Interviews

Published on May 4th, 2020 | by MuzikScribe

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A Friendly Tête-à-tête With Qveen Herby

Now let’s hop right into your latest single, “Check,” which is an interpolation of the Missy Elliott staple, “I’m Really Hot” — Tell me about this particular track? How did it come to fruition?

QVEEN HERBY: Yes, my producer, Pompano Puff, brought the track one day and we all freaked out! He recreated that iconic beat, and the song sort of wrote itself. Missy has been such a huge inspiration for me, for so many years. There’s still nobody that compares to her.

“Check” comes courtesy of your forthcoming, not to mention overdue, EP, ‘8’ — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you? 

QH: This pandemic really threw a wrench in our lives and schedule, but one thing I know is my listeners are ready for this new music. “Check” was literally written about somebody who owed me money, but now I see the relevance in stimulus checks and the financial strain people are feeling right now. I’m into numerology and the number “8” is the vibration of money. So my intention is to give people that feeling of abundance right as summer is hitting.

That said, what all specific details; i.e. favorite selection(s), producer(s) credit(s), cameo appearance(s), etcetera, can you reveal and / or divulge about upcoming said set at this particular point in time?  

QH: I can spill it all for HYPE MAGAZINE 🙂  I worked with this amazing writer, Crash, on “Check” and “Dump Truck.” He brought fresh new energy to my sound. Of course all tracks produced by Nick Noonan and Pompano Puff; my producers for every single track since day one. “Self Aware” features Durand Bernarr who is my creative artist soulmate. My favorite track at the moment is “Sugar Daddy,” because it’s so indulgent.

How then does this new body of work either differ and / or compare to previous Qveen Herby efforts? 

QH: I was really taken by pop art and early 2000’s music this round. It’s a more pop sound than my previous EP’s, but you still get that quirky devious R&B that defines QH. It has faster tempos and more danceable moods for sure.

‘8’ is a Checkbook Records project — Why an indie versus a major label release? And, who, aside from yourself of course, currently makes up its artist roster? 

QH: I’m continually blown away that we’ve managed to build this thing independently. Sure, I’m tempted to sign with a big label, but we found out recently I’m in the top 2% of all indie artists. That’s rare territory, and I’m becoming increasingly passionate about teaching others to create sustainable music careers on their own. Right now, I’m the only artist on Checkbook Records, but I have an amazing team that’s growing. Feels like we’re The Rebellion from Star Wars.

Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested? And, how did it all begin for Qveen Herby? 

QH: I remember plunking out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano at 8 years old; my parents immediately put me in lessons. I became obsessed with singing at age 11 after discovering Brandy, and R&B / Hip Hop music. Wound up at the best music school in Boston at 17, working nights in a wedding band. Blew up on YouTube at 24, signed to Epic Records and toured the world with platinum records. Independently re-branded to Qveen Herby just 3 years ago! Wild.

Now you’re a native of where exactly? So growing up, who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences? 

QH: I grew up in Nebraska, came of age in Boston, and have lived in L.A. for 9 years. My musical influences were always R&B singers with sprinkles of Hip Hop; Brandy, Mariah, Missy, Lauryn, TLC…Dr. Dre really had an affect on me, but my household was Christian and strictly against anything with a parental advisory sticker. In Boston, I got hooked on Kanye West pretty hard. It was his ‘(My Beautiful) Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album that made me want to rap.

In having said that, how would you describe and / or define the style of music that you create and perform? 

QH: My music is soulful, quirky, devious R&B with Hip Hop drums & bass.

Where does your moniker originally derive from?

QH: Qveen was a nickname in college, and Herby is the mascot for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. It also means “warrior.” I originally wanted to go by just Herby, but that name wasn’t available on Twitter so someone suggested I add Qveen to the front. The misspelling felt just right.

Success, what does that mean to / for you?

QH: Success used to mean money and fame of course, but I’m onto much bigger and better things now. I love creating the life of my dreams, and helping others find theirs. I’ve found no greater joy than pursuing this through my music and the internet.

What do you want people to get from your music? 

