Somaya Reece Says She Is A Household Name

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Somaya Reece has nothing to prove to you all. Even though she’s been pursuing music for years, the world finally got more than a double dose of her on VH1′s “Love And Hip Hop” reality show.  While the episodes painted her as somewhat of a wannabe, she has lot more experience in entertainment than most people give her credit for. In fact, Sha Money XL, VP of A&R At Island Def Jam Records actually referred to Somaya as the “female Pitbull” in XXL’s “Female Emcee You Need To Know” feature. What does he know that the rest of us don’t?

TheUrbandaily.com’s Jazzy F got on the phone with Somaya and she broke down her past accomplishments as well as what she has set for the future. She talks about her role in the LionsGate film Got For It!, “Love and Hip Hop,” her new shoe deal and much more.

TUD: So you’re doing movies now?
I always was! People never knew that – I guess my fan base did.  But people choose to overlook it because – let’s be real – controversy is always the first thing people like to [highlight], not the good things.  I know how this game works now.  I got you guys on lock.  I started out in this whole business doing commercials.  And I started out studying acting; I went to school for it, I’m in a master’s class, and I even completed a few college courses at UCLA for a long time.  It’s just grown; I take a lot of classes and I just started from the very bottom as an extra, then I went on to one-lines to two-lines to being offered movie roles.  So I’m really excited about that — especially a movie we have going out now–Go For It--a Lionsgate film.

How did you land the role in Go For It!?
Go For It! was a very cool, organic situation.  And that’s pretty much how my career has been.  I’ve never really like to force things.  I like how things go __ and I like how Carmen Marron, who’s the director of the film, reached out to me.  I guess she was researching Latinas on the rise and people with stories.  She said that a lot of people kept mentioning me to her.  And she did a lot of research on me, and she sent me an email, called me in for a meeting and we met, and the script is very much about a girl like myself – a girl that just wanted to be involved in Hip-Hop, but everybody kept saying, “Hell no! You can’t do it!”

Since this movie was about music and dancing, is that the reason you really wanted to do this film?
Absolutely.  And also because of Carmen’s passion and the way that she delivered it to me was just so — you could tell that she really meant “This film is going to be something big, and I think that this is your story, and what better way to tell your story than being involved in this film?” And we didn’t know it was going to be a Lions-gate film at the time.  We didn’t know any of these things.  But I never turn down something that seems good and tells my story or anything of that nature, so I’m a humble girl, so I was like, “Yeah – let’s do this!”

And you got to combine the two, singing and acting — your single is the lead single for the film?
Yes, I scored the soundtrack for the film.  And it’s in all the commercials.  It’s the song of [the film], and it’s called “Baby Baby.”  It was produced by Coupe DeVille, and you know Coupe DeVille has tracks with everybody.

What was your first acting gig?
The first thing that happened fast was my first commercial, which was Pepsi-Cola in Espanol, and then English.  [...] That was the first thing that led to a string of other things.  And then the extras {…} even a little featured role, I didn’t really have lines in it, but that led to the next thing, and the next thing. Mostly because I was very professional on set, so people took notice of that.  It’s a big deal.

Does rejection push you to go harder?
Yes – absolutely.  I’ve always been a rebel, and that’s why my mixtape and album are called Rebel With a Cause. Because my cause is clear — I’m fighting for everybody  {…} people who have drive.  I turn a pocket full of lint into something.  And I continue to do it and no one’s going to stop me because I do have value and I do have something to offer.  And not everyone’s going to like you, but I’m focused on the ones that do and that keeps me going.  And the fact that I know what I’m doing — I definitely know what I’m doing.

How did you get involved with gangs?
I grew up in a really violent home.  One thing I want people to know is that I don’t tell my stories for pity.  I tell my stories because I want people to see that I turned my negatives into positives.  I grew up in a house where my father was a severe alcoholic, and he’s physically abusive.  And my mother was mentally and verbally abusive.  So a lot of the wrong turns I took in life when I was younger is because I was trying to escape my home and I thought I was going to find it in a group of people that were [my friends] — you know, you depend on your friends.  And music was part of all that as well, because I started playing the violin when I was 8 or 9 — I was trying to find something to do that would take me away from that, but the streets sucked me in.  And it was hard, it was really hard and challenging as a kid — so much peer pressure and not feeling the love in my home.  I was trying to find it somewhere else.  And I wifed up, and here I am now to talk about it.

So you used music to escape?
I took to the music; it really did save my life.  I feel as if had I not found something that was a passion or something I really liked, I don’t know.  I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.

What does music mean to you?
It just allows me to move people in some kind of a way.  My songs bring me happiness and peace.  It’s kind of a therapy sort of.  But people haven’t heard any of my new stuff.  They’ve only heard maybe 2 songs off of my mixtape, so I’m really happy that’s it’s going to come out.  But music really allows me to make people feel something because everybody has become so robotic — people are afraid to feel anymore.  Everybody wants to be so tough and so hard, and I’m like, “Let go of that for one day.  Let’s have a good night.  Let’s feel something.”  So it allows me to help other people and feel something.  And if you research my fan base, they all go so hard for me, and it’s because we all share a common story and I allow people to feel something that they didn’t know they could feel anymore.  Some people are so destroyed in their lives.  Sometimes music is their escape.


