Rochelle

by | Apr 9, 2024 | April 2024 Issue, Artists

Rochelle / Photo by @tyeknoxmusic of @tftvmedia / Copyright © 2024

Rochelle

Artist Bio

Rochelle is an Artist using multiple mediums including dance, poetry, and more to express, to heal, and to inspire.

From the Artist…
“I am simply a soul doing my best to get as much joy as possible out of this human experience. During my unknown amount of time here, I aim to live a life full of creativity and authentic expression because that is what fuels me. I use multiple mediums to do so. By embracing vulnerability and deciding to share my imperfect and extremely personal poems, paintings, songs and dancing, I normalize freedom. The freedom to experiment, express, feel and to live as honestly as possible without rigid expectations, even when that looks confusing or messy and maybe even inconsistent. I share my wide range of art to reach and grow a loving community of people who also value personal and collective freedom as much as I do.”

“The art I create aids in interpersonal connection, and it is also one of my most important tools for practicing introspection. My id exposes a lot of its wounds, burdens, programming, and desires through my art. It truly is the vessel my spirit uses in order to communicate my subconscious feelings, to my ego. It is a channel. For the original source of life/creation, love and magic. I honor the spirit of life and myself by honoring my art and its desire to be shared.”

Rochelle / Photo by Jay Hunt / Copyright © 2024

What inspired your journey with mental health advocacy?

“I was diagnosed with depression during my junior year of high school in 2017 though I knew I was depressed years before that. Unfortunately a lot of my youth was full of darkness but I finally caught a glimpse of the light that shone at the end of the tunnel in 2019 after my biggest mental break to date. I woke up one day feeling a level of conscious emptiness that I had never known or felt until then. I was genuinely miserable, unfulfilled and hopeless…”

“I serendipitously stumbled upon a tarot reading on YouTube later that same day which prompted me to return to creative pursuits that I ‘may have forgotten about’. That simple message re-lit the fire in me that had temporarily been extinguished. That night I decided to get back into the things that once used to make me so happy.”

“My creative journey has been parallel to my mental health journey. As I reconnected with my passions, a new foundation for my life was being built. One that was built upon joy and pleasure instead of logical reasoning devoid of heart or soul. Recently, I’ve been reading and hearing that the opposite of depression is expression and that resonates deeply because at my lowest points I felt no need or desire to do anything, say anything or to feel anything. Everything just felt so utterly pointless. But when I started creating again from and for love, I remembered why my life could matter and that I had the power to make it meaningful to me. A large contributor to my depression was the cognitive dissonance I was operating in. I was doing things I didn’t want to because I wanted to please everyone around me and make ‘acceptable’ choices. Unfortunately, they were often choices that betrayed my needs.”

“Wherever I go to perform or share my art, I advocate for mental health because I remember what it was like to move through the motions with no sense of direction or intrinsic motivation. When I decided to prioritize my mental health and make decisions that made me happy, I eliminated the structures in my life that were no longer serving me and I felt like I had cracked the code”

“Through my work, I remind people to prioritize their own needs and sanity because if that is not your priority, you are on track to reaching the same level of un-fulfillment that had me questioning the necessity of my existence. I don’t wish that upon anybody. I want everyone to know that you do have agency even if it doesn’t feel like it or if people are telling you that you don’t. We are in control of our own lives and we do have the power to change the things we don’t want to accept. There is a way out of darkness and it is through loving yourself enough to stand your ground and do what’s best for you always.”

“Every chance I get to share messages of hope and inspiration in person, I take. I also make videos on the topic that I share on TikTok and Instagram. I plan to host a variety of self care and mental awareness workshops as well very soon!”

Rochelle / Photo by @the_masiyah / Copyright © 2024

What inspires your art overall?

“In the most literal, honest and simple way, I am inspired by life. I am inspired by what I go through, what I see people go through, and any and everything else.”

“Just yesterday I went on a walk and was in awe of the sunset’s beautiful array of colors. It inspired me to loosen my grip on my perfectionist ideas. It reminded me that I can come out of my self imposed ‘Artist’s block’ whenever I want and just have fun with the process.”

“Of course I have some standout influences whose stories of their own have given me faith and hope in pursuing my own artistic goals: BTS, Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson, Jamie Foxx and so many others, but it is the way I process everything around me—small and big—that drives my own unique endeavors.”

“On a personal note, I can say that I am greatly influenced by my own journey. I have overcome a lot of hardships and I’m truly proud of the way I’ve grown through everything. The fact that I managed to come out of my darkness winning and with a smile brighter than ever reassures me that I’m more than capable of achieving anything I want to in this lifetime. My imagination has always been limitless and now that I know my mental strength is also limitless, I don’t worry about what I can or can’t achieve anymore…I just do.”

Artwork by Rochelle / Copyright © 2024

Upcoming Performances and Projects

April 25th: Poetry Reading @ LaiSun Keane Gallery in Boston
First Single Release! “No release date yet but it is in the works and will be out within the next month or so.”
Poetry Book “I’m putting together a collection of my poems so I can release my first poetry book this year.”
Poetry Visualizers – “I love film and editing so I’m planning on combining the different sets of skills to create aesthetic videos to accompany my poems.”

