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The 99% Episode #3 with Enisa

With influences of Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse, and Jay-Z, New York singer and songwriter Enisa conveys powerful messages with her creative work. She focuses on the genre of pop and soul combined with a classic sound. Using her music to assist others in getting through whatever surpasses them is what Enisa’s messages embody. The Brooklyn based singer is best known for cover songs on Youtube such as Adel and Hozier which received over 100k views. With a massive following on Instagram, the spotlight on Enisa has been bright. While nailing her music career, she also models and is represented by Wilhelmina Models. It’s time to hear her thoughts and words about her initial journey in the music industry and her current ventures. Read and listen to her interview on our 99 Percent Podcast.

Listen To Enisa’s 99 Percent Podcast Interview Below:

[00:00]Steereo:

We’re here with the amazing singer-songwriter Enisa. Enisa, thank you for joining us.

Enisa:

I’m excited to be here!

Steereo:

You’re Brooklyn born and raised and proud. Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and how it’s influenced your music overall.

Enisa:

Born and raised in Brooklyn, in the same part all my life. I went to Edward R. Murrow high school and William McKinley middle school, and everything was musically influenced because I was around so many different cultures and so many different people. I think we were influenced by all different types of music and genres. I was never listening to just one thing; it was never just straight pop or anything like that. Soul, jazz, R&B influenced me because Brooklyn has everything to offer. Also, my parents are Albanian, so at home my parents would listen to Albanian music, giving me that foreign influence on my sound.

Steereo:

That’s awesome. How does your strong Albanian heritage play a role in your sound and how you approach music?

Enisa:

In my culture, the music is very drum and bass driven, so I think a lot of that also transfers unintentionally. I’m always obsessed with the drum sound of a song, and the bass; those are the first things I look for. That part of the Albanian music is what transferred over to my music.

Steereo:

Your songs all have empowering messages. What inspires you to lean toward these empowering things?

Enisa:

It’s about things I’ve been through; these stories are my own. Things I went through and what I learned from experiences, and what I want people to know about the situation. To know you’re not alone. To be confident and powerful because everyone has that inside of them. I want my songs to be reminders to anyone going through that. I want my music to have a message. It’s cool to have music to jam out to, but the songs that hit me the hardest are the songs with a message that help me get through something I’m going through in my life.

Watch Enisa- Burn This Bridge Music Video

[04:00] Steereo:

I think it is important that artists perform with a message because you guys are messengers and a lot of time people look you guys for advice and motivation for their everyday lives.

Enisa:

The youth especially. Music, in general, has so much influence on the youth, so if you start at a young age to try to instill these ideas in a kids mind, that they are strong and they are powerful, and they should be confident and proud of who they are, they will take that with them as they grow.

Steereo:

You’ve worked with Statik Selektah, whom some of our listeners may or may not know, and he is a hip-hop legend. How did you two like connect and what’s it been like working with him?

Enisa:

First of all, he is amazing. He’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever witnessed. That connection happened because his publisher had a meeting at his publisher’s office. I’ve been writing Hip-Hop for a while now, writing for some other people but no one as big time as him. I remember they said oh we have Statik Selektah, so I said coolly send me some beats, and I’ll write hooks to them.

Enisa via Facebook

Several months later they finally sent me his beats, I wrote some hooks to them, he liked them, and then from there, he asked me to write a hook to his song that was going to be on his album. I never had a cut on a hip-hop song or anything like that, so I wanted it. I know he had a bunch of other people writing for it too, so I wanted to make sure I got it. So I wrote seven hooks to the song he sent me, and he ended up picking one of those seven hooks. That’s his next single. It’s going to be me, G-Eazy and Joey Badass. I really love that song.

[06:28] Steereo:

You mentioned some great young artists, and I wanted to shift to the idea of being an independent artist. What’s it like being an independent artist, and from your point of view, what are the benefits and the drawbacks of being independent?

