MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! Links – INTRO & 30-16

INTRO

30.BRAIDS pop quiz
25. Kaydean pop quiz
 
20. Quiet Company pop quiz
29. Girl in a Coma 5Q
24. The Shondes Call
19. She’s a Tease pop quiz
28. BB Gun Johnny pop quiz
& Feedback LOTTO

 
23. The Jezabels pop quiz

18. Jon Sandler pop quiz

27. Larissa Ness pop quiz

22. TsuShiMaMiRe 10Q
& Elephant Sky pop quiz
17. Neon Desert Music Festival
El Paso Week
 
26. Medicine Park pop quiz
21. Peelander-Z pop quiz
 
16. Stefani Vara 20Q Part 1

 

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! 16. Stefani Vara 20Q Part 1

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! 

Old School. 2009 Debut Release, Storybook Diaries.

16. Stefani Vara 20Q Part 1
The Year 3 Number 16 spot goes to Stefani Vara.  I just recently posted a new follow-up 5Q with her with a remix of her new single, “In the Middle of the Night.”  This particular interview is actually a re-post of an article I wrote for Popular Hispanics.  In its original inception it was always a 20 question interview.  Whereas it originally appeared as one interview at PH, I split it up into two parts here.  Part 1 is what makes the countdown.  I did include a stream of the original version of her latest song when I reposted here, which did not appear in the original PH article.

I think Stefani Vara is gonna’ do some big things.  I’m not just saying that because she’s a sexy Latina.  Not to say she hasn’t already done some things, but I foresee bigger, brighter, and better in her future.  Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx her.  All kidding aside, I think there is a lane there for her; it already exists, but I think she’d be combining a few lanes into one with her Latin/pop/dance music.   It could be said that J. Lo did it before and Kat DeLuna is doing it now.  While J.Lo was more R&B/Urban and Kat brings in a more world music sound, I think Stefani will have a specific H-Town and overall Texas flavor with more live instrumentation.  I could be wrong, but those are my thoughts on the matter.  ‘Nuff said on that.

Now, I’m gonna’ let you in on a little secret, when I do interviews for other sites, I’m just adapting my Questions for feature format to their specifications.  It might have a different title and look a little different than what I post here, but it starts as so many questions for so-and-so artist.

Read the original Popular Hispanics interview here.  See the Part 1  Monday, April 4, 2011 re-post here — 20Q for Stefani Vara Part 1 — H-Town.  Here’s Part 2.  It includes the first single of her yet to be titled forthcoming sophomore release, “In the Middle of the Night.”

See all 17 Year 3 Questions for interviews here.

5Q for Stefani Vara – H-Town

The first time I interviewed Stefani Vara, it was for Popular Hispanics.   I was excited because she had been signed to a major label, had scored fashion endorsement deals with known brands, and had even stood on red carpets with the likes of Chris Brown (prior to his incident) and other such folks.  It was an ambitious (if Ido say so, myself) 20 question interview.  You can see the original PH version here and the reposted 2-part REAL popolio version here and here

It was what I considered a no holds barred interview and I even asked her take on Chris Brown’s situation.  I wasn’t sure if Stefani would be game, but she pulled no punches, didn’t asked for any of the questions to be changed, and answered every single last question.  By that, I was truly impressed.

Since that interview was so exhaustive, I decided to keep things simple this time around.  Most exciting is the tentative Texas Mini-Tour that Vara will kick-off in her hometown of Houston at the end of October.  Additionally,  she will be sharing fashion, beauty, and lifestyle tips on a few websites very soon.  Find more about the tour, the tips, and more in this EXCLUSIVE 5Q interview.

Listen to the “Middle of the Night” Magnificent Remix, the first single from Stefani Vara’s forthcoming sophomore release.

Click the first pic to go to Stefani Vara’s Facebook Page and second, at the end of the interview, to get to her Twitter Account.

