Hailing from Toronto, Krista Gonzales, known professionally as Graph, is ready to release her debut album ‘Lipstick Graphiti. Graph returns with the 80s retro pop with a very eclectic sound and for those who miss the 80s new wave, dance beats with silky vocals and twisting sounds from the 80s, ‘Lipstick Graphiti’ is exactly what you need. The talended singer will be releasing her upcoming album Lipstick Graphiti on April 6th independently which blends pop, rock, and rap with contributors by Chad Hugo, Tone Mason (Drake/Jay-Z/TheGame/Fantasia), Time Chariot, Chin Injeti of The New Royales (DJ Khalil/Dr Dre/Eminem/Pink) and Hill Kourkoutis who’s worked with Serena Ryder/The Weeknd.
Recorded in her hometown, Graph describes the new project as retro, infused with 80s inspired style, but still modern. “I wanted to create a body of work that was fun to listen to and hopefully unique” she said. Graph, got her start in music as teenager, listening to hip hop and eventually recorded herself for fun. “It was probably what I spent most of my time doung as an individual, writing verses and recording them,” Graph said. “It was kind of a natural thing that happened”. Inspired by the eclectic sound of Toronto, Graph’s own vibe reflects hip, electronic and synth rock, as well as pop and rap influences. Early in her career she began working with various groups in Toronto and New York, building up musical experience by consistently working in the studio. Through her hand work and dedication, she has collaborated with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, Talib Kweli, Clipse , and more, just to name a few.
I’ve managed to Interview Graph where she talked about her new album, her influences and music in general. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario to Trinidadian parents, Graph began writing music early at the age of 14. She tributes several genres as an influence; as is evident in her performances that mix various genres normally regarded as incompatible. This led her to winning the Galaxie Rising Star Award that only enhanced Graph’s signature sound. “It was probably what I spent most of my time doing as an individual, writing verses and recording them,” Graph said. “It was kind of a natural thing that happened.” Stream the album below and check out the Interview.
Let’s talk about the Name, what’s the meaning behind it?
When I first started recording my voice was thin and airy (probably because I was so shy) my friend (David French) said I sounded like spray paint coming out of a can. He named me Graphititone, I shortened it to Graph. I prefer the look of the ph over the ff (Graph with a ph works just as well creatively).
What genres really influenced your music?
Many genres influenced me, I am a music lover. As a kid I liked Carol King, Bob Marley, Duran Duran (and most 80s pop). As a teenager mainly hip hop, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang, Nas, Hieroglyphics, Black Moon…..No Doubt (Gwen Stefani). Later in life rock, alternative and modern folk: Metric, The Stills, N*E*R*D, Fiest, The Killers, Priscilla Ahn. (These are short versions of my lists lol). All of these different things make me want to create (even if I don’t make music that sounds like some of the things I’ve listed) .
How did you start getting into making music and when did you first start writing and did you ever take music/production lessons/classes?
Got into music by sitting next to the radio and in front of the tv. When I saw A Tribe Called Quest’s “Left My Wallet In El Segundo” and “Bonita Applebum”, that really sparked the flame. Never took music/production lessons/classes. Did do two years with a musical theatre company (when I was like 12). I really just went to the studio and wrote/sang/rapped all the way to now.
How does your music creative process look like and how do you structure your songs?
Creative process: like to be in the room when music is being composed (if possible) and get an idea of a song. Then will write in solitude. I’ll record vocals when satisfied with the written song, after that will go back an adjust music production.
Your debut album’ Lipstick Graphiti’ how long have you been working on the project?
Officially worked on the album from last February until September (2015). Though I used sketches/ideas from my entire life lol.
Do you have inspirations for certain pieces or writing in general?
Daily life inspires. Emotions are fun, so like to convey the ride they take me on.
What is your process to do a collaboration with another artist?
I’m not a producer so in order for me to make a song it’s always collaborative. Can
happen in a million ways, it’s not always the same. Could sing in the air and have a producer compose to that. Could blend session files. Could do a Skype/Facetime session. Could just choose a track from a producer, or could have been sent music from a producer. If you’re talking about a collaboration with another singer/rapper/popular person, that’s just luck (for me, not due to anything else).
What’s the biggest lesson (production, music, or just life in general) that you’ve learned from another producer as a result of collaborating with them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It took me some time to become comfortable with collaborating. You’re not less of an artist or person if you need help. It’s the best way to learn new things and be reignited.
What was your biggest obstacle in your earlier years as a singer/songwriter?
Bridges and alternative outro choruses would be hard for me to write in early years. Sometimes you can really beat yourself up about not nailing ideas. Now I enjoy getting to those parts in a song. It’s amazing what can fall from the sky if you take a 5/10/60 minute break. Stepping away shortly can be good.
Growing up, who were some of your favorite artists/musicians?
A Tribe Called Quest, No Doubt, Bob Marley, Wu Tang, Duran Duran, Ella Fitzgerald, The Cardigans, Garbage
How do you stay inspired when you have a writer’s block (if you have them)?
Read a book or watch a film that touches on an idea/theme I’m trying to explore
How would you describe your music?
What are some standout memorable studio sessions?
The sessions for this album. 11am start time. Just me and usually one other person
in studio. Very focussed (preferred)
What was the last picture you took with your phone?
Google map of a gallery I’m going to visit on Monday.
What is your most treasured possession?
Whats your Favorite food?
Jerk Chicken, rice and peas, plantain.
What do you like to drink?
Sorrel or Ginger beer.
If you could retire tomorrow what would you do?
Go hiking around the world
What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your
Hope you can enjoy the album.
Make sure to cop her new album ‘Lipstick Graphiti’ on April 6th.