Transmuting raw emotion into electronic elements of synth-pop and R&B, Corina Seas‘ fresh sounds snuggle cleanly into the stream of pop throughout Los Angeles. The Florida native takes cues from her background in hip-hop — even if sonically she has strayed away from the genre — throughout her penned wit and emotive delivery heard on her recent EP, Disassociated. The five track offering takes a variety of different aspects of Seas, coated with a cool taste of moving on, yet prominently also of strength. Ahead of her EP release show, November 15th at Lot 1, Seas’ recent chat with GUM gave an understanding of influences, starting over, and ultimately, a sense of “identity” within the artist.
Your single “Wasted Time” was my first introduction to your sound and huge waves of 80s and 90s R&B, synth pop came to my head. Why did you chose this genre to explore (especially so upbeat), because just based on own experience, this sounds like it’s directed to a former lover.
Sometimes the songs I write sound like they are to a lover, but they’re really just to like the higher calling or whatever you want to call that but you’re totally right, this song is literally talking to a former lover. When I wrote it, it had a big Michael Jackson feel to the melodies I composed and I wanted the song to keep that playful touch. I also specifically made this song upbeat because my music can sometimes be melancholy and my mom hates that so I wanted to make something people could have fun to. I’m just a huge 90s and 80s person and the sound fit so there you go! I think Alex Rosales, the producer and I, have similar tastes in pop so it kind of was just a great meshing of the minds.
You also have a background in hip-hop. Why did you decide to lean towards pop and its subgenres?
I still think about this all the time and wonder if I shouldn’t have gone the pop route. I basically did it because otherwise I would have been stuck in the R&B cage, which years ago, R&B was basically dead and all the singer’s careers that I grew up on had pretty much ended. So, I figured pop would give me more creative autonomy. I didn’t want to have to be a sex symbol to do music. And I didn’t want to pursue rap only because I’ve always been a singer too and I didn’t think I could meld both worlds. That was foolish but you live and you learn! I intend to drop a mix-tape next year and it’ll be all hip-hop. I’ll be rapping on every track and singing the hooks.
You just released your EP, Disassociated (currently obsessed with “Aphrodite”) and it’s pretty eclectic in terms of production versus typical pop albums/EPs. Did you have a certain sound in mind for this EP when you were putting it together or was it a result of the song’s feelings?
I don’t currently have the luxury of having a team I can work with to create a specific sound and I’m still finding myself as a producer so I definitely just went with how each song feels and did it that way. My EP’s kind of reflect my natural self though, which is definitely not one thing. I bounce back and forth and everywhere all the time. Because of this, it’s always a struggle for me to have a cohesive vision with songs. I do have a few visions for album concepts, but then I don’t have the right opportunities to create it as specifically as I’d like, so I just write a bunch of songs and grab ones that I’m feeling at that moment or one’s that I feel I could pull off with the means I have. There are so many factors to making songs and I’m a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes I just need to release things instead of perfecting my vision and having this epic concept. Luckily, I was able to bring this EP together enough to make it have cohesion even though the songs are kind of way different from each other.
Also, so glad you like “Aphrodite!!”
Any songs that didn’t meet the cut this time around and would you ever bring them back for future releases?
There are a few songs that didn’t make this cut and I plan on releasing them ASAP. My problem is always just finding the right people to work with and then there are financial restrictions. As far as written material, I have plenty but as far as the funds to see them to fruition, that’s another story… I have at least 3 songs at the moment that I’m playing with my band in live shows that will be the next songs I release. I just hope I’m still feeling them at that time as much as I am now, and that I don’t decide to just skip on to the next!
The album artwork for Disassociated is also very interesting as it appears to be an alien Goddess, which I can stand behind. What is the inspiration or story behind this “isolation” that I kind of picked up on, correct me if I’m wrong, visually?
Alien Goddess, I like that! The isolation thing you’re picking up on is spot-on. When I was writing these songs and creating the idea for the artwork, I felt very sad and alone inside. I had just gotten out of a terrible breakup and I felt like I had completely lost myself. It was hard for me to write, I felt betrayed, I felt like I wasn’t a good enough musician, I felt all these shitty things and I wanted that to reflect in the EP concept. I also wanted to stand strong though, because even though I felt defeated, I knew I wasn’t going to give up.
So, I had that concept, and I knew I love space vibes and weird things so I started looking online for examples of a woman between space and sea. Eventually, I was able to find enough ideas of what I wanted the artwork to look like, and I was lucky that Polaris Castillo is a genius and was able to pull it off. He’s also such a great person to work with and a genuine friend. Since I wanted the concept to reflect a sense of power amidst isolation and I wanted to be spacey, it made sense to make me an alien girl. I guess it could have just been me between space and sea, but that’s not that cool imo [in my opinion]. Way more fun to be a space girl. And now I can say I’m an Alien Goddess!
