What’s Going On with Torica
Katrina: Where are you from originally?
Torica: I’m originally from Columbia, South Carolina.
Katrina: When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in singing?
Torica: I could always sing from a really young age. I went through this stage where I was afraid to sing in front of other people but I would sing at home or sing to my brother. My brother encouraged me to sing professionally, he felt like I had a unique talent. I started off singing in church, and I later went on to Howard University for college. When I left school I felt like I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, but what people in my family expected me to do. So I decided to move to Atlanta and within a year I landed the feature on Sick of Being Lonely with Field Mob. The song grew it’s own legs, we really didn’t think it would take off the way it did. Since doing that and getting my first letter in the mail from the Grammy Academy saying the song was nominated, I said, oh this is definitely what I need to be doing!
Katrina: You landed your first major publishing deal with super producer Bryan-Michael Cox. Bryan has worked with everyone from Mariah Carey, Mary J. Bridge, to Usher. How did it feel working with someone of his stature?
Torica: The crazy part is I’ve known B. Cox before all the big names he’s worked with. I met him before everything started to take off for him as a producer. I met him when he was humble, quiet, fairly unknown but bubbling, and approaching that big break before being recognized. I met him around the time he first started working with Toni Braxton. He told me I was really dope, he loved my pen and my voice. He said when I get an opportunity to put you in a position I’m going to come back and do that. He kept his word, and I’ll always respect him for that, he’s like family he’s like big bro. I definitely understand the nature, power and magnitude of his resume. It’s a privilege to be able to work with someone of his caliber.
Katrina: While we’re on the topic of pioneers, who are some of the pioneers in the music industry that you are influenced by?
Torica: I definitely look up to Beyonce from a performance and an entertainment perspective. In our generation she’s the best performer she knows how to deliver the records on stage. You can tell she leaves her entire heart on stage and I always want to do that regardless of the scale of the audience I’m performing to, whether it’s 100 people or 100,000 people. I want to be remembered as leaving my emotions on the stage so she definitely inspires me in that way. As far as business is concerned I’m really inspired by two women; one is Ethiopia Habtemariam and the other one is Sylvia Rhone. Both of them are women executives at major record labels who worked their way from the bottom up. Now they’re well respected, signing artists, giving out publishing deals… they’re both advancing in business. I’ve always been very business savvy so I always try to follow careers of successful female entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to step out in a male dominated world.
Katrina: You have definitely made it a point to establish that you’re more than just a singer! You’re not only a singer but a song writer, you assist with artist development, and most recently acting.
Torica: I actually just started acting and I’m excited about it. So I’m anxious to see how I progress in that category. As an artist being creative and making music is one thing but acting is tapping into another form of my creativity. But I feel like all artists are actors to some degree because we’re performing and putting on our faces and jumping into character. Even though who I am as an artist is very parallel to my real life it’s a little more embellished on stage.
Katrina: Speaking of acting, recently it caught my attention that you had a small role in comedian/social media sensation, Emmanuel Hudson’s new video stemmed around the Marshawn Lynch controversy. How’d that come about?
Torica: I knew the director and he reached out to me and was like I need you to come play a sports reporter. It was based on the lack of interviews Marshawn has been giving lately and how he just says he’s just thankful and he shows up just so he won’t get fined. Emmanuel kept getting approached by people saying he really looked like Marshawn and suggested he do a parody. We released that video on the day of the Superbowl and that video has amassed 150,000 views.
Katrina: To add to the many hats of Torica you landed a co-hosting opportunity on the Break Room, radio show! What can we expect to hear and when can we expect to hear you on air?
Torica: The Break Room Radio was originally founded by it’s host Dominic, or as everyone calls him Blaqsheep. He launched the show originally in Miami. The format was based on indie artist and undiscovered talent and he decided that he had peaked in Miami and wanted to expand the brand and move to Atlanta. When he approached me about doing the show I jumped right on it. I always wanted to be involved in some type of music journalism. The premise of the show is to play high level indie music. Music that sounds like it’s produced on a high level but from unsigned artists! Though we will be playing music that is well known we are making it a point to play music that mainstream radio is afraid to play. The format of the show will also be us discussing pop culture, the state of music, current events, and celebrity gossip (can’t forget the tea).
Katrina: You are an amazing song writer. You have been recently writing for R&B singer Case’s new album Heaven’s Door. How has that experience been?
