Teacher, singer, and songwriter are just a few of the qualities that Oakland-based talent Rodrael encapsulates.
Graduating from U.C Santa Cruz for his undergrad with a double major in both Psychology and Sociology, Rodrael uses his music to spread awareness to political and social injusticies and warefare.
Now a graduate from Cal State Northridge with a Master’s Degree in Music Industry Administration, Rodrael uses his acquired knowledge to bring back to his students all-while furthering his understanding of the music business.
His most recent project, The Show Em EP is a body of work that talks resilence and discusses issues such as police brutality, domestic violence, spirituality.
“The EP is my story and equally about the communities I grew up in. It’s for black and brown communities, growing up in socio-economically and historically marginalized communities.”
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, can you introduce yourself?
Hey RnB Magazine! I’m Rodrael!
You attended performing arts school in Oakland. When did this love for music transpire and how did performing arts school contribute to your musical abilities today?
My love for music transpired when I was a little kid listening to the different kinds of music my parents played, from classic rock, to R&B, classical, to Hip Hop. I was exposed to all genres of music at a young age.
Performing arts school helped me become a creative writer, and a songwriter. I wrote so much poetry in high school, and sang in one of the school choirs. I continued to write and sing, and eventually started to record music. As of today, It’s been 10+ years of me recording my own songs.
You attended UC Santa Cruz and graduated with bachelors in psychology and sociology. How would you say those areas of studies shaped your music career and how you see the world through music?
It’s allowed me to understand the world through a different lens. Sociology is the study of society, privilege, socio-economic power. Whereas, Psychology is the study of the Individual and the environments that contribute to their mental, socio, cognitive and environmental health.
Related, when having that understanding of the world, it made me realize how important it was to include those kinds of subjects into my music. I believe it’s the responsibility of an artist to reflect the political times of our world. This is why I sing about the black lives matter movement, and police brutality. Music allows a platform to talk about these social issues in artistic ways.
You also attended California State University Northridge pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Industry Administration. What has that taught you about the industry?
It’s taught me that you have to master networking and your understanding of the business. As the industry changes quickly, artists have to continue to adapt and strategize.
You also interned at Universal Records at Hidden Beach Experiences (a hybrid Soul and Jazz label under Universal Records). What tools were learned from that internship?
I learned about marketing and promoting, and I watched the necessary pieces it takes for a label to work. I learned that even record labels are adapting to the current state of the music industry. For example, many labels are learning how to make monies and monetize from streaming (as that is how a majority of consumers listen to music).
In general, how do you think school has overall effected your music career?
School has allowed to me become more knowledgeable about the world around me, and has helped me understand the importance of understanding my brand and business.
Let’s talk about your “Show Em” EP. What’s the concept behind that title?
Show Em is about showing people your essence, authenticity, and resilience.. It’s about being unapologetic, proud and strong in your identity. I dedicated the project to black and brown youth. I hope to encourage youth to keep pushing forward.
What’s one song you feel the most connected to?
One by One. This is because it’s related to the socio-political and racial climate of 2016-2017. It’s about the countless black folks who have been murdered by police.
What song do you feel listeners will gravitate to the most?
Any Second, because it’s about having dreams and goals bigger than yourself. It’s about the hustle and grind and continuing to push forward despite adversities.
Sum up your EP in one word?
Will there be any visuals? If so, when?
There are 4/5 music videos to project. All of them are on my YouTube @Rodrael_Music.
Spare time? What do you do?
Watch a lot of TV, hang out with family, and I’m a FULLTIME teacher/educator.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Donnie Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Nine Simone, Jhene, August Alsina, Donnel Jones, and H-Town.
Recording my next EP called “In-Possible” and creating visuals for the project.
Is there anything else you would like to say/add?
“Show ‘Em” EP Links
Interviewed By: Simone Grant