BTD Radio Interviews, Rasa Vitalia
BTD Radio Interviews, Rasa Vitalia
BTD Radio presents….Rasa Vitalia! Welcome to the studio! May 2014
BTD Radio: First we would like to say, “thank you” for including BTD Radio in your newsletters! That means a lot to us. Could you tell our listeners where you are from?
Rasa Vitalia: Hello everyone and “thank you” to BTD Radio! It is very exciting to be a part of the mutual support. I am currently located in the heart of the lively, colorful, and dynamic city of San Francisco, California, in the USA.
BTD Radio: I see you are a woman who wears many hats- you’re a vocalist, a dance performer and a songwriter- just to name a few. How exciting! How do you keep up with all that? Not only do you wear a lot of hats, you wear a lot of costumes. How many costume changes do you go through in one set? Who makes your costumes and does each outfit have a special meaning?
Rasa Vitalia: Yes, indeed, I am multi-disciplinary artist. I am a dance performer, vocalist, songwriter, music composer, visual artist, professional entertainer, business woman and a creative visionary. It may seem like a lot, but, due to my nature, I am able to handle it in style! How do I do it? Well, my life is dedicated to bringing the world to an inspired and positive place through my art. I am thankful to be a very focused, driven, creative, positive problem solver with a big heart. As an artist, I listen to my insight, take risks, and take action. I find strength and wisdom in being myself, being the best I can be, and truly believing in myself and my vision of hope, joy, & unity. In the world of music and dance you have to create your own opportunities and your own momentum. If you won’t do it yourself, who will?
Costumes are a very important part of my show, and I have changed into as many as ten costumes in a two-hour set! I design most of them myself and I hire costume makers to tailor them for me. Each costume creation, design, and color has a very specific meaning to me and relationship to my music and dance.
BTD Radio: Do you make up your own dances and if so, do you have names for them?
Rasa Vitalia: Yes. I create my own dances and choreography and each show has an important story and name. Each dance portrays a different message or feeling that I wish to express in the hopes of connecting something special with the audience.
BTD Radio: Can you tell us what was your most memorable moment while you were performing on stage?
Rasa Vitalia: I have been blessed with so many memorable show moments, it’s difficult to pick just one! Each performance is a totally new and vibrant experience of wonder. I feel that the most memorable experiences have been times when I look around and sense the beauty and joy on everyone’s face, because they are in the moment and connected to the experience. It touches my heart.
For example, New Year’s Eve shows are the best! I love to watch the joy on the audience’s faces as they reach to the sky and yell with pure excitement as I toss colorful confetti. Together we laugh, dance, and sing about the wonders of life! It’s pure magic!
BTD Radio: Being a solo artist can be a hard task when trying to setup a performance for a show. Can you tell us what you do, Rasa, to prepare for such a great event? Take us through your day.
Rasa Vitalia: Yes, it can be a very intense profession to be a solo artist. It takes a very special person to work solo, as there is no one else to rely on and delegate tasks to (from manager, booker, artist, financial analyst, to being my own road crew). It takes being dedicated to your work 24/7. All eyes and responsibility is on you 110%, and you must have the drive, determination and stamina to make things happen. You must be on your game all the time!
Preparing for a show takes great focus and attention to detail. I won’t go into detail about how much prep work there is in the weeks leading up to the event, but just imagine, it’s a lot, so booking at least 3 weeks prior is preferred. I can often have up to 4-5 shows in a day, which includes some heavy itinerary planning and travel. It is also best to know how to ready myself for by prepping my mind, body, and spirit to be ready for such energetic demands, not to mention practice time.
Prepping on show day is an all day event in itself! In the morning, I meditate, drink lots of water and eat a healthy meal. I check my email for any last minute details that may come in and promote the event online one last time. I go to the gym for an hour to prepare my body for the stamina and strength that it takes to make it through my day. (And by the way, I go to the gym/dance/music training 5-6 times a week.) After all of this, I go into full show prep mode. This includes showering, hair, makeup, stretching, dance, music, vocal practice and review, as well as double-checking on details and contracts. This takes several hours as makeup alone can take an hour or so to complete.
Most often, in the middle of my heavy focus on getting ready, people have this dire urge to contact me for details and therefore, I am blow-drying my hair, stretching, listening to music, trying to eat a healthy snack (cannot perform on a heavy full stomach so I do need to plan meals in advance, too!) putting on makeup, and loading the car while speaking on the phone, all at the same time. It is absolutely insane. And remember, we haven’t even arrived to the show yet!
