North Philly nu-soul singer Brianna Cash pops the top on her Open Youth Forum on July 22, 2020 to support and address the needs of young Black and Brown people.
Since 2017, North Philly-born singer-songwriter Brianna Cash has been doing her thing – a LatinX stylized brand of sleek soul and hip hop touched by the true-life experiences of growing up, and her soft, often FX laden vocals. Discovered by A-list, fellow Philadelphia producer Andrew “Pop” Wansel (his dad was Philly International Records whiz Dexter Wansel), Cash was signed by Interscope where she dropped the single “Numb” (with a guest feature from rapper Tory Lanez, and repaid the favor by layering her gentle voice on his rough “Question I.”
Now, on July 22 starting at noon, Cash is throwing her weight and influence around by hosting a marginalized ‘open youth forum’ for Black and Brown community members in need via Zoom.
dosage MAGAZINE caught up with Cash to discuss her career and her Zoom youth initiative.
A.D. Amorosi: How did Brianna Castro become Brianna Cash?
Brianna Cash: “Cash” is a play off my last name “Castro.” My best friend B Roc named me Cash when I was a kid, and I just kept it.
A.D. Amorosi: Tell me something about your singing experiences in North Philly. What churches did you sing at? What influences did you have?
Brianna Cash: I sang at a lot of open mic nights at World Cafe LIVE, and from there started doing more underground shows. I sang on the choir as a kid at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Holmesburg, Philadelphia. I was always singing at school in the choir, too. Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill have always been huge influences for me growing up.
A.D. Amorosi: Pop Wansel is a Philly production legend just like his dad – how and where did he discover you and how quickly did he move from there?
Brianna Cash: Pop, and I always had mutual friends. That’s how we connected. He took me to my first studio session back in 2016, and we been working together ever since. He’s a great teacher and friend.
A.D. Amorosi: How would you describe your vocal and writing style?
Brianna Cash: It’s that real shit.
A.D. Amorosi: What is the next production from you coming… What is it and what will it sound like? Uptempo? Downtempo?
Brianna Cash: I have a project completed that I’m excited to share with the world this year. It’s very hip hop, very R&B, very Philadelphia. I’m in love with our sound. I’m excited about it because we worked really hard on it.
A.D. Amorosi: You have an initiative called Youth of the Culture (YOTC) – which you created to give a voice to Black and Brown communities. Tell us about the conception of this.
Brianna Cash: YOTC is a community organization I started in 2018 in my hometown with my friend Keem. I don’t feel like there are enough supportive environments for our youth so I decided to create one.
A.D. Amorosi: You’re presenting an “Open Youth Forum” via Zoom on Wednesday, concerning marginalized teens – a supportive environment to discuss concerns for Black and Brown communities. Tell me what inspired this initiative and how your forum is unique.
Brianna Cash: Black and Brown people are my people. So naturally, I’m affected. We all gotta do our part during these times right… In any way possible. Because if you’re not, then you’re all talk and Instagram posts. That’s not me. I already had YOTC started with my group of kids so I wanted to figure out how to continue those efforts. I wanted to do what I could for them during these times safely (socially distant), and still keep them connected like I would at the after school program/summer camp.
A.D. Amorosi: What open dialogue do you hope will happen or will you hope to inspire?
Brianna Cash: I hope it is helpful to the kids, and parents that attend. I hope someone else sees what we’re during and bites the idea and copies. I hope it spreads and there are more things like this available… more resources for the kids. That’s all I care about.
A.D. Amorosi: What would you say makes you the person that needed to host such a strong forum?
Brianna Cash: I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m the person “needed.” I would say this is something that needs to be provided, and I figured out how to make it happen. I think there should be multiple versions of this put on by other non-profits and community orgs. I think schools should be doing this too. I can’t say that enough because it’s something the kids have expressed to us in their own words.
A.D. Amorosi: This Zoom meeting is a mix between a support group and an hour of empowerment for young people to speak candidly about the injustices going on within them and around them. Your outreach is national. How do you think your own experience in North Philly can speak to someone in Nebraska or Florida or Oregon?
Brianna Cash: I don’t really see it as national yet. I’m just trying to build this thing out at the moment and the best way I know how is starting from where I’m from. I’m just trying to figure things out as we go. I don’t know… Like I said, if 5 or 10 other people got inspired by what we are doing and do the same then that would make me happy because that means more resources for our kids.
A.D. Amorosi: This is a bold move for a young woman in music. Are you hoping this will put you on a different plane, skillset, job… beyond music? Is this a goal of yours? To become someone people can turn to for hope and information beyond music?
Brianna Cash: I’m just doing what comes naturally to me, and trying to help the best way I know how at the moment.