Condola Rashad has dedicated 2020 to honing her craft and diving into a burning passion of hers: music. Prior to releasing her self-funded, produced, written and co-directed visual EP SPACE DAUGHTER, Condola ‘Dola’ Rashad was the lead singer and songwriter of an alternative band, “Condola & The Stoop Kids” in New York City and trained as a classical pianist during her adolescent years. Since then, she’s released visual artistry for “Give Up The Gold,” “Running In Place,” “What I Said,” and her most popular “Too Fire,” which is sitting pretty at 85k views on YouTube.
HelloBeautiful had the chance to catch up with The four-time Tony Award nominated actress turned musician about SPACE DAUGHTER, how her mother has played a role in her style and aesthetic, divine feminism and the importance of authenticity.
HELLO BEAUTIFUL: Tell me about how you originally got your start in music and what did you find the most beautiful about the language of music?
Condola Rashad: Music, which is what a lot of people didn’t know, was my first expression as an artist. Music is my language. My memories are stored in music, the way that I create music isn’t just based on other musicians or other songs that I hear. It’s also based on my personal experiences, so I can be inspired by colors, I can be inspired by taste, I can be inspired by film. It is it’s own language and for me, I think what I love about it is that it’s so universal. There’s not one culture that doesn’t thrive from music. Music is something that reaches everybody all the time. Vibrations and nature are something that we live off of, even sounds that we hear everyday. Technically, it’s all music. It’s not even super intellectual just so much as it is a life force.
What are some of the best pieces of style and beauty advice that your mother Phylicia Rashad has ever given you?
My mom has some really great items in her closet. In fact, a lot of the costumes from the videos were actually from her closet from the early 90s and the 80s. I pulled a lot of things from her closet. (Laughs) My mother’s very authentic in her own style and she’s the same way. It’s not so much about what she taught me verbally, but more so what she taught me by living her own life.
How do you remain authentic through your style, inner and outer beauty, and pertaining to all things fashion, beauty and hair?
Just don’t get swayed, you know? I wear my hair the way I want to wear my hair every day. I dress up for myself even during quarantine. I paint my nails for myself, not for anybody else, and I think that’s something that’s really important. How are you treating yourself and how are you showing up for yourself when you’re not on camera? How are you showing up for yourself when you’re not on a Zoom interview? How are you showing up for yourself when you’re not dating somebody? How are you showing up for yourself in everyday life? That’s where your authenticity is: how you’re showing up for yourself when no one is around.
How did your background at the California Institute of the Arts play into your artistic direction and personal style?
I felt like CalArts really opened my eyes to how dynamic and how broad my artistry is. What it taught me was, after graduating and moving forward, there will always be people who put you inside of a box. That is human nature to put things in boxes so we can label them and so we can think we can understand them. I think that’s the most important thing in order to not be knocked out of alignment by that is to just realize that you don’t have to put yourself in a box and as long as you don’t put yourself in a box, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. I learned that I have the capacity to play any role and to tell any story. Because I have that understanding, that’s how I’m able to walk into every room and I attract opportunities because of how I think of myself.
How did you decide on the title of SPACE DAUGHTER? It’s named after your musical alter-ego, right?
It’s funny [because] SPACE DAUGHTER just came to me and to be honest with you, I didn’t know what exactly it was. I didn’t know if it was the album, a song, my name as a musical artist – I didn’t know. The more I just sat with it, all of a sudden it became very clear to me. SPACE DAUGHTER is my playful ode to the divine feminist and all of the different spaces that she fills. In this particular project, at the beginning of every single music video, you see the main manifestation of Space Daughter, which is when she’s wearing white. Through some action of hers, she always physically transforms into another version of herself to tell a different story, which is my playful way of saying that’s kind of what we do. If we are all manifestations of the same energy, we’re all telling different stories of the energy. All of our lives are just different stories with the same energy.
Certain artists have different viewpoints on this, but I want to know yours. What’s the importance of an image or a certain style when it comes to an artist’s or musician’s brand?
I think the most important thing is that it’s authentic. If you don’t care about image, then you don’t care about image and that’s authentic. If you care about image and you want to make it look like you’re “this” and that’s authentic to you, the most important thing. That’s really all that matters especially these days. It’s always been the most important thing, but at this moment more so [because] so many false structures are crumbling. Authenticity is key right now.
What are any pieces of advice that you have for any reader pertaining to confidence and self-esteem, especially when trying to remain creative and motivated during quarantine?
I think it’s about allowing yourself to flow. There is this push and this pressure on ourselves to create, make and do something, especially during this quarantine. As soon as you remove all the pressure from yourself and you allow yourself to just flow and just be, you’d be surprised at what can catch your eye and what you realize about yourself that may automatically draw you into a different path. It’s important to find a balance, but you also don’t want to force yourself to be busy just for the sake of being busy. That will never help you either. It’s about taking care of yourself, checking in with your people, making sure that you’re surrounded by a soul tribe and making sure that you’re not surrounded by anything that will drain you. You shouldn’t starve your light for those who only feed off of your shadow.