Crossfade caught up with Anjuli to discuss the mixtape, her new song "A Fish In The Water," and a little bit about her start in the music world. Read the interview below.
Crossfade: Introduce yourself. Who exactly is "Anjuli Stars"?
Anjuli Stars: Anjuli Stars is a singer/MC/songwriter representing Miami-Dade County. But most importantly, I consider myself a musician first. I play several instruments, produce records, as well as write and arrange all the music for my band during my live shows. I equate myself more with an old-school jazz musician because back then, those artists did everything musically. I am directly involved with every single musical aspect of my career, as opposed to other people writing me records and molding a sound for me. I've spent many years honing the craft of writing records & performing live.
What is your background (nationality) and how did you get involved with music?
My father is Cuban and he's also a musician (singer/percussionist). He was the one that introduced me to music. He used to play Calle Ocho every year with his band and those were my first musical memories. I grew up around live bands. The instant my dad realized I could sing, he exposed me to it more and more. When I had my first live performance at age five, I fell in love and knew instantly that my life was going to revolve around music.
You have a new mixtape coming out September 1, STARVATION Volume One, and you released a new song last week called "A Fish In The Water." How did that song come about?
Well, it's really a silly story. I used to work at this gym and we used to have to do marketing in the streets. Since it was hard for me to take that job seriously, me and my homeboy use to go to the park sometimes and sit there smoking weed during our work hours. We would flirt, sitting in the park, in front of this lake and I'd sing to him. It was really innocent. The concept of being just another fish in that lake came to me. The record was written shortly after.
What else can we expect from STARVATION Volume One?
Overall, it's an emotional piece of work. You're not going to hear me rap or sing about how hard I've been trying to get famous or how I've been on my grind. I speak about love, jealousy, sexual encounters, street life ... things that come from my personal life experiences.
Reggae was the initial inspiration so you're going to hear a strong influence there. But hip-hop is also very present in my sound. Many people think I'm from New York when they hear me flow. You'll hear just as much singing as you do rapping. What is shocking to most people is the fact that you will hear me rapping a verse but you will hear some pretty crazy harmonies underneath those raps. All the vocals are me.
There's a nice balance between heavy content and just some feel good music. But overall, I've enjoyed the entire writing & creation process of this mixtape. It is my strongest work to date.
Any interesting behind any of the songs on the mixtape?
Well, I had this boyfriend not too long ago, who, for whatever reason, anytime he'd do or say something that would make me emotional, I was able write a song about it, no matter what it was. We went to dinner this one time and the host at the restaurant was this bad-ass Brazilian chick whose body was crazy. Even I was checking her out [laughs].
Anyway, he checked her out so hard that I got mad and mentioned to him that he shouldn't be checking anybody out when he's with me. After that night, I wrote a record called "Wandering Eyes" which is basically admitting my jealousy and demanding that he keep his eyes on me. Every single guy I play that record for laughs their ass off because every man on this planet checks out other women whether they are single or not. I guess men are ashamed that they can relate so well.
Any last words or shout-outs?
Thank you to everyone who has shown their support over the years and followed my career. Shout out to my team and everyone that had a hand in making this music a reality: Josh Connelly, Disconeil, Bent Krunkadelic, Breadfruit, and I.V. Studios. Please visit my blog at anjulistars.blogpot.com for info and updates. You can also follow me on Twitter at @anjulistars. The mixtape STARVATION Volume One will be available for free download on September 1.