DJ Nina Las Vegas, DJ J. Espinosa and DJ Nu-Mark
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The Anatomy Of A DJ, As Explained By Global Selectas

DJs from around the world break down the mind, body and soul of their curatorial craft.

At the top of the year, Taipei, Taiwan served as a gathering hotspot for the musically inclined. Now, we don’t necessarily mean instrumentalists, producers, vocalists, emcees and the like, but rather the ones who bring all aforementioned elements to the table (literally) and pump the blood into a party. During the Red Bull Music 3Style World Finals, crowds in the thousands saw a diverse assortment of DJs hailing from countries like Japan (DJ Fummy) and Sweden (DJ O-One) to Taiwan (DJ Afro) and France (DJ Hamma), not only battle it out for the top spot, but show off their marriage of technical skills and passion behind the turntables.

With the influx of socially forward aux-cord extraordinaires, what exactly is a DJ in 2019? With the ease of technology coming into play, what is the importance of the person plucking an event’s chunes, and is there now a timestamp on their necessity? The short answer to the previous question—evidenced by the sheer amount of DJs who flew in and packed out clubs like AI, Franny Taipei, Klash and Omni to watch them play—is a resounding hell no.

3Style buddha DJ Jazzy Jeff already dropped a host of gems about the importance of DJ culture, but fellow judges Nina Las Vegas, DJ Craze, DJ Skratch Bastid and DJ Nu-Mark, and competitors DJ Praktyczna Pani, DJ Trapment and DJ J. Espinosa—the latter of whom placed third and first, respectively—have a few nuggets of their own worth jotting down. When they weren’t spinning or critiquing or simply enjoying each others’ handiwork, these eight globetrotters broke down for VIBE what exactly makes up the mind (technical and musical knowledge), body (rhythm, cultural cues, crowd reaction) and soul (passion for the craft) of a DJ.

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MIND

“I had a long history of learning instruments in my family. My dad didn't learn instruments as a child but he wanted his kids to, so it was forced. I had piano lessons from when I was six years old to when I was 18 and I was quite good at it, but as soon as I left home it was like the pleasure of not having to go to those lessons. I kind of lost a lot of my music theory because I did not get how important and how much I should have treated it. I was in bands and I did do fun community colleges and theater and musicals and stuff like that. I was a full music geek, I just didn't explore that side when I got to Sydney. As soon as we moved to Sydney we lost that network adn I didn't get to do it. That's why I went out a lot because these people like music, but they just weren't playing it, they were DJing.” —DJ Nina Las Vegas, Australia

“I don't even know music theory. And I don't even have a good ear for what's off-key or not. You would think that Kanye knows music theory right? He doesn't. You would think Pharrell knows music theory, and he doesn't. But they're just good at what they do. My wife was telling me, ‘Some people are good with shapes and things like that, and then some people are good with math.’ I'm good with shapes, I'm not good with math. For me, patterns. I'm good with patterns.” —DJ Craze, Miami

 

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“Coming from a background where my parents are ACDC, Guns N' Roses fans, I remember my dad used to come in and blast that stuff all the time. Just like the normal Canadian white kind of family, just normal rock. I wasn't raised on soul, funk stuff. My parents, were into the classic rock and stuff like that but also growing up in a place where I did, like Sudbury, country, I am an open format DJ at heart. I never choose to pick anything. I just enjoyed music. When I say love every genre, I do. There’s going to be good hip-hop songs and bad hip-hop songs, just there is going to be good country and bad country. I always hear people talking about different genres, but music is music. It's so diverse and it can hit you and make you feel some type of way. So just growing up in that background and being open to more stuff, when I starting meeting people or getting into clubs and bars and hip-hop back in the early 2000s, that’s when the Ja Rule’s, Fat Joe's and Jay-Z’s [were playing] the most. I never grew up on '90s. I had a couple mixtapes—Fu Schnickens, Dr. Dre, and Naughty by Nature. My majority of my growing up followed the R&B and hip-hop, like the Mary Js and the early 2000s. The stuff that was just good, better than what it is today.” —DJ Trapment, Canada

“My whole iTunes is there. But it's the crates... each crate I can have like 200-300 tunes. It sounds like a lot but trust me it ain't. It sounds like a lot but within an hour, us DJs will go through 80 records, because it's more of a performance. We're not even getting into the verses.” —Craze

