Do you consider yourself a Guyanese artist or just an artist?
I definitely just consider myself an artist just happened to born in Guyana.
How do you differentiate from the stereotype of being a Guyanese artist not putting out music?
I think it works to my advantage because my music and my sound is more universal, so I basically can go anywhere in the world and make any kind of music because as a Guyanese indeed we don’t have a particular genre that we use per say but we consume everything. So that land of everything makes you different from anybody else.
How did you get started rapping?
I’ve always liked music since I was a young girl, but back in like the early 90s my uncle had a what do you call you know, he’s a DJ..and he had a sound system in Brooklyn and whenever he come back to Guyana. He always brought back like whatever latest music was there and I just kind of fell in love with like hip-hop early and then like my early influence was like Missy Elliott and Left Eye and the lil Kim’s and stuff like that. So,
What made you choose rapping rather than deejaying or soca?
Becuase I always loved it, I love the glamour of it, I love the swag of it. Everything about hip-hop, I love the storytelling of it. And when I came to the states I fell into Brooklyn and when I landed in Brooklyn my friends that I went to college with they had some famous rap cousins so I kind of fell in with them and it kind of manifested.
What age did you come up here?
I came up here when I was 15.
Did you tell your family that you were into rapping?
My family always knew I loved music because growing up they use to call me the music prodigy. If I heard a record, it doesn’t matter what language its in, if I heard the record at least twice I knew it from front to back. So growing up they always knew I had a musical ear, but when I really decided to step in to make this a career…I only had a conversation with my mom because I’m really really close with my mom. And what she feels about it and how she feels is the only thing that matters to me. And when she told me I had to chase my dream, that’s what I came to America to do, that’s all I needed to hear.
Have you ever considered doing more cross over?
I actually do have a cross over project that I’m on the verge of wrapping up right now. It’s that blend of reggae and hiphop so I dont think I want to limit myself because sometimes you never know which record will become your break out record. So because I love music, and I love hiphop but was born into the reggae/soca its easy for me to go back and forth between all three of them or even blend them together. And that once again brings out that unique sound I have so I dont think about limiting myself so definitely crossing over is one of my options.
What if deejaying becomes your break out hit, would you continue to deejay or stray your fans back to hip hop?
I would stray them back into hip hop because that is my first love. Haha. I would mastermind and capitalize on a reggae it or a soca hit if it comes but def if your a Lia Givenchy fan from day one you would know that I’m hiphop all the way so I would definitely find a way to stray them back,
What do you think was your big break in the game or do you think you are still trying to get there?
I havent had that yet, I’m still trying to get there, I’m still grinding from the ground up. I had some major opportunities that I capitalized on and some amazing situations but I don’t think I have platou as yet. Or have gotten that break that I’m really looking for but it’s on its way.
Are you from Bartica? What made you start a label?
Half the side of my family that is from Guyana is from Bartica so I was just paying homage to my homeland. Alot of times artists don’t understand the business aspect of this music business, so for me I always wanted to be in a good negotiating position if a record deal ever came across the table. And to do that you have to understand the business behind it, you have to own your creativity, you got to own your catalog, so the best way I figure to do that is to first create my own label and sign myself to that and basically make sure that I’m in control of everything Lia Givenchy.
How did you start a label? What tips can you give to people trying to start?
Well initially before I even stepped out and put myself out there as an artist on social media I made sure that the business part of it was taken care of. So I made sure that I understood what kind of label I wanted which was a production label which means again I control all of my content. Then you make sure you register your company in whatever state you’re in, make sure your paperwork is fine on that. And then all of the BDS and the BMI all your registrations and stuff like that you make sure you get your registration numbers for all of that. So every time you create a record, anytime you do anything with your name, you keep putting it under the same name. Me personally I made sure I had my lawyers draw up paperwork that I legitimately signed myself to my label. You just have the name first of all and when you have the name, which is Bartica Records for me, everything that I did was under Bartica Records. All my business that
I do is under that, music that I record I register it, once I register it to SoundScan, BDS and all that its under Bartica Records. Music that I put out don’t matter how I distribute it is under Bartica Records. Whether I have a TuneCore or a CDbaby ?? its always Bartica Records as my distributor. So everything I just decide to push it through that.
Are you interested in signing new artists or are you focused on being the sole project right now?
For right now I want to be the sole project because for me to be any good to another artists I would have to be able to show them what I was able to accomplish by myself. So right now I want to focus on just me but I actually have two other artists that I am working on, their not officially with Bartica but I help them out with their production and stuff like that. But eventually I do want to get to the point where I have that cash to say I can start signing my own artist.
How do you choose an artist?
Of course they have to have a good sound, of course they have to have a dope look because I do believe in being marketable. Don’t matter how skilled you are if your not marketable its not going anywhere. But you’re going to have to wanna out work me! I must not want your career more for you than you want it for yourself. So it’s hard work to maintain talent everyday, you can be the most talented person but if you don’t want to put the work in your not going no where. So for me an artist that has a look and has a sound..doesn’t have to be the best but their work ethic has to mirror mine I would definetly work with that.
You ghostwrite for many rappers..can you name a few or songs?
Haha! If I could Bartica won’t exisit because of them NDAs. But most of the people I written for were guys. But…yeah I really can’t give you nothing haha! They were big names about five, six years ago but not right now and their from Queens.
Do you rather ghostwriting than being in the forefront?
I would rather the face actually, I’m not going to lie. The ghostwriting intially was because I didn’t understand the business of it and I just took money just to write. But being the face of it I’m better able to accomplish my goals and the things I want to do. I’m able to be an example, so a lot of up and coming indie artists, a lot of females that want to get into the music business, so I think theirs a bigger platform with me being the face than staying behind the scenes.
