Meet Bova, a DJ-turned-artist calling her own shotsby KC Orcutt | |
Creatives in Conversation: Bova is embracing her gift for connecting people through music
It can be one of the most rewarding experiences to let your passions guide your creativity. For multifaceted artist Bova, music has been the foundation of every endeavor she's pursued, whether that's in her work DJing for an array of reputed clients or learning how to produce her own instrumentals or lending her talents as a singer-songwriter to help other musicians execute their visions. The California native has been exploring her love for music in a plethora of ways for as long as she can remember, although it was through her work as a photographer that she ended up trying her hand at songwriting as a teenager.
Throughout the past decade and counting, Bova has divided her time diligently between her different areas of focus, ensuring that her work remains purpose-driven and her artistic energy well-nourished. From working in the studio with other artists, traveling the world and using her wealth of musical knowledge to shape her DJ sets, Bova continues to personify the meaning behind her artist moniker, which as a nod to her maternal German ancestry means illustrious and brave. In addition to building her clientele as a DJ, which includes a variety of Fortune 500 brands, non-profit organizations and music festivals, Bova is also currently learning the art of music production and working on reintroducing herself to her audience as a recording artist in her own right. As she works on creating original music and balancing her vibrant DJ career, Bova can also be found sharing her journey on social media, often using her platform to share words of encouragement and motivation with others.
Whether she's behind the decks, in front of the camera (such as recently starring in a music video for Grammy-nominated singer Lucky Daye), or in the studio, Bova's warmth shines through in all that she does, further showcasing her destiny as a creative meant to make an impact. During a recent conversation with the DropLabs team, Bova spoke in-depth about her early days discovering her creative passions, what her goals are for the year ahead and how she embraces her gift for connecting people through music.
What do you do for a living?
For a living, I am a DJ. I DJ roughly eight to ten times a month and then I am a singer, songwriter and artist. I also work with artists directly. I do vocal coaching, vocal production, singing and songwriting but I am moving now into full artistry for myself.
What helped you get started? Did you discover your passion for music early on?
I started playing the piano at the age of three. It was pretty obvious to my parents and anybody who knew me that I was very musically inclined. I always had perfect pitch and I was always in some way shape or form leading whatever choir I was in. Because of that, I had great rhythm and cadence. My love for music has always been there. My dad was also a musician, and he brought Motown to Los Angeles from Detroit, so I was always around music growing up. I'm the youngest of six but I was the clear musician of my siblings.
Do you have an early memory you’d like to share about when you first discovered started getting into music in a more serious capacity?
Around 15 or so, I was doing photography and I got hired by a group in Los Angeles called Audio Push. They had a song out at the time called "Teach Me How to Jerk" and it was a huge, huge smash all over the United States and it was a movement. Even though I was hired to be a photographer, I was like, 'You know, I can actually write songs, too.' I don't know what inclined me to say that because I actually hadn't written a song up until that point [Laughs]. The guy I was talking to was DJ Casanova, who is still a prominent DJ. He was like, 'Oh okay, well I'm going to send you these beats and send me something back.'
So, I had my regular Apple headphones from back then and I plugged into my old, old, old MacBook at the time and sang directly into the computer. There was no microphone, no engineer, no studio and I sent a song back to him. I don't even want to know what it sounds like today [Laughs] but he then invited me to his studio. At the time, I was too young and first of all, he lived in Compton so there was 0% chance no way my parents were going to take me to Compton from our house in Pasadena. Once I got a car at 16, driving to that studio to record was one of the first things I did.
While it was different, that was the start of me in the industry as an artist and I just continued on meeting people and climbing the ladder. Now, it's really fun to look around and see these people who have known me for 12-13 years and seeing everyone doing well. So many of my friends were nominated for Grammys this year. I say all that to say, I've been doing this forever. I love creating as a whole. I think when you're a creative, you create well in a lot of different spaces and mediums. Music is my gift and, for me, DJing makes so much sense because I love all types of music. I love the world, I love to travel, I love culture, I love new experiences and things that bring people together. What better than music?
What inspired you to redirect your creative energy onto yourself in this new way as an artist?
I think as a creator, sometimes it gets scary to pick a focus and go all in. When I talk to a lot of creatives, they have this similar sentiment where they're good at a lot of different things and want to do it all. This is just simply not realistic. When you're doing it all, you feel like a jack of all trades, and even if you're good, it's difficult to market yourself at times. Most people will pick one thing and do it really well. For example, if you need an accountant, you want to make sure you are picking the best accountant, and that may not be the same accountant who also runs a non-profit, DJs and is a fashion designer, you know what I mean? So for me, in this new space, I feel as though even if I'm talented in many areas, I'm doing myself a disservice by not giving my craft as a DJ & Artist my all.
I also can't wait to finally share my music with the world! It takes time to find your sound, to keep working, to keep writing, to keep gravitating towards the things that actually call you, instead of gravitating towards the things that are hot or that you hear all the time. It's taken me this long to find my sound and now I'm ready to put it into play, especially with the DJ aspect. I'm excited to be a DJ and an artist. I recently started production school and am excited to begin designing my own sound, Collaborate with artists that inspire me and take on stages at a higher level. I am truly in love with what I do and grateful that people continue to support and love me.
What do you do to get into your creative zone?
What helps me tap into my space as a creative, I definitely meditate a lot. I think meditation is one of the most powerful forms of discipline and control over your creativity. When you're in that space of being able to clear your mind and focus on something, whether it be a feeling or a storyline or an emotion, you're unstoppable. I love to draw inspiration from myself, but I also love to tell stories with other people in mind. Draw inspiration from the shoes of another. In this case, meditation helps me to tap into their story, how they are feeling, what they would have said. Meditation helps me get out of my own way. It sets my imagination free.
