With hits such as Remember Me and Butterfly, UMI explores her sound to eventually go on a world tour, advocate for marginalised communities, and start her own record label for women of colour.
Who is UMI? What inspired the moniker? Where does she come from?
UMI is my Japanese middle name! It means the ocean. I decided to go with UMI because I feel like it fits my music more than Tierra did (my first name). Tierra felt very corporate.
Your voice is so sweet and serene with lyrics that really grabs the heart - what is your musical inspiration?
Thank you so much :’)
I’m really inspired by recent artists like SZA and Frank Ocean for their lyricism and melodies. I’m also really inspired by D'Angelo and Jhené Aiko. I love how all of them are really honest with the way they write. Especially SZA. She's so blunt and truthful about her emotions and about the female experience and I'm very inspired by that!
How has this entire artistic journey been for you? Support from your friends, content creation, music in your community, and etc.
It's been a very fulfilling journey and I've learned a lot about myself already! I've put in a lot of work to get to where I am now (and I still have a long way to go!), but with every milestone I reach, I feel really proud to see everything paying off. In the past, when the results weren't immediate, I would get really discouraged or impatient but I'm learning how to trust in myself and in the universe. My artistic journey has also sparked my spiritual journey! I've learned to speak and visualize what I want into reality through affirmations and meditation and I feel a lot more at peace with myself and the world.
Also, it's super important to say that I wouldn't be where I am now (or where I will be in a few years/months) without my amazing friends and supportive community. I have so much gratitude for them. I think seeing how proud the people around me are makes everything even more rewarding because we truly did it together.
What are you looking to achieve in your musical career?
I want to do so much! I'm going to travel the world and go on tour, I'm going to release an album, I'm going to win a Grammy one day (speaking it into existence!), I'm going to use my platform to empower women, I'm going to make a big budget music video, I'm going to use my platform to advocate for marginalized communities, I think I want to start my own record label for women of color, I want to go into voice acting, and one day I'm going to start my own clothing line + vegan cookie company.
We discovered you on SoundCloud and the response to your work is overwhelmingly positive - what is it like knowing there are a bunch of people who fuck with your words and melody?
It's crazy! I've been making and releasing music for a minute, so it's very rewarding to finally see people discovering my music and responding to it the way that they are. I'm beyond grateful for all the love. I also feel like it's all about energy, people are drawn to those who vibrate at the same or higher frequency, especially with art. When I consciously stopped doubting myself and began to fill myself with self-love and gratitude, I started to gain a lot more traction. It's all about energy~ (and the affirmations).
What's coming up next from UMI? When can we be expecting new music, collaborations, and performances?
2019 is the year for new music! Lots of new songs, new music videos, new projects, tours, festivals(????) We’ll see!
For now, I have a song coming out next week (12/17) and a show on 12/12!
Finally, what is your favorite type of cake?
Ohhhh I love Vanilla Cake and Red Velvet Cake~
Photos courtesy of UMI