How was it opening up for Buju? How was it performing for your home country?
It was EPIC to even be in the same stadium with Buju much less share the stage. Because I grew up listening to his music so you know as a kid all of his music is legendary to us. So just being there was just enough. Performing in front of 30,000 people at home was mind bottling. Like mind bottling. Honestly I was nervous getting on stage but when you get on stage and you have people in front screaming for you and really really loving you, you kind of feel like ok, this is where I’m suppose to be. So quickly that faded and got more into an excitement more than anything. But it was an epic experience and it was one of the highlights in my career thus far.
Acutally the month prior I did three shows, I did one with Spice, one with Konshens, and I did one with Alkaline. So I actually had three other big shows and they had about 15-20,000 people. So I had that practice in front of a mega crowd before the Buju so that was the warm up. Haha!
Konshens I’m very familiar with him, we’re pretty cool. I worked with him before in New York, Spice was also mad cool, Alkaline was a little standoffish and I was like..I don’t care anyway. I was just there to perform and keep it moving. It was cool though especially Spice if you know Guyana love their reggae female artists, they love them. And she has always been good to always go back to Guyana so it was really dope.
Did you get a chance to meet him?
Acutally no. I was so disappointed. He was right in front of me, my dressing room was right next to his but there was a minor car accident as he was coming in the venue and the accident happened in the venue. So he was already livid and like really really upset, so I was like you know what let me just go relax, I got to go on stage anyway but it’s going to happen again though.
Do you take pointers from these big names? Who would you want opening up your show?
Umm, I can def take alot pointers from them especially spice because her energy is like nothing on stage. Crazy crazy energy so I would def take pointers from them. But you never know who I can have open for me because there’s alot of young dope artists coming up right now. Like myself I’m still trying to get to that point right now but their will be alot of options I’m sure.
Your new single handstand…what was the inspiration behind it?
I think because I’m always so serious and my raps is always so gritty, I wanted to do something flirty and sexy. You know because I’m still feminie at the end of the day and handstand was one of those flirty club records that I just fell in love with. Listen I like twerking too and I like having a good time so listen we going do this. Haha.
Are you into other business ventures other than music?
Yeah and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be marketable because of course when it comes to beauty I definetly want to be apart of that industry whether it’s hair, makeup, clothing whatever I can market I definelty want to get into that. I am a licensed cosmetologist so I did go to beauty school and get the hair and makeup and all that stuff. So that definetly an industry I would want to venture in . But I also have been taking some acting lessons with coach Wendy so you never know what’s on the table.
If you can change one thing about the music industry what would it be and why?
I would change the mindset of the people like the gatekeepers. For a very long time they wanted to just have one female at a time wherein a space you have about 4-5 females right now that’s winning. So I would change the mindset of people like to understand that you have a 100,000 guys that are rapping and singing the same damn way. You do not have to limit the female, like oh there can only be one. Like no, this is not Game Of Thrones or The Hunger Games. I would definitely want people to be more open-minded when it comes to accepting female rap and also what I have to bring to the table. Everybody is selling pussy, everybody doing whatever, I want to definetly be the one that stands out differently like I can do that if I want to cause I have that look. But the same time women are diverse, we’re not just one dimensional. So I would be like the oddball out.
Since you have a high sex appeal are you scared that’s what people will judge you by?
I think only small minded people will think that. If you are real Lia Givenchy fan then you would know that the first thing that I do is make sure that my bars in on point. I challenge guys to go bar for bar . Like that was the first thing I came out with, when I came out with Givenchy code, all my records that I was coming out with was records to show my skills and my pemanship stuff like that. And then eventually you go into the sexy stuff, the fun stuff that everybody want to be in the club bumpin. So unless your small minded or not even maybe scroll two pages down, then you would think oh that’s all she has but the Givenchy fans already know what I do.
Any new projects your working on?
Well I actually have two projects. I have my latest songs options, its from a project I had called burnt diary and that is one of those projects that I’m actually being volunariable because its a real life story. It’s a story that men or females can relate to, it’s basically about a relationship gone bad. Getting to the end, you know how R.Kelly did trapped in the closet, it’s another version of that though with a lot of rapping and alot of singing. Every song you know, I orchestated like a single but you can tell its a spin off of the last song. So its pretty dope, it’s called Burnt diary, its coming out pretty soon and then I have another one coming out called Avalance. In avalance, that was one of my favorite clubs that I could not go to when I use to live back home because you know…haha. All the hot gal dem use to dress up and go to avalance so avalanche is the reggae hiphop ep that I’m working on and I’m almost finish with that. It’s just a reminisce of all the things I use to see when I was back home with the gal dress up hot and ting, riding on big fancy bikes and whatnot, you know. So avalance is a dope homeage to my west indian heritage so yea it’s two different sides.
What’s it like going back home?
Sometimes it gets annoying and sometimes its like you know this is what you worked for enjoy it because as soon as I get to the airport I cannot get to the city or get to my hotel without the whole country knowing that I’m already there. Somebody is going to call, or you see a picture of you walking out or somebody going to post a picture of you on facebook because they want to say their the first so it;s a little nerve-wracking. I cant really walk the streets like how I use to and I like getting up and going downtown and going to the shopping centers and going to the market and stuff, I love that about it. But now I can’t do it, I can’t walk to the market anymore.. It wouldn’t happen. I can’t even take a minibus. You know I’m very connected with the politics back home so a lot of people know me from my opinions and my outspokenness when it comes to politics so they would say “Oh that’s the gurl who like Granger” you know so everybody got something that they know me for. So it’s a little bit hectic now to go back home oppose to five-six years ago. haha!