Philanthropist might not be the most obvious moniker you would place on a young female hip hop artist, given that we typically associate such titles with more seasoned and, well, elderly folk who have lived long enough to amass real wealth and have made the decision to give away a portion of their good fortune to enrich the lives of others, perhaps those less fortunate.
But the multi-talented rapper, actor, fashion designer, entrepreneur and yes, philanthropist, Pozzie Mazerati, began her career focused with the end in mind; namely how to utilize her many talents and put them to use to serve others and make the world a better place right from the start of her career.
Kaotica: For such a young artist, you've had quite an amazing journey already. Could you share a bit of that story and tell us how you got your start as an artist and how you came out of the gate with a different career focus than most?
Sure. Well, I didn't really fall in love with music until after I graduated from high school. My dad was a musician and he was always on the road. He was a phenomenal keyboard player and one of my biggest inspirations. He’s the reason I even play music. But music kind of kept him away from me a lot. So, I began to resent it a little bit you know. But over the years we eventually got a lot closer.
My love for music evolved from me working on film sets. I actually started off in fashion design. And I just noticed a while ago that there were so many different facets that I could go into because I just loved creating, period. Not just through fashion but also through acting.
I originally brought my creative talents over here to L.A. from Philly. I went to fashion school and started doing costume design for film and television. One of the films I was working on, the director ended up putting me in the film. That's how I transitioned into acting. From there, I started writing music and then a friend of mine, her name is Cherie Johnson, was an actor that used to be on the TV show, Family Matters. I met her on the set I was working on and she eventually ended up using one of my songs in one of her films.
So that was like my first music placement. And then I was like ‘OK I have to utilize everything that I love just to live and enjoy life.’ That's when I just said ‘OK I'm not only going to do fashion design and acting, I’m going to throw my music into the mix too.
Being around all these musicians, I think it was my destiny. I was just trying to escape music but I couldn't shake it. My parents and even my grandma, everyone in my family knows how to play an instrument. So I think it was just destined for me to play music. I fought it for a while but then I just had to give in to it. Now that I have I'm happy you know.
Kaotica: So who were some of your early influences?
One of the artists who most influenced me is Nas because of his lyricism and his ability to paint a picture so easily through music. You can literally close your eyes and you see everything that he's saying and I fell in love with that. He really influenced my storytelling ability and my desire to be able to communicate with my words. So, I could rap not just about petty things but real life events that happened to me or things that I've seen happen to friends. I feel rap is about telling stories that can inspire somebody else and I got that from Nas. He’s one of my biggest inspirations.
Kaotica: It seems like you have established yourself early on as someone interested in philanthropic endeavors and doing things to help other people by kind of mashing up your art with those causes. You want to talk about that for a minute?
I've always prided myself on not utilizing my talents just for self but actually using them to give something back to the world and make the world a better place. I feel like music is one of the true connectors that we have as human beings. You know people may not understand our different languages, but they can still relate to the music.
One of those things that happened to me that pretty much changed my life and my outlook on music and philanthropy was when I traveled to West Africa for the first time. I was supposed to stay for seven days and I ended up living there for almost two years.
I was asked to come there to represent the youth and basically do this women's empowerment engagement. After being there I said ‘I can't leave.’ I just I felt so connected. I knew that my purpose wasn't done yet and that I was meant to do something great while I was there. I was inspired by all of the talent and the youth and the outpouring of love that I received for my music while I was there.
I ended up doing a tour and I said, ‘What can I leave behind that's going to be different, other than performing for thousands and then getting off the stage and feeling that rush?’ I wanted that rush to extend even further. So I got with the Give1 Project. They were the people who asked me to come out there for the Women’s Empowerment Summit and the founder, Chian Yang, was a very dear friend of mine. He's also the co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa, who allowed us to have our studio space built within his building.
We dedicated the studio to Akon amd there was one day where he was in Africa and he actually came by our studio. He just said, “I'm so proud of what you guys are doing here.” And that really meant a lot to me. Not because of the name recognition from Akon coming to check it out but just the fact that we stuck with it because it wasn't easy. We had to do fundraising and we had to use our own money in some instances just to make it happen.
The resources in Africa are so scarce. In America, if you need some piece of musical equipment you can just go to the Guitar Center and pick it up. Over there in Senegal it’s not that simple. Now with us building the school, which is called the Heartbeat Project, we were able to teach music and English. We did a powerful campaign with Speak Up Africa. And we entitled the songs that we built with the students, Zero Positive, which means ‘No malaria’ in French.
Malaria has killed so many different people. In addition to us doing the music project and teaching English in the school, I started the first organic bug repellent in Africa all because we ran out of Off while we were there. That was probably the best part of our trip to West Africa. Partnering with Speak Up Africa and giving out free mosquito spray to all these different villages. It was life changing.
Kaotica: That's beautiful. Shifting gears a bit, we live in a world today with all this crazy technology that allows you to make incredible music at your fingertips and helps you get your music around the world. How has technology impacted your work, your art?
I’m very appreciative of the fact that I'm from a generation where technology can basically connect you with anyone in the world no matter where you are. I wouldn't have been able to reach the people that I did or even get the opportunity to go to Africa and travel without technology.
A lot of the people I’ve reached out to have been through Instagram or on Twitter. I've made some amazing connections with people that are all around the world. Technology has definitely been impactful to my career and I'm thankful for it.
Kaotica: How has the Eyeball impacted your art?
Being able to have your own in home or out of home studio on the go is just amazing and brings your art to a whole different level. I’m always on the go and travel a lot and the Kaotica Eyeball allows me to create no matter where I am. I know it's been a life changing thing for a lot of the artists that I know and work with. There are basically no boundaries.
Kaotica: You seem quite wise beyond your years, having had so many amazing life experiences already. What advice might you give to other young artists coming up that could help them push through the struggles of being an artist; the trials and tribulations?
The first thing I would tell them is to believe in themselves even on the days when they feel like they can't. If you can get past that then you can make it. You can be anything you want to be. Those are the hard days when you only have 11 dollars in your bank account and nothing but ramen noodles to eat. If you can get through those days and still push forward without giving up and settling for mediocre then that’s how I know you have what it takes because you're somebody who's not going to crumble in the face of adversity. If you can push through on the really hard days you can push through anything. You just never give up. Those are my favorite three words. Never. Give. Up.
Kaotica: Amen. Those words certainly worked for Winston Churchill. So what are you working on right now?
I just released a project on my birthday, which was July 10th. It is called the Queen Addition (not “edition”). I’m basically paying homage to all of the female rappers who came before me, who have influenced me tremendously. I feel like there hasn’t really been a project that has focused on some of these great females who paved the way for us. So, I decided to take some of their songs, their instrumentals and remade them. I actually shot some visuals to them as well. I'm hoping people like it. And I just wanted to add a huge shout out to Konrad and Kaotica for making such an amazing product!