What made you want to do the reality show Love & Hip Hop?
Nobody told me that the concept of the show was going to be a bunch of chicks that hate me.  Had I been told that, I would’ve definitely said, “No,” or I would’ve thought about it.  To be quite frank with you, I don’t deal with people like that.  On the regular, my biggest fans are females — so I don’t run into females, as far as the negative stuff.  But I’m a fighter.  So when I was offered the show, I was told, “We want to document your move here and what you’re going to do with your music. It was a really wild idea, but I go hard for mine. I left a very comfortable lifestyle in Los Angeles  — a house, a car, my mother and father — to come out here and work on this new sound that I was looking for.  Some people respect it and some people don’t, but that’s because they want to allow themselves to have a humble feeling in their life.  Those are things that don’t happen to me in real life, except for my life on the show.  And in reality, all I was doing was standing up for myself.  Because you guys never saw a lot of stuff that was going on behind the scenes.  But I will always stand up for myself.  You call me all these names, yet I have a Lions-gate movie in theaters.  My song is the soundtrack to it, I have television flicks with my music, deals on the table, two investors…

You think they ganged up on you because they knew each other before the show?
They all met on the show — they didn’t know each other.  That was my biggest thing.  You saw on the season reunion, I said, “You don’t even know her to be acting a certain way.  We all met on the show.”  Let’s really keep it real.  Let me put that out there because that was a lot of my thing about the whole show.  I definitely believe they judged me off of a photo.  When you Google my name, the first thing that comes up is my website.  Why didn’t she go to my website and look at all my accomplishments?  Instead, she ran with a photo.  I can’t judge people off of photos.  I can’t judge anybody. I never really had beef with anybody.  I was just standing up for myself; that’s really what it comes down to. I’m going to stand up for myself, and I’m going to go as hard as I have to.  It’s been a year and a half now, I’m over it.

Now Somaya, you know I gotta ask you about the shoes. What was up with those shoes?!
I’m not embarrassed.  I wasn’t there for a fashion show; I was there to work.  I went to New York for a purpose.  I have a mortgage, I have two parents to take care of that have health issues.  I got together with local designers and I took what I could.  Half of the people that are making fun of the shoe can’t even afford that shoe.  That shoe is a Dollhouse Couture line. So I’m definitely not embarrassed about it.  Look at all the wonderful things that came out of it.  I’m blessed to have a platform.  I’m a household name now.  See this is the genius work that Somaya does:  I have always figured out a way to turn those negatives into positives.  Because the shoe was such a major issue, on the show, three major shoe companies and manufacturers approached me for my own shoe deal.  I’m taking two of the deals.  Holla at me main.

What stereotype did you they have of you?

They never really said except for “There’s no way she could be a serious artist.” Huh?  Well what about these other really fly artists that do spreads in Sports Illustrated and Maxim?  Am I supposed to put a paper bag over my body to be taken seriously?  I’m curious as to what I’m supposed to do.  I can’t change who I am; I can’t change my body.

Did you ever get in the studio and actually record a song with Jim Jones because we never seen that on the show?
Yes.  All the times they showed me going there, we were in the studio.  I went there, played him my song, I did a hook for him, and I think at that time they had already deaded it without me even knowing.  But I did go in there and do a hook for them; they did film it.  I think that it was planned from the beginning and I was the last one to know.  It made a good story I guess, but that’s not what happened.  He was very nice, he was very professional, those are the things I did like about Jim.  I was like, “Man this dude is dope.” He was like, “How are we going to make this money? What are we going to do?” and it was cool.  It was a great experience regardless of how it ended up.  He said he liked my music; they just chose to drag out one song that doesn’t even represent the style of music I make at all.  That song is strictly for commercial value.  The song (with Jim?) is called “Would You Still Love Me?”

Did all the drama come from your manager talking smack on the boat (in so many words)?
I don’t want to say anything.
There was a lot of racism I encountered on the show.  I was always treated less than human. And if you treat me less than human, you cannot expect for me to (not) bite you back.  You can’t treat people a certain way and then get mad when they react.  Just like women are supposed to handle their own beef period, and no one else should be involved.  Now with men, like what happened with Maurice, that’s a guy thing.  I said what I had to say on the show, and I don’t really care.  I never really cared.
You called Olivia’s manager Rich Dollars a vagina on the reunion, why such words?
I’ve been saying that forever!  It just finally got aired.  It’s been a long time since I’ve met an abuser.  I’m a woman; I don’t have strength like a man when it comes down to you getting in a fist fight with me.  I’m glad that his true colors were revealed on that show, because now people can see where I was coming from.

Will there be a season 2 of Love & Hip Hop and whats next for Somaya?

That’s what I heard.  They announced it.  I asked to put my music on there, I don’t know why they chose not to.  I don’t know what they’re doing.  I have no idea what’s going on with that to be honest with you.  If it was up to me, they never shed a positive light on me.  But controversy sells; these type of reality shows aren’t built on Kumbaya and rainbows and sorbet and cotton candy. But I do wish they would have shown everything I’m doing.  I have my own tequila brand.  I have my own shoe line coming out.  I have my own accessories line coming out.  This is distributed across the world.  Why not show that instead of people trying to make me look like I’m not doing anything?  At the moment, I have my official mixtape (not the one you saw on the show), which will be dropping in June.  It’s called Rebel With A Cause.  I have a lot of wonderful collaborations on it.  Not too many though, because I don’t want people to think I can’t do music by myself.

Any regrets on doing the show?

Obviously I don’t like the fact that a lot of the people on the show were trying so hard to convince the audience that I don’t have anything going on.  But then you can see from my resume that I have more going on than anyone could imagine.  People are surprised.  I didn’t like that they only showed the fighter.  I hope that shows people that they should stand up for themselves; that doesn’t mean that you have to start swinging fists.  Your mouth, accomplishments, and successes are just as strong.  Life is too short to have enemies, but you’re always going to create them, no matter what.  But I did try to put my best foot forward.  It did work out for me because I’m making it work out for me.  I want it to work out because I love my fans.  And I want people to know who Somaya Reece really is.

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