Spellbinding – Lagniappe Mobile

Photo | facebook.com/cotaliya.meadows

Band: The Cotaliya “Soundtrack” Experience
Date: Friday, Sept. 23, with doors at 8 pm
Venue: Alabama Music Box, 12 S. Conception St., alabamamusicbox.com
Tickets: $15 adv./$20 day-of, available through the venue’s website

When local artists celebrate a studio effort, they usually hold the obligatory “album release party.” Madame Cotaliya De La Livre is planning for the release of her debut EP, “Soundtrack,” to be more of an experience than a party. Most may recognize De La Livre as the owner of Conjure South. Now the world will see her in a more musical context, especially those who witness “The Cotaliya Soundtrack Experience.”

Carried by De La Livre’s ethereal vocal work, “Soundtrack” is an impressive melange of hip-hop, EDM and goth sounds summoned from De La Livre’s creative dimensions. Before “Soundtrack” drops on digital platforms at 11 pm on Sept. 23, De La Livre will be giving her audience a spectacular live preview featuring a dance troupe, four costume changes and vibrant production elements. DJ Wermzer will be spinning throughout the night, and the opening set will be provided by Cvsh Clvy (Cash Clay) and A1, The Hook God. Lagniappe Music Editor Steve Centanni paid a visit to Conjure South to get acquainted with De La Livre’s musical endeavors.

Steve Centanni: Is this your first musical venture?

Cotaliya De La Livre: I’ve done music for a very long time. I’ve been professionally trained privately since the fifth grade. I’ve done glee club and show choir and all of that during high school. As a solo artist, yes, this is the first time that I will be introducing the world to the artist Cotaliya.

Centanni: What made you want to start focusing more on music?

From La Livre: Music, horseback riding and dance are the spaces that ground me. It’s where I find the peace that is my passion. In order to do the other things in my life, this is where I go to. I am a natural performer. I have always performed, since the age of 3. Performing is a natural space of mind. I understand that many people know me in other spaces. So, they view me as this one entity or one being, and it’s like, “This is only a part of me, not all of me.”

Through the pandemic, I think one of the biggest things that it taught everyone is to live now. Life is not as long as you may think that it is. You never know what will come around. In order for me to alleviate any kind of stress and anxiety, I immediately invested into this space. Interestingly enough, I thought about it during the pandemic. I thought that I have spent a majority of my life serving my community through the culture that I am a part of. When I go back and think about all of those things, I’ve never invested in myself. I said, “I’m going to do it.” So I’m doing it.

Centanni: What was it like entering that creative space?

From La Livre: For me, I’ve always sang and I’ve always danced. I’ve owned dance studios and companies for many, many years. It was never something that I had to find. It was something that I had to begin to invest in again. When I own my own studios, being in that environment, you think that you are feeding that creative aspect of you. You’re again being of service to the community and giving the community what they want. What I found from being in that space of music, I will often write about fantasies of mine and not so much of the reality of things. I also found that I really enjoy the journey of songwriting and expanding on my creative spaces of using my words to allude to certain things, which I think is amazing. I love journeys, in general. So, seeing the journey of my songwriting from beginning to end is amazing. I love that.

Centanni: What’s the songwriting process like for you?

From La Livre: I am inspired by beats. What music inspires me? It’s Middle Eastern, French music, because of my lineage, and the ’50s and ’60s. None of my music sounds like any of those things that I would listen to on a regular basis. When it comes to songwriting, the beat speaks to me. So, if I hear a beat or rhythm that resonates in my spirit, I immediately can come up with a hook. That’s where it is for me, where I know that some others are like, “I have to go through something or have to feel something in order to do it.” I’m like, “Have at it, sis! Have at it, bruh!” For me, I can be walking down Dauphin Street and hear the sounds of someone talking or the way that they’re walking, and I’m like, “I like this rhythm, and I’m going with it.” I start freestyling with it, and that’s where it’s at for me.

Centanni: What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about hearing the final product?

From La Livre: For me, what I get out of it is when I see that it has resonated with someone. It has allowed someone to escape their trauma or their troubles or their anxiety or their sadness or explore and escape into a space that they have the desire to be a part of or become infatuated with these things. That’s rewarding to me. Now, seeing people in 2022 with TikTok and Instagram Reels using your songs in different ways that you may not have known or intended it to be perceived. They perceive it in a different way, and you’re like, “Wow! I never thought about it that way!”

Centanni: What would you say is the overall message for listeners of “Soundtrack?”

From La Livre: First of all, “Soundtrack” is very much unlike me, meaning that I’m usually a conceptual person. I normally go with a theme, and I run with it. So, my “Spring” EP has a theme, and it’s complete. My “Summer” album that I’m working on has a complete theme, and I’m going with it. With “Soundtrack,” when I first listened to “Spell,” I thought that it sounded like it could be one of those “Lord of the Rings”-type situations or mystical kind of shows. Then, I turn around and listen to “Boo-Sais,” and I think, “This is so ‘P-Valley.’” So, to me, I hope that people are able to give each track their own life and not look at this project as a complete project but literally eight different doors to eight different worlds.

Centanni: Where did you lay tracks for the album?

From La Livre: I did it at my shop and at my house. I have an amazing partner that helps me compose my music, and we compose a majority of it myself. Then, I have a producer in Atlanta named Matt Tanner, who mixed and mastered. I haven’t met many people in the music industry, but I know talent, and I know when someone’s anointed. This man’s ear is anointed. I was like, “Where the hell did you hear this sound?” We call it “ear candies.” He will put in a sound that completely moves me. I don’t even know what I said in the song, because the sound moves me.

Centanni: Do you have any guest artists appearing on this album?

From La Livre: Yes, I do. I ran into this incredible young man by the name of Cvsh Clvy, and I was like, “I don’t know you, but I’m interested in hearing what you have.” He was like, “Here’s my friend A1, The Hook God.” I was like, “OK, I will follow your Instagram and just see.” I listened to their music, and I loved their style and loved their music and enjoyed how open they are to explore different emotions for themselves. In doing that. I was like, “I would love to write a song with you all.” I wanted to have them part of the show, which I was ecstatic about. So, they’ll be coming on.

So, you have A1, The Hook God, who is incredible. We have a song called “Wrong Person,” and I was like, “I don’t know where he’s going to go with this.” He came out with some of the most insane analogies. I’m like, “Where did this come from?” I love Cvsh Clvy, because he is not afraid to tap into that raw, relatable emotion that everyone has gone through. Also, there’s a producer called Tek, who has produced for a lot of major rap artists in town, who did the music for “Wrong Person.” I am mind blown, because I’m not really from Mobile. So, working with these artists and producers, I’m like, “Who would’ve thought that the weight of this kind of talent is here?”

Centanni: What’s going to be the next move for Cotaliya?

From La Livre: Take over the world. I’m definitely becoming president. [Laughs] I’m just kidding. I don’t want all of that stress and worry. I’m finishing up my “Spring” EP. I have 30 songs lined up for my “Summer” album. I don’t think that I’ll put out 30 songs for that situation, but I have 30 tracks prepared. For me as an artist, I want to connect with my fan base and identify who they are, which is why I made “Soundtrack” and why the songs are so different. I want to see who likes what. What do you like, my boys? That way, I can gauge how I need to approach my fan base. Then, doing that, I want to do some traveling. I want to go around the Southeast and go to New Orleans and go to Texas and go to Atlanta and get my feet wet in those communities. I think that’s where it is [in the live setting]. I’m a performer. I think some people will listen to “Soundtrack” and will enjoy it, but you will not enjoy it as much as seeing me perform live.

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