“The technicality stuff, I actually don't do a lot of freestyle stuff in clubs. I love showcasing who I am as a DJ on these stages but I don't do that necessarily in a club because there is a time and place to everything. If you hire me to showcase cool, let's get down, but don't get me wrong, I do cut a lot while I am mixing in the club, but it's subliminal and it's lowkey so it doesn't really stand out above the rest.” —Trapment

 

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“I just simply started to scratch. I knew what I wanted to hear, and I knew that, if I push this and squeeze that, I'm gonna receive that kind of sound. I started to watch some tutorials and teach my hands, my muscles how to do it. I really like to practice. For me, it's like some kind of meditation, because you need to focus on that certain thing and your mind cannot be distracted and that is the time when you relax your mind. I realized that making boring things makes me really relaxed. It's my kind of yoga.” —DJ Praktyczna Pani, Poland

“It's almost like rare nowadays to see a DJ who is doing tricks and scratching. There are tons of DJs who do it but nowadays I feel like the festival thing is so popular. Those festivals don't really showcase DJs, so what the kids see is maybe a DJ who is doing a 10-minute warm-up set for artists and those DJs, for the most part, are just playing songs and hyping up the crowd, but there is no searching or technicality involved. And that's not easy though. There is an art in rocking a crowd with a microphone and not touching a turntable. Festival people, if you are reading this interview, book a couple DJs that will showcase some festival stuff because people will love it.” —DJ J. Espinosa, Bay Area

“You don't need to scratch a lot. Sometimes it's too much, like almost mathematic. All you need to bring to the table is try to get emotion from people, and that's what I'm trying to do. That's how I would describe my style. It's not about gender, it's not about hip-hop, hip-house, techno or anything. As long as you can get emotions from people, that's a brilliant thing.” —Praktyczna Pani

 

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“For DJing [technology] is definitely a tool. Even like when the first DVS system came out—DVS is like your laptop and your computer—When that first came out, I was the first one in the whole hip hop world [to embrace it]. People were like "What are you doing? You're going to ruin the record industry. What do you need a laptop for?” Everybody was talking sh*t. But I saw the future. I was like, this is gonna be the sh*t. And at the time, if you wanted to play an album cut, you know albums the grooves are thinner so it's always lower. So, if you want to play something from an album in a live club with the bass, the beat back would destroy it. When this came out, I was like now I can play album cuts. My collection could be here. I was doing the first routines using controllers and everything, and people were like, what the f**k is he doing? I've always been like, technology helps me, it opens my mind to new possibilities." —Craze

“[Controllers] definitely make [DJing] more accessible. You don't have to go out and buy needles, but the way that we learned how to DJ on turntables, it makes it easier for us to DJ on any other piece of equipment. I can DJ on a controller, I can DJ on a CD player, but a person who learns how to DJ on a controller doesn’t feel comfortable most of the time going to turntables or going to CDs.” —J. Espinosa

“I am personally not worried about the computer taking over what a guy like myself does. A computer will never know when energy in the room is really bubbling proper. Yeah, there are algorithms that show, this many person like this, but it's not the same as really tugging on somebody’s emotions.” —DJ Skratch Bastid, Canada

 

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“It's not about selecting just the right thing. Sometimes the right thing to do is to take the left turn and be like, this is where we are going to go right now. That takes a selector. That takes somebody steering the ship. A computer can't steer the ship like that.” —DJ Nu-Mark, Los Angeles

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BODY

“Miami definitely influenced me with bass music. With party music even freestyle music, even reggae, and even you know reggaeton and mumba, I used to play that because that's what pops off in Miami. I was born in Nicaraguan but I moved to Miami when I was three. Miami has definitely influenced me, Miami bass is my biggest influence. I got it tatted on me.” —Craze

“Because of my energy, I don't need to take or do anything to have fun. I feed off of other people. If you are having fun, I am having fun., I don't really dance in the club, but I will be dancing behind my DJ set-up. When I am behind the decks I am crazy, I am weird, I just talk smack on the mic, have a good time and vibe out.” —Trapment

“Say if I was going to Russia, I would sus out where I was going. I would like talk with the promoter. My manager is pretty good at checking what the music style is, but also I am in a good position where people know what I play now so I've got wiggle room. But then if I play like Whistler [Canada], Whistler is a party town. It's all these kids that work hospitality and Monday night is party night and then they are all Australian, too. They would be annoyed if I didn't play something that made them remind them of home for a second. So I had my set ready to go but I allowed myself to cheese it up, like this is purely for this audience that I wouldn't play anywhere else.” —Nina Las Vegas

