Maybe giving Chicago a break was a way for home to see LOUDA better, with distance. Works for me; i know exactly what to do when I’m home.
I never thought I’d be in San Francisco, though. Never. I drove to Long Beach in August 27th 2017. My goal was to begin relationship with sound engineers as their staff lyricist, hook slayer, and be able to keep the studio on track; secretary boss lady. The vision was to be close to LA for work and performance; full time musicians life. After learning and living a month in a stagnant and non female embracing work environment – I bounced. I literally took off.
Unbeknownst the rent in San Francisco averages 1000 for a shared bedroom, and risking the chance my car would even make it – I made it to the Bay Area September 27th 2017.
At the time, Jacob, of 20XX Productions was based out in SF for work duties. With his brotherly love, this new kickass drive and a whole new world, I whipped my stories into 12 tracks. “Feedback” created. After two weeks of moving in and out bedrooms, hotels and considering a life out of my car, I finally settled in November. The cute neighborhood of Excelsior, resembles Little Village of Chicago. Within the first month, I met a jazz guitarist on the street who was playing the sound of my heart yearned for. Since our first jam, we’ve produced LOUDA y Los Bad Hombres, who have played 7 shows; house parties, charity benefits and well known venues alike.
Maybe out here, we all know we’re living this peasant life, dreaming of our big break, while we walk among the Facebook and Google execuGods. Despite the very apparent homelessness among the low-key “cosmo” life, the environment is flourishing with genuine support. Maybe it’s the “start-up” air in the bay. I was lucky enough to find a good group of gentlemen who have nothing but support and determination to play, be recognized, but also hang in for these rewards as they are not so immediate; just like a start up.
BoldLatina: What are you most optimistic about when it comes to our Latinx community? What changes, if any are you seeing?
Louda: I see stronger and bolder women, unafraid to speak out. I see the end of “machismo” and oppression of women. That said, I also see a stronger connection between us, and male identifying individuals who haven’t quite gotten the picture. By obtaining the upper hand, it is our choice to make the same mistakes, or to educate change. I see our platform, and I’m most optimistic toward togetherness. We are all black, brown and oppressed at the end of the day. Why make it harder for ourselves to reach paradise?
As strongly as I feel about bringing down the patriarchy, we can not replace it with the same idea. There is PLENTY to be said about the advantages women can provide men. Still, I need my father to open the jar of pickles I can’t manage to crack open. Only he knows my true PMS cravings. LOL With that, as the oldest of five daughters, he has come along way from being that machismo, “my way” kind of dad, to first understanding, empathizing, sharing and also fighting for my beliefs and struggles as a woman in the music industry; in the world. Proud to say, he knows it is not a “man’s world” today.
BoldLatina: So much talk about women of color/Latinx and self-care – how do you take care of yourself as a creative artist, how do you keep yourself going without burning out or inspired to keep on writing, dropping songs and singing?
Louda: Oof! I love me a facial and Bloody Mary with all the unnecessary garnishes. Moving to San Francisco was the best for me. I have my solitude. Though my patience has gotten slimmer, my social and networking skills have never been more fluid. Inside I’m still the shy girl who refused to sing if you asked, even nicely more than once. Sometimes I’ll reflect on those days, unaware of the power I could one day posses with my voice. Most days, I’ll reflect on how my family is currently struggling, and think I should be at home, contributing, providing. Its a constant struggle between these thoughts getting me down, or these thoughts lifting me.
BoldLatina: If you could change one thing about the world today that would make it better for women, especially women of color/Latinx, what would it be?
Louda: HANDS OFF. STOP STARING. YOU STOLE MY IDEA. I AM FIGGIN SERIOUS. I wish we were given the respect and platform as our male counterparts, particularly white. I see my Latinx women living two lives; mother of clients 9 to 5, mother of their own 5 to 9. It makes me sick to know people would entrust their children to us, but not their country, not their companies, not their own lives. It sickens me, that our justice system is preoccupied with the image of their anglo saxon fraternity brothers, rather that protecting the peace in our country. It sickens me that women, givers of life, are the most sacrificed lives, rather than treasured as such creators.
If I could do anything, it would be to start the world all over. Sci fi alternative, blanket the world with Wakanda beauty and pride for culture, life, humanity with the FULL attention and trust of women.
BoldLatina: How do you incorporate your Latinx heritage into what you do?
Louda: Quite ironically, I dyed my hair to stand apart from my fellow Latina vocalist. A move that is pretty common, I’ve noticed. I have been told, by a friend, that if I wanted more of my fellow Latino audiences’ attention, I should be brunette. Everyone likes my hair – no matter the audience. I am making art for my sisters and brother, in all walks of life.
Music is my substance and it goes straight to your brain for the purest high that you can always fondly recall on.
If I can be inclusive and still exclusive, that is the perfect balance to Latinx living. It’s the full embodiment of being Latina (and a Virgo). Every chance I hear it, I’ll take the opportunity to write in Spanish, French and even Italian. Inclusive. I can rap, sing, recite a monologue/poem. Inclusive.
My most recent project “Bad Hombres” is a co produced band, here in SF. With guitarmate, Leo Nava from San Diego, we created Bad Hombres, a R&B, Latin, Hip Pop fusion of musicians that play selections like Los Panchos, Sergio Mendez, Selena; a.k.a. ya grandma’s favorite. But also Beyonce, LOUDA originals and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kinds. Pretty balanced, I think.
Yes, it is my goal to be recognized as a Latinx artist. The tricky part is incorporating it with appeal to the masses, without selling out. I will always be proud of my heritage, and that pride is on the forefront of my image/brand.
BoldLatina: What is the toughest lesson so far, if any, you have had during your creative artist journey?
Louda: Making time for people, that are are interested in my actual time, rather than LOUDA things. As my own agent, marketing team, project coordinator, etc., I lose track of the people I love. Birthdays, family and friends, new babies, toddler cousins who need a role model; zero time to consider a relationship. Zero time to consider how lonely I am, because this moment of breakthrough is what I need to work. I need it to last.
Being alone in a new place, has forced me to truly rely and learn more about myself. Growing up, I was consumed with family; granted I am the oldest granddaughter and daughter. That burden of early “motherhood” turned into spite for never taking the time to be more confident in my own skin. Chubby girl, class clown, family loves me – this is all it’s ever gonna be.
Alone in a new city, your patience tends to thin out for quirky family that you would never imagine abandoning, when your time is being valued by larger networks, and communities to help get your vision of the ground and brought to life. My mother is my best friend. As long as I have my momma, she’ll always relay to my family how busy I am. Most importantly, to rely my feelings; my family is the fire that keeps me moving. If it weren’t for my childhood, I may not be this determined for my success. Our success.
BoldLatina: Any advice for other BoldLatinas out there you would like to share? A tip, or guidance on the hustle of being a creative artist?
Louda: You are the only person who can see through your eyes, feel what is in your heart and express it. Do not out live your passions and desires, keep them ever flowing. Enjoy the frustration your art may bring, that frustration and battle with boredom and unbalanced compassion for the world around – that is the art in you.
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