A couple of months ago Theresa reached out to me and said she was ready to start sharing her music with the world starting with the Haitian community, excited to hear the long time L’union Suite supporter music, I logged into her Soundcloud and immediately fell in love with her music and her poetry. When I asked, what took her so long to start her music career she said it wasn’t planned, she literally woke up one day and had an epiphany and started rhyming.
With her first official single dropping this week, we sat down for an exclusive interview with the Haitian-American rapper.
L’union Suite : Hi Theresa, What’s good? Before I jump directly into my questions, I wanna say congrats on your New single. Can you introduce yourself to the readers?
Theresa Sophia: Thank you! My name is Theresa Sophia. I was born and raised in Massachusetts to Haitian immigrant parents. By day I work at the city health department and by night I am an emcee/poet/entrepreneur etc. I feel like I almost live a double life. I enjoy my work, but I don’t believe it is my calling. I’m a creative at heart. I think I was put on this earth to create in many facets so I can’t wait for the day I do that full-time.
LS: You’ve explained the reason you decided to start your music careers as an epiphany, can you explain what you mean by that?
TS: I feel like before I turned 25 I was going through a quarter life crisis. I would just think wow I’m getting older, I’m becoming an adult. Am I happy? Is this the direction I want to go in my life? Growing up, especially with immigrant parents you have this linear idea of what success means. You do well in school, you go to college, you go to more college in my case, you get a job in your field and you work your way up.
I guess my epiphany was that I don’t HAVE to play by those rules. I can be happy, I can be successful and I can please my parents. I can have it all. I can do it all on my own terms. I got the degrees and job, but I didn’t have the happiness. So I am choosing happiness and doing what I enjoy. I don’t want to regret anything in life so I’m pursuing everything my heart desires. I am now living for me.
LS: Who are your influences in the game and in your personal life?
TS: In the game definitely Kendrick Lamar, I am a huge fan of his. I also reallyyyy love India Arie. I grew up with her and her music has been so influential to me. In my personal life definitely my mom and my grandmother. They are both the most amazing women you will ever meet in life. No exaggeration. So kind, so real, so self-less.
LS: If you could compare yourself to an already established artist, who would that be and why?
TS: Mannnn as soon as people listen to my music and see me with my locs and brown skin I automatically get Lauryn Hill comparisons, which is amazing. She is queen. I love her. It’s an honor, but I am also really different. If I were forced to choose I would say her if not, no one honestly. I’m pretty different from most of the female emcees that are out there right now.
LS: I’m guessing you like the Lauryn Hill comparison a little, you did dress up like her for Halloween, I think people liked it too, it went viral on our social networks.
TS: I mean, like I said I’m honored. I just don’t want to get placed in a box you know. And being compared to a living legend is tough. I got the comparison so I wanted to pay homage to her for Halloween and people got really defensive so I don’t want to be too closely linked if that makes sense. We are all our own people at the end of the day.
LS: What do you think your listeners will get out of your music?
TS: I want my listeners to learn something, I want them to feel moved/empowered. To feel in general. I think representation is so important. In particular, I want little black and brown girls to feel like they shouldn’t be limited by what society tells us we are. We can create our own narratives. I just want to move people and help them through the same things I’ve been through.
LS: What were you thinking about when your songs are developed?
TS: Sometimes I go into writing a song with a topic in mind, or sometimes I vibe out to the beat and start writing and just see what happens. If I like it I stick with it, if I don’t I don’t. Once I have a solid song concept and format I’ll work through it with my DJ or my producer and they’ll let me know their honest opinions on it. I like the words to be true to me so I write everything myself, don’t really get feedback from them on that, they help with flow and I get feedback on how they interpret my message etc.
LS: What do you think will be your biggest challenge in the music industry?
TS: I think my biggest challenge will be getting used to always being judged. Judgment doesn’t bother me but I guess I have some control over who judges me now. If things progress the way I think they will then I will be judged by millions and I am not sure how I will take that, but it’s something I’m willing to go through because my purpose is so much greater than a few negative words from negative people.
LS: What do you hope to do with your music?
TS: I hope my music gets played. I hope it gets shared. I hope it moves people. I hope it opens doors for me to accomplish my other dreams, for me to uplift people. For me to give back to Haiti.
LS: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers.
TS: I guess its really to do some soul searching, constantly reflect and be honest about who you are. Be positive and you will see how all that energy comes back to you. I’ve been doing it and so far it’s been great.
Listen to Theresa’s latest track If I… ft. Rebecca Zama (Prod. by Art Vandelay)