 

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“I get booked to DJ in New Orleans and they have their own regional music, you sort of got to know where you are at. And everything I am saying there is a completely opposite answer to that. I was actually talking with Jazzy Jeff about this and he opened my eyes to this perspective. He did a show in Africa, so right after his show, I was chopping it up with him and I was like, ‘Did you play some Afro beat stuff out there?’ and he was like, ‘No. They hear that every weekend so they are bringing me here to do me,’ which makes so much sense as well.” —J. Espinosa

“I played this after party after this massive festival and I played it in a small club afterward and it sold out. These girls came up to me and they were like, ‘Usually after parties are so boring. They are always techno and you did everything.’ I said, what do you mean, and they said, ‘We danced! We didn't come to this thing thinking we would dance. It was just so fun,’ and I was like that made my day.” —Nina Las Vegas

“I love reading crowds. I don't ever premake sets for anything. Throw me into a hip-hop club, the most hood stuff, I have an idea. We do this for a living now, so I have an idea of what is big and what is out there. At the same time, you throw me into Sudbury, the North [of Canada], I know how to play and flip songs in different ways. I just know how to read the crowd and read the people. It's common sense, honestly. DJing is common sense. Playing a hip-hop song, a country song, a rock song and if they are feeling one genre more than they other, then maybe you should go down that road a little bit more and mess around and make it your own.” —Trapment

“I don't think everyone actually thinks about [warming up the crowd]. Sometimes you are so fixed on what you want to do that sometimes you can psych yourself. Sometimes you gotta say, that is how I want to start but people are not ready to see, so sometimes you have to add a little intro to it. But that is the reading the crowd part. I think sometimes you gotta say, hey I’m here, before you say, this is what I want to start with. The thing about DJing is you can apply it to so many different rooms, sometimes people pay to just come and see my show, sometimes I am opening for someone else, sometimes I am playing a venue in a different city where people have never seen me and I don't really know. So in all those different cases, I feel like you have to approach them in different ways. It kind of depends on the thing. But I think it is important that you connect with them first before you go over the top. Connect with them first on an easier level. And I save something in the tank, don't go all out right away cause that can be abrasive.” —Skratch Bastid

“Someone asked [DJ Jazzy] Jeff, what do you do when someone plays five or six of the songs that you are trying to do? He was adamant about, do it your way, play it again but do it your way. I didn't expect him to say that, honestly. I thought he was going to say have plan B. Jeff was like, play the song again and play it your way, but if you’re dope you will be able to flip it and make the crowd forget they even heard it from the first DJ.” —Nu-Mark

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SOUL

“The trend is that we have a lot of DJs with controllers and everything. I don't mind, you work whatever you like, if you like to have a small controller or just an iPad. Cool, let's do that. But it's all about emotions, being honest and not using music or DJing just to show how cool you are. It's about good music, we need to provide good music.” —Praktyczna Pani

“Yeah, everybody can be a DJ, and yes everybody can have a playlist with ‘Mo Bamba.’ You play it and people will go nuts, but that does not make you a good DJ. That just means you are playing a record that everybody knows. There's no rocket science to that. A good DJ— and I hate to sound old school—but a good DJ takes you on a journey. The DJs that I like don't play the most obvious things. They take me somewhere else. We're not just there to make you smile sometimes. And this is where I'm different from everybody else here. Everybody else here agrees that DJs are for the people. I don't think like that. I feel like I'm like the sushi guy that you go to and you don't order nothing and he's like here, ‘I'm gonna give you this. I feel like right now you need this. This is who I am, and this is why I'm feeding you this because I want you to experience something different.’ That's what I'm like in my whole DJ career.” —Craze

“The way I DJ is I play off energy and emotion. I think that is one of the most important things about being a human. People go to the club or listen to music in their car to escape the realities of life, and if you can help people on the dance floor escape whatever that mundane job has given them or family problems or whatever, then you are 80 percent there in my book.” —Nu-Mark

 

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“It's so cliche but it does unify people in so many ways. I played in India last year and I'm playing the same songs I played in Sydney. This is wild. I’m in India playing records to people my age who are feeling in the same way that people my age feel in L.A. or France. and it's just so cool because it just breaks down the same things: people just want to have fun and forget about their normal lives for a second.” —Nina Las Vegas

