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!

www.cocoasarai.com
www.twitter.com/cocoasarai
www.myspace.com/cocoasarai
www.youtube.com/cocoasaraitv
www.facebook.com/cocoasarai

On to the Next Year!

As some of you may already know, I recently celebrated the 1st anniversary of the fifth anniversary of my 21st birthday. Figure it out.

The ONLY picture I have from my birthday 2011


All I wanted to do was chill and think about life. I didn’t want a huge bash. I didn’t want to go to the club and pop bottles. Really, I just wanted to relax and soak up the love from my family and friends as the sent text messages, called, wrote on my FB wall and tweeted “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” . . . Usually one of my ex kisses calls me and sings Happy Birthday in my ear, but we haven’t been on the best of terms lately. Probably mainly because I’m crazy when I feel hurt. LoL I don’t have a thing for him AT ALL anymore, but healthy friendships can be hard to maintain when the foundation contains so much pain. That’s a different story though. Anyway, he didn’t sing but he did wish me a happy birthday so it’s all love.

Hopefully this year is all about growth for me. I know it sounds kinda cliche’ but it’s really my focus this year. When my next birthday approaches I want to look back at this post and say I addressed these things in my life and I’m satisfied with my progression.

  • Love (all types of it, romantic, platonic, familial)
  • Career
  • Health/Beauty
  • Education

That’s not too much to conquer in a year right?? 😉

I did have a birthday date though! oww! Sooo maybe I’m already one step in the direction of that Love thing right?? Ok ok ok I won’t get ahead of myself.

Kissez!

Valentine’s Day!

French Kissez hosted Speed Dating for Trix and Zeke on Valentine’s Day, sponsored by Ciroc Red Berry Vodka! Check out the pics on their site.  <– click it. Now. lol

Last Speed Dating Event of the Summer

If you’re like me and you’re trying to get through this thing called dating, QUICKLY, then you should be at this event on Monday!

FrenchKissez in collaboration with 5Starr Productions is doing our last SPEED DATING event of the summer!! If you’ve never tried speed dating before, it’s guaranteed to at least be a fun new experience. Maybe you’ll even meet your next ex 😉

Last month the cupcakes I baked were a hit, and the shots were flowing (yeah, they were FREE!) Definitely a good time.

Mingle Mondays take place at Club Reality – 2625 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD — Sign up begins at 7pm AUGUST 16th

Did I mention this is a FREE event?? Come for dates and stay for the after party. Don’t forget to ask about the drink specials!

There are pool tables, and food too… so if you just want to come and hang out after work, join me! Come out and meet me, I love and appreciate the support!  Can’t wait to see all of you there!!

Mingle Mondays – Speed Dating

If you’re like me and you’re trying to get through this thing called dating, QUICKLY, then you should be at this event on Monday!

FrenchKissez in collaboration with 5Starr Productions and Red Dot Promotions is doing a mini SPEED DATING series this summer. If you’ve never tried speed dating before, it’s guaranteed to at least be a fun new experience. Maybe you’ll even meet your next ex 😉

Mingle Mondays take place at Club Reality – 2625 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD — Sign up begins at 7pm JULY 19th and AUGUST 16

Did I mention this is a FREE event?? Come for dates and stay for the after party. Don’t forget to ask about the drink specials! There are pool tables, and food too… so if you just want to come and hang out after work, join me!

Come out and meet me, I love and appreciate the support!  Can’t wait to see all of you there!!

Desperate Dating?

It’s been a while and I have a confession to make. First let me say “Don’t Judge Me!!” Okay it’s really not that juicy, probably not even that big of  a deal either, but it’s a confession nonetheless, and still something that’s hard for me to admit. So here goes: I’ve ventured into the world of online dating! Why not?

