All in the Groove!
Deep down inside she realizes the seriousness of the bullying she endured daily just because she looked "different". So in the face of those adversities, Raquela began fascinating the audience since she was 7 years old. At 9, she began performing professionally on stage. She wrote and performed her 1st Folk/Pop song on guitar at the age of 11. After studying voice and drama in Los Angeles, she was endorsed into two California Proclamations by Senator Diane Feinstein for her civil duties as the 1st Mexican American crowned, "Miss Orange County". She later found herself playing leading roles on Broadway! She is humbled to have worked with so many Tony award winning masters.
In addition to Dance music, RAQUELA has proudly appeared on some of the worlds biggest stages like the St. James and the George Gershwin in New York City. She enjoyed working alongside celebrities like Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy), Carol Burnet, Cloris Leachman, Bernadette Peters, Toni Collette, Don Rickels, Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, Angela Bassett, Joan Rivers, and Tom Bosely. (to name a few)
RAQUELA's powerhouse vocals have gotten her seen opening for legendary dance artists like Luciana, Judy Torres, George Lamond, Georgie Porgie, Stevie B and Grammy artist, Little Louie Vega. RAQUELA has worked alongside many world renowned producers, like Chris The Greek Panaghi. Then the legendary and one of the originators of House Music, Mr. MICKEY Mixin' OLIVER with the release of, "NOTHIN' MORE 2 GIVE" that received Billboard Magazine's "Break-Out" for Hot New Club Play. Becuase of Mickey, Raquela can be seen in the new independent, dance variety television series called, "Intensi-T TV" filmed out of Las Vegas.
Currently RAQUELA is in the studio, working alongside producer greats like Steely M., Cary August, Keith Kemper, Matt Sietz, DJP, LA Rush and Qubiq. Her worldwide release for the remake of Taylor Daynes, TELL IT TO MY HEART (on CAPP Records, Best Of 80's Dance, Volume 3 - #1 80's Dance Club Hits Remixed) has made enough noise to get it maxi-singled on ISV Entertainment's label, now out on CD Baby and iTunes!
Revolution 360 caught up with RAQUELA directly from her home in San Francisco to discuss about her latest works and what puts her in the groove.
R. So, tell us what's been happening in the studio? What can your audience expect to hear?
RQ. I love working in the studio. I get so excited working with the "Best of the Best" producers in the dance music industry. Like right now I've been making quite a few trips in and out of San Francisco for the legendary godfather of HiNRG, Leo Frappier (LFB). Wow, I love working with him. What makes it feel so much like an adventure is when he brings me up to date with the newest 'stems' and 'VST' plugin's he has developed or discovered. If you don't know if you know what I'm talking about Alex, that's ok. It's instrumentation he produces through software and what he's best known for. He's quite brilliant really in the way he manipulates digital sound. To be honest, he doesn't need all those digital what-knots. Leo is an accomplished musician. At the end of the day, it's just himself and his keyboard. We've been spending hours in the studio lately, all thanks to Paul Brewer and "Sweetfeet Music"! We're in the process of producing a Annie Lennox remake. I'm so afraid to spill the beans on what the project is, since it's still a work-in-progress. Sweetfeet has released slammin' hot tracks in the past and have a highly regarded reputation in the business. I know I'm gonna get a spanking for leaking this out so early, but lately, Revolution 360 has been one of the most exciting magazines in the cyber space, so here goes... "REVIVAL". Don't know if you remember it Alex, but it an extremely high energy tune with an uplifting message claiming there is no such thing as the word 'impossible'. I can't wait till the public gets a hold of this. Paul's direction is exciting and Leo is on "Q" as usual! I've never heard Leo produce a sound like this before. His audience is in for it again! Oh yeah, and I wasn't so shabby either, if I might say so. Paul had me 'power housing' all over the studio. I think I blew a few studio monitors. HA HA! I had so much fun!
R. The dance scene has gone through its ups and downs. In your own words has it evolved for the better? And what challengers are you faced with trying to sustain a following with record labels almost becoming obsolete?
RQ. This whole digital age has its pros and cons Alex. Where prices went down, prices went up on other spectrum's. I'm signed to a very awesome label right now. ISV Entertainment (with ISV Promotions). Every day, I get a call from one of the owners, Kevin Sheehan. He fills me in on how another indie label has just closed its doors and how he has come up with yet another marketing idea to help conform profitably with this whole digital transition. I have to say, "Thank God" I have Kevin in my court. So far, (knock on wood) his new strategies work! Obviously it helps that he has over 20 years in this industry. That's a lot of personal relationships with several producers, promoters, record pools, Video distributors, etc.! He's lucky though. You see, he's young and of the digital generation. Now, the recession is part of the reason why the Entertainment business is hurting, yes, but this whole "trying to make a transition over to the digital side" continues to be a puzzle yet to solve. No one wants to press CD's anymore. iTunes and Amazon have taken over in distribution. You think the artist gets a price break as a result, but that's not true. As a result, the prices have skyrocketed in other spectrum's of the business. One thing I can rely on to never change is the audience. As long as I get in my car and drive to everyone, they will always be there waiting for me to get on stage waiting to see what insane vocals I will deliver to them, Live!