“I'm still like a b-boy, I still want to be the best. When I see someone do some sh*t, I'm like, ‘I gotta go home and practice. I gotta switch up my playlist.’ I still got that love for it. Everyday I wake up, I practice and I'm like doing something because it's fun.” —Craze

“It is a blessing to do something that you love. Does not mean that the work is easier. It just means that I am doing something that I love and I can make a living off of it. I think that if there is anything that keeps me going, it's me realizing that I play music to make people have a good time. It's as simple as that, there is no deep analogy.” —DJ Jazzy Jeff, Philadelphia

 

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Beyonce, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy Carter attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City.
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An Ode To Jay-Z, The Ultimate Rap Dad

Rap, throughout its history, has always referenced parenthood in some form. Most often, it was to extol single mothers for their goodness while deadbeat fathers were berated and called out for going ghost. In recent years, as the social media landscape has blown open the avenues of communication, famous rap dads, in particular, have become increasingly transparent about their lives as family men. Where years ago there seemed to be endless bars mourning the demise of the father, artists are now using their platform to balance the scales. They’re showing themselves to be present and intentional.

Few albums make me think more about the concept of parenthood, and legacy, than Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44. It’s a stark and blistering work of memoir, heavy on confession and self-examination. When 4:44 finally dropped, I, like many others, was filled with wonder. How was it that Jay had managed to so fluidly deconstruct everything I’d been wrestling with for the last few years? Though the specifics of our experiences differed greatly, the central ideas dissected on 4:44, especially those concerning fatherhood and family life, had been swimming around my brain for some time.

***

Hip-hop saved my life. And it was fatherhood that set it on fire. This bears explaining.

What hip-hop has done for me, is what it has done for millions of fatherless and heart-wounded kids—it provided, at the very least, the shading of a better life. If it wasn’t for hip-hop, and the value I ascribed to it, it would be impossible to know just how far I’d have settled into the more lamentable aspects of my environment. Forasmuch of a goon as I was growing up, something always kept me from becoming too emotionally invested in harsh crime. I dabbled in mischief like an amateur chef knowing he would only go so far. I saw in hip-hop, in the art of it, something worth pursuing with tenacity; something like a healthy distraction. So I committed to finding my lane.

Though there were brief stints dedicated to developing my modest graffiti skills and footwork, it was the words that flowed and came without struggle. The school cyphers sharpened my wits and compelled me to feed my vocabulary daily. Only my wordplay could save me from getting ripped to shreds in a lunchroom battle. I read books and scoured the dictionary for ammunition, I listened to stand-up comics who fearlessly engaged the crowd and proved quick on the draw. It seemed fruitless to know a billion words if I couldn’t convert them into brutal attacks. I had to break the competition down and render them defenseless, stammering for a rebuttal. There could be no confusion as to my superiority. So instead of joining the stickup kids or depositing all of my energy into intramural sports, I put my soul and mind into the task of taking down all manner of wack MCs. That’s why I say that hip-hop saved me.

But fatherhood was its own saving grace. It showed me that the world did not revolve, nor would it ever revolve, around my passions. Fatherhood put an extra battery behind my back as a creative, sure. But it’s more about being a consistent presence at home than chasing any dream.

***

As an artist and writer, I cannot so much as think about fatherhood without considering some of the material that deals with feelings comparable to those I felt after I became a father. Songs that contextualize very specific emotions over the drums.

In his 2012 track “Glory,” Jay-Z, someone who had long been vocal about his strained relationship with his father, reflects on the birth of his daughter Blue Ivy, his first child with wife Beyoncé. Produced by the Neptunes, “Glory” was released on January 9, just two days after Blue was born. From start to finish, it carries a sort of gleeful melancholy that resonates on multiple levels. While it is, in essence, a comment on the exuberant joy attached with welcoming a child, “Glory” is also a note on death and mourning.

Before Blue came along and flipped the script, Beyoncé had suffered a miscarriage. The pain the couple experienced left them fearful of not being able to conceive. The dual purpose of “Glory” is made clear from the outset, and with blazing transparency. “False alarms and false starts,” offers Jay, laying the groundwork for what immediately follows: “All made better by the sound of your heart.” The second half of the couplet establishes what was, as we come to learn, the most pivotal moment in the rap mogul’s life up until then. The moment where all is made right, where the sting of loss is eclipsed by the possibility of new birth. Jay continues in this mode, shining light on the redeeming gift that is Blue and, also, how the child is a composite of her mother and father, yet more still.