Torica: We just wrapped it up, we had to turn everything in. The song I wrote is called Speakerboxx, it was produced by Triple A. Originally I wrote this song with Omarion or Chris Brown in mind but the powers that be sat on the record. First Atlantic Records said they wanted to record it for Omarion but that didn’t happen, but it’s all about timing. Case reached out to my team about doing the song, he is an R&B legend so I wanted to at least let him record the song to see how it’d sound. He recorded it, it came out great, the label loved it, he loved it, and they just informed us that the song will be available the hard copy nationwide at Walmart and Target. The album’s dropping on March 31st and I want everyone to run to Target and Walmart and get a copy!
Katrina: You have a new project out as well! You have a new single out called What If. What can we expect to hear from Torica on your new project?
Torica: It’s the third project that I’m releasing. I’ve done an album, and mixtape and this will be my EP. It’s called The Best or Nothing. I feel like that’s where I am in my life, I’m only accepting the best. I’m not settling for anything and I’m not allowing people to tell me what I can’t do. I’ve accomplished so much in my life I never thought I’d be able to accomplish. I feel like I’m just getting started. I know that I have to adopt the demeanor that everything I do is the best, because if I don’t think it’s the best I can’t expect anyone else to think so. I just want to encourage other people not to settle get the most out of everything.What If is the first single off of my EP. But, I’m not finished writing and recording the EP yet I’m about 60 percent done. I haven’t selected a release date yet. I just want to show people a different side of me.
Katrina: Who are you working with on the EP, any sneak peeks?
Torica: I really can’t say. But, I recently received a call from someone who is very well-known but I can’t really say because it’s not written in stone. I’m also an advocate for people that are emerging or unknown talent because I was once unknown and somebody gave me a chance . I’d love for a song I did with an undiscovered producer or songwriter to take off and jumpstart their career. If any producers or songwriters reading this would like to send me tracks or full songs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katrina: Outside of the EP who are some people that you would like to work with?
Torica: I would love to write a song for Brandy. I had an opportunity to work with SWV Coko’s girl group TTYL. Producer wise I’d like to work with Kayne West, Just Blaze, Rodney Jerkins, Sonny Digital, and MMG producers are really dope.
Katrina: I’ve interviewed so many artists lately. Some, have come to believe that reality shows are reshaping the music industry and becoming an necessity for new artists, emerging artists, and just to remain relevant. What’s your opinion on this and would you consider being on a reality show?
Torica: Good Question! I agree to a degree. But, I believe the reality show format is reshaping what it means to be a celebrity. I think when I was younger and looking up to celebrities they were people like; Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, or Whitney Houston. I never thought a celebrity would become someone who is really not doing anything but being on TV. What happens is they’ll go on the show and they’ll create something, which is great but prior to that they weren’t doing anything to call themselves a celebrity. In order for me to do a reality show it’d have to be a really enticing offer for me to even put myself in that position. A lot of reality TV is scripted and things happen that the viewers can’t see. Unless I’m able to be shown in a really positive light I don’t know if a reality show would be taking a step forward for me. A lot of reality shows have been portraying Black women in a negative light! That’s the format of reality shows right now and it’s not cool to me.
Katrina: As far as your career what is your long term goals.
Torica: Long term, I’d like to have my own record label, management company, or to be a top executive at a record label because I have an eye for talent. I’d love to be able to put someone in the position to be in the spotlight and grow them from nothing to something. I’d like to be more globally recognized. I’d love to have a few Grammy Awards, Golden Globes, and maybe even an Oscar on the mantle lol. I just want to be successful and working. At the end of the day all creative people will tell you, you’re only as good as your next project. I’m always working. When people see the video and hear the song, that’s 3 minutes and 30 seconds of life and its gone! My main objective is to always be busy and working on the next big thing.
Katrina: What advice would you give someone thinking about entering the music industry?
Torica: Part of me being on the Break Room was me telling them I wanted to be a voice for inspiring creatives. Whether you’re a songwriter, artist, producer, or aspiring manager . Another thing I can’t stress enough is being on top of your business. If you don’t have it in writing you have no recourse. Being creative is cool but you’ll just be being creative as a hobby if you don’t know your business. I definitely think everyone needs to Read: Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman. Study your craft look at people that you’re inspired by.
Katrina: Fun Question, what is something on the day-to-day basis that Torica can’t live without?
Torica: I can’t live without my iPhone 6
Katrina: If you could leave the readers with anything what would it be?
Torica: Understanding the importance of supporting creative artists. Alot of us spend so much of our own money to make music and promote it especially independent artists. I encourage people to support them beyond reposts and retweets but by spending that 99 cent or 9.99 to buy their music. You support creative people you don’t know so if you know someone that is creative it’s even more meaningful that you support them!
Click Here to Preview and Download Torica’s New Single What If on iTunes