Los Angeles artist QUIÑ has been strategically building her self-proclaimed “fantasy soul” soundscapes — and Tuesday (Feb 12) has the potential to become a career-defining moment. After the release of two successful independent projects, Galactica and DREAMGIRL, QUIÑ is unleashing the sensual earworm “Mushroom Chocolate” alongside 6lack via her new Fantasy Soul imprint for Interscope Records.
The track itself may confirm the duo’s rumored romance, just in time for Valentine’s Day. “Mushroom Chocolate” charismatically blends the jazzy electronics QUIÑ is known for over a smooth R&B melody. And beyond the songstress’ intimate demands on wax, it is 6lack who makes the record’s intentions clear: “Get you somebody to fall in love with/ Get you somebody to kiss in public.”
Billboard caught up with QUIÑ to discuss her forthcoming EP, LUCID, the “weird” story behind “Mushroom Chocolate,” and the moment she stepped into her power artistically. Press play on the hypnotic collab and get to know the starlet in her words below.
Your most recent music video, “REMIND ME,” appears as a daydream. How does it feel to see what you musically manifested coming true?
It feels like I am really being true to myself, and that is the ultimate feeling. So I am happy with how everything is going.
Overall, do you feel the “REMIND ME” experience represented growth?
Growth? Yes! I am a bigger me than the last time people saw me. This undoubtedly represents my growth. Also, it is another little part of me, you know? There are so many parts that you will get to see over time.
LUCID will be the third installment in your EP series. How will this project differentiate from your 2016 and 2017 offerings?
LUCID is just a more evolved me. The other two EPs is the big me trying to gather myself along the way. So that is why this project, LUCID, is similar. Still, because that big me has gotten even more significant over time, LUCID is just a compilation of different scenarios. I keep getting a little more mature [with each body of work], as well as aware and more in control of my dream.
[While recording] DREAMGIRL, I was kind of aloof, and thinking that I knew things. The universe has a way of bringing you back to earth or resetting you. It was beautiful. For me, DREAMGIRL was me dreaming about things and landing in these places.
[They were places] that I did not necessarily choose to land. Still, I dealt with those landings. I think with this EP, I learned that there was a way to learn my lessons gracefully, instead of being so hard-core. LUCID is flowing with my experiences. So LUCID is where I want to be. It is the more real, loving and truthful version of what I thought I was experiencing previously. So that is that.
This forthcoming EP features a single with 6LACK, which has an interesting title. Please tell your fans the meaning of “Mushroom Chocolate.”
The one fact about that title is that it was the name of the beat. It was the name of the music before I put anything on it. [Laughs] It just kind of stayed that way. Chuck Inglish produced it and named it. He said the music was always that from day one to the end.
So I think it is fun. Over time, it felt like what is meant to be is supposed to be. Yes, “Mushroom Chocolate” is the name. We are still on a journey figuring out what it means. The song title can mean so many other different things. Each reason started to pick up like, “Oh!” [Laughs] The song is constantly revealing the reason why the name is “Mushroom Chocolate.” There is no other name it could ever be — if that makes sense.
What made the “Mushroom Chocolate” studio session special?
Do you know what made it special? I was in Hawaii having an interesting time. On the very last day, Chuck, who is like my brother, called me. He is like, “Yo, fam! What are you doing?” I told him, “I’m about to get on this plane back home. I just feel so incomplete, bro. There is something I did not do here.” He said, “Come to Oahu, Hawaii.” One of my best friends, Millie, was with me too. So I say, “OK, let’s check flights.” Long story shorter — we get to the airport, and somehow, we get to Chuck.
Him being in Hawaii was the weird part about it. Anyway, I go over there, and we listened to the music. I said, “Man! This is so cool.” We just had a moment to relax and enjoy it out in Hawaii. That was my favorite moment down on that trip.
When I came home, I listened to every beat that he made in Hawaii, and freestyled to each of them. I would play one [beat] and then I would sing to that melody. Whatever came out [was what I submitted]. I did not want to listen back or try something else. I left it at that.
I fell in love with all these tracks. So I came back to the studio, a few weeks later, and said, “Yo, what’s up with those freestyles?” And, [“Mushroom Chocolate”] just came. The whole song was already made, besides 6lack’s verse, obviously. That entire beginning verse was natural. The song is really how I was feeling at the time. So that was pretty dope.
[Chuck] told me, “You need 6lack on this one because it is supposed to be true.” And it was nothing [to make it happen]. It was the easiest thing. So I think the magic was Hawaii. Also, us all being on one song together, it was such magic. Anyway, I am excited to start the new year in this way. Yeah!
Describe the moment you signed with Interscope Records.
The moment I signed to Interscope, I was on my way to play AFROPUNK [FEST in Brooklyn]. So, it was summer. I signed on the plane on the way to New York in 2017. We have been plotting ever since. [Laughs]
What does the support of a major mean for your “fantasy soul” sound moving forward?
Well, it means I have support. It means I was kind of able to start my own label, which is Fantasy Soul with Interscope. So I mean it is really cool to have people that can help you a lot and trust your vision. They believe you ultimately. It is pretty cool. [Laughs]
Apart from musical advancement, you are a Wilhelmina Models signee. How has this new experience enhanced your creative process overall?
That is a good question. It has helped me realize that I am doing, what I came to do. I am just having fun. Again, I am happy. So that always keeps you in that creative space — being happy with yourself. [Laughs]
You said LUCID is about “being born again, and remembering who you are.” What was the moment you artistically stepped into your power?
In life, I feel like I stepped into my power, entirely, when I was 19. I moved to Oakland from the Valley. I took a break off of school when I was over there. For the very first time, I heard myself, speak to myself saying, “Yeah! This is the plan. Are you with it?” And, I felt like, “Damn, if I do that, I will have to beat up all these fears.”
At that point, I was still scared of attention or singing for anyone, better yet, sharing my diary with anyone. I never saw me [doing this]. I was really shy. So I decided to beat up the fears and make a vow to myself. I would just have to be uncomfortable for a second until I figured it out. The bigger plan was to do this in a real way. I had to get it together. And I did! That was the first time I felt like I really, really stepped into my power.
It was because I was going through a lot at the time. I was able to be in the rain for a while. And I felt like, “Well, wait a minute. This is good writing in front of me. So let’s just do this. I am not about to waste this gift.” It does not make sense to be scared of writing. I know I can sing. That would be sad for me if I did not use my gift.
With this ownership in mind and sharing, what is your message to the women in your fanbase?
Oh, man, there are so many — let’s pick one. Give yourself space to find the voice that wants to get your attention. Follow that voice. That is what is going to help you out.