Following an impressive run of releases across the likes of Dirtybird, Data Transmission and Lots Of Practise, New York based Barbara is turning heads within the underground scene and she shows no sign of slowing down. We caught up with her to discuss the infectious “Feet Money” single plus upcoming releases on SpunnyLove Records, the eagerly anticipated debut album “Palm Dreams” and the launch of her own imprint Good Crazy.


Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey as an artist? How did you get started in the music industry?

It all started with my grandfathers. I have one grandfather who plays the saxophone and harmonica and owned a music shop called Dominic’s music in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He encouraged me to learn piano and flute but we all (my family) realised early on that my voice is my instrument. My other grandfather introduced me to one of the greatest soul groups from the 60s, Sam & Dave, and “Soul Man” became our song. I grew up with my mom in my grandparents house so I had influences from Elvis, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, Tavares all the greats. And growing up in the 90s I fell in love with No Doubt, Fine Young Cannibals, *NSYNC (my very first concert), Britney, Christina and Mariah. It’s funny now when I think back to when I became an artist and it was like 1st grade. I was crate digging on the weekends for cds at FYE and Strawberries, singing in Church on Sunday and regularly attending rehearsals with the Handel and Haydn Society, a youth conservatory that I was accepted to. 

My career started with singing but I stopped for a very long time in college because I didn’t have a mentor or the support of my family to pursue the arts. They were too frightened financially about how I would get a job. My voice came back when I started volunteering in NY around the holidays for children’s hospitals and doing virtual Santa visits. I was reminded of my unique gift and how much joy I could bring to those who really need it so I restarted my dreams of being a musician and performer. I got really into electronic music, loved experiencing the vibes that DJs were creating on the dancefloor and so I started there.

I was walking my dog on a random Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn and carrying some equipment which led to a chance introduction to Cesar (Toribio), a fellow artist and producer and then manager of the Brooklyn night club Black Flamingo. Cesar invited me to play open to close and it’s one of the first gigs that really got me excited about my DJ career. I started to become known in Brooklyn, playing at Jupiter Disco, Donna and Guadalupe Inn (I was sad to see some of these venues close during COVID). Then I started to expand to San Francisco and LA through my Burning Man community and Femme House. Around the same time I learned production using Ableton through multiple courses with mentors, Pyramind, IO Music Academy and Femme House workshops. And I started making tracks and remixes.

During the pandemic, I had time to reflect on how I would grow my music career beyond DJing since I began as a singer. I resumed vocal coaching, started writing lyrics and producing tracks with my voice. In 2022, I got connected with an incredible musician and producer, Jim Greer known for his work with Foster The People, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Geographer, Big Freedia and many others. Together we co-created my first album titled Palm Dreams, set to release this March on Good Crazy. I found that if I fully focused on songwriting and producing, I could really crank out great music. Over two intense weeks with Jim I was able to finish 17 tracks. And 15 of those made the album.

Creating Palm Dreams gave me the strength and confidence to keep going deeper. Now I was capturing 100s of voice memos, writing constantly, meeting other artists, and executing new collaborations. Some of those I’m really excited about include a recent link up with New York based Lefti and Sounds of Khemit label founder Nhii. 2023 was really a standout year for all the music I released with several dance music labels including Lots of Practice, Data Transmission, and Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage.

Your upcoming release on Dirtybird is titled “Feet Money.” Can you share some insights into the inspiration behind the track and what listeners can expect from it?

It all started the weekend of my birthday last year in Palm Springs. If you see me perform, you’ll notice I always rock designer vintage. We found ourselves at Mitchells and joked when my friend Heidi wanted this ridiculously beautiful YSL fur that she just needed that “Feet Money” to buy it. There’s nothing sexier (in my opinion) than an empowered, smart woman going after what she wants. I think it’s incredible that nowadays a lot of women sustain themselves purely from the income of onlyfans. The female body is beautiful so why not embrace our god given features and talents? The lyrics say “ condo in Miami, house in LA” because Ed Hoffman (my collaborator on the track) and I wanted to infuse the vibe and sounds we heard during Chloe Caillet’s set at Get Lost while we were both there for Miami Music Week. We were really inspired and knew the track needed a certain grittiness and edginess to match the cheeky lyrics that is common in Miami.

You’ve had a longstanding musical relationship with Ed Hoffman. How did the two of you initially connect, and how has your collaborative process evolved over time?

Ed is incredible and I feel so fortunate that we can work together. Ed and I met while I lived in SF through the local DJ scene. My vocal coach was hosting a songwriting camp and I told Ed he needed to join. So that was the first time we got to collaborate and it was magic instantly. Feeling comfortable to create and freely express yourself with someone is critical to a successful collaboration. I felt it immediately with Ed because he’s so kind, talented and open. We’re both also very playful and curious so it’s a fun time whenever you get in the studio. I’ll toss something out, sometimes absolutely absurd, and he just smiles and goes, “why not?”

When it comes to your songwriting process, do you have a particular approach or routine? How do you find inspiration for your music, and how has it evolved throughout your career?

I would say I love my mornings for creation. Typically I wake up with 1 or several ideas for tracks and need to capture them in voice memos or notes on my phone as soon as they come. My ideas come in the form of vocals or melodies that I hum and then I’ll build out the track. Part of my daily morning routine includes journaling and meditating so I can prime myself for creating and experimenting. Throughout the day other ideas will come as I discover new artists on Spotify or Instagram, dive into their catalogs and get inspired. I work in Ableton and will build the track with drums and bass first and then import the voice memos. 

