En-route to walk the red carpet at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles, Ramya J took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to visit the No Fly Zone Magazine offices in New York City. Here is what we talked about over a few juice boxes and a plate of cookies graciously provided by our local bakery:
NFZ: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Ramya J: Hello, I go by the name Ramya J, “Princess of Flint”. I’m 13 years old from Flint, Michigan and I’m a singer and an all around entertainer. As you can see in my photos my signature look is colored hair, and custom handmade clothing. I’ve been singing and entertaining from the age of 4.
NFZ: How long have you been performing and what got you started?
Ramya J: It all began around the young age of 4 years old. I use to sing around my house with microphone before I could even talk. Then I entered the second grade and the school had auditions for a Christmas play. I tried out and I was actually chosen to sing one of the lead parts. That’s when my family and I realized I was blessed with a God given talent. From there on I ended up doing several local talents shows and started building real fan base around my town. I actually won all of the talent shows I was entered in. The biggest performance that really got me noticed was when I tried out at the world famous Apollo Theater. I made it through all the audition rounds and finally make it to the big stage of the Apollo and sang. That’s when I knew I was born to be a singer/entertainer. I really enjoy singing and performing, it’s my passion. I also love the feeling of being on stage every night and hearing my name being screamed in the crowd and hearing people cheer for me. Since appearing at the Apollo Theater it gave me a feeling and rush I can’t explain anytime I perform. It’s a rush that I only get when I’m performing.
NFZ: Tell us more about the Apollo Theater performance.
Ramya J: It was amazing, such a big crowd! I loved the whole experience of performing there and it was one of the most memorable performances for me. I was nervous at first, but once I hit the stage I remembered everything. I had people cheering for me and that I have never even seen before. After the performance a lot of people came up and took pictures with me and told me to keep pushing. That’s one performance I will never forget.
NFZ: What’s the music scene like in Flint, Michigan?
Ramya J: I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and we’re known for the “Water Crisis”. Yes there is a lot of talent in Flint but not many young artist my age which makes it difficult for me because I always have to prove my myself to my city. It’s very hard to have my own identify as a young artist. The best part about living here is when I go out I have a lot of fans that recognize me and support me.
NFZ: How do your friends at school or in the neighborhood react and relate to you as an active member of the entertainment business?
Ramya J: I go to online school and most of the time I’m working, but many people are excited for me and excited to see what the future has in store for me. A lot of the kids I use to go to school with think I’m famous because of my social media fan base. I don’t think of myself as famous, I think of myself as a normal 13 year old. I’m very humble and thankful for my fans.
NFZ: You’ve just completed and released your latest single, “That’s A Fact”. How did it all come about and are you the composer of the song?
Ramya J: A lot of kids at my age are starting to have crushes so I decided to write about that. What I thought is if you have a young crush then what you would want them to know is that you’re going to always be there for them and have their back in any kind of situation.
Yes, I am very proud to say I’m the composer of the song. I’m so excited; on the first day of releasing my music video for “That’s A Fact” it reached 100k views within the matter of hours. It’s the first single from my EP titled “Imagine That”.
NFZ: Could you tell us some more about “Imagine That”. When will that EP be released, how many songs are on it and which track is your favorite?
Ramya J: Yes, my EP is coming out very soon. I don’t have a specific date yet. So far there are 5 songs on it, but other songs may be added. My favorite track as of now on “Imagine That” is the title track. It’s all about having dreams about what you always wanted to be, which I can relate to, and I’m sure everyone else can relate too.
NFZ: You’re 13 years old and most people assume kids don’t care about politics. What about you, any issues you feel passionate about?
Ramya J: Actually I have been very involved in politics. My city has had what’s become known as the “Flint Water Crisis” for the last 2 years. So it has been a big political issue and has affected my city a lot.
NFZ: You have a very creative, interesting and original taste in fashion. Where do you get your inspiration for your clothing and make-up choices?
Ramya J: I just have my own fashion and makeup style. I’m happy that you noticed my look, but to tell the truth, I inspire my own self with my fashion and makeup. My hair color, well it really depends on the song and my mood. My style is based on my personality; I’m setting out to become not only a entertainer but a trendsetter.
NFZ: If you could choose to collaborate in the recording studio with any artist, living or dead, who would that be and why?
Ramya J: I would love to collaborate or work with Tinashe. I love how she entertains, she doesn’t just sing, she is a full out entertainer. Her style of clothing is amazing. She reminds me of myself because she’s very versatile.
NFZ: What do you enjoy the most about being an entertainer?
Ramya J: I love being on stage. It gives me a super rush, such an amazing feeling. When I’m not able to perform I get depressed because I have to constantly have that feeling. It’s almost like a drug because I love hearing my name being screamed. I just love everything about entertainment all around; I really, truly love it.
NFZ: What are some things that your fans don’t know about you and would probably surprise them?
Ramya J: They probably don’t know that the Ramya J they see on stage and in my videos is just your average girl 13 year old girl just trying to live a normal life. I have to do my school work and choir practice just like other kids. Also, my life’s not perfect. I have to sacrifice and deal with a lot. That person they see as a pop star and that is very popular makes it easy for them to believe that you’re an almost some kind of perfect person. They have a hard time seeing past the image, the voice and the fans who follow Ramya J, the Princess of Flint.
NFZ: How can people follow and stay in touch with you?
YouTube: Ramya J