On The Come Up: The Retrofuturistic Alissia Benveniste

On The Come Up: The Retrofuturistic Alissia Benveniste

Also known as Baby Z, Alissia is a producer on the rise who dances to her own beat.

Also known as Baby Z, Alissia is a producer on the rise who dances to her own beat.

Photography: Elijah Dominique

Text: Stella Pak

You can find Alissia experimenting with bass lines, keyboards, and tapping away at all her musical toys as she’s cooking up tracks in her studio, The Spaceship. It’s a 2020 dream fantasy of a production studio with a funk gloss splashed all over. Completely taking over the living room of her apartment in Soho, it’s appropriate when she’s living out her dreams and making them reality.

Also known as Baby Z, a nickname given to her by the great Bootsy Collins, it’s no wonder you can find her threads of influence in funk. She carves her own lane and cuts through the sonic trends of pop. Co-signed by top artists such as Mark Ronson, Cee-Lo Green, Rafael Saadiq, George Clinton and Q-Tip to drop a few names, Baby Z is on the come up as we’re searching for the next new thing.

You can’t miss her big curls, feline features and curt smile when she takes over the turntables during her off time at the Public Hotel and fashion events as she steals the scene and hides away back to the Spaceship ready to break out new beats.

There's a deep funk edge to your music. How did you land on that genre?

I’m a big music nerd. I like to dig in and find new records and the more I got into that 70s funk/soul era the more I wanted to learn about it. When I started to learn bass I wanted to learn all the funky bass lines that exist that made me fall in love with that genre. There was a point when I only listened to music from 70s-85. People where asking me what I listened to all the time so that made me want to start DJing. To share good music with everyone!

How do you merge funk and update the sound?

To me whatever music feels good, that people can bounce to, dance or feeling good or bad, then it’s a success. I feel like people will always like funk no matter the generation because it’s groovy and makes you wanna dance. I don’t think the sound needs to be updated. If it’s funky and good that’s it! One thing I love about funk is that each instrument has a specific part and they all sound great on their own. When you put everything together it sounds great because they work and leave space for each other. That’s what I try to do no matter what type of music I’m working on.

I always catch you wearing a beret with your big hair and it gives me flashbacks of Janet Jackson back in the 90's. Who is your style icon?

I love the fashion that was going on during that time. Baggy pants, fitted top, beret, hats, tiny glasses, army jacket and boots, all of it! I always think it’s important to be comfortable but badass at the same time and own your look. Also, love the 70’s for fashion. When I spend hours on youtube looking at videos of that time, I’m thinking, “These outfits are always on point!” I love that those eras are having a revival in fashion. And at the end of the day I’m a 90’s baby so I gotta represent!

If you were to go to the studio and make a record with 2 artists dead or alive, who would it be and what would you name the project?

It would probably have to be Prince and Sly because they are incredible multi instrumentalists, musicians, songwriters, singers and producers. I would probably be super nervous but I know I would learn a lot from them. I would call it “The Retrofuturistic Radio”.

What has been the most exciting collaboration you have to date?

I’m grateful for all of the people I’ve collaborated with. It means so much to be working with artists I’ve been looking up to. Working with Bootsy Collins was definitely a game changer for me. It’s funny because when I first picked up the bass before even getting into production I was only listening to James Brown for a while and that was him who created all of those bass lines. Fast-forward 5 years later, I’m sitting here producing and writing for his record. Everything was so magical and a beautiful learning experience for me. I’ve never worked this hard I was literally working day and night, pitching ideas, recording, writing or editing. I was asking myself, “Why does this funk master legend wants little me to write and produce on his record?” All I can say is, I am grateful for the opportunity and learned a lot.

What are your latest projects?

I recently worked with Mark Ronson. His music knowledge and the way he creates really inspired me. I also recently collaborated with Anderson Paak, who to me is one of the best artists on the current scene. His flow and musicality is crazy. I’m excited about the Artist who I am currently working with such as Yebba, Chris Turner, RickExpress, Clay and Tamera. They are soon going to take over for sure. I’m also working on my on record, which will feature amazing talents. Excited to share it with the world!

ALISSIA WEARS SUIT DIOR
Credits: Photo Credit: Elijah Dominique

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