Enisa:

It’s no easy task to be an independent artist; I can tell you that. It’s because it’s not easy. You know you don’t have the marketing team, the pr, the constant money behind you, and people pushing your song to different places. You’re doing everything on your own. You have to use your connections and try your best to get your song heard. It’s hard at times because there are so many artists out there. It’s kind of like mission impossible to make it happen, but it can happen. The positive side of being an independent artist is definitely that you have your freedom to put out whatever you want whenever you want. Also freedom to be who you are as an artist and put whatever type of music you want out there. Whatever music makes you feel good because when you do sign to a label, they do take a lot. I’m not saying all of them, but many of them to take creative control. Sometimes they try to shape your music and shape who you are as an artist, and for me, that’s not cool because I definitely would not be cool with anyone telling me what I have to look like or what my music has to sound. They do give you great stuff to help you push your music, but they can also try to change who you are. Sometimes even if you are signed, they could shelf you and not let you release music for a long time. So it’s a gamble I’d say. When you reach the point when you’re an independent artist and you create buzz for yourself, and then all of a sudden you’re hot, then these labels want to help you out, and they want to jump in there, but they don’t want to touch who you are. They want you to be who you are, and they want to support you in that way. That’s the thing I’m looking for. Hopefully, I create buzz for myself and get to a global level, and to do that nowadays you don’t necessarily need a label, but you need some type of backing and some type of support from somewhere. I know Chance The Rapper has an investor, but you need some type of support from somewhere. You have to get to a level where everyone is interested in you, so they don’t want to change you, that’s kind of the win-win. You have to show them in the beginning, but you have to get through that struggle so you can keep who you are.

Steereo:

It’s a beautiful struggle because there’s so much opportunity to do it on your own, but you also have to strike that balance between needing the necessary help as well as being true to yourself and your creative vision.

Enisa:

If it gets to a point where you’re singing songs you don’t like, you’re singing songs that don’t come from the heart or songs that mean nothing to you, and you wake up, and it’s not fun anymore, and it’s not you, and you feel like you have to wake up and put on a mask and be somebody else, what’s the point? You’re supposed to make music for love in the first place. That’s what I do; I do it because I love it. If it ever starts feeling like a job and something that I know I have to do but I don’t want to do, that takes the whole joy out of it. I think there’s more joy when you’re independent and you know you’re putting out whatever you want.

Sean:

I couldn’t agree more. What are your thoughts on how technology has opened up the gates for artists to be discovered? I know you mentioned wanting to be global, and now with modern technology and the ability to connect with fans in regions of the world that you may not have the opportunity to connect with, is now open for artists and independent artists such as yourself, and others. What are your thoughts on how technology relates to music?

Enisa:

I think it’s incredible honestly. Technology is how I started. It’s crazy that something can go viral, and that can change your life. One thing. And all you need is for people to start sharing your stuff in order to blow up. No one really knew who I was, and I was trying to get myself out there, but I had no idea how to handle music or anything like that, but I knew I wanted to pursue music in some type of way. I didn’t really know any producers or anyone like that; my brothers played basketball, and no one in my family is musical, so I had no way in, I didn’t really know anyone in music. So I said I’m going to do it the Justin Bieber way and hopefully something happens.

Photo of Enisa via Facebook

I started posting a cover or two to YouTube, and I started sharing them on Instagram, and then all these big music pages started sharing my covers and it kind of just went viral on Facebook and Instagram. That’s how I built a following and how I got noticed by managers and agencies and my lawyer. That’s kind of how things developed and got started for me, all due to the power of technology. All it took was 15 seconds of me singing Take Me To Church for people to know who I was all of a sudden. I think artists really to realize the value of social media. That’s how everything is being discovered nowadays. People are using songs in videos for different things like videos for makeup, and they’re using music behind this, so that’s how people are discovering it. So I think it’s really important because that’s also where you connect with your fans because before they have to come to see you at your show but now they can send you a D.M., and you respond to them, and there you have an instant connection with a supporter. It’s easier, so there is definitely more competition. There’s more competition but a bigger opportunity.

Steereo:

I think with anything there’s a give and take. There’s a lower barrier of entry for people, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you view it. I also think that it’s incredible that artists like you, can go on YouTube and upload covers and be able to be discovered that way. Many times people would have to travel to LA or NY, to markets to be discovered. Now, the label or the point of getting your music out there is in your home, or it’s in your hand.