How and when did you first get introduced to Hip Hop?

“I got introduced to Hip Hop music in 3rd or 4th grade, around 2009. At the time, I was primarily listening to music on the radio and I had been mainly listening to my local Pop station, until my older brother pushed me to diversify my taste and listen to the local Hip Hop/Rap station. From then on I submerged myself into the culture. My early Hip Hop days consisted of a lot of Rap; I heavily listened to Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne. Hip Hop dance probably entered my stratosphere when I discovered the show ‘Hip Hop Harry’; I wanted to be on the show so bad!”

What themes or stories do you like to explore in your poetry?

“My poetry has unintentionally been documenting all the ups and downs of my healing journey. Recently I talk a lot about self love and growth and renewal as this is the stage of growth I’ve been in for the past couple years. But I’ve also gone into the darker parts of the journey as well; the fears of love and vulnerability, the sadness that used to have me immobilized and terrified of letting people in, bitterness, grief and every other emotion I have ever, and will ever experience. There will always be highs and lows in life and my poetry helps me (and hopefully you all) process these big feelings.”

What do you hope your audience experiences through your poetry readings and your work overall?

“I always hope my audience can walk away from my work feeling seen and understood. Hearing or seeing something you can relate to is so deeply healing because knowing that someone else went through the exact same things as you and felt the exact same ways you did, makes you feel safe. It’s refreshing to no longer feel like you’re alone and isolated in the things you experience. In the thick of our pain, our brains often will tell us that we are in fact all alone even if that’s not entirely the case. We all want to feel like ‘we’re all in this together’ so resonance is a big component of the work I do. It’s also encouraging because to know that someone else was able to pull themselves out of a situation that you are also experiencing, can give you hope that you also will be able to.”

Do you use your work as a platform for social or political commentary? If so, what messages are important for you to convey?

“Absolutely. The beginning of my creative journey actually started on YouTube where I was primarily making social commentary videos. I enjoy exploring the nuances of certain discussions because I think it is in nuance that we create and hold space for understanding, and that is what brings people together. That is what I believe will help progress humanity as a collective. I’ve loved watching and participating in debates since high school, but only when all sides are genuinely trying to hear each other out opposed to trying to prove the others wrong.”

“Nuance is a topic that has become very important to me recently because I’m such a believer in multiple truths being able to coexist. It was especially important for me in my healing because I had to make peace with the fact that “hurt people, hurt people”. Someone could have caused me immense pain and been completely in the wrong in a particular situation, and simultaneously not be an evil or malicious person. I know I have hurt people unintentionally and I am thankful for the grace I have been given in return because they were able to see past my actions and into my humanity and heart (accountability is key here as well)!”

“Aside from when people are obviously hurting others, some topics just aren’t so black and white. We are all so similar and also so unique. I don’t think it’s possible for the human race to ever hold one unanimous opinion on anything, but luckily I don’t think that needs to be the goal. The least we can do to work towards a little bit of peace, is learn to accept each other with our differences (within reason because there are limits and I don’t tolerate unnecessary hate!) We can aim to be a little less stuck in our egos and pride and our overconfidence in social correctness. I see the ability to explore nuance as an extension of open-mindedness or a more specific stem of it. And that is a quality I value highly. I used to feel very misunderstood as a kid and I’ve heard that the misunderstood often take it upon themselves to try to understand others. There must be some validity to that statement because I personally love being able to provide understanding to people, but I think more importantly I love that understanding resolves conflict.”

Rochelle / Photo by @the_masiyah / Copyright © 2024

What can you say to people who are just getting started on their creative journey?

“The fact that you were bold enough to start means you deserve to succeed in my opinion. It is up to you to continuously believe that you deserve it. Even after it’s been a while, even through the hardships. You need to trust in your vision relentlessly. If you don’t have a super specific vision to trust in, and things feel unclear, that is totally okay because you will figure it out along the way. Trust that you got called to start this journey for a reason and that there are things for you to learn and pick up as you go. You will evolve on this path and you may end up doing things and creating things that you never could have or would have envisioned for yourself. Trust that you can execute the ideas that sprout in your mind. And overall trust yourself slightly more than everyone else.”

“Advice is great but no one knows you like you, if you’ve truly put in the work to know yourself-which is a key part of the creative journey. The more you get to know yourself, the more of yourself you can put into the things you create. Trust that your uniqueness is always the answer and your individuality is what’s going to sell. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, that’s actually needed. There’s only one of you and your dreams are specific to you for a reason.”

“Remind yourself why you’re worthy and move like so. You must be your biggest supporter. Absolutely seek help from community when and if you can, but something I realized on my journey was: even though I was consistently being complimented, I didn’t start to actually FEEL worthy of the praises I was getting, until I stopped being so critical towards myself. It took my community cheering for me to finally break though the first layer of doubtful chatter that was going on in my head, but, if I didn’t build on that support and turn it into SELF-acceptance, then I could’ve forever been reliant on others’ validation for whether I was good or bad. Stand strong and proudly in who you, in where you are and in your capabilities.”

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Listen to Episode 5

Listen to two poems as read by Rochelle along with select tracks from indie electronic Artists in Episode 5 of Mythic Rhythmic Presents.