Published on November 1st, 2012 | by PRESENCE1
Baby Got Beats
Randa wants you to listen to her beats. After six months of bedroom-closeted creativity, Auckland-based rapper and beat-maker Randa feels like she’s ready to rock the boat.
“I think you have to be a little crazy to believe that you can make waves,” she says.
And although there have been times when she questioned herself, she says she knew it was all for the right reasons.
As somebody who has always felt “pretty out of place”, 19-year-old Randa (a shortening of her birth name, Miranda) feels that with rap it all makes sense.
“I actually think I’m more me when I perform,” she says.
Rap gives her what she describes as a platform, which allows her to be more “out there” in speaking and projecting her ideas. “I feel really lucky that I’ve found rap. I think it can totally change your perspective.”
Randa speaks passionately about performing, and counts vibing with a crowd as the best experience of her budding musical career. Early on, she was told not to worry if people stood still during her performances – but she feels they’re usually pretty engaged and responsive.
“Performing live, there’s this weird thing that happens,” she says, gesturing with her hands as she searches for the right words.
“It’s like… you’re communicating with people and they’re communicating with you too, ‘cause the way they respond affects the way you perform.”
The rapper’s tastes and influences are diverse – from naming Pearl Jam’s Ten as her favourite album of all time, to Lady Gaga as a favourite concert. But she says Odd Future are her biggest musical influences, with a production style that struck her with its difference from everything else she’d heard in rap. She even takes inspiration from American skateboarder Mark Gonzales’ open-minded, relentless approach.
“I just think, what if I approached making music the way he approaches skateboarding?”
Raps riddled with references to Americana seem an unlikely output for Randa, who was born and raised on Auckland’s North Shore. However, she says her upbringing has influenced her music.
“If you’re far away from what you dream about it kind of inspires you more… I think it makes you more curious about what’s out there.”
Randa uses her music as an escape – and to touch on subjects she normally wouldn’t in her everyday life. Her initial foray into rap was spurred on by the monotony of a painfully boring data entry job. She hopes her tunes can create an escape for her listeners as well, with pop culture references building a strong sense of nostalgia.
With a keen interest in graphic design, Randa creates images with familiar motifs of the ‘90s and American consumerism, complementing the common themes of her verses. She says her desire to create album artwork gave her an incentive to make music, only later realising she’d have to make a track to go with the art. The upcoming EP Summer Camp will feature album art by local artist Braden Gordon, who creates under the moniker Yesterday’s Tomorrow.
Her latest single, ‘Las Vegas Sunset’, is the track Randa says she’s most proud of. At just over a minute long, it tells the brief, chilling tale of a 36-year-old who ventures out from his mother’s basement and kidnaps a young woman. Though upon first listen the situation seems morally clear cut, Randa feels
that whether he’s evil or not is her listener’s call.
“He doesn’t wanna hurt her… he just wants to be around her, but he knows that it can’t happen.”
Budding film production outfit Candlelit Pictures made the video, which Randa says makes the song’s closing a little less ambiguous.
If the pace of Randa’s rise so far is anything to go by, she’ll be occupying the airwaves even more in the future. She says she feels she’s entered the scene at an opportune time, when the horizons of rap are being broadened.
“I think there are more alternative artists becoming more prominent… also the more women that realise it’s possible can inspire others to do the same,” she says.
“I kind of feel like the sky’s the limit as long as you believe,” she says, a slight smirk forming. “That sounds kind of Disney film-ish, but it’s true, right?”
Article by Georgia Moselen-Sloog
Photography by Cleo Barnett
Styling by Hannah Lee
This article was sponsored by
This article was published in issue 11. of PRESENCE ZINE