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FLAUNT PREMIERE | MUNI LONG STEPS INTO THE LIMELIGHT WITH “BODIES”

March 19, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Muni Long has been in the music industry for over a decade, and now she’s stepping into the limelight as her own artist. Having written for all the elites from Rihanna to Mariah Carey to Ariana Grande to Madonna, the singer-songwriter knows a thing or two about hit records, and she’s bringing that same energy, passion, and flavor into her own artistry.

In 2019, Muni debuted her new persona as an affirmation to herself: pronounced “Money” Long. Of course, everyone wants money, and she’s here to become this larger than life pop star she’s always dreamed and destined to be. Growing up watching her idols on television, specifically MTV, BET, and VH1, Muni always knew creating music of her own would be the ultimate journey.

She states, “Muni Long is this persona I always wanted to be. She’s a boss, she don’t give a fuck. She’s fly. She knows what she wants, she knows who she is.”

Muni exploded onto the scene with the release of her debut single titled “Midnight Snack,” featuring Jacob Latimore. Over a throwback sample of SWV’s “Weak,” Muni showcased her talents as a vocalist and rapper, following it up with her debut EP titled Black Like This. Beyond the music, Muni has Lupus and continues to fight the daily fight, giving hope to all those who struggle with health issues (specifically women).

Fast forward to today, Muni unleashes her newest single “Bodies,” premiered exclusively on Flaunt. The record is about women owning their sexual identity, sexual fluidness, and normalizing the amount of sexual partners they’ve had without criticism or classification.

We caught up with Muni via FaceTime, who was posted in her house in Calabasas. Read below as we discuss her roots in Florida, musical background, pop star dreams, her first big placement, touring with Akon, transitioning into her own artistry, debut EP Black Like This, collaborating with Yung Bleu and Sukihana, her journey with Lupus, goals, and more!

What was the household like growing up in Florida?

Florida is a country as hell, so country. My dad was in the Navy so we moved around a lot, but we always came back to Florida. My grandparents lived there on a 5-acre farm. We had peacocks, chickens, geese, a hog. I grew up never wanting for anything. If we’re, hungry we went outside and picked it up. Picked some oranges off the tree, some mangoes and ate it. We’re fishing, shooting, climbing the trees. It was very free.

When did music come into play for you?

Really all my life. My mom sings, my biological father sings and plays the trumpet. It always was. I always had to sing in church, always had to sing for the funerals and the weddings. I didn’t have a choice, it was always “okay, she gon’ do it.”

Who were you inspired by coming up?

My older brother used to listen to Biggie, Jay-Z, all the real hard rap. I hated it at the time because I was listening to NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Aaliyah, Spice Girls. There’s a group called B*Witched, Britney Spears, Toni Braxton, Whitney. I was listening to all the pop shit.

So you wanted to be a pop star?

I did. I remember the first video I watched that made me think I could do this was Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” I saw that video and thought “oh shit, that’s so fucking cool. I want to do that.” I also forgot TLC and Janet [Jackson]. At the time, the early 2000’s was so fucking cool. The graphics were crazy, the fashion was crazy. The last group that really was wow to me was Destiny’s Child. I was 12 when I thought, “I could do that for sure, that’s what I want to do when I grow up.”

Do you remember your first big placement where you thought “wow, this is crazy!”

There was a summer right after my first record came out on Capitol Records. I didn’t know what was about to happen and I really didn’t want to go back to the country. If I have to go back home, I’ma end up having to get a job, get married, get pregnant. I’ll never be able to do what I wanna do. I’ll be stuck down there because that’s what you do. You get a job, you start a family, next thing you know you’re 45. I really didn’t want to do that. [laughs] I knew I wanted to do music for sure since high school. I started uploading videos on YouTube, was singing, growing this following secretly and my family didn’t know what I was doing. Being a social media influencer wasn’t a thing back then, I had to sneak and do this because everybody thought I was weird talking to my computer.

From there, I got that deal. I put out this record as Priscilla Renea, 18 or 19 years old making this pop music, wide eyed and bushy tailed. I went on tour with Akon and Usher. Akon brought me on tour to write songs for him because I’d known him from Atlanta. On that tour, it was decided “okay, I’m going back to LA to be a writer.” Sometimes when you go in with a writer, it’ll last 2 or 3 days so you go in with the same person back to back. The second day of my first session, I wrote a song called “Promise This.” That song placed a month later, it was #1 in the UK for a month. That was my first thing. I went over there, the song’s playing everywhere. Adele had done a cover of it on BBC, it was crazy. I rode that wave and started saying yes to everything. That turned into a Selena Gomez cut, who said that’s the record that helped her cross over from Disney. That turned into Chris Brown, Rihanna, Madonna… alright cool, I gotta keep doing this so I can eat.