R. From crowned beauty pageant to dance queen hit-maker, what drew you to the dance scene initially?
RQ. I was always a Disco baby Alex. Since the day Barbara Streisand found a lucrative opportunity to pair up with Disco Diva, Donna Summer for a hit duet, I was locked in dance music for life! Shannon's "Let The Music Play" was the Freestyle song that kept me wanting to learn more. I grew up over here on the West coast, so HiNRG was already in my blood! As a kid, I was incredibly packed up with tons of ADD, and I was bi-racial, so my odd looks got me bullied on a daily basis. Dance music was a positive and uplifting escape for me. By the time I was ready to go to college, I had lost more than 20 close friends to AIDS. I lost interest in doing anything with my life. I rebelled hard. Real hard. I hated every gorgeous gay man that walked past me... ironically, it took the Gay community to save my life, live honorably, learn to walk and talk in pumps while wearing a skimpy swimsuit, get my lashes on correctly, gain pageant scholarship monies to guarantee my butt stayed in College and graduate! HA HA HA! I love it! Once I was out, I was out Alex, and I mean all the way to Broadway, New York! Sometimes I still can't believe I did all that! But it was New York that was bustling more in Dance music than San Francisco ever could. Well, New York IS the Capitol of the world ya know. There I met the man who would introduce me to the Music business for the 1st time. The legendary, DJ Larry Vee! From there he introduced me to Sal Abbatiello, Chris "The Greek" Panaghi, Mickey Garcia, Fred "The Edit" Rivera, Juan Valentine, Judy Torres, George Lamond, Tito Puete JR., Pit bull, all the way to one of the originators himself, Mickey Oliver (Chicago, Hot Mix 5, WBMX), whom I worked with as an assistant producer and vocalist for many years now! Thank you Larry!
R. When you're not writing songs for people to dance too? In your own private space what current artist are you listening too that puts you in the groove?
RQ. Because we had an opportunity to meet and perform for each other, Lady Gaga is a favorite! Man am I proud of that girl! I would love to add in Katy and Beyoncé and Rhianna, all of which are extremely, naturally talented and gifted, but these are not indie artists. There are some incredible local indie artists I recently had the honor of meeting in San Francisco. Some that continue to inspire me. If it wasn't for the love of art I share with my good friend and fellow artist Marco Middlesex, I would have never met these following cats. CAPP Records, (Producer) Mello-Dee (Josh McFarland), Tweaka Turner, Xavier Toscano, and professional Drag/vocalist, BeBe Sweetbriar. These are some great vocalist and innovative live performers. I continue to be inspired and motivated by their undying love for the art of Dance Music! I hope to be working with these cats soon. I mean, making some hot future track releases soon! Oh yeah Alex, I'm not kidding. You might want to get back at me in a few months. I'm for real about this girl! I finally met Ricky Terry of "Ejector". I mean, these are high quality produced artists that the entire globe is missing out on!!! For real! I'm so overwhelmed!
Last but not Least...
R. You, Madonna and Lady Gaga have been asked to do the closing show for the Grammy's, What kind of showcase and song would you do on that will leave an impression?
RQ. Love it! I would certainly get in on this with Madonna and Lady Gaga... I have three Original tracks (Not picked up by a label yet) with the message of positive empowerment. "Oh My God (I Just Keep On Dancin')", "Popstar" and "HEY!" I would construct a medley out of them and introduce three different dance styles with he local dancers I've met and worked with here in Sacramento. B-Dance (Breakdance), Techno Dance and Poppin'. Then I would hope to come together with Madonna and Gaga at the end with their Pop style dance crew as a way of bringing our forces together, despite what the major labels are doing (forcing the audience to conform to their corporate way of getting the music out there... making money instead of taking the chance to share new underground sounds to the public) then when the opening is all over, Madonna, Lady Gaga and I would prepare to strip all our clothes off, only to be covered by a burst of smoke just in time to cover our nudity! yeah, I know a lot of guys who would hate that, but... long live Burlesque! Yeah, call me a Dance music junkie, I don't care, I'll still be here, celebrating life on the stage with all of you!
contact RAQUELA: http://www.raquela.com/