The opening bars of the following verse are equally striking as Jay, addressing Blue, touches on the death of his father from liver failure. Jay is signaling here, leading us somewhere but with the intent to shift gears. Instead of dwelling on his father’s shortcomings like one might expect him to, Jay breaks left, resolving that deep down his father was a good man. What begins as an indictment of a cheat who walked out on his obligations, ends with a declaration of forgiveness and generosity. But Jay soon directs the focus back to his blessing and how hard it is not to spoil her rotten as she is the child of his destiny. It becomes apparent that this is a man at his most self-actualized. A few more welcome digressions and “Glory” closes the same way that it begins, with the final line of the hook: “My greatest creation was you.” This points to something that I, too, came to know as fact. That no matter what I do, and regardless of what I might attain—power, wealth, the esteem of my peers—nothing is quite comparable to the happiness and the terror that comes with siring a child. “Glory” succeeds as it casts aside any traces of bluster and bravado, making room for Jay to unearth lessons that were hard-won yet central to his maturation. And what is the purpose of making art if not to bust open your soul and watch it spill over? Shout out to the rap dads raising babies and doing the work to shift the narrative.

Juan Vidal is a writer, critic, and author of Rap Dad: A Story of Family and the Subculture That Shaped a Generation.

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Mike Coppola

The Cast Of 'SHAFT' Talk Family Traditions, Power And The Film's Legacy

Back in 1971, Richard Roundtree became the face of the legendary crime/blaxploitation film SHAFT. His influence in the role paved the way for a new generation of black detectives filled with a gluttonous amount of swag, clever one-liners, and action-packed scenes. Samuel L. Jackson followed suit in the franchise’s 2000 installment as he took over the streets of Uptown Manhattan and Harlem filling in for Roundtree’s original character.

Fast forward to 2019, and SHAFT’s legacy has risen to higher heights, incorporating Roundtree and Jackson together with an extension of their detective prowess. Director Tim Story created a familial driven movie centered around three different generations of SHAFT men. Roundtree plays the grandfather; Jackson plays the dad—and Jessie T. Usher plays the son. All three embark on a mission that’s laced with dirty politics, Islamophobia, and highflying action in efforts to solve a seemingly homicidal death.

The dynamics between all three are hilarious and dotted with lessons learned from past paternal influences. On a recent sunny Friday afternoon at Harlem's Red Rooster, the trio shared some of the traditions and virtues the paternal figures in real life have taught them. Most of the influence passed down to them was centered on working hard.

“People say to me, ‘Why do you work so much?’” Jackson said. “Well, all the grown people went to work every day when I got up. I figured that’s what we’re supposed to be doing—get up, pay a bill, and take care of everything that’s supposed to be taken care of.”

“For my family, it was cleanliness and masculinity,” Usher added. “The guys in my family were always well put together, very responsible especially my dad.”

In spite of the SHAFT men's power, the film's story wouldn’t be what it is without Regina Hall and Alexandra Shipp’s characters. They both play strong women caught in the middle of the mayhem created by the men they care about. Both are conscious of the power they exhibit as black women off and on screen, yet are aware of the dichotomy of how that strength is perceived in the world.

“It’s very interesting because I think a lot of times as powerful black women we are seen as angry black women,” Shipp says. “So it’s hard to have that voice and that opinion because a lot of times when we voice it; it becomes a negative rather than a positive. In order to hold that power, it has to be poised. It has to be with grace, I think there is strength in a strong but graceful black woman.”

“People have an idea of what strength is and how you do it and sometimes it’s the subtleties,” Regina adds. “Sometimes our influence is so powerful and it doesn’t always have to be loud I think a lot of times how we navigate is with conviction and patience.”

VIBE chatted with the cast of SHAFT about holding power, their red flags when it comes to dating, and why the SHAFT legacy continues to live on. Watch the interviews below.

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Sony Music

Meet Zhavia, The Musician Who Refuses To Be Boxed In

If you haven’t heard of Zhavia before, that will likely change very, very soon.

The 18-year-old Columbia Records signee is readying her first major EP 17, which is scheduled for June 14. A native of the Golden State, Zhavia catapulted to national consciousness after making it to the top four of the inaugural season of FOX’s singing competition, The Four, which features Diddy and DJ Khaled as judges. Since then, she continues to rise and tantalize audiences with her powerful, chill-inducing vocals.

