by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
Grammy-nominated bassist Divinity Roxx made a name for herself playing R&B, funk and hip hop alongside musicians like Beyoncé. But’s it’s her solo bass slapping and lyrical riffs — poetic, hypnotic, and pointed — that take me to a different headspace (check out ‘Rebel’ here)
This fall, Divinity’s creating more of that — for the next generation. Her latest song (and video) “Ready Set Go!” is funky, fun and inspiring tune that we all need now, after the most challenging academic year in modern history.
“Put that pep in your step, put that pride in your stride,” she sings to the beat as a cool keyboard-and-bass melody flutters underneath, urging the listener to embrace the day.
“When I started writing the lyrics, they seemed to write themselves,” Divinity Roxx tells Rockmommy. “I wanted to talk about being prepared for a new day and everything that goes into that. I wanted kids to feel like every new day is filled with possibility and as long as they were prepared, they could meet that possibility with success.”
We recently caught up with Divinity to talk about making music, theory and the best way rockmommies like me (with small hands and limited time) should practice.
Rockmommy: Hi Divinity! For our readers who don’t much about you, how would you describe your music?
Divinity Roxx: My music is a mood elevator, a culmination of all the genres that have inspired me over the years based on hip-hop and funk.
Rockmommy: How long have you been playing bass? Did you start with another instrument?
Divinity Roxx: I’ve been playing the bass since my 2nd year in college. I played the clarinet throughout elementary and middle school.
Rockmommy: This song “Ready Set Go!” is such a perfect ‘back to school’ anthem right now. It’s super catchy! How was this created?
Divinity Roxx: Ready Set Go! was created initially as part of a pre-k curriculum. They were looking for a song about being prepared, so I thought the title ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ was perfect. When I sat down to write it I wanted to create something really fun and catchy.
One of my favorite songs is ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ (I’m not kidding). It is the simplest song, yet it is so profound, lyrically and musically. It will also stand the test of time. I’m always striving to write a song with all of those qualities. Twinkle is also in the key of C. I wanted ‘Ready Set Go! to be in the key of C but I didn’t want a typical 1, 4, 5 progression. So, I used a bit of my theory knowledge and started playing chords on the piano around the key of C but starting on F major, and eventually, I began making my way around the progression of the song, which still turned out to be a 4, 1, 5 kinda thing.
After looping that for a bit and adding the drums, I picked up the bass and began playing around the progression. The line started writing itself. I’ve learned to let the bass do that. I try to interfere but the bass is usually telling me what it wants to do, and it’s always right.
My favorite part of the song is the bassline, especially in the 2nd half of the chorus. It kinda feels like that Atlanta skating rink vibe. I’m from Atlanta and I used to love skating at the skating rink. My dad would take us there on the weekends. The DJ kept the party going so I wanted to keep the party going in the song. When I started writing the lyrics, they seemed to write themselves. I wanted to talk about being prepared for a new day and everything that goes into that. I wanted kids to feel like every new day is filled with possibility and as long as they were prepared, they could meet that possibility with success.
Rockmommy: How was the video produced? It’s so fun!
Divinity Roxx: I wanted to make a lyric video because we didn’t have much of a budget to hire a videographer and do the whole music video production hullabaloo. We (my wife and I) set up two tripods and recorded the video with our phones (iPhone and Android) in front of a green screen in our apartment. We spent a day recording me by myself performing the song in my home studio. Then we asked our little primo and my Goddaughter if they’d like to be in the video.
They loooved the song and had been singing it for months so it was only right to have Sofia and Ryan join us. Again, in front of the green screen in our apartment, after their parents said yes, of course. I was resistant to editing the shots myself because there were so many good shots to choose from and I wanted someone else who was looking at it from a different vantage point to choose the best shots so I had a friend of mine who is a talented video editor edit the video.
I had found a company online to do the graphics and sent them some reference ideas about how I wanted it to look and they knocked it out of the park. Lyricvideo.tv. Those guys are great. I think they’re based in India.
Rockmommy: What are some of the best musical moments you’ve experienced this summer?
Divinity Roxx: This summer, while strange, has afforded me some awesome musical moments. I was really excited about a song I was featured on, ‘Family Reunion’ with a fellow Family Music artist, Fyutch. I also played my first Family Music live show at Levitt Pavilion in Westport, Conn. That was exciting. And I played an adult show in Tenafly, N.J. and gained a new group of fans. I hadn’t played live in a long time so it was great to get back on the stage. Still got it… ;).
Rockmommy: What are you looking forward to, or hoping for, for the fall?
Divinity Roxx: I’m looking forward to releasing a full-length Family Music Album titled ‘Ready Set Go!’ in October and I’m also looking forward to releasing my next single, ‘Happy and Healthy’ in September alongside an even cooler project that I can’t disclose at the time but I really hope I’m able to share it with Rockmommy when it drops.
Rockmommy: How can I get better at playing bass while trying to juggle everything else in my life?
Divinity Roxx: Try to use the time when you are practicing to experience some joy. If you set a 20-minute timer to “practice” be sure that you split that time up into sections, with a warm-up (1-2 minutes), some focused scale stuff (5-7 mins), and then some jamming (playing songs, making up songs, jamming along to records, etc) (12 mins).
And/or switch off between focused practice and focused fun. I think when we start a new instrument as adults (especially when we already play an instrument), we spend too much time judging ourselves and whether we sound good, or whether we’re improving-which means we aren’t having any fun. Playing music is supposed to be fun. And if you only have 20 minutes, then make it the most fun 20 minutes of your day.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.