Cocoa Sarai – The Black and White [INTERVIEW]

French Kissez recently got the opportunity to interview a wonderfully talented, up and coming musical artist. She’s having a release party THIS Thursday for her second album “The Black and White” at Dominion NY.

We love her already! Read the interview below.

French Kissez: How would you describe your music style to those that aren’t familiar with you yet? Do you have favorite artists right now that you pull inspiration from?

Cocoa Sarai: I use to call it pop-soul, Now its just me. Most people call it R&B some call it soul, some call it pop. I call it Cocoa lol. Its Soul dipped in chocolate. I’m listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder right now. Ive been on a serious Stevie Wonder binge for the last month or so. Hes a musician so I guess its been me wanting to be inspired so that my live shows with the band can become even more dynamic then they already are.

FK: This is your second release. What are your hopes for this album? What is the biggest thing you would like for people to take away from listening to your music?

CS: My biggest dream would be for the album to spread wide enough for me to be able to do a world wide tour and have millions of fans everywhere. Maybe that’s every artist’s dream but if it is then I share the exact same sentiments. I want people to walk away feeling as if the product is worth every penny. I want them to appreciate the lyrics, vocal performance, production, artwork, etc. For them to not feel robbed. I put a lot into this Ive learned a lot and I hope that people love it as much as I do…

FK: Your first album was self-produced and independently released when you were just 21. You’re still so young but you already have so much experience under your belt. What major lessons did you learn when putting your first album together and how did they help you shape your upcoming release, “Black and White”?

CS: Well, I definitely learned how important a team is!!!!! I did not know a lot of the things I know now about marketing and PR (public relations) and promoting. I did everything on my own the first time because I had to. This time my management and PR made it much easier to just create. They were like “Cocoa stay in the studio and we’ll handle the rest” I’m extremely hands on with EVERYTHING but they make it easier wayyyyyy easier. I definitely understand now that being a songwriter is different from being an artist. So just because I can write it, it doesn’t really mean I should be the person to sing it. I always prided myself on being able to write every genre and I’m still learning, but now I understand myself as an artist even more. I’ve grown, I’M grown, I’m not afraid to be completely myself because I know who that person is now.

FK: How did you arrive at the name “Black and White”?

CS: Its actually called “THE Black and White” Black and White to most are merely colors, Its used to describe something being THIS or THAT. A lot of people strive to be that “Black and White:’ type of person because its safer not to feel. LIFE is about the colors, the ups and downs. Naming the album The Black and White is my proclamation of the “Colors” that make us human. Not to mention my hair has been black and white for 10 months, I guess it was the universe’s way of foreshadowing..

FK: What song on this album do you consider “your baby”, the one you feel most connected to, and how does it pertain to your life?

CS: That is such a a hard question because I love them all. My favorites change every day depending on my mood. One minute Im in a “”black and blue” kinda mood and the next Im in a “Memories for suckers” kinda mood. Thats probably my favorite right now, well today at least!

FK: Ok, so this wouldn’t be French Kissez if we didn’t delve into love, relationships and heartache! After listening to “Raining in My Room”, I couldn’t help but wonder; what is the story behind it?

CS: Ill try to condense it. In 2010 my house burned down, I went through a bad break up and I was staying in a Loft. There was a tornado in Brooklyn around that time and it was raining really really hard. I was coming back from a meeting with my old manager and he had a cd of tracks. The irony is that I was telling him about my issue with my ex before he put the cd on. I talked about my issues all the way up until track 6, the music came on I stopped talking and started freestyling the way I do most of my songs. i told him what the title was going to be and that was that. My loft had huge windows so the thunderstorm looked and felt as if it was in the middle of the room. I started writing the song. Lost the track and called it a lost cause. A year later the producer finds me on facebook and sends me the record, Fellow songwriter Rich Lowe stopped by and we finished it. When I began writing it, I missed my ex and wanted to be back with him, We didnt get back together and Im so thankful now that he let me drown lol, Someone better came along to save me 🙂

FK: You’ve also done some modeling, you’ve been featured in VIBE VIXEN; does being in front of the camera feel as organic to you as standing behind the mic? Have you noticed men approaching you differently now?

CS: I have never considered myself a model, I never wanted to be, I still dont want to be lol. I always felt like the ugly duckling growing up. I just knew I could sing. I only began taking pictures because its apart of being an artist. My makeup artist Londyn- Nikole and I met when I was 19 and she had me do a few shoots, people always said I was a natural so I guess its almost as simple as singing minus the ugly soulful faces lol. Im thankful for the features and the people that admire my look. If the woman I am now would have told “3rd grade Cocoa” that Id be a model, I wouldn’t believe her lol. Men are men, Men do men things. By high school I gained a lot of attention. I sang all the time and I wore heels almost everyday…I just love shoes so Im use to it now but always thankful. Im fully aware that no on has to take time out of there day to say “I think you’re beautiful”  What surprises me now is the women that actually approach me, it always catches me off guard

FK: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

CS: Thank you for liking my music and actually reading my bio, for feeling that Im interesting enough to even interview, this interview was fun and I appreciate the opportunity 🙂

I’ll definitely be in attendance for her album release! I posted the flyer below. Come join us in support.

Use these links to check her out. Follow her on twitter, she’s definitely one to watch!


