Paloma Ford is a gem in the music industry, embodying the definition of a strong, confident female who is living out her dreams on the daily. From collaborating with the likes of Meek Mill, Snoop Dogg and more, early in her career, to making a name for her own artistry as a singer, songwriter, businesswoman, actress, and mother there is no denying the many undeniable talents and strengths of Paloma Ford.
Today the Long Beach native exclusively announces August 7th as the release date for her highly-anticipated X Tapes EP. The project is heralded by the release of her R&B bangers “Rain,” “Chrome In My Feelings Version” and her most recently released visual “Nights I Cry” where she pays tribute to the West Coast — a place she calls home. In 2016, Paloma released her debut EP Nearly Civilized, spearheaded by Billboard-charting single “Jada.” Through each release, you can feel the authenticity and vulnerability in her lyrics, in the form of smooth and sultry R&B ballads that everyone can relate to.
Flaunt caught up with Paloma via Instagram Live to discuss her upbringing in Long Beach, what we can expect from X Tapes, fashion, and more!
Being from Long Beach, what was the household like growing up?
Well my father’s from Long Beach, shout out to Poly. All my family went to Poly, that’s the Long Beach connection. I was more so raised in the valley because my dad moved to the valley when I was younger, he was commuting back and forth. Long Beach is where the whole family still is, I’m always taking trips down there. Shout out to Snoop for holding it down, keeping it player. He grew up with my cousin and supported early on from the beginning. Shout out to Long Beach.
Bring us back to the days you were singing background for Macy Grey, what was Paloma like then?
A baby. [laughs] A baby with big eyes, trying to learn some shit. Figure it out. I fell into the right place at the right time with that. It wasn’t set up studio sessions, I was there and it worked. That was history.
What’d you learn from that whole experience?
That’s my first experience in a studio for real. Justin Timberlake, CeeLo Green, will.i.am, we were all at Record Plant. That’s my first intro to the industry, being thrown right into it. That’s always been my story.
When did you realize you could do music as a career?
That’s always what I was doing, since I was a little girl. There’s never been a plan B. I definitely took the long route of going the independent way and learning as I go. Learning things for myself, but it was never a different career path. That’s been what I’ve been wanting to do my whole life.
What are the pros and cons to being independent?
The cons are always working. [laughs] It’s never-ending, working 24/7. If anything, that’s the cons. It’s definitely a lot more micromanaging things and putting that work in for real, but I’ve learned to appreciate that. It’s taken some time, more time than I wanted. But I’m so proud of the work that’s been put in and the results. It’s more gratifying.
Congrats on the release of “Nights I Cry.” How does it feel to have it out?
Relief! We did the music video in a 2-week turnaround, so I was really proud of myself. We shot it during quarantine.
The visual itself has such a dope aesthetic, talk about your vision with the visual.
We really wanted to make sure that the vibe matched the song. It’s really a smoke and drive type song to me, so I wanted to make sure I embodied that in the video. Show a softer side. The song is called “Nights I Cry” so you have to get a little vulnerable with people.
What or who inspired this record?
A n*gga! [laughs] The project is X Tapes so it’s already about a breakup. The trials of a relationship that I went through, that most people can relate to. This is one of those stories.
What influence does California have on your art?
It’s a daily influence. I have a song called “Heartbreak on the Westside” on this project, because I got my heart broken on the Westside! LA subconsciously or consciously always plays a role in my art. It’s natural.
Best memory from the shoot?
Shooting on set at night in the hood, it got a little crazy a couple streets down. We were riding over Angelas Vista, I really wanted to get that shot because there’s all these beautiful palm trees. It’s one of my favorite spots in LA to drive. Anybody who wants to go there, I’m like “okay let’s go!” It’s near Slauson, Overhill, all in that area. Simply Wholesome right there, and goes over to Leimert Park. I wanted to show that, but you forget that you have to be careful. There were some things poppin’ off a few streets over. A lot of police cars, we’re like “okay, let’s get this shot and get outta here!” It was a really great experience overall.
What can we expect from your new project X Tapes? Is this inspired by your exes?
It’s inspired by my exes. [chuckles] I started writing this project when I was in the middle of a breakup. I quickly got over that and entered into a happy time. I did all these songs, then I put those back aside to finish this project. It’s not one specific person, it’s tapping into experiences overall. I can’t give credit to just one specific person who broke my heart. I wanted to make sure we told a full story and people could relate on all levels.
Tell us about “Rain” and “Chrome In My Feelings Version,” where do they both fall in line with X Tapes?
Funny enough, “Rain” was one of the last songs I recorded for the project and the track really serves as the introduction to the story. After finalizing the project I noticed I didn’t have any songs for the lovers—mostly because I was trying to tell a different story. I thought it was important to have that vibe and that’s how it came about. “Rain” is the story of two people who are getting familiar with one another. It’s the moment when you decide to accept someone into your life, despite realizing you may have left yourself vulnerable. “Chrome In My Feelings Version” comes next. Your institution is telling you that something is wrong. You’re clearly being tried and he’s forcing your hand, testing patience. Now time to get the chrome [laughs].
What was your reaction to Meek’s tweet months ago saying “you making my spot hot P”?
Well first of all, I was late to the party. [laughs] By the time I saw it, it was already a thing. I knew exactly what he was talking about, he’s talking about the sauna in Miami that he loves to go to. I’m like “yo, relax!” He’s talking about this sauna at the Faena.” He’s like “yo, that’s my spot. Why are you showing the whole world?” So FYI, let’s clear that air. That’s what he meant but you know, people on social media are always going to go the opposite way always. I didn’t really think too much of it, he’s silly.
How was doing slashedbytia’s runway show at NY Fashion Week?
That was everything! She’s so incredible. What a genius! I’m so excited to see what she does next. How she even draws her inspiration, everything behind it is so feminine and beautiful. I was so honored to walk for her, it was a really great experience. It was last minute. It was a huge goal of mine, so really blessed. To see Vogue pick those pictures out was more than I could’ve asked for, I was really happy.
Talk about your love for fashion too, I know you style yourself.
I do style myself. I love to drip. I love to dress. I always have since I was a little kid so it’s a whole thing for me. I hope to keep growing in the fashion world as well.
What’s your secret to staying snatched?
Uhh, I have no secret! I love to eat. I try to balance it with cardio. Balance is everything! I used to go super hard on diets. I still get on it when it’s time to perform, but I try to keep everything as a healthy balance.
How’s motherhood? How old is your kid now?
My son just turned 11! He’s really a grown man because he’s been with me my whole journey. He was a studio baby, a toddler in the studio throwing his toys around. Now he gets to actually see me as not just his mom, but see the things that I do. He’s the one that pushes me to keep going.
You were in the Netflix film Never Heard, can we expect any more acting endeavors from you?
Definitely! I was working on an independent film that I hope we continue to push through. it was LA-based. I Never Heard My Father Speak, Master P actually gave me that opportunity. He was in it, he introduced me to the director. The director really added some little lines for me to get that look, I really appreciate that. Had no idea what that was going to turn into, but it’s definitely a passion of mine.
What’s next for Paloma ford?
To keep growing musically.
When does the X Tapes drop?
The tape will be released on August 7th. I’m so excited to share this story with my fans. It’s about time. In the meantime, everyone go check out my latest single “Nights I Cry,” which is available now on all platforms. See you guys soon [blows kisses].