***

1. I hear you’re still working on writing and producing material for your sophomore album.  How is that going? What direction is it going in lyrically and musically? It’s a creative process, but I’m loving every minute of it.  Right now I can tell you that I am writing the majority of the sophomore album, but will be collaborating with a few talented songwriters as well. 🙂  The album has taken somewhat of a different direction with more dance-infused songs with a Latin flair.

2. What’s the next single?  How is it different from your first single for this set, “Middle of the Night?” “Middle of the Night” has really taken off; it’s actually Number 19 in Turkey as we speak (THANK YOU TURKEY!!!!).  I just finished a few dance remixes of “Middle of the Night” and I’m doing my own Stefani Vara version of a ‘70s classic…People are gonna’ be truly surprised when they hear it.  LOL!

3. I also hear that your fashion, beauty, and lifestyle tips will be featured at various websites.  How did you become an “expert” in these areas?  Where and when can we find your tips? Yes, I am very excited about this opportunity.  I’m now a talent expert for a few websites including ehow.com and about.com. The segments will go live later this month.  Having the opportunity to attend some events and performing, I do get questions about fashion and hair, so when the opportunity of hosting personalized webisodes on fashion and organizing how-to’s came up, I jumped at the chance.

4. You have some Texas shows coming up later this month and into October.  Can you tell more about them?  What cities are you hitting?  Is Austin one of them? I’ll be doing some intimate concerts in Texas performing new music as well as a few covers by some of my musical influences.  Right now I’m looking into Houston, Dallas, and Austin…I need to show my home state some love.

5. What can Texans expect from your upcoming shows? The upcoming shows will have a more acoustic feel but also dance music with Latin flavor.  With these shows and sophomore album, I wanna’ show the audience that I am a versatile performer and not just a performer you can stick in a pre-determined category!

20Q for Stefani Vara Part 2 – H-Town

Editor’s Note:  This is a repost of my third interview as a contributing music & entertainment writer at Popular Hispanics, originally titled Stefani Vara:  Don’t Call It a Come-Up…I’ve Been Here for Years and originally posted here.  I’ll be posting it in 2 parts here at THE REAL popolio.

Stefani Vara is that Mexican-American around-the-way girl from H-Town, who also happens to be that pop star that’s been grinding for a decade.  That’s okay, because she’s been told it takes that long to become an “overnight success.” 

If she has anything to say about it, and I believe her, she will be hitting your radar faster than you can say, “Oye como va.”  She’s that Latin thang you should know about, but maybe haven’t heard about…quite just yet. 

The sexiness is a moot point; it’s her music that she wants you to care about.  With pop, dance, R&B, and, of course, Latin influences, she hopes to make music that, not only, makes you wanna’ dance, but that you’ll remember for years to come.

In [what was] this EXCLUSIVE no holds barred Popular Hispanics interview, Stefani Vara answered whatever we threw at her with grace, tact, and dignity.  

Listen to Stefani Vara’s new single, “Middle of the Night,” coming to iTunes and Napster for your downloading pleasure very soon.

Click the first pic to go to her Twitter account and second, at the end of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

Part 1

***

11. When I think of Houston, I think of Destiny’s Child and that chopped and screwed music.  Will any of that be making its way into your music?  I would love and it would be an honor for one of my songs to be chopped and screwed.  You are pretty official in Houston when that happens!!

12. Some artists, who shall go nameless, seem more interested in being a “star” than being an “artist” and perfecting their craft. Obviously, you need to get out there so people know who you are, hear your music, and buy it, but you also should be creating and performing if you are truly an “artist.”  How do you toe the line between the artistry and the star-tistry? You can get lost in those high profile events and realize at the end of the day you still have nothing.  It is important to continue to have a face and be in the scene, but also know what you want to get out of it.  It’s important to have balance and continue to remind yourself why you are there!  Product makes a career not a red carpet.

13. If you had to describe the sound your going for on your new stuff in a sound bite, how would describe it?  And the sound of Storybook Diaries?