QH: All my music is about self-care, self-worth, confidence and surrender. These are the vibes that have put me on the path of my highest purpose and greatest joy. My listeners are creative, brilliant souls that resonate with this. I really just want to be their hype-man.

Are there a(ny) hidden meaning / message(s) in any of your music?

QH: Nothing is hidden with me haha! Writing BDE {big dick energy} really taught me that I can say what I want as long as it’s honest. I spent a lot of my life trying to please other people, so I’m allergic to it now.

As a lyricist, where do you draw inspiration from?  

QH: Pat Pattison taught me how to write lyrics properly. He has a book, ‘Writing Better Lyrics,’ that breaks it down so nicely. I listen to Lil Wayne if I need to get inspired, because his bars are brilliant. Drake is top notch, too! I like wordplay and unique ways of saying relatable things, which in my opinion, is best exemplified in Hip Hop.

Please explain your overall creative process… 

QH: I love learning. I’ve been taking Masterclasses online [masterclass.com], and find my creative process is most similar to Marc Jacobs and fashion designers.  Every EP, or season, is different, but I start by opening myself to receive inspiration from anywhere. Things start flowing into my experience; it’s magical. I’ll see images on Pinterest or certain colors or themes showing up repeatedly. I build a mood-board, and listen to tracks from my producers. Melodies come to me in the bathtub or while I’m doing laundry. We cut gibberish demos, and I’ll refine the concepts and lyrics for a couple weeks. We cut final vocals and add arrangement bells and whistles. Shoot the album cover. Send the songs to trusted friends for feedback, and shoot a video for the top track. Design the merch and cosmetics collections, then sit with my mastermind group and plan the roll-out / marketing.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop? And, even more specifically, women in rap?

QH: There are more women in Hip Hop than ever before, and this makes me so proud. Up to this point, I have only featured female artists in my music, and I’m lucky enough to be friends with some insanely talented ladies that are leading the movement. When Cardi B locked her number one song, it was the first female rap song to get the spot since Lauryn Hill 20 plus years ago. On the other hand, we still have a ways to go before it’s equal because men still dominate the genre.

Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?

QH: I think yes, pertaining to lifestyle and mindset. I also love makeup – shout out qveenstudio.com – and fashion. Anytime I learn something new that improves my life, I try to connect the dots and find ways to share it with like-minded people. The QVEENDOM is helping me build my world.

What has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?    

QH: On paper, it would be the platinum plaques or the cover of Rolling Stone. But I’d say re-branding as Qveen Herby, and expressing my true self as an artist.  Not to discount the milestones in any way; I just reached 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

What’s an average day like for you? 

QH: Wake up at 8am, walk the dogs. 20 minutes of sweating, 20 minutes journaling, 20 minutes learning something new. 90 minutes content creation and social media. Work on music with Nick. Eat takeout. Take a little break, and handle admin tasks or basic chores.  Brainstorm and research until we’re zapped. Take a lavender bath to cleanse my aura. Wim Hof breathing exercise into mediation. Watch YouTube videos, read a book and fall asleep.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans… 

QH: My new vlog “Qveenland” was created to bring them into my world and creative process. A new segment is “Ask the Qveen,” where I answer video questions from fans. I love Twitter for direct responses, but I often slide into their Instagram DM’s unexpectedly.  Facebook and YouTube are usually replying to comments. A few people send me letters in the mail, which is by far my favorite.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?  

QH: My favorite part is creating beautiful things and having beautiful people consume them; hearing that something I made impacted their life in some way. My least favorite part is dealing with outdated industry systems that are often political, preventing great new artists from emerging without signing away their masters and relinquishing control.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? 

QH: Simply begin. Whatever it is you want to do, just start the damn thing. You can make it perfect later. How will you learn without failing a few hundred times?  When you blow up, they will call it an overnight success anyway 😉

Lastly, what’s next for Qveen Herby?   

QH: We have begun discussions of an album. I had planned to tour America this summer, but that will be delayed until things calm down.

Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?  

QH: I think we covered it! Thank you for the great questions.

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers? 

QH: I love you and believe in you. Eat cake, stream QVEEN.

 

Connect w/Qveen Herby Online:

Official

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube

 


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