There's a lot in a first impression. Press play on Andrekza's first-ever single "TÉ," and you'll understand why Dim Mak En Fuego, Steve Aoki's newly launched Latin music label, has enlisted her as their first female artist.
The song's intriguing beat will grab your curiosity first, but it's really just the beginning. The track, a song about letting walls down with a romantic interest over tea, is your introduction to Adrekza's magic. A thoughtful songwriter, she captures the beauty of a moment that could easily be nerve-wracking so invitingly; poetic verses disarm you and invite you in warmly. "Vamos a tomar una tazita de te/ Maybe con el azucar se va la timidez," she sings. "Let's go out for a cup of tea/ Maybe the sugar will drive our shyness away."
Adrekza's gift for writing is a result of having to cope with bullying when she was younger. "When I began writing poetry as a child, that feeling that I expressed on paper, was mine only and it was like that friend who when something happened to me [I confided in]," she told GRAMMY.com recently via Zoom. "It was just that notebook and me because nobody else knew about my lyrics, about my things."
The Venezuela native, a huge art lover who loves expressing herself through fashion and runs her own content creative house LOTUS VISUAL ARTS, signed with Warner Chappell and now has joined forces with Dim Mak En Fuego to launch her career as an artist.
She spoke to GRAMMY.com about her influences, what inspired writing a song about tea, working with Cassius Corrigan on the Get Out-inspired music video, what being a part of Steve Aoki's label means to her and what she wants to accomplish through music.
Before singing you were a songwriter. Did you like to write for other people?
Yes, I have always liked it but I haven’t had the opportunity to write for other artists, I’ve only written for myself and I really like writing poetry.
When you started with Warner, you didn’t write for other artists?
No. I started with Warner as a composer, for my project. And I am writing for other artists, but mainly I am an artist and creative director.
What do you like about writing for other artists? How do you know when a song is for you and when a song is for another artist?
I think you feel that. When you are making a song and it vibrates with you, you connect with that feeling that is suddenly so unique and so personal. Sometimes the songs just talk to you and I think that the moment you make songs for other artists, it's the same when you kind of enter the world of that artist and write especially for that person. You feel like that person and you try to express all that feeling in the way that you think that person can. I think that's a super cool power like interpreting the feelings of other artists and other people. That's what I like the most about writing and being able to collaborate with other artists as well.
I read that you write to an imaginary friend, an alter ego. Tell me more about that.
When I started writing and making music, at some point I suffered from bullying. I was bullied by people about making music or for personal reasons that were happening at school and things like that. I suppressed my writing and didn’t share it. I wrote only for myself. When I began writing poetry as a child, that feeling that I expressed on paper, was mine only and it was like that friend who when something happened to me [I confided in]—I opened the notebook and wrote absolutely everything I felt and everything that happened to me. It was just that notebook and me because nobody else knew about my lyrics, about my things. Until I had the opportunity to do a recital in Venezuela and win an award. There it all started with writing and all that.
When you started, you didn't necessarily start wanting to be an artist, you did many other things. What called you to want to be an artist, write your songs and also perform them in front of the world?
Since I can remember, I said that I was going to dedicate my life to art, I come from an artist mother. I think that art has always kind of been inside me. The theme of music at the moment is simply the way I am expressing myself, I have expressed myself in many other ways. I have expressed myself through art, painting, photography, I made a film last year as a cinematographer. I think it's a journey that I'm [spending through music] at the moment, but I think that art is [something you go for]100%. I believe that it is simply a method of expression and I am expressing it that way at the moment. I obviously want to bring this feeling to people who connect with me, who vibrate and feel the same way as me. I can give you this energy that I want to give you and that I know is going to be incredible when I can perform my album in front of people.
How would you describe your energy?
I believe my energy is always positive. I think I always try to find a solution. I think that beyond engulfing ourselves in our problems —I think if we focus or spend a lot of time thinking about the problem or how to solve it, we would look for a solution, I think everything would be much easier. Since I was little my mother has told me that life is imaginary and I think that this way I have spent my energy, I feel that things are magical and that if you dream it and work it, you can achieve it. I think that is the energy, love and that center that you can have within yourself.
What music has influenced your sound?
I like a lot of genres, but I identify [with] a lot. I really like artists like Julieta Venegas, Natalia Lafourcade, I really like those rhythms. But obviously I also really like Latin rhythms and everything happening at the moment, urban and everything. I also identify a lot with that and I like it. Then there are [artists] like Frank Sinatra, I really like Michael Jackson, Reik. Those are some of the artists that I constantly dance to. [Laughs.]
Your single, "TÉ," is now available. It's your first single ever. How do you feel now that it’s out for the whole world to hear?
I feel very happy, very fortunate to be on this journey with Dim Mak En Fuego by Steve Aoki. It has been a blessing to be able to release “Té” with them. The video is already on YouTube, the song is on all digital platforms … and the support I have had has been incredible, I am very grateful to all the people, also to my team who has been working very hard with me and I think it is a team effort that has been very sweet. The song is cool and they have to go listen.
