A Minute With Mainstream: HerStory

I've been involved in the music game for a long time. Seen, heard, interviewed and promoted all types of artists, people and businesses. But it's rare I come out of my comfort zone to interview an artist that I barely know nothing about. But when a former multi-time Voiceless Music Awards winner tells you their worth the time, you take heed of the advice. Thank you Richard Pigkaso; because of you I introduce you all to HerStory and this is my A Minute With Mainstream.

DJ Mainstream: Hello, ladies how are you doing? Thank you for taking the time for this interview

Herstory: We’re doing good, how about you?

Great! So I’ve like to think I know every artist in the New York City on the independent scene because alot of them I have interviewed or featured by me. And yet speaking to you for the first time not. Tell me, why am l slacking and should have known you guys from jump?

That’s a great question! There may be multiple reasons as to why you may have not heard about us. New York City may not have a big independent singer scene as much as there are independent rap/hip hop artists. Or perhaps we are not promoting ourselves as well as we should be. Because we’ve been doing music together for the past 4 years. We released our very first EP back in March of 2019. So we can’t just give you one straight answer.

Well, I hope this interview starts a much needed trend of HerStory music all across our channels of Voiceless Music. But the good part for me is, I was welcomed and musically introduced to your sound through former Voiceless Music Awards winner Richard Pigkaso. How did the creation of the impactful "A Different Hand" came to be?

The first song ever featured on Voiceless Music by HerStory 

Shantal: Its always been on our agenda to create impactful music for the LGBT community. Luckily, we have created beautiful relationships with like minded individuals. Richard came to us with a draft and it automatically inspired Tiziana to write.

Tiziana: I wanted to bring in a simple yet deep message to spread peace and connection. I have a lot of personal scars due to the topic so I felt compelled to create something I felt would ring true to many people.

And the result was an amazing song with a deep message especially with the current social climate in the world. Thank you and I must thank Richard again for the release of that song. But switching gears, “A Different Hand” quintessentially came from the heart which is important is songwriting. We are in a very simplistic world with music being released sounding “cookie cutter”. What do you both do... or tap into, when it comes to songwriting?

Tiziana: When it comes to writing, there’s no specific structured way for me. Every song has its own way of being made. There are times, when the melody takes over and the words come later. It allows me to go with the flow of the song giving it more of a flow (like a dance). There are other times, when I simply write a poem and strangely enough it suits a future song that we create. Some songs require my solitude, others I can simply freestyle into creation. When I create with Shantal it’s simply a toss of ideas and free flowing with one another. She pushes my mind to see out of my own way. I believe every song created has its own personality and story and I treat it as such. If I had a structure I would feel that I’m making a copy of my own creative work and that is not “creating” for me.

Shantal: For me songwriting comes once in a blue Moon. The effortlessness that Tiziana has to write songs, I have it to compose melodies either with the piano or the guitar. Which is why we work so well together. You can definitely tell from our songs, which were mainly written by me and which were done by Tiziana. I feel like she writes deep moving stories. I’m just simple and fun. Writing in Spanish comes easier to me since it’s my first language so I would love for us to get into Spanish music in the near future.

That’s amazing because I am sure you both are amazing and talented people individually but to come together to push and motivate one another is a great advantage in such a diverse music world. And you feed off one another, because either with Tiziana's pen work or Shantal's improvisation using instrumentation, you still developing great music that represents you and what your listeners want to hear. But Shantal, I glad you brought up Spanish music. I come from a era watching Enrique Inglesias cross over with Pop scene and Daddy Yankee embraced in Hip-Hop culture. With a resurgence of Latin artists in pop culture now, such as Cardi B and Bad Bunny, do you feel any pressure to follow the trend?

Above the trends

We don’t feel any pressure to follow any trend because to us it’s not a trend. It’s our roots, it’s the music we grow up with when we were kids and lived in our countries. Spanish music was a big connection for us when we were getting to know each other. So it would just be making the music that has made us happy all these years.

Which is awesome! I always feel an artists true nature is to tap into your culture then infuse it into the artist you want to be. Now doing some research into your history, I see you started doing covers when you first came together, which seams to be a lost art these days now. This is a two part question here starting first, what are your feelings on doing cover songs to promote your music? And each of you choose one song you always wanted to cover as a group?

Tiziana: We didn’t actually start doing covers. We would just sing together the songs we’d like, but it’s not like we would post to YouTube or anything like that. We were just two girls In love singing together in a car (laughs). As far as covers to promote music we have nothing against it. We love to sing, have fun and share with our followers. If that gets us a little promo, so be it.

