2017 has been a special year for many artists for a variety of reasons, but for QUIÑ, 2017 has been all about her sophomore EP, DREAMGIRL. With five new tracks including collaborations with artists Syd (The Internet), 6LACK, and more, QUIÑ continues to do what she does best: create music that everyone can mellow out to.
Relatability is a learned or innate skill, and an important one for an artist to have in order to connect with their fans, and QUIÑ understands that most of all. “DREAMGIRL is for anybody who’s ever fallen in love, who’s ever been frustrated in love, who’s ever had to boss up on themselves, and understand their purpose is to love themselves and the love will work,” she says. “It’s for every single body who likes good sounds.”
It’s easy for some to take down lists, mark notepads of schedules and to-dos, but for a creative project, some artists have the ability (and even luxury) to be a bit more unrestricted with their projects; DREAMGIRL is an example of such personal freedom for QUIÑ. A story can start with a beginning, but it doesn’t have to. And sometimes, life itself isn’t so organized or controlled, and for QUIÑ, that’s how the EP was created.
“[It was] total free-form…I just make the songs until I see a story being formed, then I’m like, ‘oh, that’s what you were trying to tell me,’” she explains. “It’s like writing a book out of order, reading all the pages, and being the one that starts numbering the pages together to unlock the secret story inside.”
Her previous EP, Galactica, felt as though we were given access to a personal foray into parts of QUIÑ herself. “I was establishing the setting of my imagination, trying to figure the place out, finding out what it even is, what it looks like, and those discoveries are all reflections of my self-discoveries,” she says.
For those who are afraid to journal, sing, or even give form to the stories inside themselves, there may be inspiration waiting for those brave enough to take the chance. QUIÑ sees DREAMGIRL as her previous album’s sequel, saying, “We get to zoom into Galactica and find out what happens there, how I got there, and how I move around, which is through my dreams. It’s more specific. It’s a love story about falling in love and catching yourself before you lose yourself along the way.”
QUIÑ also sees her upcoming EP as a reminder: “It’s about reminding yourself of your true power, purpose, and not letting anything else get inbetween the you, in you,” she says.
On one particular song, QUIÑ likens the feeling of love like the ocean, and the “awakening” (when everything goes south) occurs when the boat passes through a sudden storm. The ongoing metaphors and the establishment of atmosphere QUIÑ crafts with her lyrics, melody, and overall production is what will definitely leave her current fans, and new listeners, eager to explore the world she creates within herself.
Life can be free-form, curated, or perhaps even edited, but producing every moment and opportunity with exemplary work in order to move on is a necessary skill, QUIÑ says. The artist says she’s picked up on this lesson during time spent with her collaborators thus far, which include Syd, G-Eazy, and gnash. She explains, “I’ve learned from all my peers that when you put in righteous work, you receive righteous blessings. You just got to stay on [your] job.”
Playing festivals like AfroPunk 2017 (her first one!) and Galore’s Girl Cult Conference, QUIÑ doesn’t see 2017 as a separate time, but as another moment for accomplishments. With firmness, she states, “I have many goals that need to be accomplished. Right now, I’m working on sharing my gifts with as many people as possible and gratefully going wherever they may lead me.”
This isn’t about the fame for QUIÑ, but a time to expose the world to her self-coined “fantasy-soul” sound, which she describes as three words: “Infinite, glittery, and versatile.” It’s fair to say at least a few tracks showcase the singer showing off her confidence (‘glitter’), and others multiple perspectives (‘infinite’).
“DREAMGIRL is my baby and I don’t mind her being a place for others to call home when they might not know what to identify with,” QUIÑ continues. Perhaps just like a galactic belt, both QUIÑ and her listeners have the freedom to let tracks form the universe that makes up her overarching sound. Her words speak not as an invasion, but a careful presentation and subsequent invitation to who QUIÑ is and who she will become. Born from a family of music-lovers in Pasadena, California, (her mother a dancer, father a TV director and musician), QUIÑ appreciated music, and even crashed her family’s jam sessions with other musicians like Patrice Rushen, and later joined the school and church choir.
However, the attention and focus of an audience would give her pause, and she would’ve been content with being in the background. But that’s changed now with added techniques of relaxation and positivity before a performance. “I say my prayers and prepare my body to be a clear channel for my spirit to shine through,” she says. “It is pure bliss getting off stage knowing that people have been positively affected and I’ve done my job.”
DREAMGIRL’s first single, “Sticky Situation” featuring Syd, is the first story about being caught in a tricky romantic situation, but being able to snap out of it just in time. QUIÑ says her own experience “was something really, really sticky. I unstuck myself and caught a mood!”
[It was] total-free form…I just make the songs until I see a story being formed, then I’m like, ‘oh, that’s what you were trying to tell me.’
According to QUIÑ, her experience working alongside Syd was one of a kind. “She’s the chillest,” she says. “It’s the best when you are brainstorming with your friends and it’s something I don’t do often. Especially when working with another girlfriend, it’s super refreshing and easy.”
As for the rest of the album, you’re just going to have to listen to find out, but QUIÑ was pretty open about the album’s title. While some people find it challenging to put a name on a personal part of you, QUIÑ says it was easy as could be.
“DREAMGIRL just came to me,” she explains. “It was an automatic thing that had been in my mind for a while, even while I was putting Galactica together…I already knew what this one was going to be named.”
For QUIÑ, this release marks her own experience with overall confidence and vessel for her own story. “I’m my own DREAMGIRL; the little girl is my dream self, a positive example, a lover, and a healer,” she says. “She’s my big self, my confident-in-being-my-confident-self, my being-open-to-share-my-diary-with-the-world self.”
From 2016 to 2017, the project and journey continues for DREAMGIRL, from the background to the forefront. QUIÑ says, “It took a while to be okay with saying these things out loud, so my whole life right now is a dream come true.”
With the release of DREAMGIRL, out now, and even more music to write, QUIÑ has faith in 2017 ending on a high note. “Looking back at me in the beginning of the year versus now, I think it’s cool…It just keeps going after this.”
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QUIÑ Takes Us Out Of This World With ‘DREAMGIRL’: Photographed by Tyler Adams