Based in Harlem, New York, her unique R&B and alternative sound is catching the ears of people all around the world. From globe-trotting to playing some of the biggest festivals of 2016, Polly A (PA) is the definition of the ultimate “cool girl”.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
PA – I’m an artist who lives to create. I love making things. I write songs mainly and have been singing all my life.
Being from Milwaukee and moving to Harlem, such a culturally diverse community, how has that impacted your style of music?
PA – Moving from Milwaukee to New York was a huge culture shock. Being suddenly a part of a vast cultural melting pot added so many layers and colors to my artistry. You’re suddenly pushed into a world where there’s so many people living in such close proximity to one another but sharing completely different lifestyles. It definitely widened my creative pallet. New York harbors so many talented artists and musicians.
Would you say that living in a place like this has helped you become a better musician?
PA – Living in a city like New York definitely helped my artistry. You can’t help but be inspired by all of the people pursuing their talent with so much passion. Watching someone you know go from anonymity to a household name is like witnessing magic and that’s happened to me on a couple of occasions. But it’s not only the ones who became famous that inspire because there are so many who by simply existing purely in their art and committing to it on a daily basis provided so much inspiration for the lifestyle that I chose.
Describe your music style.
PA – My music style is very hybrid. I come from a reggae background due to the fact that my mother is Jamaican and played reggae music primarily at home when I was a kid. But I grew up on R&B, hip-hop and alternative rock music so you can find traces of all of these styles in my music. I have a lot of respect for songwriters so I always knew I wanted to be an artist who wrote and performed their own songs. There’s definitely something powerful about an artist living in their own truth and performing songs from their heart and soul.
Your music is so unique. When did you start creating music? Did it always come easy or was it a growing process?
PA – Creating music is like anything… It’s a lot of trial and error. It’s about finding chemistry in the moment and really being present so you can find the truth that you’re attempting to channel for the world. I see writing music as contributing to a larger conversation and adding your unique perspective. Sometimes it comes very easily but sometimes I have to re-write a song two or three times before I know it’s right. You’re constantly discovering new parts of yourself with every song so you’re always growing, expanding.
Who are a few artists that have helped you create your own music and have inspired your music?
PA – Some of the artists that inspired me are Marvin Gaye, Fiona Apple, Prince, Sade and Bob Marley. These artists always knew how to speak their truth in such a unique way. When I started writing music I wanted to make people feel the way they made me feel.
How does it feel to know that you’ve come this far?
PA – It feels amazing to be a part of such a great lineup of talent. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in front of people and share these songs that started off as little ideas in my head. It feels really good to be chosen to play alongside so many artists that I admire and respect. Your video, “Brooklyn Sun”, is so beautifully created.
What does this song portray and how did you come up with the idea for the video?
PA – This song, “Brooklyn Sun” represents freedom. The producer, Gabriel Lambirth, asked me what vibe I wanted to go for and I told him freedom. I Immediately started to think about what freedom really means in a relationship and that’s kind of where it started. I thought about Al Green’s song ‘Love and Happiness’ and added the sex because that’s also a major key. It kind of evolved from there. I always like to be visual in my music, really paint a picture so the image of the Brooklyn sun on the windowsill came to mind. After that the song just kind of wrote itself. Since this song was already so visual I just sort of wanted to bring the words to life for the video. I feel like a lot of people have been in that space where they like somebody and they’ve been intimate with somebody but they don’t know what it means or if it means anything and so you’re kind of in this space of anxiety trying to figure it out because we all just want to find a connection, somebody we can plug into. It’s never easy though it seems.
If you’re not busy working on your music, what could we find you doing?
PA – If I’m not working on music I’m probably doing yoga or working out or reading someone’s autobiography or dreaming about my next travel escape.