Playing Mylene Cruz on Baz Luhrmann’s 2016 series The Get Down may have showcased her soul-filled pipes and impressive screen presence, but Herizen Guardiola was only just getting warmed up. Last year, the young Floridian unveiled yet more of her musical gifts on Come Over To My House, her debut EP that unspooled seven uniquely lush and blissful compositions. In between the groovy minimalism of the title track and her first single “Social Jungle” run hooks, novel percussion, and coolly calibrated atmospherics that demonstrate her talents as singer, songwriter, and vibe builder.
And that’s before we even get to her videos for songs like “Get High” and “Come Over To My House.” They’re dreamy and sumptuous visual feasts in which her aesthetic and energy are on rich, strobe-lit display.
Herizen’s lightning speed momentum shows no signs of stopping. Fresh off her Bandsintown Big Break showcase at last month’s South by Southwest, she’s ramping up for another EP, more videos, and now, the release of “Focus,” a sultry cut that conjures a hypnotic otherworldliness. If you’re eager to get your ears on it, then you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find an exclusive premiere of that utterly fresh single. Listen, love, and keep reading for our quick chat with its creator about magic, Mylene, and the artist’s mind.
Hello Herizen! You’re back from playing a number of showcases at SXSW, including the Bandsintown Big Break show. What was the festival like for you this year?
It was my first SXSW, and I had a really great time performing for that crowd and seeing all the awesome talent that flooded the streets.
What surprised you the most when you started playing live shows? And what do you love most about performing for an audience?
The adrenaline rush is always such a high, and I love watching everyone vibe and give me their energy. It’s magic.
Congrats on your amazing debut EP, Come Over To My House. What did you learn about yourself while writing and making the record?
That I’m only as good as I think I am, so it’s important for me to uplift myself and push my boundaries.
Your first single “Social Jungle” shrewdly tackled the pitfalls of social media. Why is this message significant? And how would you describe your own approach to social media?
I feel that it’s important to not get lost in the physical world. We don’t have much of a choice because it’s being force fed to us but we have to remember what’s really important and stay true to who we are. I approach social media as a platform to expand my reach regarding my art and show my fans a little about who I am.
We’re loving the lush, gorgeous videos you’ve made for “Get High,” “Social Jungle,” and “Come Over To My House.” Why is this visual aesthetic important to you?
In my opinion, visuals set a tone and tells the story and helps you connect to the artist’s mind. I write music with the visual already playing in my head, so for me, it’s all my one mind, one body.
What often sparks your songwriting?
It can anything really, it could be an aesthetic, word, feeling, color, or a melody that just pops in my head that then trigger the rest.
Also tell us about your recent collaboration with What So Not on “We Can Be Friends.” What was a big highlight in crafting that track and/or working together?
I think what made that collaboration so magical is that we’re really good friends, so it was a very honest open space. For me, that’s when I can really write and be free to express anything.
How did playing Mylene on The Get Down influence or inspire you as a musician or your music-making?
I didn’t really inspire my music as much as it did my drive and my discipline.
Who are some musicians whose careers you admire and would love to follow in the footsteps of?
Ed Sheeran has always been inspiring to me because of the hard work he put into himself. He never stopped until he got where he knew he deserved to be.
What else do you have planned for the rest of 2019?
I’m working on a new EP and lot of music videos, which I’m very excited about, as well as a new TV series that will be coming this year.
What first comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Big Break”?
Haha, that moment everyone waits for, the view at the top of the mountain you’ve been climbing your whole life.