 What did you learn from touring with Akon?

That it takes a village, he had so many moving parts. I learned how to be a star. He makes everybody feel welcomed. He speaks to all his fans, he stops to take pictures. He’s very much a performer. As soon as the camera comes out, he turns on. But also to have fun. We had a whole lot of fun on that tour. We’d go to the movies, go shopping, do pranks, all that type of shit. A lot of hard work, but a lot of fun.

Transitioning now to your own artistry, how has it been?

I’m in a choose your own adventure style reality right now. I really do believe that anything’s possible. I have an incredible team that’s super supportive of my vision. When I say I wanna do something no matter how crazy it sounds, I have 6 people behind me that are willing to say, “okay, let’s think of it like this. What if it was this? I have this contact over here, let’s put you in contact with them. Let’s get on a group chat, let’s figure it out.” I’m super creative all day. 2am or 3am is really when my mind goes crazy. I’m waking up and doing Voice notes, writing down ideas for TV show and movies, video treatments.

As one person you can’t do all that shit by yourself. You can’t be the director, the writer, the artist, the makeup artist, the hairstylist, the stylist. You’ll go crazy trying to do all that shit, so I’m so blessed to have a team full of A-List people. They’re all the most highly sought-after people in their respective industry and lanes. I’m really really grateful they’re all here to support me, they’re just as excited about what I’m doing as I am. It allows me to be super creative. I can go in the studio for 4 days and come out with 60 songs. I couldn’t do that before because I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel supported. It’s been a really really amazing experience, moving super fast as well. It doesn’t seem like it because we can’t go outside. The pandemic’s forcing you to sit with yourself, really think about everything you have going on and what you could be doing. It’s moving really fast because all the people on my team really really believe in it. When all that energy and synergy is focused in the same direction, people feel that.

One thing that you want fans to get from your debut EP, Black Like This

I hope they feel the freedom that I felt making it. I was talking to my sister about this last night. I truly believe when you’re in the studio making music: you see the vocals being recorded, that’s a visual representation of what’s happening as the music hits your ears. You see the waves, it goes in your ears and moves through your body. It’s literally moving your molecules around.  The example I give: when you hear the words “I love you,” how that makes you feel? You feel the energy and intention behind what’s being said.

Making the music, I was so happy. I was so grateful. I was in a great place, my frequency was so high that I transmitted that into the music. I really want people to hear it and get that same experience: take that into the world with them wherever they go, doing whatever they do. Especially when they come to my show, I want them to be inspired. I really want them to be inspired to elevate. When you watch a great documentary or an awesome movie, at the end you’re teared up or energized. You’re like “fuck it, I’ma start my businees! I’m gonna call that person that I love.” That’s what I hope that people walk away with when they listen to my music, just an energy boost. Higher frequency, feel inspired to be the best that they can be.

Talk about linking with Yung Bleu on “Build A Bae”. 

“Build A Bae” was one of the records that we had a 4-day session, going crazy. Produced by Damar Jackson who does a lot of R&B, sexy, bedroom music. He comes by, he drops off some beats. I write this song. We were looking for people to feature because it’s one of the songs where it’d be dope if I had someone on here with me. One of my managers knew Yung Bleu’s manager, he’s from Mobile too. He said “yo Yung Bleu, he’s coming up. He’s getting hot.” We said “alright cool, let’s do it.” Literally 3 weeks later, he had the Drake feature on “You’re Mines Still.” I thought “fuck, he’s not gonna do it now.” He said “nah, it’s cool. C’mon, I fuck with you.” Went in the studio, he recorded his verse real quick. A very simple process, he’s there for an hour. We got it all done in the span of a week, we had the video shoot 2 days later. The song’s doing really well in California, doing really well on radio.

Talk about linking with Sukihanna on “Thot Thoughts”.

I love Sukihana, she’s funny as fuck. Plus she’s a Florida girl, so I had to. We had a lot of choices for this record, a lot of them were men. I really wanted to work with a female. There’s always gonna be songs where I can get a male feature, but I really want to have a woman on this song. I thought about it and said “let’s get Suki! This is exactly who she is, what she talks about all the fucking time.” I’m also in a liberated space where everybody deserves to express themselves in any capacity they see fit. No one should be judging anyone else. As long as it’s not harming you or taking away from someone else, express yourself.

Do what you want to do, live your life. This song really does that, even though I’ve never had this experience we’re talking about in the song. I’ve never cheated. I’ve never been in that situation, but it was a story that I felt needed to be told. A lot black stories. Especially a lot of black women, we get so much shit talked about us when we decide we want to be sexually liberated. For example, I was watching something on Freddy O’s page with Superhead when she was talking about having autonomy over your body. When you’re a man, you don’t like the fact that your woman has been with multiple men. I really wanted to have somebody on the record that didn’t give a fuck, that was going to be honest. She killed that shit, I was so happy when I got her verse back.

