If you’re from Miami, or if you’re familiar with the urban scene and everything that’s popping on South Florida, Stichiz is surely on your radar. She’s one of the most popular radio personalities and influencers on the scene. Record labels court her because they know she’s got her pulse on the Miami market. Marketers and publicists seek her out because they know that once their client has got the Stiching Stamp, they’re set. Firms and organizations looking for an influencer who has a genuine connection with Miami’s movers and shakers blow up her phone and clog her email inbox non-stop. As one of 103.5 The Beat’s radio deejays, Stichiz not only pumps the hottest jams for the tri-county demo, but also inspires her audience and fans through her work as a community activist and hip-hop artist.
Kreyolicious: Tell us more about yourself.
First and foremost, thank you kindly for taking the timeout to speak with me…super shout out to Kreyolicious and thank you for supporting indie artists. Originally from Ottawa, Canada and of Haitian decent, I am an artist,[and besides being] a radio personality, [I am also a] voiceover actress, a lover of my community, a lover of God-Jesus Christ, music, life and positive vibes.
Kreyolicious: When you were in high school, were you part of your school’s radio station, or were you an announcer?
Funny enough, in high school, my best friend and I rallied support to create a TV and film production course, which I believe they may still have today. Not so much radio, but more so on camera and mc’ing. During lunch, we would create “Freestyle Friday” sessions where we would have students battle each other—but all in good fun. I would rap a few bars and host. [Laughter]
Kreyolicious: Your name stands out for sure. How did you get the name Stichiz?
I actually got my name when I was a little a kid. My older sister was really heavy in music, and she knew a number of deejays. One day, she was meeting with a deejay friend of hers and she was like, “Hey…my sister knows how to rap!” And I guess I really didn’t exemplify the typical female MC. I was like maybe eleven or twelve years old at the time. And he’s like, “Yeah, right…Spit something.” I looked at her she gave me the nod. I looked at him, and just started going. He was like, “Yo, she just gave me stitches, son”. And from then on, it stuck. Every time I rap, I try to give people stitches. [It’s an] inside joke. Oh, and not to mention my sister’s name was also Lace. So, it pretty much made sense.
Above: Stichiz poses with two guests of 103.5 The Beat.
Kreyolicious: It’s an especially exciting time for you. You’re releasing your first EP? What was it like putting it together—choosing the songs to include, and deciding who to work with?
Yes. I am super excited about my new EP which is currently titled #SoulSearching which will be released in 2016! Though with most of my songs I always end up having a message behind it, this EP is also centered on inspiration. Like many I experienced a lot of pain, loss, etc. spiritual battles and still tried to keep a smile on my face. #SoulSearching will pretty much take you on a journey from real love to reggae/Creole wake up vibes and smooth not-fully-jazzy, but kind of melodic sounding, stiching vibes. What is “stiching”? If you anyone has heard any of my other compilations #StichzophrenicMusic, “The New Standard”, “Dark Sunny Days” etc, you already have an idea. [Laughter] If not, then once you listen to #SoulSearching—you will find out for sure.
Kreyolicious: Do you have a favorite track on the CD?
Honestly, I love the whole CD. A few tracks in particular that I think many will cling to first is “Really Love” produced by a good friend of mine Tracksionz, mixed by Jorge from Studio Center. It’s really just an easy flowing track that I think almost anyone can listen to. It speaks of the true essence of love. I really wanted to speak for the woman lyrically who truly loves the man that she feels she’s been blessed with as a life partner. The second one is called #SoulSearching aka “Moving Mountains”—instruments played by Tracksionz as well, and mixed by Robert Dante (Red Velvet Basement Studios). The track is short, but the making of it was amazing I had a vision to gather four singers onto one track and the names that came to mind were Lavie, Sassy Singz, Giel and Ichechi. These ladies all have amazing ranges of voices, and have great spirits and were down to sing a song that I wrote. It’s one of those moving Yass-God, faith-based inspirational tracks. And of course, you know I had to have a Creole hip-hop reggae track on there which so far those who have heard ‘really love’—no pun intended. [Laughter] There is also another track called “My Black Is Beautiful”. Funny story about that record…a good friend of mine called me while I was in the studio, and she was telling me about what happened to her daughter. Her daughter was pretty much told by a young boy’s father that her complexion was too dark, which made her feel unattractive. That really messed with my mind, and I hear so many stories of our woman and men having low self-esteem because of their complexion. Typically, if you are a shade darker, it is not considered beautiful. So, I took all of that and went into the booth and just started making sounds and lyrics came out. All the sounds you hear on that particular record I made with my voice. So, it’s pretty cool—and I hope motivating.
Stichiz wears boots and an all-black leather outfit here and poses with members of the 103.5 The Beat family in Miami.
Kreyolicious: Is finding inspiration for your art easy?
Thank you Jesus. For me, yes it is…because my inspiration comes from life itself, a lot of it is my life, or stories I know about and people and things I am introduced to.
Kreyolicious: How important is image to an artist’s success?
I learned at a very young age [that] it is very important. However, with social media being so prevalent you can kind of get away with a few things that you wouldn’t before. I think that mainly because if you can build your following on your own, then your base will 9 times out of 10 stick with you no matter what you look like. Today, many would still say that you still need a lick of talent to make it in the industry. If you have a great image, you’re golden! I have always been a believer in staying true to who you are… because at the end of the day, what will last longer my image or the message and music? People are will eventually be able to tell if you are faking something!
Kreyolicious: Was it easy to get to where you are? What are some of the things you had to overcome?
Not at all…and honestly I don’t believe I’ve reached my peak as yet [laughter], but am thankful to sweet Jesus that I am not where I was. [Laughter] I think one of the biggest obstacles especially being a woman in Christ in this industry, is standing my ground on what I am willing and unwilling to do. My focus is inspiring and connecting, changing things for the better how ever God allows me to, and I believe He gave me the ability to do that through music. However, that’s not always easy when people expect you to dress a certain way, rap about certain things when it’s not who you are. That was one of my main challenges, but I can honestly say I am moving forward and blessed with people around me who believe in what I do—and how I am doing it.
Kreyolicious: What was it like working with Mecca AKA Grimo and Grimass, your fellow Miami MCs for the song “We Dem Zoes”?
Those guys are awesome they are all super amazing to work with and they are all super talented. When Magnificent Beats—the producer—and Dj Epps gave us our first track to work on together, while we were in Studio Center. It just clicked. I really thank God that we are able to push forward with this project. It will be something amazing, barrier-breaking and really inspirational.
Kreyolicious: How would you describe the music scene in Miami right now?
I think music in general is still on the scale of dance type follow along music, and really up-tempo rap ride tracks… I’m from Broward and the music that I notice circulating around is either like I mentioned up tempo follow along tell you what I do type of dance tracks, or a slow ride out vibe type of track—if that makes any sense.
Be on the lookout for PART TWO of the interview with Stichiz. Meanwhile…