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The biggest crime committed in the 305 in The Week of the Youth Awards was when we both stopped at one of Miami’s most popular ice cream parlors just to get juices, one of which would end up exploding on us soon after. . Mariah Angeliq, who simply goes for Mariah, has called this state her home all her life, and her burgeoning urban career probably means she won’t be going anywhere soon.
With a one-year contract on Universal Music, 19-year-old Mariah is savoring the life she’s always dreamed of while setting up in the industry with a welcome retreat to that classic flow of “Perreito”. Between unexpected DVs with Nicky Jam, and working on an album she hopes will be released by the end of the year, the emerging artist of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent dreams of moving into history on the same page as Ivy Queen. Although the young talent has much to prove, his story shows that he is not afraid of a challenge. With a refreshing candor that can probably be attributed to its nascent nature in the industry, he tells us how he got to where he is now, doing boss bitch anthems, and more.
Now that you’ve signed with a label, do you feel there’s extra pressure to perform and succeed?
Sure. It all depends on the artist at the end of the day. It all depends on the artist. I know you have a team … but in the end it’s up to you. It’s a lot of pressure … with the label, the music, the videos, the interviews, the shows, but you just have to see it as “I’m here to have fun”. I love what I do, so …
How does it feel to know that the batch of music you’ve put into in the last six months, your solo work, specifically “Perreito”, has been the best performance?
He tells me I’m definitely evolving as an artist. This song is one of my best songs right now, or the song that has worked the most for me, I think. He’s giving me my position, like my place in urban music. My other songs too, but with this … the results are much more intense. He’s mapping in 14 different countries, he’s taken me to a million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Did you expect it?
No! I knew it was a success, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. He just came out on June 14 [June], that’s crazy.
Why do you think it is? What do you bring to the table that no one else, not just women artists, but the period of artists brings to the table right now, especially in urban?
I feel like I’m bringing this loot and this presence. When people see me, when they listen to my music, it’s different. I don’t think it’s better than anyone, but I feel like I’m bringing something new to the table, something new.
Who inspired you when you started to realize you were passionate about music?
Sincerely Mariah Carey. My mom was obsessed with her. She named me after her, and when I grew up … like around 9 o’t be, that’s all I’d hear and learn all his songs. One of my favorites was “My All”. I’d try to sing it like her. I was like “Damn, that’s what I want to do.” He doesn’t even dance, act. It’s her voice that people remember her, not what she looks like. That’s what I wanted: for my voice to be timeless. For people to listen to me and be like “oh, that’s Mariah.”
First, just a name base.
Yes, it’s just Mariah. I knew that as soon as someone heard Mariah they would think of Mariah Carey (which happens all the time), but I thought I’d quit, since Mariah gives me an even bigger advantage because I’m not Mariah Carey … I’m Mariah. I’m not going to put it under me, it’s just different. I don’t live up to my name for her, I create my own purpose with my own name and my own life. Like … no, it doesn’t matter, I’m not going to be religious.
HA, no, it’s okay, go ahead.
It says in the Bible that some people name their children after people in the Bible because they think that name has a specific power or respect, but it is not. You have to live up to your own name, you can’t live up to someone else’s name. Does it make sense?
No doubt about it. Ok, you had a pretty early start with apparently a lot of passion but without inherited wealth or any kind of impulse …
No, I definitely came from nowhere.
However, many rising artists make it look easy. Simply pass your mixtape or set of letters to someone who will give it to your famous friend of a friend. Easy. But, it’s not always like that …
To get to that point, you must have been through a lot by now.
Tell me a little bit about how to find your way now.
Well, it all started when I had a dream … I literally had a dream where I was on stage and I was facing crazy people performing. I was young, I was about 9 years old. That’s when I started to realize I’m a dreamer. I literally have visions, and they communicate me through my dreams. One day I had a dream that I was on stage, and I started to realize that my mother was already playing music all the time. She plays Mariah Carey, R&B, Sade, Marc Anthony … she always had music on. I already carried the music on me. I just needed that vision to realize that this is what I have to do. It was more fate than anything else.
What were some steps you took that helped you move forward after that?
When I was 16, I ran away from my mother’s house because I wanted to follow the music, I wanted to be an artist and live that lifestyle and she didn’t understand, so I had to go. She always supported me 100 percent, she just didn’t want to let me go. She didn’t want to let me go to the real world … he was afraid for me. I understand that. Every mother wants to protect her children, but when she was a child who wanted to be there so badly, I thought, “There’s no one who can stop me, not even my mother.” I didn’t do it the wrong way, I just knew that if I didn’t, no one would. So, I went and had a friend who was helping me. Through him I began to meet a lot of people, and ended up introducing me to Nely”The Secret Weapon.” I’ve never done spanish music before, and he showed me that I could sing fire in Spanish. We could make fire songs in Spanish. So, I fell in love with Spanish music. He introduced me to the best writers, the best producers, he is the reason I now have this agreement with Universal. He taught me a lot, it was like the springboard of my career. I really appreciate Nely and who he is and what he’s done for me.
Is it easier now? You have Nely’s support and experience, you have the ability to collaborate with Universal for collaborations, and it seems that the odds may be in your favor. But what challenges you now?
Preparing. Get ready for that fame. Because you can say “I’m ready, ” but when that time comes, if you’re not really ready, it could hurt you or break you. So it’s about being in the right state of mind.
Looks like being an urban woman isn’t that bad right now. What’s it like from your perspective?
From my point of view, I’ve never seen it as “there aren’t enough women, there are too many men.” I’ve always seen it as “I want to do this and I’m going to do it.” But obviously, I took into account that the male industry is male-dominated. All the producers are men. I can’t say all artists because now that I’m in the industry I see a lot of women in the industry. As many women as men may not be mentioned, but for me it’s not a question of sex. For me it’s just about having that goal in my head. Because an Ivy Queen … look what they said about her. It’s not about being a boy or a girl, it’s about your mindset and where you want to go. There are girls who think there aren’t enough women, so they might not be accepted. I’m not part of that [group]. I’m part of the boss, I know I’m going to make it. When I ran away, I knew nothing would stop me. “I’m going to meet the right person, I’m going to get a deal and I’m going to make it.” And that’s exactly what happened. It’s like the law of attraction.
His background is Puerto Rican and Cuban. Both countries, like any other countries, have their own problems. But Puerto Rico is particularly struggling right now with #RickyRenuncia. How do you feel about artists who use, or don’t use, their platforms to talk about political issues?
I think it’s powerful to use your voice as a weapon. That’s one of the reasons I make music. Having a voice literally says how you feel. I feel like it’s a drug, but it’s also controversial … Look at Tupac. He started rapping about problems in society and government, and look what happened to him.