I read that you cite your time at University of Florida as highly influential in your personal and musical development – in what ways did the university shape you to what we hear now?
Oh man… in every way possible. If it weren’t for my homies in the Hip-Hop Collective or the Singer-Songwriter Society, I don’t think I would have evolved nearly as much as an artist. I was always a singer and I started writing in high school, but I couldn’t write songs, just poetry. Going to UF helped me bridge the two worlds. It also created some of my longest lasting friendships and taught me a lot about life and really cemented how I approach writing and the messages in my music. I also sang with an Afro-Cuban ensemble in my time there, Fundamento Rumbero, and that taught me a lot about what my voice can do and gave me some fun experiences that left me wanting more. That whole time was magical for me. I’ve never grown so much or felt so loved. It’s kind of corny to have been affected so much by those times but it was just a freeing atmosphere completely centered around self-expression whereas my childhood was rampant with experiences of racism and it made me so closed off. My time at UF freed me again, and it was awesome.
Also noted you worked briefly at Warner Music Group then transitioned to the realm of being a songwriter. Did a particular event or epiphany occur for you to realize that you wanted to continue music as an artist, versus promotion? Did you find this transition hard or easy, considering your background?
Yeah, I was an intern for about 6 months, but I never wanted to be a promoter. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, getting that internship was just a means to my true goals for me although it didn’t work out that way at all. It was actually a very weird experience for me. I was doing stuff for other artists, learning about the business aspect of music, and getting really disillusioned with it all. I think Warner really takes care of their artists, but I saw how hard it is to get backing for independent artists. It also was kind of identity shattering to realize that I had no real idea of how to get my music out there, had no real connections, and didn’t really know what I was doing at all. I learned a lot from that job, but it definitely didn’t give me a leg up. If anything, I felt like it made me think I would never even have a chance. I still think that sometimes, but I don’t really have a choice, I have to do music, it’s a huge part of who I am and what I forge as my self-identity…which is its own clusterfu**.
You are also of Honduran descent and are “intimately involved with Latinas in music.” Tell us about this, and how your role as a Honduran-American is important in this day of age?
I’m not sure how important my role as a Honduran-American is in these times… it’s more just a sense of pride that I have, but no one really cares about Honduras or they would help the nation (guess it’s a sore spot for me lol). I guess a lot of people would assume that Hondurans are criminals or uneducated or have to come from poverty so hopefully me just being in the world and showing a side you don’t see helps change the image, but I’m not really sure if that’s the case. I’ve gotten a lot of backlash in my life for having Honduran pride and I’ve had a lot of racist things said to me. It is what it is, but I hope me spotlighting my heritage can help change the narrative. Hondurans are awesome. It’s a wonderful country with a lush and deep cultural backdrop. The people are funny, welcoming, and the food is great!!
As for Latinxs in Music – I actually found out about it by going to Play Like A Girl workshops. I just sat down at a talk one day and started talking to this girl who was funny and had a lot of confidence. She turned out to be Danielle Quebrado who works for Biz3 (she manages artists like Bosco and Miguel) and she just kept me in the loop with this group she was starting, Latinxs In Music. I’ve been going to her events since then and making friends and connections. I specifically call out this group because I think more Latinxs need to know about it. It’s a place where you can be heard and you hear about struggles of those who understand your own tribulations. We’re not all the same, Hispanics don’t all come from the same walks of life or face the same problems, but we do have underlying similarities and it’s nice to find a place where we can share them. It’s just a cool ass group if you ask me!
Your EP release show is November 15th at Lot 1. Are you excited? And what can we expect at the show?
YES I AM EXCITED!!! I’m super stoked on this show. It’s the first show that I’ve curated and coordinated in a while and I’m excited for the bands to play and I’m excited to finally perform the EP. You can expect a lot of dancing from me, crowd interaction, and some intense scream singing. You’ll hear some unreleased tracks, a Spanish song, and you’ll get to hear my fabulous band comprised of Luis Castro on guitar, Sean Farrell on keys, Luis Torrealva on bass, and Jon Chamberlain on drums. You’ll hear DJ sets by the super sick Holander as well as performances by Club Oro, Mae Deline, and CAT! Lastly, there will be some dope art installations from Balloonski as well! As always, I’m going to have crazy colorful makeup on, still trying to decide what exact design though, but I’ve been amassing ideas for the last couple days!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Things I’d like to add, just that people should listen to the EP on Spotify and that people can be on the lookout for a rap mixtape sometime next year!
All photos: Jessica Robles