Sunday, March 13, 2011

FREE MUSIC/INTERVIEW: Pasquelina's 'Young & N' Love'

2011 is already a good one for pop, especially of the DIY variety. Musicians are getting more and more creative with means to promote themselves via themselves, reaching out via social networking avenues to create Internet-based buzz. In a music business world plagued due to the gap between indie and record label crafted, artist-built pop remains to be among some of the most interesting to my ears, and hopefully to yours. As I grow older, I've begun to wean myself away from the Billboard Hot 100 and delving deeper into what goes beyond, to the certainly radio-friendly but currently radio-inaccessible. A&R representatives are always looking for the "next best thing", but when they do, they often get lost in the shuffle of the release scheduling process, victims of identity crisis or problematic branding.

Enter the New School of Pop, artists who know what they want and aren't afraid to go get it on their own.

I first encountered now 19-year-old Brittany "Pasquelina" back in 2006, when she was the requisite blonde member of a fledgling pop girl group from New Jersey called Bliss. Shortly thereafter, the group's name was changed to Candy Coated Chaos (I may have written about them here once or twice...), a Jadion-assisted production that recorded numbers penned by Simon Curtis, poised for radio ready stardom. Several of their tunes stormed Internet radio, and were often featured on various MTV shows including "The Hills" and even rather recently on "Jersey Shore".

Cut to 2011. The group has since gone its separate ways, each member pursuing a different path. Ro Danishei has blazed on to the West Coast and released her free dirty-electro-pop soaked debut solo album, End of the Rainbow, Stephanie Ugaro has pursued modeling, and Brittany, now known formerly as Pasquelina has also finally come forth with her own set of solo tunes, all the while juggling school at New York's famed Fashion Institute of Technology.

Right around Valentine's Day, Ms. Pasquelina unveiled her debut buzz single, "Young & N' Love", for free download on her website. Take a listen below.

Walking in the City late at night
Just the City lights shinin' oh-so-bright
Just you and me, all I can see
Nothing else matters
Nothing else matters

The song is pure sparkly pop candy (and for those of you who were curious, Pasquelina technically was the 'Candy' in Candy Coated Chaos) from the minute the song is cued up with brassy wah wah blares seguing into the stobe-lights-come-down-on-the-dance-floor synth, conjuring images of a vibrant rainbow after the storm. It's the type of typical pop anthem that just about everyone can relate to at some point in their lives, wanting to scream from the mountaintops that you're head over heels in love. 

The chorus and bridge remains to be the song's biggest asset -- poppy earworms of the best type. The chorus' hook alone ("Oh Oh/Younnnnnnnng and n' Looooooooove/We are young young young and in love love love") is simple but effective in getting stuck in your head long after the three and a half minute sparkler is through.The image campaign related to the song is highly indicative of this, featuring a barrage of color. It's highly representative of Pasquelina's sunny, silly personality (as showcased on her YouTube account). Think Jessie J's "Price Tag" meets Katy Perry's "Firework" with a little bit of Ke$ha's silliness thrown in.

As a fan and close follower of Candy Coated Chaos for several years, I've been waiting on pins and needles for releases from all of its alumna, and Pasquelina doesn't disappoint. While "Young & N' Love" is lots of fun, it only hints at what's to come. 

Recently, I got the chance to ask her a few questions regarding her music and her new direction as a solo artist. Click here to read the full interview.

My many thanks to Pasquelina herself and her management team for allowing me this possibility! You can download "Young & N' Love" now for free at, "like" her on Facebook or "follow" her on Twitter via @Pasquelina21 .

MELISMATIC: I first met you as a part of Candy Coated Chaos back in 2006. What is the main differences between your solo sound and the cCc sound?

PASQUELINA: It's me. I write from all real life experiences and let my personality go right through the mic because I want people to actually feel what's going on in my head. I am an artist beyond the medium of the song. There is always a rational to my lyrics, not just one answer... I love poetry and visual art. My sound is very colorful and if you close your eyes and listen to my music my hope is to paint my fans a picture and paint a smile on their face.

What is the significance behind your stage name 'Pasquelina'?

Pasquelina is part of my middle name, it was my Great Grandmother's name, my confirmation name, and in Italian it means "little easter" which is also referred to as "the rising".

When did you first start performing?

