QUIÑ is living the dream — literally. As the name of her latest EP suggests, Lucid, the 29-year-old singer is exploring this idea of experiencing a conscious fantasy, not just an imaginative one. “I finally realized that I’m able to accept that I’m living a dream, and that’s okay,” QUIÑ, whose real name is Bianca Leonor Quiñones, EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife while stopping by our Los Angeles office ahead of her upcoming tour with Snoh Aalegra. “I’m worthy of living that dream because it took me a while to understand that. Especially just being in a healthy love and just understanding what that even is, and realizing all of the love that I’m surrounded by; not everyone has the luxury of being able to experience that.” While QUIN measured her success in love, it’s also reflected in her Spotify streams: over eight million for her most popular song, “Mushroom Chocolate,” which was a collaboration with her “life partner,” 6lack.
Although QUIÑ has pioneered a genre she labels “Fantasy Soul” — which makes immediate sense after listening to her ethereal tracks like “Mushroom Chocolate” and “Fav” — she is getting comfortable with the idea of not “always trying to retreat to space.” Now, she is “experiencing heaven on Earth.” QUIN was not speaking in metaphors. The artist, who launched her music career with the release of her debut EP Galactica in 2016, has long suspected that her dreams actually manifested once she woke up. She’s just finally putting that belief into lyrics.
“It started with very elementary school lucid dreams,” QUIÑ told us. She compared this phenomena to the cartoon The Fairly OddParents; for those not familiar with Nickelodeon, the series revolved around a boy named Timmy Turner whose wishes were granted by his two fairy godparents. QUIÑ didn’t find her experience that much different. If she wanted her own wish granted “in that moment” — i.e., wanting her “hair to look a certain way” — “boom.” She’d “have it.”
“Later on, it started getting really, really spacey. I kept getting shipped to space. Because before I thought, ‘Wow, brains are so cool that they could just make up all these things,'” QUIÑ admitted. But now, this gap between dream and reality has started to close. “And then I realized that my brain was not making up, like how complex the dream was, there’s no way that I could have done that,” she said.
In addition to her dreams, another remnant QUIÑ has carried over from childhood to adulthood is the voice she honed in her church’s choir. “The easy way to put it is if you listen to Lucid, the song, those harmonies, that’s what I was doing in kindergarten,” said QUIÑ, who’d later go on to join gospel choir in high school. “Yeah, just like that cathedral-y sound, the reverb in the church. I think that that stuck with me so hard as a kid. I didn’t even know that I loved choir back then. I mean I did, I knew I loved it, but I didn’t take music seriously…And it stuck with me.”
You witness QUIÑ’s la la land and real world collide in her music video for “7th Heaven,” which dropped in Nov. 2019, the same month of her EP’s release. The visuals are what you’d imagine would greet you at the gates of heaven: an angel (in this case, QUIÑ), sitting in front of a harp, submerged in an oasis of clouds and a purple haze that looks like it’s been given a retro VSCO filter. But the real story behind the making of the video was a lot closer to Earth — and DIY — than you might’ve imagined.
“I just got together with my friends and made s–t,” QUIÑ revealed, who said they shot the escapist visuals for “7th Heaven” inside an Airbnb. While dreams and imagination are central to the singer’s brand, she really is a down-to-earth artist who loves collaborating on creative projects with her friends. That includes fellow talented music artist Khalid, 22, whom she considers one of her best friends and asked her to act in the companion film for his 2019 album, Free Spirit. “Oh my gosh, he picked me up from my mom’s house, and he was like, ‘Get in here, we’re going to talk about this script’,” QUIÑ recalled of the spontaneous moment the “Talk” singer pitched her the idea for his coming-of-age film. “And so we go hang out, and we went to go to lunch, and he was telling me about this idea he had. And it was cute, and I was just like, ‘Let’s do it.'”
QUIÑ’s working relationship with Snoh, the Swedish singer most famous for her hit “Whoa,” which featured Michael B. Jordan in its music video, happened just as organically. “Me and Snoh have been working out of the same studio for a while. While she was making her album, I was finishing up Lucid. And we both work with [music producer] No I.D.,” QUIÑ shared. She added that they’d pass each other in the hall, “and it was just the simplest, ‘Ooh, I love this song. I love you, Snoh.’ And then it was just a quick like, “Oh s–t, I love your song, too.” It was that “genuine energy” that “helped mesh it all together,” QUIN explained. Until she hits the stage with Snoh for Ugh, A Tour Again in March of 2020, though, QUIÑ will still be having fun and dreaming with her crew. Amid the couple of projects that are “starting to unfold” for QUIÑ at the moment, she is constantly working with her friends through her self-created “Dreamgirl Workshop.”
“My idea for a Dreamgirl Workshop is so many different ideas, but one of them is getting all my girlfriends together who have maybe unfinished songs or something,” QUIÑ explained of her creative workshops, which often involve exchanging bits of songs like hooks and verses. While QUIÑ’s new music and videos make her appear as though she’s carrying out a lucid dream high above in the clouds, she’s never been more in touch with herself and others, right here.