Raihanna Estrada is back with new summer anthem ‘June’ and we caught up with her for a quick chat.
Your previous single Cinderella had its video premiere on CMT in March. Is it especially meaningful when a song which holds so much personal meaning to you really connects with your fans and has success?
Absolutely! It’s always meaningful to me as an artist when something I’ve put into song from my own life experiences connects to someone on their journey. Cinderella was a special video for me to make. I was glad that fans got to know me better as an artist and wanted them to take away the message that there really are two sides to the coin in life. It ain’t all happy but it ain’t all sad either. It’s dancing in between. You may go through tough times, but if you keep a hopeful heart good things can come your way.
Can you tell us how the new single ‘June’ came together and the story behind the song?
I wrote the song in July of 2018 when I came home to Nashville after playing at Buckle & Boots Country Festival in Manchester. That whole month of June I was playing so many gigs, working on music, a new video, and everything just felt so right. Plus I had a blast playing there and meeting a lot of great people. When you are living your dream your heart feels like it’s beating in the right place. I wanted to capture the feeling bottled up in a song. To me it’s about carefree, nostalgia, good vibes, wishing that this time in your life would stick around forever.
2020 has been an especially tough year for multiple reasons, has it been difficult to stay creative?
This has been a rollercoaster year. I’d say it’s been up and down for creativity but I’m always working on song ideas and preparing for my next releases. I recorded my song “June” back in February this year so I was already gearing up to put that song out. I took a couple weeks in April staying off of social media to focus on writing songs, to just be, recharge and enjoy some of the unexpected time. Being able to finish my song “June” and do the artwork and music video with my friend Oceanna Colgan (photo/video) was an amazing creative outlet! It’s been a lot of fun getting to hear the song come to life and the music video that will be out later this month.
You’re especially passionate about travelling, is there something that sparked that in you?
I loved hearing different accents as a kid and grew up watching “The Chipmunk Adventure” so I was always fascinated by the thought of going to new places. Travel to me has always been feeling so alive in new lands, meeting people, trying food, and walking in unfamiliar scenery. I’ve always loved living the story. I’ve never been good at sitting still. I’ve been traveling since I was a little girl. We used to take my Grandpa’s motorhome from Texas back home to California. My Dad was an airline mechanic at United Airlines for 30 years. He worked on planes most of his life but never got to see a lot of the world. Neither did my Mom. For me, I wanted to make sure while I’m here on this planet I do what my heart tells me. And it’s always told me to live for experiences, not for things.
Traveling has inspired some of my songs. As I got older I continued to travel. I flew to Spain with my best friends for my first international trip right after high school. Later I went to music school in Hollywood with all Swedish roommates which brought me over the ocean to Sweden many times. I also met my husband Eric at music school and we found we have the same love of music and travel. We have made it a priority in our lives to see as much of the world as we can. Traveling all over Europe with plans to go back again as soon as we can. We have a lot of countries on our list.
Which artist outside of the country genre would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to write with Andrew McMahon (Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness/Jack’s Mannequin/Something Corporate) I discovered his music in a time I needed it most. I turned to his records driving up and down California when I felt lost. I’ve always loved his lyrics. I love the Jack’s Mannequin era and he’s a great songwriter and artist. It’s amazing what music can do to connect us.
Having been in Nashville a good few years now is there a particular piece of advice you would give to somebody who had just moved there as an artist?
If you’re coming to Nashville as an artist get ready to listen, learn, do and be patient. Get your feet wet. You may have played gigs, recorded before, had co-writes but this is a different city. All cities have a rhythm. It’s a very friendly and welcoming city. But you still have room to grow, meet people, try everything you can and fall down. It’s okay. It’s not about a finish line. It’s about being here. There are a lot of resources here and a lot of places to play songwriter rounds. It’s more than okay to have a part time job while going after your goals. Don’t feel like you’re any less of an artist if you don’t make all your money from music because everyone needs to eat and pay rent somehow. Your time will come when it comes. Make sure to not lose yourself while chasing your dream. Have some fun, too. You have to be most important in everything. No one is going to work harder for your music career than you. Be real. Know who you are at your core while taking the stairs. Nothing happens overnight. This place is called a ten year town for a reason. Success is not just getting a record deal. Celebrate your little victories along the way. You will find your people here. It’s okay if it’s a few and not a huge group. Most of all, love what you do. Find your path. Write songs. Tell your story. Buckle up for an adventure.
What do you enjoy doing in Nashville when you’re taking a break from music?
I like catching up with my close friends going to one of Nashville’s many great local coffee shops. I love just having a glass of wine with Eric and our cats on the couch. We both work on music so much so it’s nice to just hang out together. I watch travel vloggers on YouTube! It keeps me excited for future travels. I enjoy editing and making travel vlogs on my own site Go Anywhere Girl. I am a thrifter and love going to Goodwill! I used to go with my Mom all the time. The treasure hunt is awesome. Major score when I find cool vintage clothes.
Do you have any goals for the next couple of years?
My goal is to continue to release my music & make music videos for them. I have some personal tunes and stories that I’m really excited to share! I’m really trying to get everything recorded so that I can put songs out more consistently. That’s my main goal. I’m also booked to play in Spain at Salardu Country Rock Festival 2021. So I’m really looking forward to that.
Raihanna is the sole reason I got into country music and first went to Nashville a few years back so it’s always cool to check out new material from her. I love her voice on every track because I feel like it has this beautiful blend of modern country mixed in with the more traditional. She has really captured that nostalgic love for past Summers’ with this track, it’s a really upbeat tune carried especially by Raihanna’s fantastic energy and I have no doubts you’ll be picturing yourself outdoors at a festival in the sunshine while listening to it. For anyone struggling with things in the world right now and using music as a tonic ‘June’ has all the vibes and uplifting feels you’re looking for.
Interview and review by Craig Brooks (twitter.com/swindonforever)