From DIY songs on the app Rapchat, to a chance meeting with Vernon Hill of Studio Kai, NC Palma is on the rise, ready to make moves and reach bigger audiences. His newest single and music video is “Morning In The Dark”, and it’s accompanied with a colorful, eye-catching light show. VENTS was recently able to interview NC Palma, and you can read that interview below.
How did you get into rap? What do you think sets you apart from the mainstream?
I’ve always been a fan of the genre, but when an app called Rapchat gained some popularity among my high school classmates, the abundance of people sending freestyles back and forth gave me the opportunity to show off. I knew I could rap – I just didn’t have a reason beyond that I liked the music. Once some people heard these little verses I was sending out, I had a lot of friends telling me to put a proper song together. I did; and in retrospect it was awful, but we iterated into something beautiful – I think a lot of people forget that songwriting is a skill you have to develop. As much of a non-answer as it may seem to be, I got into it by doing.
As far as differentiating myself from the mainstream, I think a lot of artists are too willing to neglect the writing process. Strong melodies and dope beats are important, and I don’t knock anybody who says they’re just making music to have fun, but I’m trying to put together songs that move people with ideas. Mind you, I don’t think that’s absent from the mainstream, just not as common.
What ideas or philosophies do you like to challenge through your art?
It’s not something I’m actively thinking about during the creative process. As much as I know the “right” answer is to say something about how it’s okay to be yourself and how weird is cool because normal is boring, I just don’t think the world is that rigid. Good ideas don’t have to challenge already established ones; they just have to be worth pursuing. If anything, it’s the artists who are trying to push back on something that isn’t there that end up making the most tired music.
What is your creative process? What keeps you motivated to keep going?
I like to write alone. Preferably with a joint and some coffee. The best songs start with small ideas that feel like they’ve got wide implications, but sometimes it only takes a single good line, or even just a feeling I want to lean into. Beyond that, every song is a little different.
Motivation isn’t really something I think about. I just like making music. That being said, there’s nothing more motivating than when a lot of people reach out about the same track. Consensus can be super validating, even more so from strangers.
Can you tell us a little about “Morning in the Dark”? What does this song mean to you?
“Morning in the Dark” is the third song on my most recent 3-track, “Sending Blessings.” In some ways, it’s supposed to capture the on/off duality I think most people, especially introverts, feel when they’re interacting with others versus when they’re reflecting in solitude. There’s definitely a lot of lyrical subtext, but it’s based in the juxtaposition between the public and private. A lot of the original idea was rooted in the strange position I’m in as an artist, experiencing life as an individual, but then turning around and blasting that out to the world.
What was it like collaborating on the concept for the music video?
There was a lot of back and forth. Visual content is something my team and I are just now stepping into, and like any other aspect of music or business, it takes iteration. I’ve worked with Luis [the director] before, but this was the first time we’ve really had all the necessary tools. The concept and the A/V script— which we only vaguely followed— were both products of about a dozen calls and too many texts to count. Funny enough, because we shot the scenes out of order and because there were so many last-minute alterations, I don’t think I had the video put together in my head until I’d already left the set.
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