When it comes to top lines and collaborations with other producers, I’ll listen to the track the first time and capture what comes to my mind immediately. I send off the initial rough idea to my collaborators and based on their feedback I’ll expand on the initial idea or listen a few more times and see what else comes. Generally the first idea is the purest and resonates well with my collaborators. And I tend to agree with Rick Rubin to just go with your instincts, don’t think too much about what you’re making but how you feel making it.

I also feel super inspired after I see live music which is tough because I’ll get home in the early morning hours and not be able to sleep. This past weekend I went to 2 incredible parties in Milan and had several tracks come to mind. Sometimes I’m even still at the party and the ideas are coming so I go to the bathroom or somewhere quiet to record a voice memo or quickly jot down the lyrics and song I’m hearing. Or I start singing at the rave or rapping which typically happens at Circoloco parties.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for 2024? Are there specific milestones or projects you’re excited to pursue in the coming year?

I’m really excited to release my album this March and announce the launch of my new label, Good Crazy. It’s been a dream of mine to one day have my own label where I can cultivate a sound and help develop and support other talented artists. Good Crazy will be a home of no rules, why not, here because we’re crazy about the music, a place where everyone is welcome. I would like to start throwing some Good Crazy parties this year and launch my new live performance setup. I’m really inspired by acts like the Blaze, LP Giobbi, Sinego and Who Made Who so I want to elevate my music to more a live performance with musicians. On my festival dream list for Spring 2024 is to perform at Do.Lab at Coachella and Movement Festival. I’m also really looking forward to writing, recording and performing in Europe this Spring and Summer. I will be in Ibiza in June of this year and beyond performing on the White Island, I plan to take a few weeks there to record my next album. While in Europe I will also be continuing some select collaborations with artists there. For instance, I recently linked with Model Man in London and the Italian duo Modular Project. I hope to play at DC 10 for Circoloco while I’m in Ibiza, and also jump to Amsterdam for the Dekmantel Festival in late July.  

Rumour has it there is an album on the way. Can you give us a sneak peek into what listeners can expect from this upcoming project? Any themes or stylistic elements that stand out?

Yes, my debut album Palm Dreams will launch on my new label Good Crazy this March. The album is a journey through pop, nu disco, indie dance, house and techno and showcases my musical influences. The lyrics chronicle my days living in NY, finding and falling out of love, growing as a woman and an artist and my life while I lived in San Francisco, CA. The album themes will resonate with listeners through songs such as “Ghosted”, “Church of House”, “Horse at the Disco”, and the female empowerment anthem “Let Her Do It”. I’m really proud of it and excited for listeners to dive in.

Your sound certainly spans multiple subgenres, how would you describe the evolution of your music, and are there any particular influences that have played a significant role in shaping your current style?

I was reflecting on this during my past weekend in Milan as I was listening to a MySpace jams playlist on Spotify. And it may have to do with the way my brain functions, which is “omni functioning” as my manager labelled it or I would say kaleidoscopic. I’ll even be listening to 2 or 3 tracks at once between Spotify or Instagram while I’m in discovery mode. There’s been several major influences on my sound. 1) growing up with a multi generational family in the 90s 2) having many friends in middle and high school who were from other countries (Brazil, Albania and Italy) and listening to what they were playing 3) my move to NY in my 20s 4) the Burner community and Cali life and 5) Miami. I’ve also never been to the Middle East but I’m generally drawn to that sound, a mix of funky, experimental, rock influenced. And I would say I always lean more underground, b sides of an album. I feel called and compelled to the quirky, unexpected and you can usually tell I love a track based on my facial expressions immediately.

Are there any dream collaborations or artists you’d love to work with in the future? How do you approach collaborations, and what do you think makes for a successful musical partnership?

I would love to work with Seth Troxler, Carlita, Kino Todo, Yetmore, Angrybaby, Ede, Kapote, LP Giobbi, Chloe Caillet, Dixon, Red Axes, La La, Francis Mercier, Avi Snow, Omri Smadar, Nitefreak, John Summit and Sinego. I’m really inspired by their music and a huge fan of their music. 

From my current and past collaborations, artists will reach out because they heard my vocals on a track, I’ll DM someone I really want to work with and send over some ideas or it happens naturally that we both decide to work together. The key to collaborating is being open, willing to adapt and remove yourself and ego from the feedback. The more open you can be, the better it is for the collab and the track in the end. I like not really having a prompt or context for a track so I can just use my gut or intuition to create the ideas. My biggest pet peeve is when someone includes a reference track or asks me to make something like this. It bothers me because each track is so unique it’s impossible to try to replicate the vibe from another track. Give me freedom and watch me do my thing. I think it’s also critical not to get so stuck on the first idea that it’s hard to make any changes. I think Rick Rubin refers to it as demoitis? I too struggle with this and actually have to force myself to take time from listening back to tracks and give it space to come back with a fresh perspective.

Lastly, is there a message you’d like to share with your audience eagerly anticipating your upcoming releases and projects?

Thank you all for supporting me on this journey. I feel like it’s a privilege and honor to be able to share my art with you. We’re just getting started so buckle up and enjoy the ride with me.

Check out Barbara’s upcoming release alongside SpunOff below and preorder a copy here –

photo credit: Kitsune