Slidin’ Thru: Naomi August

January 9, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Naomi August is here to carve her own lane in the industry, both sonically and professionally. Aside from the fact that she produces and makes beats herself, the singer-songwriter proves you don’t have to chase a trend or be someone you’re not to be seen or heard, and that talents alone suffice. Read more…

Settling in her new home in LA, the Floria native uses music as a form of expression, creating eclectic pop records inspired by real-life experiences and moments.. In October, she unleashed her debut EP titled ENDLOVE., touching on all aspects of romance, relationship, and everything The 9-track effort hails standout singles “Be Mine” and “Downtown.”

For those who don’t know, who is Naomi August?
Naomi August is a singer, songwriter, producer, composer. I make beats and write songs.

I know you say you’re more pop than R&B. How would you describe your sound?
It’s definitely a fusion of pop and commercial R&B, more so with the drumming and things like that. As far as the melodies, I would say it’s more pop.

You’re from New York, raised in Florida. How does that play into your life and career?
I’m a Floridian by heart. [laughs] Just kidding. Born in New York, but raised in Florida. My mom and my whole family are the ones that are all from New York. I travel back and forth, so it’s nothing really too crazy.

How long have you been in LA?
3 years.

Did you move for your career?
Yes, photography and music. Photography lead me into the job I have now, which is cannabis. Cannabis and music go hand and hand, so I’ve been using that to perpetuate my career a little bit more. Basically, I’ve been able to fuse my love for cannabis and music together. Photography kind of bridged that gap for me.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s where you have to be. It’s where all of the networks are at. It makes people more accessible for sure. Even though you have emails and internet, it’s more accessible out here versus being in Florida.

What’s your favorite part about the city?
All of the food. Also being able to leave the city and actually seeing mountains, the beach, and everything else you have. To have different seasons, all the good stuff.

You play the drums, guitar, piano, etc. Talk about your musical background.
My family’s in music, so it’s just something that I’ve always done. It’s all I know. My grandfather used to own a radio station in New York, it was for Salsa music. My great uncle, José Febles, was a producer for a lot of major salsa acts in the 70’s to 90’s, including Hector La Voz. He played the trombone, piano, drums, etc. I have an uncle in Puerto Rico now who’s part of a big orchestra there as well. My mom and cousins all sing.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I’ve been doing it my whole life, so it was kind of second nature to me. It wasn’t anything that was foreign. Since I was 9 years old, I would take basically a tape recorder and boombox, and just multi-track myself. Play and play instruments, so I just kept going from there.

What was the inspiration behind keeping your name?
My real name is Naomi Agosto. In Spanish, that means “August.” I wanted to make it easier for people ‘cause if not, I would hear “au-goo-sto” or something different. I figured August would be easier.

You recently released ENDLOVE. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
ENDLOVE was a 2-week process. [chuckles] As far as the journey in itself, it’s been about 3 to 4 years of experience that I accumulated into 2 weeks worth of recording. As far as the process, it was just more so trying to explain the story: a beginning to end relationship kind of thing. It’s just me venting and exposing myself, so to speak.

“Be Mine” is a vibe. Talk about the love and romance that comes with your records.
That record sets the tone for journey of the album. It’s like when you first meet somebody and that person thinks they’re the shit. They think that they can get you or whatever, so you kind of just play hard to get with them. It’s usually the beginning of a relationship where you play hard to get. It’s all the games, all the wondering, all the “what if’s.”

Then it leads to “Downtown,” which says “hey I think I do like you, and we’re going to do this.” It’s a relationship from beginning to end, pretty much.

Are you currently in love?
I was. [laughs] I’m probably in the process of falling in it.

Does he know it’s about him?
Probably not.

He better listen to your music!
They think they influence it, but I don’t tell ‘em. That’s too much power. [smiles]

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
That it’s relatable. It’s something they can use in their own life and hopefully, it’s a voice for them as well. I know for me, music is a translation of things that I can’t say sometimes. It’s more of a feeling. Hopefully fans or listeners realize it’s a voice for them, if they can’t figure it out.

What is your take on the music industry?
It sucks. No I’m just kidding! [laughs] I think it’s a machine. It’s a matter of people producing a certain amount of quantity over quality. We’ve lost that indie vibe, that realness that music used to be, which is the process of actually writing your music and producing it. Now, everything is a template.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
As of right now, it’s exposure. I’ve been very shy, very behind the scenes. Now is the time to say, “hey, this is what I do,” and to own it.

Talk about this Made Series collective you’re a part of.
Shout out to Yazid Britt. They put me on Mini Mafia, which has opened doors tremendously. I’ve been able to create relationships I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. A lot of musicians tend to go the social media route whereas publishing is where it’s becoming the industry. With Mini Mafia and the Made Series, I’ve been able to keep my craft mine and still expose it without having to compromise who I am and what I do. I don’t have to have a certain look on Instagram or anything.

How important is social media for your career?
It’s important, as much as I don’t want it to be. It’s definitely a platform that has to be used. I don’t think you have to be obsessed with it anymore, but it’s definitely a platform.

How often are you on it?
I try not to be on it, but once a day or once every other day.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Normal day is marketing for cannabis, I brand a lot of different products. Then mostly just writing songs. I am a mother of an 11-year-old, so that’s there too. If you count my dog, then I have 2 kids. [laughs]

Talk about this cannabis company you have and how it plays into music.
A lot of musicians smoke. Even in the studio, it’s a vibe. I tend to do that to get in my zone and write. Even my mother too, she’s dealing with some pharmaceutical issues so I’m bringing it out of my music and into her health. Music is another way to sell my product to market. They just mingle together.

3 things you need in the studio?
Water, cannabis, caffeine. And good beats.

Can we expect any performances?
He’s forcing me. [points at Yazid] Yes, in the near future. We’re working on some stuff. For now, I’m just going to start doing some live videos for YouTube and Instagram.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music and cannabis?
I would be doing art. I paint on the side sometimes.

Can you talk about balancing being a mother in all that you do?
She’s my sidekick, so she’s always there. [smiles] It’s hard. It’s not something that I overexpose just because it could portray you sometimes as not adequate enough to do it or you might not be reliable. I’m just trying to show people that I can balance a full-time job, be a mom, still be an entrepreneur, and work on music. It’s just balance.

Do you listen to more rap, R&B, or pop?
It’s such a mix. I’m mostly on Spotify playlists shuffling through. I like old school stuff from the 90’s. I listen to R&B. My mom loves freestyle from the 80’s. I actually like classical music in the morning, while I’m cleaning or something. Nothing specific, I just like music.

Who’s the last artist you listened to?
Jorja Smith, Ella Mai, mai.la, shallou, ESTA.

Can you talk about producing?
I started making beats officially when I was 15. I didn’t used to sing because I was way too shy for it, but I had a bunch of friends that rapped. I actually used to freestyle in school and do battle rapping. I just started making beats and kept transitioning. Eventually, I started making my own songs.

I feel like it’s rare for females.
I don’t find it different because I’m a female, I just know how to do it. People look at it because you’re a female and they’re like “oh, how do you do that?” I just do it.

Dream collab?
Timbaland or Justin Timberlake.

What’s one thing you want your listeners to know about you?
That I make my shit. It comes from me.

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