Confident Cuja Represents Asian-American Women in Music World Wide ☆
With over 52K hits in less than three months on her most recent single “New Bitch, Who Dis?, CUJA is on her grind. If you keep up with GHG, one might recognize CUJA from a takeover she recently did with us in ROME. We love women who take control of their lives, and we thought it best to personally introduce this hustlin’ lil honey to our platform again for those who missed the takeover.
Watch CUJA’S New Bitch, Who Dis? Below!
Hey lady! Your instagram takeover with GHG in Rome gave us LIFE. You are such a creative! We read somewhere that you got your career in music started at age 18, after moving to Chicago? Would you say that moving inspired your liberation towards becoming a musician?
Ah, thank you so much! The Roma Takeover was so much fun, I’m glad I got to share it with everyone! I absolutely would say moving inspired me. It’s part of the reason I travel a lot too. Every city has its own energy and Chicago was the perfect place for me to get on my feet and get going! The city is full of artists and creatives, many of which are doing things you won’t see anywhere else! It’s an amazing place for writers and performance artists.
Would you recommend this to other musicians that don't feel inspired by their surroundings?
One hundred percent! Not only was the move to Chicago a huge moment of growth in my life, but my move from Chicago to LA was a crazy one too! I had come to a point where I felt like I had gotten what Chicago was supposed to offer me and it was time to move on. If you’re feeling stuck creatively or just in your life routine, I think moving is a great way to shake things up!
We also love that you got started with music theatre, so did we! What are some of your favorite shows? Was it weird to transition to having a cast, to being a solo musician?
One of the shows that changed my life was ‘In the Heights.’ I saw it on Broadway in high school and it really solidified my decision to pursue musical theatre. In the Heights was one of Lin Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway shows (long before the Hamilton craze) and it was inspiring to me seeing so many actors of color on the stage. It’s definitely a big transition from working with so many cast and crew members to being on your own. Looking back, I think I chose musical theatre over music because there was a sense of safety and camaraderie being in a cast. Ultimately, it was a reason I decided to get out as well. I yearned for more creative control, and when you’re an actor, you’re a part of someone else’s vision.
It's always interesting to watch an artist grow and form their own musical style. Are there certain things in your life that brought you towards pop? For instance, maybe your parents played pop growing up?
The first CD (yes CD!) I ever got was Britney’s “...Baby One More Time” and the first concert I went too was the Backstreet Boys Millenium Tour. I guess you could say I didn’t have a chance! I love all kinds of music. I have a special place in my heart for early 2000s alt-rock and pop punk. But pop music is just so fun! When I was in high school, I got a job at a pre-teen clothing store in the mall. So 15 year old me was listening to Hannah Montana, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers while I worked, even though they were a little after my time. I sort of unabashedly took that on, which I’m not mad about! Look who is slaying the pop charts still!
TBH after hearing "New Bitch, Who Dis?" we knew we had to work with you. Your sound sounds like it should be on the fucking radio, and that's a mission most artists attempt to accomplish throughout their entire career. What are some of your biggest accomplishments? Was there any point in your life when you were like "shit, that really just happened?"
I kind of feel like “What the fuck is happening?” about the whole launch of NBWD! It’s been such a great summer getting this song out there are hearing everyone’s feedback! I think just the level of fan love and playlisting the song is getting makes my heart all fuzzy. I love seeing what playlists the fans add NBWD to, like “Bad Bitch Anthems” and “Grl Pwr.” Then I click on it and see that I’m next to Beyonce and Cardi B and I’m like wow! I’m so happy they want to put me next to these women!
We LOVE that you represent multiple cultures being an Asian-American woman. Can you tell us a little bit about how your heritage inspires your music?
I think growing up and wanting to see AAPI women in music is a struggle for a lot of Asian-American women out there. We’ve been waiting and waiting and I’m happy to see more slaying like Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani. My personal experience led to seriously pursue this career. I felt idle waiting for an industry to start reflecting the people I know, the colors I see, the backgrounds we come from. I finally decided I could do something about it by sharing my art and perspective. Every moment I’m writing music, I shoulder the privilege my ancestors afforded me by working tirelessly to give me the freedom to get after this dream. That gift they gave never leaves my mind. Ruby Ibara says it best: “Of all the privileges that exist in this world, none of which you may be a benefactor of there is at least one you bear and that is the privilege of having been born a Filipina.”
If you could give one piece of advice to any young female hoping to make it in the music industry, what would it be?
Haha! I always give the same advice and it’s a little quirky. Wake up early. I think purusing any dream requires a mindset that can only be awoken when you wake the fuck up! It changed my life when I stopped sleeping the day away. If you get up early and start working hard, you’ll have shit done others can only dream about--AND you’ll have it all done before noon! Its powerful. I try to be like The Rock when I can. Be the hardest working person in the room and get your ass out of bed!