Herizen | 5 Minutes With

“I always say I’m a selfish artist because I write music for me, it’s what I’m feeling and my memories”, says Herizen, the 23-year-old singer/songwriter and actress. Isn’t that what we want? Artists to be selfish and do it because it’s their main outlet. I would say that is the secret to being successful, doing something you love for yourself. 

The Cuban-Jamaican, Herizen Guardiola, born in Miami, is best known for her breakout role as Mylene Cruz on the Netflix Original series – The Get Down. Besides her flourishing acting career, Herizen entertains a whole other audience with her fearless experimentation with a mix of alternative, grunge, hip-hop, R&B, and dark pop magic. Her recent single ‘Hellboy’ is proof she’s not afraid to be vulnerable and honest with her lyrics. 

“I’m very wild and free, unapologetically true to who I am, to my emotions and expressions. I’m just what I am”, is how Herizen describes herself and truly owns it. She remembers her passion for music started as soon as she could talk. Not being able to pin exact memory, she’s sure ‘music was the first thing she remembers about this world.’ 

When you listen to her music, you can feel the diverse cultural background and various influences. Being a daughter of a nurturing “yogi, spiritual guide, and nutritionist” mom and Miami reggae legend Johnny Dread, Herizen admits her parents exposed her to all the genres: “My parents raised me on different types of music, from classic rock and reggae to temple chants and Celtic songs. I’m very lucky for this because it gave me an appreciation for all types of music which influences what I make now”. 

Exploring her work more profoundly, I recognized Herizen’s self-awareness and emotional intelligence. She expresses how being vulnerable is not always comfortable: “The fact that you are a sovereign being of Mother Earth, and have freedom of feeling and expression was instilled in me at a very young age. So I have no fear of emotion or sharing it with the world. That being said, it can still be very nerve-wracking and make you feel a bit naked or exposed, but that goes with being an artist, so I welcome that feeling”.

In 2018, Herizen debuted her first project, ‘Come Over To My House’ featuring fan favorites like ‘Get High’ and ‘Social Jungle.’ “I wanted it to be somewhat broken down and sound more raw, focused on my vocals. With the lyrics of the song to make it more personal, which was the tone of that project”, she describes the theme of the EP. 

Herizen continues by elaborating how songwriting is her main outlet: “I always say I’m a selfish artist because I write music for me. It’s what I’m feeling and my memories, which sounds bad when I say it out loud haha, but what made me want to make it into a career is realizing that I’m not alone in these feelings. Someone out there is going to hear my music and feel like they fit in, right there, for those 3 minutes, on that walk, or on the bus, or in their room, and the world’s just going to melt away”.

The first snipper of your upcoming EP is ‘Hellboy’. A track with a stunning accompanying video you can watch below. “‘Hellboy’ is a song about love and hate and a boy that put through heaven and Hell, and all the beautiful little things in-between”, Herizen explains. 

For some behind-the-scenes, the songstress shares her intentions behind the visuals: “It was a storyline I was trying to express my feelings behind the song in the video. We open on a purple field of flowers that seems almost like another reality, and there I am sitting alone dream-like.  Then we reveal a boy who represents the trigger that turns good dream bad. Then we ride the wave as I get more emotional and angry till mood gets darker. We get to another dream-like visual in the glow and dark section of the video (representing darkness) then we come back to the purple field that now feels almost like a memory, (back to the beginning), and then we end on me being alone again like I was at the beginning of the video”.

And yes, you heard, right. Herizen is soon releasing a new EP. As a little sneak peek, she talks about what the new project feels like: “It’s hard to say what to expect, but I can tell you what it feels like to me; and that it is warm like wood, sharp like silver, deep like blue, smells like purple, and feels like red.”

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Words: Karolina Kramplova