My sound now:  Live, Fun, and Moving
My past album, Storybook Diaries:  Soft, Sultry, and Deep

14. As Hispanics, we’re often seen as sexy and sensual people.  I’ve seen some of your photos and your sexiness was obviously being played up (see Part 1, Pic 2).  Is there a line where you fear the public may not take you seriously as an artist?  Or is it about authenticity in your artistry, sexiness, and just how you overall present yourself? It’s definitely about authenticity.  I am very comfortable and confident in me; therefore I don’t worry so much about what people think!  I enjoy artistry and being creative – Staying true to yourself and what makes you happy is what really matters.

15. Talk about the new single “Middle of the Night.”  What were you trying to do with it lyrically and sonically? With “Middle of the Night” I wanted to keep the sexiness and have a track where people would want to get up and dance and remember the lyrics.  I have had so many people say, “It sticks in my mind.”…That’s exactly what I wanted

16. Tell us about what we can expect from your next release. The next release is a work-in-progress.  It’s very raw, live, and I think you’re going to like [it]!  I am working with a producer here in Houston and I am excited to be recording again and working on a new project!

17. Your story of the artist whose first label home does not work out is not necessarily unique.  Any advice for up-and-coming artists who may find themselves on a similar path? I stay positive in all my situations; because for me to grow and become stronger God wants me to learn from my mistakes.  I feel my label deal was unique – every label deal with every artist is different!  It didn’t necessarily not work, it just wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  To me, something not working would have been that I never had this opportunity to record an album.

My advice for all other emerging artists is to stay positive and keep moving. Think of each situation as a learning experience to be better or go another route!  If it is meant to be, believe me, it will be!!

18. Do you want to distinguish yourself from other artists?  Or is just about doing what you do well even if it’s been done before?  I just feel like me being me distinguishes myself from everyone else.  It’s about style and personality!  I would never want to be put in a category as oh, everyone does that.

19. Who are you diggin’ musically right now?  Along the same lines, of who is out now, if anybody, who is Stefani Vara’s competition? I am really diggin’ Bruno Mars, Aventura, Juanes, and Lady Gaga.  I don’t worry about competition because I am doing what I want and how I want; so, to me, I stay focused on creating and continuing on my own path.

20. Any last words for the purposes of this [Popular Hispanics] interview?  Thank you so much for this interview and [the] support!  I continue to work hard in the hopes of being a role model to young Hispanics who are pursuing their own careers. I look forward to sharing my music with you and shouting you out when I’m on a red carpet!!!  Gracias!!

THE END.

20Q for Stefani Vara Part 1 – H-Town

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of my third interview as a contributing music & entertainment writer at Popular Hispanics, originally titled Stefani Vara:  Don’t Call It a Come-Up…I’ve Been Here for Years and originally posted here.  I’ll be posting it in 2 parts here at THE REAL popolio.

Stefani Vara is that Mexican-American around-the-way girl from H-Town, who also happens to be that pop star that’s been grinding for a decade.  That’s okay, because she’s been told it takes that long to become an “overnight success.”

If she has anything to say about it, and I believe her, she will be hitting your radar faster than you can say, “Oye como va.”  She’s that Latin thang you should know about, but maybe haven’t heard about…quite just yet.

The sexiness is a moot point; it’s her music that she wants you to care about.  With pop, dance, R&B, and, of course, Latin influences, she hopes to make music that, not only, makes you wanna’ dance, but that you’ll remember for years to come.

In [what was] this EXCLUSIVE no holds barred Popular Hispanics interview, Stefani Vara answered whatever we threw at her with grace, tact, and dignity.

Listen to Stefani Vara’s new single, “Middle of the Night,” coming to iTunes and Napster, for your downloading pleasure, very soon.  So, check for it!

Click the first pic to go to her official site and second, at the end of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

Part 2

***

1. Who is Stefani Vara? Stefani Vara is a determined woman who continues to create a path to her own destiny!

2. lt seemed like you were on your way in NYC having signed to indie label, Siri Music, with your debut release, Storybook Diaries, and all the fashion campaigns, red carpets, high profile events, and crazy media coverage.  What happened? Nothing happened.  I am here and still running!  You can still see me performing, supporting various events/charities, and walking the red carpets.  It was great experience working with a label, but we had creative differences and it was time for a new path.

