Anjuli Stars sings like an angel, raps like a gangsta, and writes songs by the thousands. She plays the keys and strings. She owns her own record label. She's collaborated with Pitbull. This Latin mami from West Kendall even holds a degree in Music Business and Songwriting from Berklee College.
On January 31, Stars will drop her pay-what-you-want Starvation Vol. 2 mixtape via anjulistars.com. Featuring full production from Salaam Remi cohort Stay Bent Krunkadelic, this slab sets the stage for her international takeover.
Here's what Anjuli had to say about South Dade Records, upcoming shows, and the job she quit to chase her dreams.
Crossfade: What are you up to?
Anjuli Stars: Workin' on my project, The Starvation Vol. 2, that's coming out on January 31. I released part 1 over a year ago and released it directly to the streets. I got offered four different independent record deals. But I decided to retain all creative control, stay completely independent, and launch my own South Dade Records label.
Where you from?
I was born in South Miami and raised in West Kendall, out by the Hammocks.
How did you link up with Pitbull to get "Raindrops" on El Mariel?
I was in college in 2005, just making music for my homies on campus. I've been singing since I was 5. I made a rap mixtape that had this one song, "Raindrops," an acoustic ballad. It had got into the hands of one of Pit's homegirls and he was like, "Wow, this girl's incredible." He took the track, remixed it with the Diaz Brothers, and it came out on the album like a year later. I wasn't pushing for it. The opportunity just kind of fell in my lap.
What's on Starvation Vol. 2?
The first single I released, "Buss Shots," is hip-hop with singing elements. I did my aggressive push into the game, then my second single is gonna be completely R&B, all singing. I'm not a female rapper. It's cool for now. But I play keys, I play guitar, and I compose all my music. I'm a musician.
What were you doing leading up to this?
I got a degree in music business and songwriting. After I got out of college, I'd been a bartender and server till six months ago. Then I let it go. That's why I progressed so far in six months. I quit my job and have been focusing completely on the music.
Did any of that 9-to-5 struggle inspire your songwriting?
Working a regular job, I was able to take that energy and put it toward the music. I wasn't happy with what I was doing for a living. I wrote all of Starvation Vol. 1 being unhappy with my job, wondering, "Why am I doing this?"
You got any shows coming up? What's next?
I got a few shows next month in Boston, NYC, and Connecticut. Doin' shows up and down.
I have a team in place that wasn't there six months ago. My engineer Neil Dyer is the man. And Stay Bent Krunkadelic is producing all my music right now. He's done a lot of work with Salaam Remi, and everybody from Chrissette Michelle to Nas, Mary J Blige, and Amy Winehouse.
Salaam Remi is a legend in the game, and his right hand dude is Stay Bent Krunkadelic.
How do you describe your movement? What are your ambitions?
South Dade Records is about reppin' me and where I'm from -- being a young Latina female from Miami. There's a literal divide between South Beach and the underground. I want South Dade Records to bridge these two sides. Everything that I am is Miami. I plan to take it around the world. But ultimately, this is always home.
What's your background?
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My father is Cuban and my mom is from Hawaii.
Yeah, Breadfruit, Stay Bent Krunkadelic, Disco, Ivy Studios, Dante Luna, and South Dade Records. That's really it. Check me out.