Shantal: Tiziana is a huge fan of making songs her own. She’s a huge fan of the classics; Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera and Mary J Blidge. If and when the time comes to make covers she’s driven to test her skills and sing songs that call to her soul. It’s not about promotion to her it’s more about what feels right. If she’s not genuine to herself then she doesn’t feel she’s genuine to her audience.

Tiziana: As far as doing covers, we can pretty much cover song we are enjoying at the moment. Now the big thing would be to cover a song with the actual artist themselves! Shantal would die to play any song with Bruno Mars. or even just improve the covers by incorporating a band and/or back up singers, something like that.

Is it bad that I am thinking of a HerStory version of "Uptown Funk"? Either way, any artists who support singing in the car can go a long way in promoting their careers. But Tiziana has me sold on her choice of classics! Celine Dion is so underrated as one of the top vocalists ever, and if you would of told me years ago Mary J. would transcend storytelling in R&B from a woman's perspective to now... unreal. But speaking on the thought of doing a cover song, or actual song with the artists of today, everyone has a connection with their favorite artists either because of a song or concert. Like I became a fan of Jay-Z when I first saw the video to "Feelin It", so much so I used to rock the Hawaiian shirts to school to match my sneakers. Not my finest moments... What was that fan defining moment for you with your favorite artist?


Tiziana: As a child, I remember watching MTV after school. Music videos from "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence, "Stronger" by Christina Aguilera and "My Love Is Like Whoa" by Mya were almost magical for me. They were badass strong independent women who owned their voices and sexuality’s. I use to get together with my best friend and my cousin to sing their hearts out for hours! We'd pretended so much that my best friends father became a fan and made us into a girl group named Versatile and managed usfor about a year or so. Going into castings and competitions showed me that I had something special. Even though I lost that confidence for a while, it remained engraved in my veins that music was and would always be my first love. That was the beginning of it all for me.  I’ll never forget the day I sat down at a friends house and created my very first song called “The Radio”. I found my escape. My happy place. And I also connected with all the divas.. I was so amazed to watch from the beginning.

Ok, I am totally sold on the girl group! When I was a kid I attempted to form my own 112, me and my friends favorite group at the time. Or be an extra in Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle", either way I had my pop star dreams. As we wind down a bit towards the end of the interview, I do have to ask about the current times during this COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. How are you both handling it and what are you doing to keep busy?

Thanks for asking. We hope you and your family are doing well and healthy. So far so good for us. We are healthy and so are our families. 

Shantal: I'm currently working from home so I pass most of her time doing that. 

Tiziana: I try to spend my days meditating, connecting to family, and trying not to eat a whole cabinet of food! But once Shantal is done with her work day, we try and spend a family night doing things together. We play with our dog/son Bruno teaching him new tricks. Right now we are currently on an anime binge of “My Hero Academia”. Once that’s done we’ll have to find a new show to watch, so we are open for suggestions.

My family is doing well. Like you guys, I'm big on family as well so a lot of time is spent watching movies, a little Mario Party or good ol' fashion dinner together. As far as binging, my son is trying to get me into "My Hero Academia" but I put him on to "Full Metal Alchemist" and he's been binging for weeks now. It's the one anime that has made me laugh, legit cry, and beg for a continuation. Thank me later. Other than that, we should all take precautions to stay safe during this pandemic. But once it is over, I am sure there's much work to do. What's the very first thing you guys are going to do or place your going to go when this pandemic dies down?

One of the greatest anime's ever, Full Metal Alchemist (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Shantal: I already binged on both Full Metal alchemist! (laughs) Brotherhood, obviously, being the best! But thank you for the recommendation. As soon as all this is over the first thing I'm doing is heading back outside to play sports. I usually play basketball almost every day even though my favorite sport is tennis. So I'm always out and about being active. Totally not a fan of staying in. 

Tiziana: I cannot wait to head back to the gym and have a sit down at Starbucks to refuel & catch up with my best friend. Together we can’t wait to head back to the studio to record new music.

And I cannot wait, like your fans, for what is to come from this time we've all had during quarantine. Like my Facebook status said earlier this week, when this is all over we will have a story to tell. As we finish this conversation, I want to add that this has been a pleasure to interview you ladies. So excuse me if my question is so selfish of me, but, I restarted my streaming station, VM New York. Any way I could put an exclusive song to put in rotation on the station?

By exclusive, do you mean unreleased? If so we don’t have any at this moment. If not feel free to pick any songs from our Benefits of a Liar EP. let us know your favorites and we can send over the MP3 files if you need them.

Awesome. I’ll send you that information so you can be added to the rotation immediately. Anything you’d like to share to the people before you guys go?

Yes! Please check out “Benefits of a Liar”: https://song.link/benefitsofaliar

Thanks guys for the interview!

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