3. During that time, you were in a lot of magazine features, but had not quite achieved cover girl status.  Is it about paying dues?  Do you want to be a cover girl one day? I’ve been told by many veterans in the entertainment industry that it takes ten years to really make it in the industry and have a name…I am currently in my 10th year!  The experience is different for everyone.  For some, fame and fortune comes quickly with no hard work, but that is not my destiny.  I feel the challenge of learning and understanding the business has taught me and shown me that there can be longevity in a career rather than easy come, easy go!  So, WHEN I finally become that cover girl, it’s going to mean much more to me than someone who didn’t pay their dues.

4. You were at one of Chris Brown’s release parties.  Was that before or after the Rihanna incident?  Any thoughts on that? The Chris Brown event I attended was before the incident.  The incidence of domestic abuse is always wrong and, unfortunately, this tarnished his career as a young pop star for awhile.  I am not here to judge anyone; people make mistakes.  Some small, some huge.  I know that he learned from his past mistakes and hopes to be a better person.

5. How did the 2008 Southpole Footwear and Azzure Denim campaigns come together? Are you still signed to them? Do you want to do more modeling and fashion campaigns? The Southpole and Azzure ads came through my [former] record label.  I am no longer signed to them, but I support them and thank them for all the support they gave me.  It was such a great experience to be the face of a brand and in the campaigns!  I am still modeling and auditioning for fashion campaigns, television, and films.  I recently had the opportunity to walk in my first NYC fashion week show last year which was exciting and fun!

6. If you could get everything out of your system regarding your debut release, Storybook Diaries, what would you say about that experience? I would say my experience was bittersweet.  If you know the music industry you know that just because you are with a label doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily “made it” and can just reap the rewards.  On one hand, I recorded an album and that is exactly what I went to NYC to do.  On the other hand, with the ever-changing industry, I never received a hard copy…I feel it could have gone a lot further if it wasn’t lost in the shuffle of the constant changes of the industry.  It has been a learning process and I know I had to go through it in order to know what I really want now and where I would like to go!

7. In a 2010 interview for another online publication you’re quoted as saying that your debut “…only slightly touches on who [you are] as an artist” and that, “There is tons more passion, culture, strength, and flavor that [you] want to give and show.”  Give me one example of each (passion, culture, strength, and flavor) and how you would bring that musically, lyrically, or otherwise.

  • Passion:  My love for music and entertaining.
  • Culture:  I want to bring in more of my Mexican roots and [a] live band sound.
  • Strength:  My continuance to keep going in this business.
  • Flavor:  My sexy style and fun personality.

All of these things are what I want you to get out of my music when you hear it.  I want you to be able to get a vision of who I really am.

8. That same article references your major influences to be Selena, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, and Alicia Keys. In the same way, give me one thing from each that you hope to emulate in your own music-making.

  • Selena:   She is my idol.  I think about her lyrics in Spanish and English and how the Hispanic community loved her.  I want to make music that people will love.
  • Gloria Estefan:  I want to bring in her vision of Miami Sound Machine.  A fun band that would bring in a live sound that can be heard anywhere.
  • Shakira:  Her sexiness and hip-moving beats that make you want to get up and move.
  • Alicia Keys:  Her strong lyrics and deep melodies.

9. Are there any other artists you are influenced by? Or genres? I am influenced by all types of music.  Growing up listening to country, R&B, and Tejano music has left me open-minded to artists from Portishead to Marvin Gaye.

10. Being a Houston girl, is it important for you to rep Houston and Texas?  How do you do that as an artist? It’s super important for Texas and me to rep Houston.  Most of my fans and supporters are from Texas.  My family and roots are from Texas and that has made me who I am.  Texas shows tons of love!!

To be continued TOMORROW…