Curb | Word Entertainment's powerhouse vocalist Blanca has released her highly anticipated sophomore album Shattered. The album is produced by Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury (Lauren Daigle), Tedd T (for KING & COUNTRY), COBRA (Lecrae, KB, Hollyn), Bernie Herms (Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey), Jordan Sapp (Tauren Wells, Jordan Feliz, Aaron Cole), Jeff Sojka, Josh Zegan (Stars Go Dim, Mat Kearney), Tommee Profitt (NF, Fleurie) and features artists Redimi2 and Tye Tribbett.
A second generation Puerto Rican, the native New Yorker's next album focuses on moving forward and healing one's heart after losing her mother last year to breast cancer.
Shattered is the follow-up to the former Group 1 Crew member's explosive self-titled debut in 2015, which garnered two #1 radio singles, "Who I Am" and "Not Backing Down (feat. Tedashii)," the latter of which was featured on ESPN. Blanca's EP Real Love added a third #1 single to her name to go along with her 25.7 million streams and more than 16.2 million views on YouTube.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Let me start by saying I feel so sorry hearing about your mother's death. How are you now?
A: Dealing with a loss to that extent is always difficult. So there are moments that I'm doing well, then there's moments where you know, wave hits you. And you either remember a moment; I remember a moment with my Mom or I have a bad day and I wish I could talk to her. Or it's my son's birthday and she's not there. So I don't think that ever goes away, but there's always moments that are harder than others. Overall though, I'm very thankful that I have a great support system and that I'm pushing through and doing okay. It's crazy that it's been almost two years.
Q: Tell us a little about your mother. How did she influence as a person?
A: My mother was amazing. She was a super strong woman, hard worker. I mean has worked so hard for me and my brother for her whole life. She was the pillar of my family, brought us all together, was organized. She always did the parties and get togethers and outings and was loved by everyone. She was everyone's shoulder to cry on, and the counselor in our family. We call her the pillar or the glue or the angel to our family. Seeing how hard she worked, but yet how selfless she always was and how she would take care of us, and work a full time job, and take my brother to football practice and me to choir practice or theater practice, and have dinner ready, and get us snacks. She did it all. She was always accessible, easy to talk to, would give the shirt off her back for anyone in need. She was also super hilarious, super real and funny and just a fun and happy soul. She influenced me as a person and in who I want to be moving forward as a mother and as a friend to the people around me.
Q: Was she a musician too? And how did she influence you as a musician?
A: She definitely influenced my music, my songs. On "Shattered", so many songs on my album were taken either from the experience of losing my mom or in some way honoring her, it's as if she's woven throughout. Either a story or a memory or just how to cope with losing her, not having her. She was not a musician; she did not sing. She's actually very shy. I think I get more of my outspoken personality and love for music from my father, who also was a Christian. He was actually a Christian latin singer. So that's where I think I get the music, the passion for music from.
Q: I have read that it's one of your mother's wish for you to connect with your Latin roots. How have you connected to your Latin roots in your new album "Shattered"?
A: Well, this is always a dream of mine just because I know my parents always wanted me to do this. My mom would always talk to me and say 'you should just try, do something for your Dad's legacy and to honor him because he passed away in 2011 to cancer, and just for your family; it's apart of who you are and your roots.' So I actually did a song called "Give it All" on my album. That was kind of like the little open door into the Latin market. I had a big urban Latin artist named Redimi2 feature on the song in Spanish. Then shortly after that, I came out on his album as a feature, and then I released "Real Love", my first single off of this record in Spanish called "Amore Real".
It was crazy just to see the response from people in Latin countries. In Puerto Rico, in Honduras, Colombia, and Brazil, all responding to me singing in Spanish. It was quite beautiful to see how God wove that all together. I plan to release a EP next year of translated songs from, "Shattered", in Spanish and then maybe some include some original songs on there as well. I'm looking forward to releasing that and continuing to grow in the latin space.
Q: Describe for us how was it like to write songs for this record especially with your mother's passing?
A: I think I started writing for this record shortly after she passed. I remember going into the studio at times like for songs "What If" and Give It All", "Remind Me" just feeling so empty and emotionally drained. It's so hard to find inspiration to pull from in that mindset. Yet in some way, I listen back to these songs now, and I can remember the place that I was in at that moment and it's amazing to see how God's hand and faithfulness has been on my life and the healing that has taken place through the music and being able to write my emotions down on paper. So this album is definitely one that's very close to my heart just because I feel like a piece of me is in the music; not that it in the past it hasn't been that way, but I just feel like a piece of Mom and that relationship that we had. I listen to these songs and I feel like she's in them as well, so that makes it very special.
Q: What was the most difficult song to write on this new album?
A: I think my two strongest, emotionally--it's so hard, it's so hard to pick, but two of the songs that I feel most connected to emotionally are "Shattered", the title track of the record and "Real Love". I wrote both of them after my Mom had passed away, but "Shattered" especially, I had written down words about how broken I felt, and I wrote down 'shattered' in my notes. How I wanted to create a song that talks about God's redeeming power, and how He's able to take you at your most broken place and restore it and make you stronger through that process. I think back to actually recording that song in the studio and I remember of having just that lump in my throat of wanting to burst into tears and holding it back to get through the song. And we actually used the original vocals from that first time I ever sang it on the mic. Usually I re-record it for the album, but we kept the demo vocals on the actual track because we could never recreate kind of the emotion on that day.
Q: How do you wish this new album would help your listeners, especially those who are hurting?
A: The one thing that I wanted the most out of this album was to be honest and transparent with where I was at in my life. Sometimes you have songs like "Numb", that talk about how I don't want to go numb, I don't want to not feel. That's where I normally go when I'm overwhelmed or when I'm dealing with trauma or pain. Or you have songs like "Real Love" that just feel like there an expression of my heart just like on paper.
I wanted people to know that I was willing to go to those places in this record. And the kind of the note that I kept telling myself is my healing is your healing. I didn't want to just be like 'okay this is my story. I'm just going to talk about my pain and that's it.' No, I wanted to give pain a picture and take people on a journey of all these mixed emotions that I was going through. And hopefully meet them where they're at to let them know that if you're at a broken place, if you're at a hard place, you are not going through this alone; you're not the only one that's facing these hard situations that maybe we don't always talk about, but we're going to in this music. I want to talk about the ugly, the hard and the real things that we go through. Hopefully through my healing in this music allows someone else to heal as well as they hear me healing through the songs. That is my wish through this new album.