The singer-songwriter—who tells VIBE she’s hopeful that her forthcoming EP will be “inspiring” to her ever-growing fanbase—dropped the project’s latest single “17” on May 31. Produced by hip-hop hitmaker Hit-Boy and co-written by RØMANS, Zhavia explains that the retrospective song is more personal than her previously-released tracks, such as the trap-tickled “100 Ways” and “Candlelight,” the stand-out single that showcases the vocal prowess of the petite blonde ingenue.

"’17’ is a song that I wrote about my life story, and how I got to where I am right now,” she says. The track details hardships such as a lack of resources to thrive in her childhood home and staying in a motel in order to accomplish her musical goals. “I just wanted it to be something that [fans] can relate to, whatever it is that they're going through.”

“I saw it in my dreams, I knew that life would change for me,” she croons on the new single. “This is reality, look at me now.”

Zhavia’s humble beginnings start in Norwalk, Calif., as a daughter of two musicians who introduced her to numerous genres. In fact, her mother was a member of a metal band called Xenoterra, and Zhavia’s impressively-versatile vocal range could be attributed to this Chex Mix bag of sonic stylings.

“From doo-wop to punk to R&B, metal, rock...” she says, listing of the types of music she was brought up on, which helped her in honing a unique style. Her own tunes feature an R&B and hip-hop flair and sprinkles touches of other genres throughout, in order for her to remain true to her roots.

“I feel like for the most part, [my music will] always have that R&B feel to it, but I'm always gonna have a lot of different vibes for people to pick and choose what they like,” she explains.

Zhavia's urban-tinged musical affinity was palpable during her time on The Four, where she put her spin on hits such as French Montana and Swae Lee’s “Unforgettable” and Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” Although she was unanimously selected by the show’s four celebrity judges to advance after a stellar first-round performance of Khalid’s “Location,” she admits she initially wasn’t planning to compete.

“When I was younger, I had wanted to go on a [singing] show, but I had made up my mind. ‘I'm gonna try to do it myself,’” she chuckles. “But, the people that were having auditions, they happened to be at the studio that I was recording at when I was making my own songs. My manager told me, 'Just go sing for them.'”

After showing off her impressive pipes, she was convinced to join the show, and was further influenced to compete after discovering that The Four appeared to focus on R&B and hip-hop-leaning artists.

“I was like, 'Okay, that sounds like me, they'll probably accept the style of music that I do,'” she continues. “I feel like on other singing shows, it's a little more pop, or towards the pop genre. Also, the panel that they had [DJ Khaled, Diddy, Meghan Trainor and Charlie Walk] seemed really relevant, and I could tell it was legit. I figured I'd just try it out, and it led me to where I am now.”

Since placing fourth on the show, Zhavia has proven that her star power was built to last longer than 15 minutes. Other than her forthcoming EP’s release, her gifts have found her among the company of some big names. She can be heard on the soundtrack for Deadpool 2 in the song “Welcome To The Party” with Diplo, French Montana and Lil Pump. Recently, moviegoers were treated to her rendition of the Disney classic “A Whole New World” with Zayn Malik, for the live-action version of Aladdin, which plays during the film’s end credits.

“I think it's been amazing, and it's definitely a lot of exposure that comes in a unique way,” she says of working on big projects with even bigger industry names. She continues by stating that she’s had a blast “putting her own twist” on songs she didn’t pen and doing material “totally different from what [she] would normally do.”

The pressures of Hollywood and the entertainment industry could be difficult on anyone, however, young stars under the U.S. legal age in the limelight may find themselves succumbing to various pressures, temptations and burnout. For Zhavia, she makes sure to keep a level head and a positive attitude in order to persevere in the industry as she matures.

“I feel like it's not that hard to stay focused, because I've wanted to do this my whole life,” she says affirmatively. “It's what I live for. For me, one of my number one priorities besides my family is music. I don't really go out, I don't party, I don't do none of that. I just work! [Laughs] I think for me, it's just focusing on myself and what I wanna do, and what I wanna get done.” She’s also hoping to keep surprising people throughout her career by coming up with genre-bending songs that show off her style, personality and abilities. Let her do her, and watch her as she goes.

“I'm not gonna be put in a box to do just one type of music or one style of song,” Zhavia affirms. “I don't want people to get used to one thing, you know? That's kind of a hard thing to express to the world. I feel like it comes with me coming up with more music, and to keep creating music for people to listen to and get to know me.”

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