[INTERVIEW] Bahja Rodriguez Is All Grown Up, Talks Being A Solo Artist & Music
Our Talk With Atlanta-Based Singer, Bahja Rodriguez
‘Luv’ is definitely in the air, especially for this twenty-year-old, talented singer. After the disbandment of popular girl group, the OMG Girlz, former member, Bahja Rodriguez, is now climbing the charts—all on her own. With a new EP and a growing fan base, the Atlanta native is stepping into 2017 to claim her spot. Offering a fresh feel to the R&B scene, Rodriguez’s captivating vocal range is bringing generational music back, yet again.
An Atlanta girl with a big voice, Bahja Rodriguez was only twelve years old when her musical destiny began. She joined the OMG Girlz, being handpicked by her mother’s close friend—former Xscape member and founder of the group, Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle-Harris. Taking on the stage name ‘Beauty’, it wasn’t long before the then four-member group, which also featured Tiny’s daughter Zonnique Pullins and Lil Wayne’s daughter Reginae Carter, became the talk of this generation’s urban music culture. Even as they later transformed into a trio, with famed singles, such as “Gucci This (Gucci That)” and “Where The Boys At”, the girls became a budding success.
However, in early 2015, the OMG Girlz members mutually decided to part ways, branching out to pursue their own solo careers. Having already developed a strong passion for music, at an early age, Bahja Rodriguez was eager to get back into the studio. She released her first three songs, as a soloist, later that year, titled, “Jealous Type”, “Lipstick”, and “Next One”. The songs raked in millions of plays on digital platforms, solidifying the singer’s solo career. Her debut EP, It Gets Better, dropped shortly after. The EP featured seven songs, each showcasing a more mature side of Rodriguez, coming into her own womanhood. Giving us classic R&B with a modern day twist, the Bahja Rodriguez sound is like no other. Her sweet and distinctive vocal style has set her apart from most other female singers out today.
Recently, the singer released another EP, Luv. The five-song EP renders a sultry and seductive vibe and is already doing extremely well. We have to admit, we cannot wait to see what’s next.
Check out our exclusive interview with Bahja Rodriguez, as she discusses getting accepted as a solo artist, her stance in R&B, and an album in the making.
Parlé Mag: A couple of your first hit songs, as a solo artist, were “Lipstick”, “Next One”, and “Jealous Type”—which I feel like they really showcased and introduced you as a singer. Being that people were so used to seeing you with The OMG Girlz but these songs showed your transition into adulthood and musical individuality, was there ever a part of you that was afraid that people wouldn’t accept it?
Bahja Rodriguez: Absolutely. In the beginning, I definitely was afraid. But, I was just like, ‘You know what? I’ma just put this music out and if people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t.’. Either way, I’m going to continue to push forward. You know, luckily, the song exceeded my expectations for what it was going to do. So, I was very happy about how everything turned out!
Parlé Mag: Going back to what I said about people so used to seeing you in a girl group, even now, do you still feel like you always have to prove yourself to a certain extent?
Bahja Rodriguez: At this point, I feel like I do have to prove myself, but not because I was in a girl group. I feel like I have to prove myself because I’m competing with a lot of other artists, who are out here, who are doing it—and they’re dope. I think that me being in a girl group, that was my stepping stone. You know? For me to be able to come out in my own right and do what I want to do.
Parlé Mag: Right.
Bahja Rodriguez: So, I definitely feel like I do always have to prove myself, but it’s only because I’m competing against people who are amazing artists, and who are just super, duper dope.
Parlé Mag: You released your debut EP, It Gets Better, over a year ago. The EP did very well, of course and it sounded great.
Bahja Rodriguez: Thank you!
Parlé Mag: No problem. Now, your second one, LUV, is out. How do you think this new music represents you and your artistry?
Bahja Rodriguez: I think it’s just me being way more secure, about my sound. Just like, lyrically, I was sure. Vocally, I was sure. I was sure about everything. I think that’s just the growth. On my first project, it was me kind of testing the waters a little bit, with different sounds, just to see what I like. But, now, I’m just super sure about the sound and the direction that I want to go in. I feel like this year will be super dope for me; I’m putting out an album, towards the end of the year.
Parlé Mag: Awesome! So, do you have a name for that album yet?
Bahja Rodriguez: I do not, as of right now. Like, I’ve just been cataloging like crazy. But, I don’t have a name for it yet. I’m hoping it will come together.
Parlé Mag: Okay! Do you have any favorites on your EP, LUV?
Bahja Rodriguez: I do! I actually love “Say It” and I love “More” right now. But, they always alternate.
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Nice. Also, on the LUV EP is “Another Love Song”, a collaboration with Zonnique Pullins—your former group mate and longtime friend.
Bahja Rodriguez: Yes!
Parlé Mag: I’m sure the fans would like to know. Can we expect a video for that soon?
Bahja Rodriguez: Definitely! I actually just shot my video last weekend.
Parlé Mag: I think they’re going to be excited because I see a lot of people talking about the song!
Bahja Rodriguez: Yeah, I think people are really, really going to be surprised at just the video, itself, and the route we chose to take.
Parlé Mag: A lot of people are only trying to do what sells nowadays, and they become so comfortable and complacent with just that. What do you hope or feel you can bring to R&B that it’s missing right now?
Bahja Rodriguez: Just me being sure of who I am and what I want to do. I feel like, right now, R&B is so–it’s really whatever you want to do. You know what I mean? I just want to bring back that real R&B feel.
Parlé Mag: Who are your top female singers at the moment—
Bahja Rodriguez: Right now? I’m loving Victoria Monet. I’m loving Kehlani. I’m loving JoJo, too—her new album. Solange, of course.
Parlé Mag: What would you say is your favorite song on Solange’s album?
Bahja Rodriguez: Oh, I would say, probably, “Cranes In The Sky”.
Parlé Mag: I really admire how you connect with your fans. How has having such a supportive fan base helped mold you into the artist you are today?
Bahja Rodriguez: I mean, it definitely helps, because whenever I’m not sure about song titles or what I want to talk about on that particular day, I always ask them, ‘What are you guys going through?’, ‘What would you guys like me to write about?’. And, they always hit me back and they respond. I think it’s just really dope that I’ve had people who literally been following me since I was like twelve years old. It’s kind of like we’ve grown up together. So, we’re all in this together; we’re in this process together. As more and more people start to gain knowledge about who I am, that core fanbase, it’s just always been there, and it’s just always been dope.
Parlé Mag: That’s amazing. Can we look for a tour soon?
Bahja Rodriguez: Definitely!
Parlé Mag: What are your aspirations for 2017?
Bahja Rodriguez: Aspirations? I definitely just want to tour; I want to get this album out. I want to do a lot more. A lot more visuals. A lot more meet and greets. Just me and my fans, being around them.
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