Perfect imperfections – Don’t doubt The Roni
“A heart may face its problems. But its faith will rise from the bottom”.The Roni
All-consuming self-doubt and feelings of insecurity are not uncommon for many an artist. It’s a challenge in itself not to be drenched in inadequacy by the outpouring of highly polished, and super-engineered mainstream productions which, to an amateur or aspiring musician, may seem many levels above what could possibly be achieved by their own hand. The notion that our talents, abilities, and experience aren’t ‘enough’ may start to seep in when benchmarking against others we may deem more advanced, ‘better’ or ‘more…’ More talented, more successful, more popular… Inevitably, many talented individuals can often be unfairly defeated by their own conscience. Feelings many of us are likely to have experienced, including our latest guest, independent Singer/songwriter; The Roni.
Born & raised in New Jersey, The Roni considers herself an “active, independent, caring, and down-to-earth person”, who identifies as somewhat of an introvert, and that she “may not be perfect, but grateful” to be herself. Singing in church from an early age with her family, during praise & worship services she managed to overcome her fears of singing to an audience, and credits her sister as her primary support; “she was the one who has really encouraged and inspired me to believe in God to help me face my fears of singing to people. She always tells me to never think about what others will say about your voice, do not try to be or sound like them, just always be you and sing from your own heart.“
Having taken on her sister’s advice, her heart has led her through many challenges, most recently graduating from the American Institute Business School, where she studied to become an Administrative Office Professional, paving the way for further education and the opportunity of using her talents to “bring life, hope, and encouragement to others, so that they can be, or do, anything in their lives”.
Outside of academia, The Roni enjoys graphic design, has a penchant for 90s and gospel music, and is a passionate R&B singer. Despite her early insecurities, she’s demonstrated resilience, strength, and found her confidence. Her talents as a vocalist are undeniable, with over 13k followers on Bandlab and approaching 4k followers on Smule.
Aside from being a vocalist, The Roni has a love for playing the piano and writing poetry with strong Shakespearian influences. Fitting, for such a modest yet talented and driven musician, that this inspiration springs from a poet and playwright whose many characters are racked with insecurity and vulnerability. And… not dissimilar to the advice The Roni received from her sister, Shakespeare himself tells us, “our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt”.
Without further ado… Let’s get into it…
Hi The Roni, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us. Can we start with a little introduction, and maybe expand on your introduction into the world of music?
When I was 9 years old, I started doing music in praise & worship in churches and joined a chorus in high school. I also trained myself how to play the piano when I was 11 years old by ear which I began playing in churches while performing. Growing up I was really shy to even sing in front of people but as I got used to it, I kept praying and praying until God helped me to face those fears, and sing from my heart no matter how I sound. During my senior year, one of my friends introduced me to this karaoke app called Smule, that is how I fully started to begin to share my talents. I have been on Smule for about 5 years now where I always sing to songs that people can join in on my collabs and just have fun.
Five years on Smule will explain the six thousand and something recordings you’ve put out! That’s some serious dedication, and the gravitation towards R&B is evident there. Who would do you consider as your primary influences?
My main musical influences are Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Brian McKnight, Deborah Cox, New Edition, Boyz II Men, CeCe Winans, Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, Toni Braxton, Chris Brown, The Temptations, and Jodeci. I’m associated with Gospel but I’m more into R&B a lot.
We’ve touched on the fact that you’d grown up singing in church with your family – can you tell us how things progressed for you as a singer, and what motivates you to devote your time to music?
I was really motivated by my favorite artists I listen to every day and to those who love to create music as well. It has given me a chance to think about writing my own originals outside of Smule. That is when I decided to try out Bandlab. At first, I had a lot of doubts about starting my music there because of my insecurities and being afraid of people not accepting my music. By the time I released a freestyle track, I ended up being one of the top trending artists of R&B which I was really shocked lol! I never knew that people will still accept me even if I’m not perfect and at anyone’s level. It really encouraged me to continue to stay, make more music, share my stories, and work with a lot of amazing people on there. It has given me an opportunity to explore not only in my music but with myself to know who I am as a person.
“Sometimes in life, we’re gonna always try something new and begin to start off our journeys. Along the way, we will make mistakes but it mentally helps us to grow stronger by getting back up and trying again until we get it right, which can motivate us to be better for ourselves.”The Roni
I totally feel you when you talk about those feelings of insecurity, and being doubtful about your abilities. I am sure many readers do. However, as a listener, it’s entirely unfounded – you have an incredibly smooth and soulful voice, however, I also know that reassurances from others don’t quieten that inner criticism. Where do you think those thoughts come from, and how important is it to you to feel accepted by your audience?