I make sure I arrive to the event pretty early. I park close to the venue, unload and look for a host to introduce myself and show me the green (dressing) room (if they even have one). I immediately get to work on setting up the show. This includes sound check, costume layout and last minute sewing, show timing, scheduling, stage management, phone calls, prop prep, lighting set up, payment and ticket details, testing announcements, talking about last minute details with the host and MC, connecting and testing my own sound system and mics, setting up business cards/promo/flyers/posters at a merch table, etcetera.. On top of all this, due to being such an unusual act, I often must set up props, test sound, set up lighting, announce myself and turn on my own music on my own all at the same time! A lot of times I have to create a make shift dressing area or decide to almost impossibly dress in my tiny car. I have even dressed and undressed on stage during the show! Now, that’s dedication, to say the least!
When the audience starts gathering, I use that time to stretch, rehearse, change into costume, retouch my hair and makeup, and do photo and media ops. Not much time for a breather! Right before I go on, I do take a few moments to meditate amidst the chaos. True inner peace, my friends! J The music begins, the crowd roars, and off I go to give it all I got! I bring in my good, dynamic energy and get the audience excited! This, my friends, takes a remarkable amount of physical energy. The energy of 5-10 minute show can be compared to the amount of energy it takes for one to take 2 hours of an intense aerobics class! After my bow, I run to the front of the house breathless to meet the fans before they disperse. I give out cards, take photos and give them my thanks. When I’m done, I go back, change out of costume, and tear down, and I’m usually the last to leave (so much to do!). I load my car, drive to the next gig or go home to unload and put things away, etc., which can up to three hours. After this very full day, I finally get to unwind and meditate on the night’s events… and eventually sleep. Ahhhhh….
BTD Radio: Let’s talk about your song writing. How does this process start for you? For example, let’s talk about your hot dance song “Rasa Bounce.” How did that come together?
Rasa Vitalia: My song writing often comes from personal experience and relationships. “Rasa Bounce” came out of a strong inner voice that told me that I wanted to create a song that played with words and movements on the dance floor to inspire people to get up and just dance and BOUNCE! I wanted people to find a way to just let go and celebrate life in the moment. This idea has been with me for as long as I can remember. Most of my song writing is already there within and, when inspiration hits, I listen to intuition and I do what I can to manifest it to its fullest.
BTD Radio: Ok, we have to know: What has been your silliest memorable moment that you can tell us about during a performance?
Rasa Vitalia: Sometimes my shows bring out the best in people! One night I was performing with a band as a dancer and singer. I was in a pretty hot kitty cat outfit and my dance moves set the house on fire! The crowd was bouncin’ and cheerin’ full speed and they were amazed by my mad shake appeal. At the height of the moment, I looked down and a tall, good-looking young man in front of the stage insisted that we have a ‘dance contest’. I had a show to do, so I continued on with my work. He then decided to gyrate, take his shirt off, and toss it at me. Then he reached down, and started to unzip his pants! The audience screamed- Some in delight; others in confusion! At that moment, the band looked at me, wondering what I did to make this happen. Some of the band members, who were mostly men, were embarrassed and turned their backs to the audience. The shirtless man finally stopped and walked away, thank goodness, because the poor band was uncomfortable. But they asked for it if they decided to play sexy booty music with a sexy booty beauty on stage! It was as if the tables had turned- instead of bras and panties being thrown on the stage, men were gyrating and taking their shirts off because of ME! Ha! 😉
BTD Radio: Could you tell our listeners what this “Booty Machine” project is all about?
Rasa Vitalia: ‘Rasa Vitalia & The Booty Machine’ is my dream to unite a family of people who effectively bring a positive change in our community and in our world by expressing a peaceful attitude, mutual support, positive action, love and respect for all, and using dancing to take your cares away! This includes all friends, fans, supporters, colleagues, artists, performers, and musicians.
I am currently forming a group of musicians, Djs, and performers to work with me under this moniker. Please stay tuned as we will rock your dance floor and make yah shake it all night long! If you think you have what it takes, contact me.
I believe that when we, as a people, can gather together under the umbrella of love, we can make a beautiful difference and change the hearts and minds of many for the betterment of society.
BTD Radio: We pulled this statement from your website. “Rasa performs a diverse range of different creative acts (and often creates new ones according to theme) as well as a wide variety of cultural styles including: Middle Eastern, Indian Bollywood, Brazilian Samba, Persian, Turkish, Hip Hop, Funk, Club, House, and more!” Can I say, “Wow!” Which creative act is your most favorite to perform and why?
Rasa Vitalia: I really do not have a ‘favorite’ dance or music style to perform. I love them all. They are all different takes, moods, and contain elements of the universal human expression. It really depends on the mood and needs of the current project. As a side note, my name “Rasa” means: “expressing the essence, flavor, or sentiment, in particular the characteristic quality of music, dance, and drama.” “Vitalia” means” “Full of life.”
