Brianna Castro showcases her soulful artistry in her debut EP For Now. The Philly native brings transparency and raw emotions through her songwriting and ethereal voice. In four powerful tracks, For Now serves as a great introduction to the artist. Read below our conversation with Brianna Castro.
Being from Philly, how has growing up there shaped you personally and inspired you to pursue music?
I feel like Philadelphia is a very musical, very soulful city. We got The Roots, we got Jill Scott, we got Musiq Soulchild, we got it all. The list goes on. So being a musician, I think that the culture influenced me by default just being from here. I feel like you have no choice by default. It just influences you musically. You hear people say, ‘Yo, I’m from Philly.’ That’s the first thing like, ‘Yeah, I’m from Philly.’ I’m a proud Philadelphian!
Who are your musical influences?
Personally, growing up, my dad. I remember my dad taking us on drives at nighttime with the windows down, playing a lot of Sade, Phil Collins, Tupac, Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder. Then as I got older and expanded my musical taste, I got into rock music like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Janis Joplin and expounded on that. I’m just a really big fan of good writers, so it doesn’t have to be sonically pleasing. If they’re writing some shit and they say some shit, I love it. I guess that’s why I like to write music a lot.
How does that influence your songwriting process?
I just want to write some really fly shit. I just want somebody to feel what I feel when I hear these great writers. So with writing process, there’s really no rhyme or reason. It’s just what happens, happens. And then at the end of that writing session, if I love it, I keep it. If not, I just keep on going. I just try to keep writing every day until I’m like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ Like I could feel it.
Let’s talk about your latest EP For Now. Can you explain your inspiration behind the project?
I was trying to come up with a really fly name for the project because I wanted to get the point across. That it’s just for now. It’s just four short songs and four short visuals that I wanted to put out so that I could get the momentum going so I could keep more drops to come. I’m like, ‘Damn, how can I how can I express it? This is for now.’ And I’m walking around in my apartment, and it just came out like For Now. And then I texted my friend and engineer and producer whose name is Ben. I was like, ‘Yo, lets name it For Now.’ He’s like, ‘Love it.’ The inspiration came from things that I’ve been through the last few years. Just life experiences, relationships, all that cool stuff.
What was the hardest part about creating For Now?
I don’t want to say hard, but it kind of was a long process because I had a hand in doing everything. I don’t want to say by myself, because I did write the project by myself, arranged and produced on it, but also, I produced with a few friends. But it was a lot of work. It was my first time shooting visuals. When I’m on camera, my friends are usually shooting me and then when I’m not on camera, it’s mostly just me shooting. Then learning how to edit. I’ve never done that before. YouTube University type shit. I’m recording myself and it was my first time recording myself and getting that equipment. Learning all of the technical side, which I enjoyed, but it was not my favorite because I really like just to be creative. The hardest part was the technical stuff.
What do you wish for people to feel when they listen to For Now?
I was really intentional with the songs. I wanted them to sound like I was almost kind of right there singing the songs performance style. I just want them to feel the rawness in each situation at that moment in time.
How did the visual concept for the EP come about?
I was talking to my homie, Sikatheart. We had never done video before and at first, I was thinking, maybe I’ll just do one video for “U N Me” and then just leave it at that. And then I was like, ‘No, it’s too short. Maybe we should make a visual for everything.’ While we’re on the phone, I’m like, ‘What would make this?’ What I’m always thinking of this too is if in the next five or ten years, can I look back at it and not be like, ‘Oh, cringe.’ So I’m thinking about how can I make something special to me. Numbers aside, streams aside, how am I going to be proud of this? I said, ‘What if we put the whole project on VHS? I think that’s kind of crazy, right? Or was that dumb?’ And he’s like, ‘That’d be stupid. Like, that’s crazy.’ So then from there, it was just snowball effect. I had to figure it out because they haven’t manufactured VHS tapes since 2008. So, I’m on eBay doing business trying to find blank tapes. And then I’m thinking, ‘How I’m going to make these covers?’ Then we figured out how to Photoshop the covers and I had a manufacturer. I was trying to get somebody else to do the work for me, but they were trying to charge something crazy like $50 a tape. I’m thinking, ‘No, that’s not that’s don’t sound right.’ So I ended up having no choice but to just figure it out myself and doing those VHS emulations. I shot the whole thing on my iPhone, actually.
What song from the EP are you most excited to preform?
I really love the first track “U N Me.” That was a lot. I had a lot of fun writing it. Everything else is kind of like stuff that I’m used to, but “U N Me” is a little bit different.
Who do you wish to collab with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with H.E.R. and Kehlani. I’d love to collaborate with Anderson .Paak. There’s so many people. Victoria Monét. She’s such a great writer.
What should we expect next from Brianna Castro?
More music in 2023. I’m working on wrapping up a project now, so we can have something out relatively soon. Just drops. Just music. I’m excited!