What surprised you the most about trying out DropLabs?
The shoes were an experience [Laughs]. I would be so interested to see what it feels like to walk around with them on throughout a full day. My favorite part of the demo I received was listening to the rain. I've never thought about meditating with shoes on before but that would be so interesting to try out, almost like a full-body immersive meditative experience. I think it would be crazy.
I'm excited to get the gaming package where I can hook it up to my DJ equipment and be able to feel different vibrations from shoe to shoe, left to right, while I'm mixing. I'm excited to try out DropLabs while I'm producing as well, and am wondering what that will feel like and how it could translate into the record.
I think the applications for DropLabs are yet to be fully flushed out because people have to use it over time but from initially experiencing it, I 100% feel like it's going to be really helpful to a lot of people with anxiety. I feel like it's going to have a lot of interesting medical applications. My friend, for example, was in Afghanistan for six years and I've watched him experience PTSD. He takes it really well and he talks himself through it so he doesn't have an outward panic attack, but he goes through the rollercoaster on the inside. I'm always actively thinking about that. I think it'd be very interesting to see the application of a shoe like this on war veterans and how the different frequencies could help with things like PTSD and panic attacks.
How would you explain the DropLabs experience to your friends?
I would describe the DropLabs shoe as a technology that allows you to be fully immersed in any sonic experience that you're having by way of amplifying the vibration of the bass, mid and treble of a song to heighten the senses. I think people would understand that, and be like, 'What!' Until you try it, it's hard to describe. It heightens any sonic experience by way of vibration, but you really do have to try it for yourself. In short, it's a vibe [Laughs].
Do you have a favorite accomplishment or a project that you're really proud of?
To be honest, I am really proud of my entire career to this day. I have traveled the world, I have DJed in London, I've DJed in Spain, I've DJed in convention centers, I've DJed at the Staples Center, I've DJed at Essence Fest in New Orleans, I've DJed for Amazon, for Apple, FOX, Nike, Budweiser Live & more... When I look at my press kit and see the number of high-end clients that I've had without a manager, just me and God, I can't help but feel proud. I'm very proud of what I've been able to accomplish (this far) just by having work ethic and a tremendous amount of faith in myself and in God. A team however is in the works!
Do you have an important mantra that you live by or any words of wisdom to share?
How long do you have to talk?! [Laughs] I will say that one from this past year that really just went off in my mind over and over again was, 'The healed version of yourself is obsessed with what's right with you.' That one really hit. I feel like we all spend so much time thinking about how we can improve all day and we focus on how we suck at this one thing, like damn, I gotta get better. But we don't take on the things we're amazing at in that same way. When people would give me compliments, instead of trying to shoo them away or say, 'Oh no no you are,' now I take that on. Last year, somebody told me, 'You're so resourceful,' and instead of deflecting, I said, 'Thank you.' And then I thought about that all day. Like, Wow! I am mad resourceful! Good job! It hits differently when you let it really sink in. You take these things on, not in a cocky way, but in a self-assured way. When you begin to work on things, they don't feel as heavy. I'm human and I'm going to mess up sometimes and not always say the right thing here and not make the right decision there but I have a chance to do better tomorrow and overall I'm amazing. That's amazing.
The second one is 'Discipline is freedom.' That one really struck me because it's the truth. Discipline is freedom. I always tell people, God can't give you more if you don't take care of the stuff you already have. It's about taking care of your gift, practicing, keeping your talents up to par, pushing the limits, taking care of your body, working out, eating well, being nice to yourself. All of that is a big, big deal. You can't be nice to people when you're not nice to yourself. Everybody lies because they lie to themselves all the time, so when you make better decisions, you don't have to lie. You don't have to feel uncomfortable. You don't have to feel like you have to sway the truth or not show up or not call back or the things that people do when they run. Discipline is freedom. Those two mantras really changed my life at the end of 2019 and I'm taking them into 2020, into my new chapter, so we can knock this thang out of the park and keep going.
What are some of your goals for 2020?
My biggest plan for 2020 is to be Bova the DJ-Artist. When you think of me, at least for 2020 and maybe 2021, that's what I want you to think of. I know I'll be able to keep evolving but for now, I want to be known for my singing, my DJing and my artistry.
I'm also moving genres. I've been playing a lot of hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dancehall, Afrobeats, Soca, those types of vibes and I love that music, but the reason I named myself Bova is because I wanted a name that was international. I wanted a name that wasn't gender specific or race specific, and I wanted to put out dance music and so that's what I'm going to do. Moving into that genre and really building a name for myself in the electronic space and finding my own sound there is gonna be my biggest accomplishment.
I also plan to release new music. People ask me about this every year, and I'm tired of telling people that they can't get my music anywhere. This is going to be my 'jump off the mountain' moment. MY music is
the last thing I've been holding onto. I've done everything else that I can possibly think of. When people ask, 'Why now?,' it's because I'm not afraid anymore. I think people are scared to say that they were afraid. I was terrified. But, I believe that life goes on. You put out things and you continue. You continue to create and I realize the power in life is to just keep going. It doesn't matter what you do, or how you do it or if you mess it up or if you did it wrong; you keep going, you keep growing. You can always come out on top.
Bova can be found on Instagram at @callmebova and on the web at https://www.callmebova.com/
As innovators by design, the team behind DropLabs Technology is dedicated to supporting and elevating members of the creative community. Together, we aim to serve as a platform highlighting different creators as they work towards achieving visionary excellence and inspiring others along their path. To nominate a creative leader you’d like to see highlighted on our website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.