Since I was 5 in Kindergarden from talent shows to competing as a gymnast. I  was one of those kids who was networking at the age of 10 to get into the business haha :).

Do you still keep up with your former cCc groupmates?

Lately it has been hard with how busy I am with my music. We are all working on our careers and we'll touch base sometimes. Steph will always be my best friend though -- we've been inseparable since childhood.

What is your usual routine in the studio?

Drinking three water bottles prior, my 30 min vocal warm ups, then it's down to business. It needs to be a fun atmosphere...we have to all dance and smile at some point or the record won't be magical. There's never one set way in the studio, we are always discovering and uncovering something new to take things to the next level.

Which producers have you been working with recently? Who produced 'Young & N' Love'?

Drum roll please... AAG(fire)! is the name of the producer for "Young & N' Love", we've been hiding the monsters though ;). I am working with a few different producers right now to stay versatile, one of which is Vernon Hill. I speak of AAG, and Vernon because the chemistry I have with them in the studio is incredible. It's like the sky's the limit, you'll see soon.

If you could work with any other artist for a collaborative single, who would be the ultimate dream to work with?

Choices, choices... I mean I never usually like to go with the norm, I like to surprise people. I think Mike Posner would be a cool collab considering we're both not afraid to go left field and we have the "manage to be a recording artist/songwriter while still attending school full time" thing in common. My female choice would definitely be P!nk her songs are so genuine and really I feel like I could touch them.

What album have you been most recently obsessed with and think everyone should take a listen to?

Definitely Jessie J, she is insane and also, Tinie Tempah -- I adore them. It's nice to listen to perspectives of other artists outside the US.

Your style is very colorful, as is all of your photography for the promotion of your debut. How much of your personal style goes in your image choices?

A lot, my heart is in so many places from music, fashion, dance, acting, poetry, writing, design, it's all reflected in my personal style. I can't just limit myself to one thing, In my wardrobe you'll find tons of colors signifying all different kinds of elements that represent me as an artist. My personal style is funky, fun, crazy, vintage, daring, pattern-filled, and free spirited.

With cCc, you did a lot of the design choices right down to one of the group logos. Is being creative in this way something that comes natural to you?

Yes yes, I always had a strong opinion regarding design even from a young age. I attend the Fashion Institute in NY for fashion illustration so designing and having a say regarding my website, song artwork, logos, etc.. is vital to me. My team sometimes comes at me with "Pasq, you can't do everything!" but, I overload myself and do it anyway ;) I love it. Watch out for a line in the future one day...

We've spoken before about you venturing into acting as well. Are you also involved in acting classes? Will you be having any upcoming television appearances for us to look out for?
Yes I attended ACTeen in NYC for three years and did everything from commercials to film. I recently was on Blue Bloods dancing with the main characters. Right now my main focus is music but any appearances I will let you know!! I constantly update my Facebook fan page so that's the first place everyone should go :).

If Pasquelina was a color in the rainbow, what color would she be?

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet. Sorry :)...

Your debut solo single, "Young & N' Love" -- did you write it? What is the back story behind the song?

Yes, I did write it :). When you're young and in love, you're filled with so many emotions and it can be a beautiful disaster in a way. You don't appreciate it till you look back on the relationship. Every girl when they are in their teens or early 20's has a cinematic idea of a relationship and it seems to me that people lose that perspective over time, we put our guard up. Remember when life was daring and exciting? I think we should keep the mindset that true love is possible, opening your heart is not a bad thing you never know what opportunities you might miss out on. This is a song that brings out not the hardship of love but why the hardship is worth it.

What made you decide to offer "Young & N' Love" for free?

I'm all about the art and passion for music. Right now I want people to get to know who "Pasquelina" is, that is my #1 objective.

You often record YouTube videos for the fans, as well as keep up with them on Twitter. How important do you feel is social networking for artists?

I feel it's very important. Its so awesome how now a days artists can keep in touch with their fans personally instead of just being that face on a poster or the voice through some headphones.

What is the current state of progress of your album? Are you close to being finished? Do you plan on releasing through iTunes, a label or through free download?

Yes, we have quite a few things brewing and I'm really excited. The release will depend on the quantity of the following.. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube so follow me!! :) Not to drop any hints or anything but the next single will have people on the tables.

What's one random tidbit about you that few fans would know?

I get inspired most for songs while I'm driving or in the car.

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