BIA (BIANCA LANDRAU)
Heritage: Puerto Rican and Italian
●Opening act on Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour
●Latina Magazine Artists to Watch in 2017
●Featured on J Balvin’s international hit “Safari”
By: Alejandro Ramirez
At 25, Boricua Boston rapper BIA already boasts tracks with Pharrell, Ariana Grande and J. Balvin. She’s carving out her own lane with a unique sound and style.
As an artist, her Latinidad is on full display in her music, from Spanglish lyrics to mixing trap beats and old school Latin music— for example, the bolero sample on “Esta Noche,” or “La Tirana”, which samples La Lupe’s song of the same name.
Her ability is second-nature. “In the beginning, I didn’t even notice I was doing it,” said BIA, whose real name is Bianca Landrau. “I just always had a thing for stuff that was just strong in culture.”
In the past, the music industry consistently mishandled Latino MCs. But BIA believes that a mix of ambitious Latin artists and a new, receptive generation have changed the scene.
“I think with all the new sounds and the new age millennials, who are so in tune with being American and being Latino, it is easier for artists now, like myself... to merge both cultures,” said Bia.
In 2012, Fam-Lay, an affiliate of The Neptunes and now BIA’s manager, discovered her music on YouTube. He introduced her to legendary producer Pharrell, who asked her to write a verse to a song on the spot.
As a rapper, BIA was used to writing to new beats — she’s been writing rhymes since age 10.
“You train for that one day,” she said. “You never know when the one day’s gonna come. It’s just gonna be an opportunity that you have to be ready for.”
She impressed Pharrell, who signed her to his i Am OTHER label.
BIA later met and befriended Ariana Grande, who invited her to open certain venues for 2017’s “Dangerous Woman” tour, both in the U.S. and Europe.
“It was the greatest experience,” said BIA. “It was all good energy and cool girls!” Grande also sings on BIA’s song “Esta Noche.”
The Medford High School graduate now lives in Los Angeles, but she still has friends and family around Boston and is always happy to visit home.
“There’s a lot of unique talent in Boston,” said BIA, who also starred on two seasons of Oxygen’s reality show, Sisterhood of Hip Hop. “No one shined a lot of light on it, and I’m happy we’re able to bring those looks back home.”
Inspired by her collaboration with J Balvin on 2016’s “Safari,” BIA has been hard at work on a new project to combine her various influences.
“I was trying to find a way I could incorporate all these sounds into something new,” she said. “I’m really excited to share it with the world because it feels different, it feels special.”