Enisa:

The app Musically is where a lot of people discovered my songs. I got into a competition on that app and using the live feature, I was connecting with fans, and all of a sudden over 100,000 lip sync videos were created to my song on this app by all these little kids. As an independent artist, with no funding or backing behind it, it was crazy to me. So many possibilities. As an independent artist, now it’s easy to get your songs on Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music, in like a week. You don’t really need someone doing that for you because there are so many ways for your music to be discovered and heard.

Steereo:

I am glad that Steereo is now in the mix of this amazing landscape.

Enisa:

I think it’s really what you guys are doing. I think it’s really smart and innovative.

[15:23] Steereo:

So tell me, where do you like to play music? And where do you like to hear music? What’s the setting?

Enisa:

I’m always on Youtube. I’m always looking at the what’s next, and the suggestion list or the home screen shows new videos. Spotify playlists, New Music Friday. A lot of times I find myself Shazaaming songs when I’m shopping in a store, wherever I am. If I hear something I like, if it’s in a commercial, I just Shazaam it. That’s kind of the thing nowadays.

Steereo:

When you’re creating music, what setting do you like to play music-in studio?

Enisa:

I’m not much of a park or outdoors kind of person. I’m usually at home on my piano, which is usually where I start every song and the studio. I’ll start a song at home; then I’ll take it to the studio and develop it and produce it. Or sometimes I completely write it at home and then I’ll get it produced at the studio. It all depends though. Sometimes I’ll be at the studio, and I’m writing with some people that day, we’ll just make up something from scratch. It’s usually at home or the studio, that’s where I’m most comfortable.

Steereo:

What artists are you currently listening to, and are inspired by?

Enisa:

I’m definitely inspired, always, by Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z, those are like my top 3. The oldies very much inspire me; Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, she had a big influence on my sound. I love classic artists like Alicia Keys, people whose music I look up to. Actually, right now I’ve been listening to Jay-Z’s new album 4:44, and I have been listening to Post Malone. He’s really awesome right now, and his album was great. I love Joey Badass’ album. I like to listen to a lot of rap, so I’m listening to ASAP Rocky and G-EAZY, a lot of Eminem. I’ve been really getting into Eminem lately. A lot of his old stuff. Lana Del Rey, Cold Play, of course, influences my songwriting. I get inspiration from a lot of different artists.

Steereo:

That’s a very eclectic list of artists, but it shines a light on how diverse, not only your taste in music is but when you’re producing music, how you create music in your mind. A mix mash of things. When someone hears your music for the first time, what would you like them to feel?

Enisa:

I would like them to feel empowered. That’s the one thing for me. When someone listens for my song, and I get a message, and they tell me that my song helped them get through something, or I’m feeling like the shit right now because your song pumped me up. I’m feeling great about myself, or I can get through this, those are the best feelings and messages for me, nothing will top knowing I helped someone feel good about themselves. To feel like they could achieve something is what I like to feel when I listen to music, so if people can feel that way listening to my music, it’s an honor.

Listen To Bonus Track by Enisa- Reunite

Steereo:

Fill in the blank:

Music to me is…

Enisa:

Freedom.

Steereo:

If you had to describe yourself, what would you say?

Enisa:

Enisa is a soulful songwriter with a broken edge to her. A little bit of a Brooklyn attitude and someone who believes that nothing is too much to achieve. You can achieve anything, that’s what I believe.

Steereo:

Well, I’m glad that you were able to join us and share your story. Can you give our listeners, and people who may hear you here, or people that might hear you in a Steereo session, while they’re riding to and from their destinations, more information on where to find you, any projects or shows or events you have coming up?

Enisa:

Thank you guys so much for listening, this is Enisa. You can find me on Instagram, or Twitter @IamEnisa  find me on Youtube and check out the videos for my three latest singles. I have another single coming out hopefully by the end of next month. It’s exciting. Thank you guys for having me and supporting my music on Steereo.

Steereo:

She’s up to a lot of amazing things, and you’ll definitely hear her on Steereo Sessions. Thank you!

 

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Editor In Chief of The Pulse; A creative gal living in the City of Angels conquering the world with inspired writing about music.