This Song Reminds Me Of… : Marsha Ambrosius Edition

“Some Type of Way”
I feel some type of way (yeah)
I feel some type of way about it
You only love me when you wanna get some!
And I feel some type of way about it
We’ve been playing the same game for too long
And I feel some type of way about it
I’m getting tired of sharing you with her
This whole shit is in the way
I feel some type of way

I Hope She Cheats on You”

“Look at how it all turned out now (Now that I’m without you)
She cute and all but that won’t last forever. What I had for you was so much better. Yeah the grass aint greener on the other side of town, now look at how it all turned out now. I’m a little bitter just a little bitter but I’m doing better cause we aint together. Ya sorry excuse for somebody I was into Remember what it was when I was with you.”

My new song obsessions (for the moment) come from one of my favorite artists, Marsha Ambrosius, previously of the group Floetry. I’m listening to them on repeat right now. These quotes from two of her more recent pieces speak directly to the way I felt not too long ago about one of my Ex-Kissez. He didn’t want to commit to me because he was so pressed to “sleep around”. We wasted so much time on the back and forth. Going through all of the motions of a relationship without the actual title just so he could feel free to court (read: fuck) some random girl if the opportunity presented itself <– which I’m not sure it ever did while we were together. I actually doubt it. And I’m not one to put anything past a man. Especially now with my hindsight being so clear.

Anyway, this story pertains to the song because not long after I decided I didn’t want to put up with the bull and feeling disrespected by him, he decided that pursuing random encounters (read: pussy) with no strings attached was just too hard. So after a few months of depression he decided he would get himself a girlfriend. For some reason, even though I knew beyond a doubt that I didn’t want him anymore, it hurt me so badly that he would jump into something serious with someone after only a couple of months. Wasn’t I the one who had invested a year and a half on him? What did I have to show for it? Nothing. I supported this dude when he didn’t have shit to offer me — both financially and mentally and some other chick was reaping the benefits of what I had sown. It wasn’t fair! Sadly, I know this is how it goes so much of the time in matters of the heart.

It may be wrong, but something not-so-deep  inside of me was hoping she hurt him the way he hurt me (ok I know it’s wrong, ut I’m human). I wanted her to use him the way he’d used me to come up. I had been feeding him, clothing him, taxing him, giving him a place to sleep when he didn’t want to be in the craziness of his own house… and this next girl came along showed a little bit of interest and he gave her the one thing I ever asked him for!

Oddly enough though, I don’t feel vindicated even though from what I understand, she wasn’t really good to/for him. She didn’t spend the time with him that he wanted. She didn’t seem that into him, from the beginning. I think his insetting loneliness began to press him and he overlooked certain things about her behavior. He thought the grass was greener in her yard but when he looked back at my garden, I’m sure it looked a lot prettier than it had when he was previously standing in it.  ::chuckle::

Side note: Doesn’t she look GREAT in the picture! Major weight loss. Go girl!

This Song Reminds Me Of… : Melanie Fiona addition

Melanie Fiona - "The Bridge"

Some songs remind me of a certain place and time in my life. Whether it’s where I was when I heard it for the first time, or the lyrics just explain a time in my life, I feel connected to some songs. I’ve been listening to this Melanie Fiona album on repeat this weekend. I’m just sharing a few lyrics that made me feel like “Damn, I’ve been there before!”

What do you think??

Johnny: “Oh not again! One thing led to another when, he said let’s just be friends. Right then and there I said to him: Thanks so much for nothing! I hope you find that something or whoever she is you think you’re looking for! Oh don’t do me any favors! I guess I’ll see you later! Matter fact pull over and let me out this door! (ooohhh) Johnny took my heart and left me right here on the sidewalk. On the corner is where he dropped me off saying (oohh) why did we have to part?? Now I’m dialing on my cell phone begging Johnny baby bring me back my heart!”

Sad Songs: “My love, where did we go wrong? I wonder who’s in your arms, especially because you did me wrong. You know that sad songs are the best songs… you don’t have to wonder how it’s gonna end”

It Kills Me: “Should I grab his cell and call this chick up? Start some ssshhh, then hang up. Or should I be a lady? Oooh maybe! Cuz I wanna have his babies (ohhh yeah yeah) Cuz I don’t wanna be alone. I don’t need to be on my own. But I love this man, but some things I just can’t stand! I gotta be out my mind, to think it’s gonna work this time. A part of me wants to leave but the other half still believes . . . And it kills me to know how much I really love you. . . “

Where Are The Black Girls In The Videos??

Usually when I’m getting ready for work I turn on MTV Jams to soundtrack my morning prep. I like to just listen to the music and I don’t really watch the videos all the time, other than a glimpse here and there while I’m rushing- I’m always rushing, I haven’t been on time for work yet this year! LoL– but today I actually said eFF it, I’m gonna be late anyway and I paid attention to a few of them!

I’m was kinda disappointed to see that NONE of the video chicks looked like me! And when I say, “like me” I mean cute, petite, and A cupped Black. Okay, I wasn’t watching the regular MTV, I was watching MTVJams! This is supposed to be the Black Urban segment of MTV isn’t it? So why are all of these artists who look like me, casting models who look like “them”? 

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against diversifying the line-up. I’m all for it. BUT, when you have like 15 girls (ie Drake’s new video “Best I Ever Had”), and none of them even resemble your mama… what’s really going on? Are you sending the message that if they’re not light skinned (these video chicks aren’t even light skinned anymore really, they’re just “exotic”), long silky haired, with a big chest and bottom then they’re not what’s considered sexy? 

What’s really going on??

Anyway… that’s my rant! I’m done. But for examples of what I’m talking about… check the videos I saw this morning

Drake, Best I Ever Had

– Kid Cudi, Make Her Say

 – Jeremih, Birthday Sex

even Heavy D and his new Reggae image doesn’t want a Black girl!

-Heavy D, No Matter What  — I hope he knows that most Caribbean women are BLACK!