BTD Radio: We are going to ask you a few typical interview questions such as, who were your childhood influences and do you see a little bit of those influences in yourself while performing on stage?
Rasa Vitalia: As I child, I really did not have any influences. I am really uncertain where my great inspiration came from, but I am glad I acted upon my internal guidance and natural instinct for music and the power of dance. At around age 4, I began to put on shows in my home using music and dance. I did then just about exactly what I do now: Dancing, choreography, singing, costume creation, makeup/masks, music choice and set up, stage managing, show producing, lighting, and stage design. I have also been blessed to be a natural visual artist, and starting at age 5, I was often ‘hired’ by teachers in elementary school to create event posters, such as bake sales (I learned a lot about marketing!). So, I created hand made posters, put them up around the house, and ‘sold’ hand made tickets. Heck, I even set up the chairs, made the popcorn and ‘hired’ my younger brother to do sound and lights while I performed. I even had my dog be a part of the act on occasion! The shows would consist of my solo dance and singing presentations in a variety of costumes. Being poor, we didn’t have a lot, so I cleverly crafted new costumes from whatever clothes and material I could find. I also hosted, participated in, and judged dance, singing, acting, and talent contests, as well as put on puppet shows and spontaneous imaginary games. Coming from a blue-collar household, this was considered quite unusual. I did not have any relatives or friends who were artists and the schools were too poor to have any kind of music, dance, theater, or art classes. There was little outside influence from other artists except for my parent’s record collection and, as I got older, the occasional opportunity to watch the TV show ‘Soul Train.’ I was mesmerized by the energy and dance moves.
Even at a very early age, I had the deep need to embrace myself and discover and express my inner ideas through dance and music. That’s pretty brave and ambitious for a shy, uncertain young child, but perhaps this was my best way to let the world know how I feel, heal, connect with and understand the world. Without going into detail, it was not an easy childhood at all. In my exploration of the creative arts, I did not have direction or support from my family, and wasn’t very certain what I was doing. I only recently have I gathered more clarity on my life’s purpose in serving the world. I have found that I am really influenced by my friends, my community, local performers, and my environment. My ultimate goal is bring greater awareness to our world and I absolutely believe that my art may be able to touch the hearts of many.
BTD Radio: So Rasa, what do you like to do when you are not entertaining the world with your fabulous performances? What do you like to do to chill out?
Rasa Vitalia: Being a solo artist, I do not get much ‘chill out’ time. Also, my body goes through a lot, so I definitely take rest days. On the rare occasion of a pure ‘chill out’ day off, I love enjoying the warm sunshine, walking in nature, watching the ocean waves, listening to music, meditating, reading, learning, hot tubbing, massage, and eating chocolate!
BTD Radio: Do you like to sing more than dance or do you like to dance more than write songs? Basically we want to know, if you were only given one choice… which one would you pick over the other?
Rasa Vitalia: Do I prefer dance or singing more? Hmmm… That’s a very difficult question to answer. I honestly do not see how one could live without the other. To me, it’s like asking me if I prefer air to breathe or water to drink! I love/need both!
BTD Radio: Well we have asked you a ton of questions and I only have a couple more left. We talked about “The Booty Machine” project, what other projects are in the near future for Rasa?
Rasa Vitalia: I am extremely excited to announce that have I just released my first CD on Amazon! It’s looking great and even has a very special centerfold for my very special fans. Hint, hint… Check it out!
I am also in the final stages of editing my first official music video, and I am expecting it to be released no later than May 2014 in which I will have a big release party! I do hope that this music video will help viewers get a better understanding about who I am and what I do as an artist as well as reach new fans and new heights!
Once the video is released, I hope to visit you and your city on tour! Let me know if you know of any cool performance spots and events!
Also, Join my mailing list on my site at http://www.RasaVitalia.com or ‘like’ my Rasa Vitalia facebook page to keep posted!
BTD Radio: We would love for you to tell our listeners where they can find your music? If you have any special shout-outs, please feel free to do them now.
Rasa Vitalia: Hey everyone! This is a BIG shout out to all the readers who took the time to read this, to the BTD Radio staff for your support, and to all my friends and fans who believe in the magic and who have been there with me. You know who you are. Thank you…
A very special shout out of love to the new fans here today. Please connect with me, as I’d truly appreciate your support. This is the best gift and artist can receive. Keep life alive and just shake it, baby!
See you soon!
Hot Dance, Music, & Vocal Artist
“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle & keep rockin’ the good life” – Rasa Vitalia, 2014