I was talking to a longtime guy friend of mine, discussing my horrible track record with dating and relationships. I explained to him that I’m open to dating and relationships but I always tend to meet the wrong men. Ones who have no interest in commitment. They just want the perks of a relationship without the title. Or the title without the commitment.  He asked if I’d ever considered meeting men online through a matchmaking website. I admitted that I thought about it in the past, and even browsed a couple of sites without actually signing up, but I didn’t want to succumb to what I thought of as desperation. Friend explained to me that it’s actually not as bad as I was making it out to be. It’s not necessarily for people who have no other options, but for people who may not want to go to the usual places to meet people. Going to clubs, lounges and other social settings to meet people who may not be at those same places with similar intentions is not for everyone. When approaching someone at a random place, you always run into the risk of rejection. Of course you still face rejection online as well, but it’s not as embarrassing or uncomfortable when you’re not staring them in the face. No harm, no foul. You can feel more confident approaching that sexy dude you know you would be too shy to say hello to in person walking down the street. And the upside is you know that all of the people on these sites expect to be approached, hit on, and are looking for interaction… maybe not with you, but hey!

After talking to him and getting a couple of suggestions of some sites he’d “heard about” (I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s tried this himself. He’s in a relationship now. I don’t know if they met online, but he’s happy!) I decided to try it. If nothing positive comes of it, at least I’d have something to write about! LoL I amped myself up by convincing me that I’m conducting a “social experiment”.

I’m actually enjoying the experience! Surprisingly. I had no real positive expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all good… I’m definitely not interested in most of the men who contact me. A lot of men just look at my pics and don’t read my profile, send messages that say “damn you’re sexy!” or “You’re beautiful I want to get to know you” and we have nothing in common (I actually recently took down most of my pics). Thanks for the compliment, it’s cool but I need a little bit more than that. Some of them are rude. Some just plain crazy and scary- the man whose default picture was of him wearing a patent leather thong and mask gagged by a ball with a chain attached to it which was connected to the thong for instance!  There are men who hassle you if you don’t respond to their advances right away. Can’t forget about the “yoes” with the gold fronts, and hood poses next to cars who’ve messaged me saying things like “what’s goodie”! Then you must also be careful for the rebound dudes who’ve only been single for a couple of weeks/months who then decide they’re getting back with their ex .::sigh::. However, for the most part there are regular people online looking for love! And if not love, then friendship. It’s like “real life” at a much faster pace!

Looking back on my views from a month ago, where I felt the need to be “sneaky” about trying it out, I’m laughing. I’m still shy about the fact that I’m “meeting” men online (if you can call it meeting since it’s digital), but hopefully this post will help with the confidence if I can change some of the stigma that comes along with it. After all, I’m not sure what you all think, but I believe that I can be considered attractive, intelligent, and educated. I have things to offer and bring to a relationship with anyone, so if I’m giving it a shot online, then the odds are that there is a male counterpart doing the same… and who knows, maybe we’ll meet or have met already .::crossed fingers::.

It’s been three (3!) years since my last relationship, and almost two years since my last “long-term situation” ::eye roll:: ended, so I’m confident that I’ve gotten over the things that have kept me purposely single since then. Of course some insecurities and hesitations will probably always be with me, but I don’t think they’re prominent enough in my psyche anymore that they would affect my next relationship. I consider myself healed. I took the time to do it, to work on me, and figure out the things that I want from the next man who will hold a place in my life and I’m okay with who I am and what I want today. So, now I’m feeling confident that I can handle a serious relationship with someone without losing myself again. Don’t misunderstand though, I have absolutely no intentions of falling for just anyone though. I’ve been taking my time to find someone who is right for me, or to let them find me.  I guess this new online dating thing is just something I’ve added to the process. Since I became an adult I’ve never, ever had a hard time meeting men, but we all know my issue is keeping them! LoL so pray for me, cross your fingers, do a rain dance for me! 😉

Kissez!

P.S. uhmm did I mention I was in a BEAUTIFUL wedding this past weekend of two of my oldest friends (known them since middle school). . . so uhh yeah, I wanna get married too. ‘Tis all.

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