Lee Vasi: MizFitz Radio’s March Featured Artist

Written by on Tue Mar, 2019

In the month of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day to recognize those that have broken barriers when it comes to a male-dominated world. As it pertains to the artistry of women in music, we wanted to celebrate someone who is fierce, creative and who will continuously push boundaries in a male-dominated industry. Lee Vasi raises the bar when it comes to not conforming to just one genre of music. To those wanting to achieve their dreams, she simply wants you to know that “whatever your dream is, it’s not impossible”.

“I was born and raised in Fayetteville and it’s definitely surprising to a lot of people”. Vasi dove right into what it was like growing up in her hometown with a Dominican/ Puerto Rican mother from New York and an African American father with roots from Mississippi, Detroit (Illinois) and Durham (North Carolina). “Both cultures were very instrumental in my development, not only as an individual but as an artist.” Vasi is the youngest of three siblings and they’re like her best friends. She engaged in performing via her brother because he always wanted to be an actor. “He was performing at Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville and got me into it as well as my sister. We all grew up performing together.” Apart from her talents as a musician, Vasi gained experience as a thespian at a tender age. She performed on Broadway as young Nala in The Lion King from 2007-2008. “Theatre is my background. I can honestly attribute a lot of what I know about music and about performance through my theatre background. I started doing theatre when I was seven. I was also in the Wizard Of Oz at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.” Vasi reminisced on a time where she broke out in hives before an audition because of nerves. Ironically, Wizard of Oz got the ball rolling when it came to performance. Theatre was the vehicle that drove Vasi to understand that her talent was the real deal. “ My parents drove me to auditions in New York. I was always going back to New York even when The Lion King was over. My parents gave me the resources to pursue my dreams.” For Vasi, it was a fairy tale because she was a kid having fun. Her passion grew from there as she decided it wasn’t just a hobby anymore. The Lion King played a major part in her decision to become a professional entertainer.

Vasi doesn’t just have the talent to pursue her dreams. Education plays a big role in her life. “My parents encouraged me to get my education. I’m currently at Spelman and before that, I was at NYU studying recorded music.” Vasi stressed that she wasn’t allowed to perform or audition unless she had straight A’s. She would also do her homework on the buses on the way to Atlanta or New York. She really wants to express the importance of education. The knowledge gap of our society amongst black and brown women is the root of all of our problems. “ It fuels the purpose behind my music even more and I’m really grateful for that.”  The conversation soon shifted to some of Vasi’s idols and major influences and no doubt she listed some of the most powerful and influential women in the business. “I have two main influences: Mariah Carey and Selena Quintanilla. Vasi explained that she is indeed multiracial. Her grandfather took her to the Dominican Republic along with her mother when she was ten and that was the first time she identified with Latin culture. “ I do want to bridge cultures seeing that I come from many. I think I have a responsibility to make sure that my music represents it all. I am just as equally influenced by Selena as I am Mariah Carey.” Vasi broke down the importance of R&B music because of it’s magical and entrancing elements. Vasi describes her sound as Spanglish pop R&B. “ I honestly hate having to put a genre on my music. Most of these genres are fake anyway.” It seemed like a fire ignited in Vasi as she talked about struggling with putting a genre on her newly released single “My, My, My”.  “That’s the motivation behind my music. I want to break those lines and boundaries. Why do we have to have a genre?” A lot of this stems from Vasi always having to define herself especially when it comes to not looking like a stereotypical black or latina woman. At age 21, Vasi is still finding out who she is and how to have an impactful relationship with the world. “ A lot of people are afraid of difference. I don’t want to be afraid of being different anymore.” When asking Vasi what was one thing she wanted her audience to know about her she emphasized “I care a lot! Not only about my music, but what my music will do because for me it’s healing and I hope it can be for somebody else.”

She took a moment to briefly talk about being a contestant on American Idol. “I’m grateful for it and I learned. It made me stronger and I’m still growing from it.” Not only does Vasi have a newly independently released single but she also has of covers of songs. “My favorite is Officially Missing You by Tamia because it was my first attempt of doing a bilingual cover. It felt good and it was a lot of fun.” Just when I thought the conversation was coming to a near end, it took a surprising turn as Vasi let me in on what she was enduring while on American Idol. “ I was afraid of letting him see me. I was honestly so afraid of visibility. I’ll say this about American Idol, I was experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because I was healing from an abusive relationship and I was so scared to do the audition because I didn’t want him to see me on national television. Vasi explained that was the reasoning behind why she fell apart during the audition and why it may have looked like she wasn’t ready. However, American Idol pushed her back into music. “They reached out to me and my parents told me I had to do it. It wasn’t ideal for me but it put me back into music. I might have given up.” In Vasi’s eyes, everything does happen for a reason. She talks about her experience with abuse because people need to hear it. She does still deal with some of the side effects but she believes life is about figuring it out. “ I’m learning to be kinder to myself on this journey.” With more words of wisdom, Vasi stresses “ You have to work for it. You have to cry for it. You have to hurt for it. Just make sure that it’s your dream.” Balancing a home life, education and dreams aren’t easy. Make sure you check out her new single “My, My, My” on Spotify. And more of Lee Vasi on these platforms:

 

 

 


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