I want to talk to you a little bit about the lyrics because I feel like there is something very calming about meeting someone you’re romantically interested over tea. Usually, people say, "Let's grab coffee, let's get to know each other." Tell me, what inspired the song?
I don't drink coffee, I drink tea and all my life I've had tea and I think that—I believe in energy a lot and I meditate a lot, and tea helps me a lot in many ways. When I discovered that tea had a connection with me beyond—why do I say beyond? Because I feel that the moment you drink tea or the moment you have coffee, so to say if you’re a coffee drinker, you are connecting that energy in that moment just by being present at tea time, and it doesn't matter what you're thinking, but that you’re focusing that energy on that. If you are with a person and you invite him to have tea, it is to know each other intimately because no one else will be there but you and that person looking at each other, basically, drinking tea because that’s how you drink tea. It connects you like that and calms you that way.
Tea, depending on what type of tea you drink or how the tea is prepared, tea has incredible things that help your body a lot and your energy. And sometimes even in the way you carry your day or your life. That’s what tea has meant to me. I think I have such a great connection with that moment and with that feeling and with the ritual, so to speak, of having tea. In the morning I get up, make tea, drink tea, start my day, think, meditate on what I'm going to do and everything starts there. I find it very interesting, being able to invite someone to have tea and invite this person, lovingly, to meet you because I think that at this moment with everything that is happening in the world and how we have developed, how this new generation has grown and formed, I feel that women are sometimes afraid to say what we feel. Sometimes we wait for the other to express a feeling first. I think with this song I was able to express everything I felt. I think that's super cool when you can simply take what you have out of yourself and invite a person to have tea or tell a person that you like each other and that you want to share things with them, you want to see them and you want to get to know them. I think that is super valuable too. There is a feminist theme and many other things that I wanted to touch on in the song.
With everything going on now, how are you taking care of your mental health?
I think the connection with yourself is very important. We were just talking about tea—tea is a moment in which you connect with yourself. It is the connection with yourself, it is not losing focus, it is working for your dream and moving forward, to understand everything that is happening and to be supportive and how from within you can make an improvement for humanity and for society. I also believe that it is super important for mental health and when we know ourselves and when we are also aware that we are not alone in the world and that it is as important to take care of ourselves as it is to take care of the world, other people, the planet.
You are Dim Mak En Fuego’s first female artist on which is super big. Congratulations.
Thank you very much.
Are you going to use this as fuel to help you succeed?
I believe that this is a great blessing that came into my life and it is a great support that I have. Steve is a very important person in my career, who I met a few months ago. I connected a lot with his art, I connected a lot with his way of understanding creativity. He is a man that I admire very much for all his developments, in the business world as well. With Dim Mak En Fuego it was an opportunity to release my album Cassette, which is not done yet. This is the first chapter, "TÉ", but it is a part of an album called Cassette, which has two sides, side A of the cassette, side B of the cassette. It will come with a visual component that is its own world, it is a complete world that intertwines one video with another. We are going to release 12 songs throughout all these months that are left in the year and will go into next year. Without a doubt, I think that this will be a very big boost for me because it is a beautiful opportunity that came to my life and I hope I can take advantage of it and be able to be at the level of commitment that it is.
I also wanted to ask you about the concept of the "TÉ" video that is inspired by Get Out, how did that come about?
It is very interesting. The video in my project, visually, I am co-directing with this incredible director named Cassius Corrigan. He directed, acted and wrote his movie Hurricane, which is currently on HBO. When I teamed up with Cassius, I had all these creative and visual ideas, "Look, I want these colors, I have this idea," he comes up and says, "What if we left him in shock of everything that he is living and experiencing with you, you’re giving him this tea, that he knows tastes different and he is suddenly hypnotized by you. We begin to see him hypnotized. Then he is engulfed in this world and does practically everything you want.” So we developed the idea from there. Get Out is a movie that I love so much. We connected with that and we said, "Okay let's give it a different narrative," and that's what we tried to do, like showing my personality, my colors, but always giving it a narrative there.
Right now, there are many eyes and ears on Latin music. What are your goals? Would you be happy dominating music in Latin America, or do you want to also be massively heard in the United States, and not just by Latinos?
I want anyone to listen to me. I want the person who connects with me through my music or through my art to be feel bordeless, without limits, without barriers. I believe that we are all the same. I believe that there is no difference between Americans and Latinos. I believe that if we connect with love, and music is love, I believe that that is worth everything. Connecting is the most important thing to me and obviously I want to connect with as many people as possible, but for me the most important thing is that I can get there and really connect. Not only can I come in and say, "I dominated this market and I'm here dominating. Cool, I'm being played. People listen to me because I'm getting plays," but I would really like people to connect and say, "Okay. I connect with this, I Like this". Not all of my songs on the album are going to be liked by everyone immediately, that's why we call it a mixtape, because it's kind of super varied. That is the idea, that I can connect with people who have different thoughts, who have different ideals, who like different music. I believe that this crossover is going to be achieved with the energy and with this essence that we have been talking about, which is beyond a music or a song, but a feeling I think.