A rising star in Brooklyn queer hip hop with smooth and intelligent lyrics, a sultry voice and fashions for the Gods, the artist known as Senerio is a person we should all be watching – and hearing – in 2019.
Thotyssey: Senerio, hello! Did you recover from Christmas?
Senerio: I actually didn’t do anything for Christmas this year besides sleep all day. I’m definitely becoming a Scrooge. As of lately, if it’s not about money coming in my pocket, I don’t really give it too much thought.
Dezi is my baby. He’s become like family to me. Every time I’m with him is a good time. Also Will Sheridan, Jayse Vegas, Eddie Wayne and Blvck Laé D were also there, so I was super comfortable. Dezi has consistently showed me love and support since I’ve met him – from literally feeding me lyrics to the side when I forgot my words to a Grace Jones cover at Bizarre Bushwick, to holding a fan over me so that I could have my Beyonce moment at Hot Fruit.
When did you arrive here, and where are you from originally?
It’s weird… so, I was born and raised in South Florida. I moved to NY from Florida in August 2013. But then I moved back to FL in July 2015 ‘cause I was literally too broke to stay in NY. Then I moved back to NY in July 2017 to pick up where I left off, I guess.
It is extremely difficult to live here! What is the history of you being a musician… when did you start singing / rapping / writing?
I’ve been writing songs since the 6th grade (11 years-old), and literally just never stopped writing. I’ve been singing choir since freshman year of high school. Rapping was just something I did in college. I actually don’t consider myself a rapper, since I don’t believe hip hop cares about me or my community.
Oh, that’s interesting… the first time I saw you perform (I think for Merrie Cherry’s benefit at Metropolitan Bar), you rapped beautifully!
Yeah, people are responding great to the new unreleased songs that I rap in. I used to make a disclaimer before I perform them, saying “before I do this song, I need to make this clear… I AM NOT A RAPPER.” But you already know, gay people don’t listen.
That’s the truth! There has been at least a little progress in recent years in the hip hop community regarding queer acceptance though, don’t you think?
Like what? No shade, but lesbian female rappers don’t necessarily count as accepting queer community. I’m just saying, there’s a reason why lesbian porn is under the “straight” preference in the search bar. Also, things like Drake allowing Big Freedia to be in his “In My Feelings” video, after she had to contact him for that… AFTER he literally sampled her music… doesn’t count to me, either. It is nowhere near enough in my eyes. and the fight for inclusion is getting boring to me. There’s a lot of queer rappers carving their own world, and doing just fine without the support of straight men who dominate hip hop. Tyler The Creator coming out was cool, though.
What sort of influences and experiences have inspired your own writing over the years?
Honestly… Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Drake are like my Holy Trinity of rappers. Nobody has influenced my rapping more than them. Also, I have a lot of witty friends, growing up as a theatre kid in high school and college. I get fed a lot of cool phrases and sayings from everyday conversations with my close friends; usually the convos with friends feed me the cool lyrics. But I’m generally open to hearing anything out, when it comes to ideas and creativity.
My life journey, coming out in high school, being bullied and isolating myself a lot, has influenced my writing immensely. I’m a firm believer that the best ideas happens when you’re alone.
Was theater where you got your knack for colorful and eccentric costumes?
No, my mother actually. She’s a fashionista. I stole a lot of her clothes, and flipped them to make it more me. The cover art for my LP EDEN, I’m actually wearing my moms skirt that I use as like a scarf type thing. And the thing over my face (not the hand glasses) is also her hairnet. My mother is the seed of my soul and she’s the driving force in all that I do. Also, being in NY definitely brought out a way more fashionable side of me.
Tell us about EDEN! What was recording like, and is that available now for us?
Yes mam. iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, all that good stuff. It took three years to make ‘cause I had no money, so the process was slow. And I moved to NY during this time. I actually released EDEN a month before I moved back to FL.
Eden is about reinvention and self-love. Removing old habits and people from your life to embrace new things and more happiness. I struggle with self-love more than I show. And EDEN was about forcing me to do just that.
Would you be up for recording again anytime soon?
OMG of course, 2019 will have a lot of music releases. Tons of singles, and maybe an album *cough cough.* I actually have a little home studio, so recording is free now. And I’ve been cool with my mixing / mastering engineer since I was in high school. Making new music will always be a thing I do. I’ll never stop; it’s second nature at this point.
And I’m sure you’ll be performing a lot this year as well! Drag queens still rule the nightlife scene, but do you get a feeling that more room is opening up in these shows for musicians and other types of performers to do their thing?
Oh, yes! Also people like Will Sheridan and Jayse Vegas are holding it down for live musicians like me.
In fact, you’re gonna be performing twice at Eris Evolution in these coming nights.
Yes! They will be my first shows at Eris. I’m super excited! And both are paid, henny!
I’m just going to keep it cute! Perform some unreleased music that I plan to release next month.
Ugh! I’m so bad at love, babe. Probably not. I have no game whatsoever to be honest.
Well, Jayse and I started a queer artist collective and party group called Glamouratti, which we debuted at Boxers WH. So expect a lot of shows coming out of that.
Werk! Last question: who should host the Oscars?
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Or Childish Gambino.
Thank you, Senerio!