Boston rapper Oompa releases album “Unbothered” to spread awareness of self-love and contentment
Roxbury native, Oompa, released her long awaited album “Unbothered” last night at midnight. The multifaceted rapper, poet, creative visionary, and educator began cooking up her third album alongside Boston producer by the name “Dephrase” in March, with the mission to spread her overall message “joy is possible” over a 12 song tracklist. The album serves up a concoction of solid rap bars with a splash of R&B. According to the Boston-based superstar “I do make rap music, but if there's one thing I believe about my music is that you can always hear the soul in it, you can always hear the fearlessness in terms of vulnerability, the gospel rifts, the R&B and funk inspirations in there”.
Where did you grow up? What was that like?
Oompa: I grew up in Roxbury so I’m a city girl at heart. You know, typical city life, I took the T to school, walked to school, most of my friends lived in my neighborhood, and you know I;m a real Roxbury girl so I didn't really travel much outside of Roxbury unless I had to. I grew up with my neighborhood being like my family. I was adopted at a young age along with my 3 blood sisters, my adopted mother took us all. It was a rich experience, we didn't have a lot but we made it work. It was a house full of music, love, and good food!
What inspired your stage name?
Oompa: It's the nickname I got when I used to play basketball when I was younger. I played up at Washington Park and one of the older guys on the court just started calling me Oompa Loompa baby. I think it was both to make fun of me and to be endearing, and eventually it just got shortened to Oompa, and I was like “Yeah, I know who I am, it don't bother me none” and so I’ve just kept the name.
What’s the best advice you've been given throughout your music career?
Oompa: Just to keep going. One of the things I notice when I'm researching artists and their pivotal moments is they always say there’s this moment when they feel like quitting because it all just gets so bad and so hard and they all say that is the exact moment when you have to keep going because your breakthrough has to be on the other side of that, and I think I’ve been experiencing that this year, and I’m feeling a little bit of that breakthrough and I’m grateful for that. But then the other advice I hear from everyone who loves me is that you just have to do you and do the thing you love. Make the music you love and be the person you are. Do you.
When you’ve felt like giving up, how did you pull yourself out of that feeling?
Oompa: I just realized how much I've invested in this life. I’ve invested my whole existence. Friendships have gone to the wayside, family has gone to the wayside, every fiber I have, all the money I have, everything I own is somehow tied up into this. So it's like one, materially I can't give up, but two, I don't want to live in a world where I can’t create and I can't live in a world where I can’t feed myself. I can not quit.
What do you dislike about the music industry?
Oompa: Effort and talent sometimes don't matter. A lot of the industry doesn't rely on those thingsYou have to deal with a lot of people not liking you, looking past you, or looking over you, whatever, but you still have to maintain who you are. Not to mention its very focused on surface levels, I’m a black, queer, chubby woman with locks. I'm not who people initially think of to put on the cover of a magazine and it just makes it a little bit harder to figure out my place in all of this. So yeah, that's the hardest part for me.
Who or what are some of your biggest influences? Talk about your cultural roots
Oompa: I grew up in a house of gospel, R&B, soul, funk, rap- so some of my favorites include Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houstin, Beyonce, James Brown- those folks are my top influences. Also J.Cole, Tyler The Creator, Tierra Whack, Missy Elliot- those are the people I look to for everything and keep leveling my own game up. I see how they reinvent themselves and continue to be themselves and push forward to do what they do and make the music that we love. It gives me a lot of inspiration.
What has kept you so laser-focused on your career goals?
Oompa: The life I envision for myself I know is not going to be given to me. I know that for some people family is an abundance of love, resources, and wealth or whatever the case is. I think some people are fortunate enough to be born into that or find that pretty easily, but that hasn't been my case. But i know I’ve carved out a place for myself and I know I've envisioned a world for myself that I can obtain, and for me creating is a part of that and the life that I want to afford for myself through what I create is a part of that, and I know I deserve that life that I desire to have. Every day I’m committed to building that so everyday I wake up, everything I do is a part of that commitment to that life. I don't dream of labor. This is the life that I've chosen and I choose it every day.
What are your goals for the remainder of 2021?
Oompa:Well, my album release party is at the Paradise Rock Club on October 8th , but aside from that I’m just trying to figure out what the next level is and what that next thing is that's going to help me grow as an artist. I may be making a big move location wise. I’m unsure of when, but it's almost definite. Also, I want Tierra Whack to hear my album and for Lebron James to hear Lebron. That's my music goal.
Did the pandemic affect any of your plans?
Oompa: It effed everything up at first. My favorite part of sharing my music is getting on stage. I love creating a live-show experience from ground-up, so when venues shut down not only did it shut down my bread and butter financially, but it shut down my bread and butter in terms of the things I really love about sharing my music with people.
Tell us about the main message behind “Unbothered”
Oompa: One, Joy is possible and it's always present, we just have to slow ourselves down to see it. And second, gratitude is everywhere. Life is already too serious sometimes and sometimes it's okay to just have fun and not be concerned with what people have to say or what your inner thoughts tell you not to do, just have fun and live your life.
How did you decide on the album title?
Oompa: I don't really know where that came from within my spirit, but I just remember feeling “I’m unbothered”. Like, that shoulder shrug feeling of “nope, I'm not gonna get involved in that, I have a boundary” and just honoring that attitude.
How much time did you spend developing this project?
Oompa: I began recording and co-producing with the Boston-based producer and engineer “Dephrase” in March.
What advice do you have to share with aspiring artists?
Oompa: We only have about 70-100 years on this earth. You can die every day, or you can only die once. Dying everyday is doing the thing that makes you miserable and not taking a chance on yourself and not trying to create the life you want for yourself. That's dying every day. Or, you can live everyday and die one time, because you lived that life that you want or in pursuit of that life. And that's truly my advice is you just gotta go for it, man. You just gotta go for it, be relentless, and you gotta be creative.
Follow Oompa on social @oompoutloud and listen to her on all streaming platforms as Oompa. To visit her website, click here.