For LovelyOcean, the right words bring a welcome songwriting sea change.
The Los Angeles hip-hop singer-songwriter poetically shares her innermost thoughts about authenticity, self-awareness, passion and growth on her vintage-inspired debut album, LovelyOcean Forever, which dropped Aug. 14 via all streaming platforms.
“Forever started off with the idea of manifesting how I wanted my 2020 to go. I wanted to speak my wishes into existence through music. Words are some of our most powerful forms of manifestation. The themes in this album just came naturally since they’re real experiences,” she said.
LovelyOcean beautifully turns the hip-hop tide through eight reflective tracks infused with shiny synths, slow jams, catchy rhymes, euphoric beats and palpitating electronic percussion. Forever serves as a modern underground mixtape to inspire emerging and established female hip-hop artists looking for a new musical shoreline.
It’s the type of cassette artists would pass back and forth to create a stronger sense of camaraderie, collaboration and community. The exquisite “Forever (Intro)” sets an ideal old-school tone as the mixtape instantly clicks into a worn boombox and compelling skits from “The Maury Povich Show” are interspersed throughout the brief track.
Quiet, thoughtful piano echoes LovelyOcean’s introversion and peaceful presence as she reflects, “I could try to be louder or extroverted, but there’s beauty in my silence. From my silence comes observation, awareness, a story, a song, a forever.”
“I want to say that I started writing in February of this year, but once quarantine started I put everything on pause because I was super uninspired. One day I woke up, listened to two beats and then just started writing. All in all, it took three months to get everything written, recorded and edited. We converted a closet in the living room into our studio so every track recorded was in the closet,” LovelyOcean said.
Desire to Theta Waves
As part of her poignant sonic memoir, LovelyOcean rises above sea level on her latest single, “Desire,” which features muffled R&B samples morphing into slow romantic beats and throbbing electronic percussion. The track recalls the carefree days of young love mixed with a spontaneous dash of afternoon delight.
That early amorous escapade prompts LovelyOcean to reveal, “I wanna make love to ya, make fun with ya/Maybe reach across the bed just to cuddle with ya/I wanna spend time with ya, wine and dine with ya/Look directly into my face, I’m eye to eye with ya.”
“‘Desire’ was based on sexual freedom and frustration, and honestly, it really took me out of my comfort zone since I usually don’t rap about being sexual,” she said.
Another standout sea-shifting track includes “Consciousness” as energetic world percussion, thumping retro bass and breezy synths address eras of mounting racial injustice and oppression.
LovelyOcean openly shares, “While you livin’ in the moment, we’re just trying to get by/You say the 1 percent solicited for donations/They don’t care about causes, just CEOs gettin’ raises/You’re all, these fuckers are racist/But they exploit our culture/Talk down to my people while they barely employ us/And these times we live in/It’s really hard to ignore it.”
“‘Consciousness’ was written around the time that quarantine started but before the protests started. I wrote it in response to the racism and oppression Black people have dealt with for centuries. It’s hard to watch your people be murdered for no reason and given little to no justice,” she said.
Forever continues to weave LovelyOcean’s introspective lyrics with groovy, timeless beats from Juno, Cell, 318tae, Oddsprog, Sum Duke and AOA. She also collaborates with Chuck Chill, on the album’s drifty, dreamy closer, “Theta Waves.”
“He’s a super-talented artist who is always making great music and just came out with a tape called Tasty. I had to listen to a lot of beats until I found the sound I was going for. It’s really jazzy and relaxing, so I’ve been honing in on certain producers,” LovelyOcean said.
From West to East
LovelyOcean discovered her musical vessel while growing up in Monrovia, California and listening to her father’s expansive vinyl collection. Led Zeppelin, Lil’ Kim, The Fugees and a smattering of Death Row artists captivated LovelyOcean as she developed an interest in the guitar and started penning poetry as an accidental precursor to songwriting.
“Growing up, I was pretty shy and didn’t really talk unless it was necessary. I would write poetry in class because it was hard for me to vocalize how I was feeling, and it was easier to write. At the time, I had no idea that it would lead to songwriting years later, but my ability to capture my real and present emotions definitely stems from all the writing I did back then,” she said.
With a penchant for writing rhyme and verse, LovelyOcean started taking singing lessons in 2017 and purchased her first audio recording set on eBay. A year later, she recorded her first mixtape, Her Way, in her bedroom and adopted her husband’s former Instagram handle, lovelyoceanwaters, as her artist moniker.
In 2019, she dropped another mixtape, Universal Energy, which sought inspiration from “Star Trek” and intergalactic life. The two-track release features the buzzy, space-age anthem, “Fly Introvert,” and the jazzy aspirational ode to LA life on “The Hills.”
“‘Fly Introvert’ and ‘The Hills’ were the most popular songs and took the longest to write. I was always changing lyrics, and I wanted ‘Fly Introvert’ to sound random and carefree. I got the idea for ‘The Hills’ when I was driving on La Brea past Baldwin Hills and was like, ‘Damn, I wanna live there someday,’” she said.
“I thought of the first line of the hook while I was driving so I had to repeat it until I was able to stop and write it down. I feel like these two songs and that whole tape demonstrated the versatility of my songwriting,” LovelyOcean said.
With two mixtapes and a debut album, LovelyOcean continues to make waves with her honest lyrics, ‘90s East Coast hip-hop style and chill stage vibe. She’s currently working on a new track with Goldilocks and growing her vocal capabilities for upcoming projects in 2021.
“During this pandemic, a lot of my creativity has stemmed from the use psychedelics. I have ideas for new songs in my phone just waiting to be completed. I’ve had so many song ideas that have rapping and singing components, but I just couldn’t execute the singing part,” she said.
“I want to work on improving my vocal strength because I would love to incorporate that in future projects. In 2021, I hope to be a much stronger writer and more confident in my ability to deliver my raps. My goal is to be someone’s new favorite rapper that they actually look forward to hearing.”