I used to deal with a lot of insecurities. The thoughts I had came from past experiences that I went through, such as not being accepted as a person, and who was very different from others. It is important to me to feel accepted by my audience because I want them to know that I’m different and imperfect as a woman, but in my own unique way that I’m created to be, and it helped me to accept myself as well in everything I’m learning to understand. I also want others to know that they should always accept themselves for who they are, beautifully made.
Aside from singing, you also play the piano – is that something you’ve been doing for some time now? And, If you could learn to play another instrument, what would you choose?
I have been playing the piano since I was 11 years old. I always admired a lot of piano players in churches which made me wanna play one soon. The first song that I taught myself how to play was the Lion King song “Can you feel the love tonight”. Then, I began to train myself to play more, especially my favorite songs such as the Gospel song “Alpha & Omega”, A song for mama by Boyz II Men. I love to play the piano. I’m not all that proficient but I do tend to play by ear while I’m playing.
If I were to learn how to play another instrument, I would choose a saxophone because I love how saxophones sound and I always wanted to learn how to play them.
How would you describe the music that you typically create, and what are you working on at the moment?
Whenever I create my music, I always bring out a 90s vibe, gospel, and poetic vibe. I am currently working on a mixtape album called “Back To The Vibe” where I’m bringing back that 90s vibe where I’m just flowing and having a few features on it as well which I’m very excited for! Also, I will be releasing a single from that album called “Self Plan (It Is Meant For You).
I mentioned the thousands of collaborations and recordings you’ve stacked up on Smule, but you also write your own material, which you share to the likes of BandLab and other online platforms. Can you give us some insight into your creative process, and how you approach writing?
Whenever I write new music, I always listen to the beat and find anything in front of me that helps me to creatively use in my music such as watching a movie, food, real-life events, etc. Also, I love to use poetry that is more similar to Shakespeare in my music along with my own stories as well. Once I have my vision combined with those ideas together, I have finally prepared them all together into one song.
When it comes to writing lyrics, you referenced one of the greats, William Shakespeare. Can you describe what you mean when you say ‘I love to use poetry that is more similar to Shakespeare’, and an example of that from one of your tracks?
Yes, I love Shakespeare from high school to now. Shakespeare helped me to visually see the purpose of life for me in my own creative mind. It inspired me to write poetry. When I say I love to use poetry that is more similar to Shakespeare, I always express my words poetically about my life, emotions, and feelings. Shakespeare has main characters who express their stories creatively in their own words, but it’s helping them to understand those feelings with their imagination of how they are describing their own lives. Whenever I write poetry, I would express my own story in the way how I’m learning to speak about it, especially in my music. This is from one of the tracks I did, from my EP Album “Lovethorn”;
“Mind should never feel scorned, it’s already faced its own lovethorn. The Mind needed time to reborn, no need to feel mourn”.
It explains that you already faced your issues of what you were feeling before, where it has given time for you to grow and focus on something new with no regrets. This was very personal for me because it helped me to face my own lovethorn and it encourages people that they can face it too.
Let’s have a listen to some of the tracks you’ve selected, and if you could perhaps share some of the thoughts and sentiments behind them?
“Unexpected” is a single track that I wrote. It is about when you enter into something that you have never seen before but it’s giving you an opportunity to use that chance to move forward no matter what happens unexpectedly. It was created from Bandlab Studio by me.
“Kindness Wit Kindness” is a duet collab that I did with another online Artist, Haylie Nichole. It is about a person who gets involved in any situation that comes at them, but they learn to dissolve those problems by using positivity and self love to still continue to move forward without any harm on anyone, just with kindness. This was made from Bandlab Studio by Me & Haylie Nichole.
“If So” is a single track that is originally from my EP Album called “Lovethorn” recorded by me & Lord Cinic and produced by Kurt K. It brings out a lot of motivation, poetic vibes, & Hip-hop/ Rap/ R&B. It is about uplifting people to keep your mindset on the right path as they explore throughout their journeys and by the time they reach to their goals, they’ll know when the time has come.
Thank you once again for your time and for sharing your experiences with us, The Roni. Readers can find links to all The Roni’s socials here.