Best memory from the video shoot?

The video shoot was crazy. We were in the Everglades with so many mosquitos and bugs. [laughs] One thing I do remember is when we’re shooting our scene together, her fiance Kill Bill was there. Their relationship is so cute. He said “pop that pussy! Don’t be scared, bust that shit open!” I was laughing, I’m like “hell naw.” [laughs’ That shit’s so funny. I love when a guy’s supportive of their woman, let her be her. I love that.

“Midnight Snack” is almost at 1 million views, how does that make you feel?

Man, I don’t like having to calm myself down. We’re in this such click, instant, Instagram, 60 second, viral overnight type of world. I have to really remember we put this music out in October, coming out as a brand new artist with a whole completely different style than even my former supporters are used to. I used to be very singer-songwriter-y, and guitar. I’m really stepping into this new persona, that we’re doing really well. Jacob of course brought a lot of his fans over. It was so much fun working with him because I’m a huge fan of The Chi, love that show. The video was really awesome to shoot. Plus I’m a Virgo too, I don’t really show my excitement until the last minute. Right before some shit happens, I’m stoic or unmoved. I’m running a label as well, being super super creative and looking for new talent. I don’t allow myself yet to stop and look at all the stuff we’ve done so far. It is really cool. I’m happy that almost a million people, or maybe 10 people 100 times have watched the video. [laughs]

What was SWV’s influence on you? I know it samples “Weak.”

That’s a classic. If you grew up in the 90’s and you don’t know that song, something’s wrong with you. My homie Brian Morgan wrote the song and that’s a close friend. When I heard the track, absolutely I gotta do something to this.

What’s your favorite midnight snack?

I like fruit. Watermelon, chopped up pineapples. I like Asian pears, the big brown ones chop that up. Or some grapes with cheese and crackers, I just really love fruit.

Thank you for the cookies, they were fire!

We were trying to show people we care. I’m like that in real life though. I be bringing people gifts, cakes, and candies. I wanted to extend that same practice.

What’s one thing you want fans to get from “Bodies”?

That your life is to be lived outside of, and irregardless of, anyone else’s expectations. Live for you, love for you. What’s meant to be will find you.

What does it mean to have Lupus and still excel in the music industry?

I want people to know that you can do it. When I first got on the phone with you, I was sleeping. Super tired, having aches all over my body. I had this interview, it gives me something to look forward to, rather than sitting there thinking about how you don’t feel good or the aches. I have to stretch a lot, I have to get massages. That sounds glamorous, but it’s not really. [laughs] I have to really do a lot to be able to do normal things. You can see, I have my little nebulizer here.

I don’t even really think about it. I’m very grateful to be doing what I love. Eventually, I want to get to the place where it’s not manifested in my body and I can get over whatever trauma caused it in the first place. It’s pushed me to do a lot of shadow work and inner working, becoming a better person overall. Really learning how to forgive people, let shit go. Live my life no matter what anyone thinks, I’m definitely grateful for that. The pain isn’t that bad when you get to do what you love. If this is the worst thing I gotta deal with, okay. Maybe everybody isn’t like that. Not gonna lie, the shit really does hurt sometimes, but it’s what I gotta deal with.

Talk about your love for fashion and how that plays into your artistry as well. 

I love clothes, I really do. I’m into custom pieces right now. These sweats I have on, I got these from Exclusive Game. He’ll chop up scarfs and towels, make you pieces. I got a closet full of shit I haven’t worn, I have it because I like it. Fashion is art to me. Having a really nice piece, sometimes I just look at it. Study it like I want to wear it.

I had such a problem, I had to make a pact with my husband that I wouldn’t buy anything until June. It really was a problem, I love shopping so much. I love clothes, and I have an eye too. I go into the store and say, “that’s dope.” They’ll say “oh, we sold it out.” I always pick the thing that’s one of one, or the really hot item. Not only do I like to shop, I have really expensive taste, which is kind of irritating. I went shopping yesterday with my assistant, helped her get some LA, assistant clothes. Whatever that means. [laughs]

 What goals do you have for yourself?

I definitely want to have a massive, streaming music career, definitely would love to get a couple billion streams. Win some Grammys and win some Emmys, have my music in film and television. I want to do some screenwriting. I love to cook so possibly some cooking situation in the future. A cookbook, a cooking show. I really want to get into skincare. I’ve been really into my skin lately, trying to make it so I don’t have to cover it up with makeup. Been getting into natural beauty. I do my own nails, so something in the nail space. Maybe some nail gems. I really want to be creative. I’m super super super creative. The ultimate goal: whenever I have an idea, I want to be able to execute it and be successful so I can continue to do it. Because once you do something and you have success, people trust you to be able to create.

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