This episode is all about Jaela DonMartin, an 18-year-old freshman at Baruch College who started her career as Lil Boo just 3 years ago.
AMBI: Music plays for 3-4 seconds then fades out, but still in the background.
INTRO: The late Aretha Franklin once said, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.” I’m Giselle Medina and welcome back to Hidden Gems, a podcast where we meet upcoming artists and talk about their drive in becoming well-known.
AMBI: Music plays for 3-4 seconds then fades out.
TRACK: Jaela DonMartin is an 18-year-old freshman at Baruch College from Bushwick who started rapping around 3 years ago. I met Jaela this semester at WBMB Baruch College’s Radio Station. I didn’t know she was an artist because of how quiet and timid she is that is until one of my friends recommended her for this podcast. When I’m about to interview Jaela, she’s wearing black on black with big gold hoops, which is pretty comfortable and warm considering it’s snowing heavily this Monday morning. Then we start to talk about how she got into music.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Um, I always wanted to be a performer since I was little. Um, I actually got into acting first before anything, so I was in like theater classes when I was younger, so I always liked performing. It was just like the transition from that to musical performance.
TRACK: Jaela made it apparent that her family has no rhythm she, however, is a very artistic person and has always loved to express herself through some form of art.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Like I draw, I act I do a bunch of different things, but like music was the only thing that really spoke to me and it was the only thing that I saw like people really responding to and I was, um, performing and like putting things out. So this was it. In middle school, I was playing instruments and I was performing with like instruments and stuff like that. And I just felt like I wasn’t expressing myself properly. Like I just love, I love playing music. I love music, period. Um, but I felt like I wasn’t expressing myself. So once I started writing, I can’t sing, so I’ll be writing actual songs at first and then I realized I really cannot sing. So then I found rap. So when I started rapping and I started sounding good, I was like, okay, okay. So I decided to stop performing with um rap.
TRACK: Jaela sometimes uses the studio at WBMB and she locks herself in there and you can hear a beat going and her just freestyling over it.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: My process is different for everything. Um, sometimes I’ll have just words in my head and I’ll write it out and find a beat and like see how it fits. Other times I’ll hear a beat and like the song comes to me. It just depends like what vibe I’m going for.
TRACK: On her Youtube Channel, she not only has her own songs but her freestyles as well. Here’s a clip of her freestyle of ‘Act Up’ by City Girls.
AMBI: Freestyle of ‘Act Up’ by City Girls.
TRACK: Jaela became Lil Boo at around 15 years old. Her first song is L’s and she shot a music video for it and everything, she even paid for it with her summer youth check. She was pretty excited about it in the beginning but looking back at it, she’s not too fond of the song anymore. Now, Lil Boo is performing all around Brooklyn and even doing small shows.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: I usually just perform in Brooklyn ‘cause that’s where most of the venues are at. I mostly like the connections I have. Um, but I performed at S.O.B.’s in Manhattan, Black Dorm Club in Queens um, do like little smaller venues. But my biggest one was at S.O.B.’s. I did the Bushwick Block Party. That was my biggest performance I had opened up for um, Cameron, CS Move all the dips that actually, um, Foxy Brown. So that was cool.
TRACK: Here’s a clip of Lil Boo’s verse off of the Ray Rav song “War” at a show in Bushwick mid-November.
AMBI: “War” fades in.
TRACK: Jaela told me that she performs at least once a month during the week and weekends. My first thought, “When does she have the time?” She’s a full-time student and the first semester of freshman year is pretty tough transition wise. So, when I asked her how do you balance both your lives, she dropped her head and eyes as if she were saying “well damn” and I could tell in her face, that it’s a lot for her.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Um, it’s hard, it’s really hard because I’ll be in the middle of doing an essay and then a song idea comes to my head and I’m not gonna let the song idea go. So it’s just a challenge. I don’t sleep a lot. Um, there’s sometimes where I have shows and I’m outside until three o’clock in the morning and I have to come to a 7:00 AM class the next day. So there’s no like real balance and being an artist and then coming to school, um, I just make it work.
Do you have most of your shows on the weekends or during the week?
Um, well, a lot of the like not great shows on the weekends where it’s just like small little venues, but more like the industry performances. Like I did a couple of shows with Power 105 and those are all during the week, like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays are usually like the day that they had those shows.
And would you say music then is your priority?
I would say music and my priority just because of the fact that I’m choosing my major in that field. So it’s like I’m not really trying to do anything else besides music.
TRACK: Despite having to juggle both her lives, Jaela loves performing and putting out music.
ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Like the most fulfilling part. Um, just like feeling everybody’s energy when I get on stage, seeing people’s reactions when I’m performing music. Um, that’s the most fulfilling part. Like of course it’s always self-fulfillment. When I finish a song, when I get out the studio and like the songs done, not hear it from like the idea I had to be in like completely done. But performing gives us like a whole ‘nother energy.
AMBI: “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav (play for a few seconds and leave in the background).
TRACK: About a month ago, Lil Boo released “Levels” featuring Ray Rav and this past Friday, their music video came out.
AMBI: Fade in “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav for a few seconds then fade out (leave in the background).
TRACK: Thanks for listening, catch another “hidden gem” in the next episode!
AMBI: Fade in “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav for a few seconds.