I found out about Hazel Rose aka Miss Haze through MISS photographer favorite Amanda Lopez. I immediately noticed Miss Haze’s strength, but most importantly her positivity. With so many artists, men and women alike, talking down to women it was a pleasure to hear about strong women. In a lot of ways Miss Haze represents what the Bay Area is about to me – you take away the sheen of LA and the grit of NY and your left with Bay Area soul.
What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
I love legendary women like Frida Kahlo, artist/activist Arundhati Roy, or someone like Bjork, who let every aspect of their being become their art and mission. From social interactions, to clothing, performance, to spirituality. I want to push the boundaries of art and explore this multi-dimensionality and new ways that art can be integrated in and can transform society.
How did you get your start in music?
I’ve written poetry forever, since unrequited love poems in grade school . I got into spoken word poetry with an organization called Youth Speaks, who I now teach with. I got into emceeing in high school with my girl crew we called “Galaxy” freestyling on my stoop and drinking 40oz’s in Dolores Park. Then I started getting down with SF family like Since88 and 40Love in high school.
How did 40Love get together?
Our producer Mikos and emcee G-OFF grew up together in the same Buddhist community, practicing Nichiren Buddhism, based on the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, a transformative practice based on humanitarian values and the shared goal of World Peace. Myself and Julio (DJ The Whooligan) now practice it as well. I met Mikos at Youth Speaks, and the boys met through Amoeba Records, where Julio was working at the time and where they would always go in and chop it up about new releases. We started about 40 years after the Summer of Love in SF, so we also got inspired by that movement and thinking of new ways to try and use music to unify.
How is it being the only woman in 40Love?
It’s a great dynamic for me, because the boys are so dope, they’re crazy, funny, and music nerds so I’m always learning from them. People never expect me to rap, so I like surprising them .
A lot of your music has a “girl power” message. Is it important for you to convey that through your music? Why?
It is important for me to convey a conscious message, not even necessarily just for women, but for all beings. I studied Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Berkeley, and have always been interested in the use of art as a tool for shifting dominant paradigms that are pushed by our empire. I’ve started my life’s work through art and teaching, because also something I learned through international studies is the importance of starting out at home, where you know the history, with an aim to make a global impact. Especially because people in this country do have so much power– we are deeply connected to global systems and power structures, and need to be aware and take action based on that. It’s even more important to me to be an example to young girls and students who I see don’t really have role models that can affirm their experience and their value, especially in hip hop. I want to help be that for young men and women.
What’s your favorite song that you’ve written or performed?
I think I’m moving into a new stage in my writing , and when I feel unsettled or challenged like that I know I’m where I want to be as far as growth. So it could be my newest track, “Dynasty” I wrote on my birthday in collaboration with Since88. (VIDEO DROPPING NEXT WEEK!)
You recently collaborated on a piece of jewelry for the release of the 40Love Dreams Don’t Sleep album. Is it your first design project? Any interest in designing more jewelry, accessories or clothing?
Yes, it’s my first design project, although I’ve always loved visual arts and made stickers and drawings, as well as making props and art for videos. I think I’ll have to leave the design to the designers, although I loved being a part of making jewelry with stones that had powerful properties, like our Warrior of Love earrings that had a sword and healing Rose Quartz. I will be getting into more video production however, specifically in my arts collective’s new Webisode series based on alchemy, that’s gonna be dropping next year .
Who do you want to work with?
So many artists! Anyone that really has a deep passion for their craft and wants to share minds and build. But as far as producers, Flying Lotus and Diplo are two that I would love to vibe with.
What part of writing and performing is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
Hmm, it could be the pressure (outward or self-imposed) to fit the kind of music that is really selling these days. But I just have to believe I am a vessel, and as an artist all I can really do is truthfully reflect on the human experience and work to transform my own mind state and vibrations in doing so. So that’s really not a choice, I have to honestly express or else the music would be false.
Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in the music industry?
Yes! There’s room for more than one of us, and don’t be afraid to speak on all of the multitudes you contain. I think we should be able to own our own sexuality at whatever capacity we want to. Carve out spaces for yourself and never stoop lower than your value in order to progress in the industry. Holding self respect, dignity, and mission for whatever it is that’s your expression are key. Also I would say, although “don’t drink the pickle juice”, (-Nicki), take every opportunity to perform, even for just a couple people, but constantly hone your craft so it’s something you’re proud of and can stand behind. Plant seeds and network with your community, because they won’t show love if you don’t. Try and figure out ways your work can be necessary to people, creating a new niche. and as obvious as it sounds, keep grinding every day and don’t give up, because no one will advocate for you if you aren’t.
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