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INTERVIEW: Pontea

Hi Pontea, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been super excited / nervous/ inspired / happy / elated / proud – all at the same time. The EP is out in the world! I’m pleased with this milestone, it’s been a true labor of love, and yet it’s just the beginning of music for me.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single and video, “Come Over”?

I wrote “Come Over” while going through a break up with my last boyfriend of four years. I was on the phone with him and found myself saying “Baby come over” even though I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. I needed to stay strong and remember why we ended, but couldn’t help myself. All those reasons flew out the door and I just missed him. He was my comfort zone; I couldn’t bare the separation. Those words were so loaded and had so many implications — loneliness, attachment, seduction, vulnerability, not wanting to let go, and not wanting to feel the pain of it all. After getting off the phone, I formed a beat in my head and started singing “oh oh oh oh come over,” and that was what became the hook of the song. The rest was pretty much a diary entry.

This is one of those songs that strike a chord with a lot of people. It’s something so many of us have been through, the classic phase after a breakup, the back and forth, the re-seduction, the questioning, the weakness. The lyrics are raw, as if I’m speaking right to him.

Brad Wong was the director of the video and he did an excellent job of executing everything I wanted. It’s a window into my inner turmoil following a break up and conveys a flood of emotions. It captures my vibe as an artist and performer, as well as where I’m at in my musical and visual journey.

The single comes off your new EP, Unpredictable – what’s the story behind the title and why name it after that track in particular?

I come from a culture where traditional norms and expectations are constantly imposed upon women, and thus, an overriding theme for me has been breaking free from these pressures and paving paths for the creative and the un-traditional. In abandoning a would-be life of assurance and convention, I constantly challenge the expectations of a woman’s role in my society. I took a shot in the dark at my passion and accepted that as an artist, my future is an open book — everything is unpredictable. Nothing and no one can guarantee any type of outcome. The only thing I have to hold on to is the love for what I do, and that’s where I find my peace.

This concept perfectly encapsulates this stage of my life. And although the leading single “Unpredictable” speaks to the push and pull of a dead-end relationship, it provided the inspiration I needed to let the title of the EP take a life of its own.

How was the recording and writing process?

The world I enter when writing music is an ephemeral glimpse into my subconscious, and that’s what makes writing each song so special. When I’m in a writing zone, or in a co-write, it’s so much fun to see what will be created, most of which can’t be re-invented because it’s such a unique moment in time. Each moment poses a different journey and a specific vibe, also unpredictable. It’s a beautiful thing.

I love the production and recording process. I could be in the studio all day every day experimenting with sounds, creating vocals and harmonies, and putting together a piece of music. It’s my audial canvas.

How has your upbringing influenced your music?

Growing up, my dad’s beautiful voice filled the house with songs from his time in Iran, which included Persian music, American pop, Mediterranean music, Blues/R&B, and so much more. We would do duets and sing karaoke together in the living room. Every time we’d get ready to go out, he would either whistle or sing songs that were stuck in his head. That was my “getting ready” music lol.

I was the entertainment at every family gathering, whether it was putting on a dance show, doing a piano recital, singing my originals, or playing some sort of character. This love of arts in my home fostered my lust for creativity and has made me who I am.

What role does LA play in your music?

I was born and raised here, which is funny because I’m considered a unicorn to almost everyone I meet in the artist/music world. There are so many creative people here to collaborate with and grow with. I love LA.

What unpredictable things did you get to explore on this record?

This record is where my love of pop, electronic, R&B, ambience, and house all got married, something I didn’t have before. Back when I first decided to make the EP, I had no idea how it would turn out or what songs would go on it. It was a long road of honing sounds and using songs that hit me the hardest and most represented this stage of my life.

I didn’t realize what a tremendous feat it was until I was actually in the process of making the EP. There are so many steps I had to take to get to this moment. From song selection, to finding the right producers, to getting the right actual production, to sometimes having to re-produce songs, to mixing then re-mixing certain songs, to pushing timelines, etc. — all the while trying to overcome self-doubt, stay patient, and follow my instincts. Labor of love.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Heading to the northeast in October for some touring, and then to different regions in the US shortly after, still in the midst of planning dates. Can’t wait!

What else is happening next in Pontea’s world?

Inception of ideas, rehearsal, performing, brainstorming sounds, getting inspired by my upbringing and experimenting with newfound concepts, collaborating, working really hard, and most of all, growth.

Watch here / Stream here

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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