New Noise: Lady Cultura

We meet Ariana Grande tour-mate, Lady Cultura.

Lady Cultura has over 23,000 followers on Instagram but that doesn’t mean you’ve heard of her; props to those who have. With the trajectory of a dancer – schooled in performance since she was 8, she’s appeared on Broadway and teaches an assortment of styles all over the world – she’s most recently joined the ranks of Hannah Diamond, Pixie Lott and Girli, hooking up with digital collective OKgrl for her latest musical release, “No Tengo Mas”.

Cultura’s energy and progressive attitude is a permanent fixture – while the aristocratic prefix isn’t (lazy hack’s rejoice) – and no doubt played a role in her current gig on Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour. Here at Wonderland we’re pretty taken with her Twitter chat too (“the hotel i’m at changes my tv channel to the news in the mornings… so i literally wake up… woke” she tapped last month). Keen to know more, we grabbed five with our new favourite lesbian Cuban rapper.

Lady Cultura, where does the moniker come from?

Cultura means culture in Spanish and culture is everything to me. I’m a Cuban-American from Miami, both my parents being from New York: I feel like I am culture. That’s what makes us different, it’s what makes us interesting.

You’ve just dropped a new track, “No Tengo Mas”. Can you talk us through it?

The song is a collaboration between myself, Santell and the Picard Brothers. My sound is urban Latin and the boys did their own twist and vibe on top. It’s an anthem for the flings; the flings that need a reality check! “No Tengo Mas” means “I don’t have anymore”. I’ll refer to the line “I told you from jump what it’s gonna be / don’t pretend and act like this is more than it seems”. Basically.

Nice. You worked with digital dream team OKgrl on the visuals. How did that come about?

OKgrl is super innovative and next level. I met with Louby (McLoughlin) and decided we were on the same page with our thoughts on pop music, culture, visuals, etc, so we decided to collaborate on something exciting for my debut, and now we are all one family.

And Santell has produced the record, right?

Santell is my childhood best friend actually; we have known each other since we were 8 years-old. He’s been doing music since GarageBand and his beats were lit then. He has this incredible ear for all genres of music. He’s able to hear something once and just GET IT. He’s a white Italian boy and he makes FIRE beats: Reggaeton, Caribbean, R&B, you name it.

So how would you describe your sound?

My sound is a mix between Latin Urban and Afro House. I love anything that makes me want to dance, as I love a good island beat – Reggaeton/Dancehall that’s been remixed or jazzed up.

You sing both in English and Spanish, was this a conscious decision?

Lady Cultura: I’m proud to be Latina but I’m also American. I am Spanglish. Spanglish is me!

” I love anything that makes me want to dance, as I love a good island beat – Reggaeton/Dancehall that’s been remixed or jazzed up.”

What about influences, where do you draw your inspiration from?

I try my best to not be influenced too much by other people to really focus on who I am, but I have a few artists that are timeless to me. Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz are my heroes in music. Their passion, their authenticity, and their culture are unmatched. That is my goal, to move people the way they move me.

I read somewhere that you were a big Sporty Spice fan when you were younger; is she still your favourite Spice Girl?

HAAAA. Absolutely. She was everything to me. I WAS Sporty Spice. She wore tracksuits and had tattoos, a gold tooth, a killer voice… I WAS IN.

You’ve just started a tour with Ariana Grande…

I’m two days in, so far it’s been amazing. It’s my job and I take it seriously so it isn’t ‘playtime’. It’s work and it’s hard and tiring but the reward is surreal and so beautiful. Ariana is a dream to work with. I mostly have to thank her for letting me be myself. She hired me as one of the male dancers (she only has male dancers) and I get to dress like and be myself. Making history.

And dance is your first love, right? How does the music industry compare?

I have Santell to blame. I was heavily into spoken word when I was in high school and one day he told me to come over to make a song for fun. Someone heard the track we made and put me in a showcase. I thought to myself, wow, this could be a thing.

So finally, Lady Cultura’s hopes and dreams for 2017?

I’ll be touring with Ariana for most of 2017, but on top of that I’ve started a clothing line that I hope to expand and grow. I just want to grow in general. Get my EP out to people, perform bigger venues, and keep being that voice for the unsung. It’s time for a lesbian Cuban rapper. Right?

Zoe Whitfield
New Noise: Lady Cultura

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