Bri Hall is one of those people who do so much in life, you can hardly keep up.
On top of that, she has one of the most kind, down-to-earth, warm personalities, that also come equipped with a contagious smile and laugh. Within seconds of meeting her, you’re sucked into her beauty — both physically and mentally.
In addition to the music, which come in the form of soulful R&B ballads, the 25-year-old acts, models, does makeup, makes Youtube videos, draws, and still finds time to give back to the community in humanitarian efforts. For anyone chasing their dreams, Bri is a walking testimony that you can do whatever you set your heart on — as long as you work hard and remain inspired.
Most recently, Bri visited Ethiopia and worked with nonprofits in an effort to give back to the community. She also plays 3 instruments and is now gearing up to start her own makeup series for Awesomeness TV. Trending All Day caught up with her in sunny Los Angeles to chat about her creativity, favorite influencers to follow, and the meaning behind “Unlawful.”
For those who don’t know, who is Bri Hall?
Bri Hall is a creator. I started drawing when I was 2 years old, art really came very naturally to me my entire life. I had an obsession with people’s reaction to things I created, it made me want to create more and more. I realized creation can bring about healing and so many different things for humanity. Bri Hall is somebody who wants to help with human suffering, then also create things that get people emotional.
You said at 2 you were drawing?!
Nobody knows where I learned at all. It was just a natural instinct or something. Don’t ask me about math, because then we’ll have a different story! [chuckles]
How would you describe your sound?
It’s colorful, effervescent, I guess really emotional or moody.
How’d you get into makeup?
Of course, I do makeup, Youtube, all of that good stuff. Long story short, I was a broke college student. [chuckles] I went to University of Maryland Baltimore County, they do revolutionary work in the sciences and research, but also the arts. I couldn’t really afford all of the art’s supplies outside of my major. I’m like “okay.” Then one day, I met Kandee Johnson, another really big Youtuber. She said “your face is free!” She’s like “if you ever run out of materials, you can get drugstore makeup. Your face is a canvas that never stops living.” I really took that to heart and that’s the year my Youtube channel really took off. Because I was having fun making Halloween looks, doing aesthetics… I just like creating stuff.
Any secrets or life hacks for people who want to pursue being a Youtuber?
Okay so, I hacked the system. [chuckles] Basically when I started out, I didn’t have management. Didn’t have fancy camera gear or anything like that. All I had was my creative brain and this programming background. Youtube to this day doesn’t let you look at keywords that people use. What I used to do was I’d go into the actual backdoor coding of people’s Youtube and literally find the keywords they use. I’d create content I knew was just good content. I’m like “how could I market this?” So I’d find everybody who got the most views in the shortest amount of time that had something aligned with my content, and merge the keywords from my videos with theirs so that it listed with them. Now, that’s called meta data and analytics. It’s funny it’s got a name now. Now, there’s networks and stuff who do that for people, which I think is so funny.
What’s the inspiration behind your name La Hara?
I was contemplating for a long time, “should I use my actual name?” I always thought stage names were really dope. [chuckles] Growing up, especially around early high school is when I started getting into learning about painters. I was a big fan of Bansky and Basquiat, who made this painting called La Hara a long time ago. Don’t quote me on this, I wanna say ‘91. It was one of my favorite pieces he did. Because I’m from New York originally and that piece talked about being Black, but also being an artist in a major city. Something about that piece clicked with me because of my activism, stuff that I do in that area.
You just unleashed your new single “Unlawful.” Bring us back to that studio session.
I’m actually gonna bring it back a little before the studio session. I was watching Netflix right? The 100. It’s about fighting for love, whether it’s a love that society isn’t on board with yet. Maybe you’re in the LGBTQ community, maybe you’re in different races, religion, social class, etc. Or maybe you’re fighting within the love. Maybe one person isn’t fighting as hard and you’re trying to save it. Or it could be the love of a child. The whole song is about fighting very aggressive for what you want, so that’s the vibe I brought to the studio session.
Talk about creating. What inspires you in the studio?
Life experience. I’ve seen a lot. I know a lot of people say that, but I really feel like there’s a lot of duality in my life. I grew up half my life with a single parent, the other half in a married household. Half my life in apartments in the hood, then the other half in a house in a decent neighborhood. I wanted to have that duality in my music. That’s what inspires me. There are multiple takes to any perspective, you can’t just look at things from one.
What part of New York are you from?
I was born in Long Island, New York, then I was raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
How long have you been in LA?
I’m been back and forth in LA. I really just be hopping. [chuckles] But I’m planning to move out here in October.
What’s your favorite part about the West Coast?
The weather. I actually have an app that I use, it tracks the weather. I plug in a smiley face or a frown/fail face, and it keeps a chart to show how my mood and the weather overlaps. Then I added stuff to it, so now it tracks if I had coffee that day, if I had a late or light dinner. I notice I’m happier when it’s nice out. It’s called Sleep Tracker. It’s really amazing. I realize me and good weather are like one.
Do you like the heat?
Whoa, that’s a hard one because it’s easier to escape the cold than it is to escape the heat. I could deal with it. I like dry heat but where I’m from in the DC area, we’re in the swamp. It’s that muggy, “I need to go take 3 showers” kind of heat, so I prefer this. It’s hot, but I’m not sweating.
Talk about working with Google & Calvin Klein.
Oh yeah see, I have my Calvin on! [shows sports bra] Google was a dream of mine because ever since I was little, even when I was programming — this gonna make me sound so old, but I remember the day Google came out in the early 2000’s. I was a kid at that time and was always on Ask Jeeves and Microsoft Paint.
Omg, Ask Jeeves.
Right? That was my shit. Google has been a large part of my life whether it’s school, learning how to do new things, just making me the multifaceted person I am. For them, a brand that I respect, to say “we respect what you do creatively,” I literally cried when I got the Google deal. [chuckles]
What did you do with them?
I helped them launch the Google Pixel 2. That was pretty crazy. I remember I had a bunch of production people at my house, they flew out Google reps to my house. It was this top secret meeting where they unveiled the phone before it came out. I was like “mom, I’m top secret!”
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Vulnerability is one of my biggest goals, because there’s certain stuff I still really want to say. I have some songs in the vault I’m just like “this is too much.” I really want to be vulnerable. Also want to get an authentic fanbase. I really don’t want to have — you know, hypebeast kind of bandwagon fans. I want people to identify with my music and relate to it in some way, shape, or form.
Essentials you need in the studio?
That’s a good question. I need mood lighting. I’m big on mood lighting. For “Unlawful,” I used red lights because I feel it was a red light kind of song. Whereas “Mindful,” I used teal lighting. All of my songs have a feel to them. And I need food. ‘Cause ya girl be getting parched in the studio, let me tell you. We’ll be getting takeout. I’m all for eating healthy but when I’m creating, that’s when I gotta get that good comfort food.
What’s your favorite food out here?
Obviously right now, I got avocado toast. I just love how LA has such a diverse selection of avocado toast. Where I live, there’s avocado, and there’s toast. Ya’ll have arugula, all the fancy trees, I love it. I also like Umami Burger, because their fries are really good. I had them a couple of years ago, now I can’t stop going back. I get veggies burgers too.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
You’re gonna laugh — actually, let me go to my playlist. I can actually pull this up for you. Let me see if I guessed correctly. Right now, the most played artist on my phone is Smino! His new project is really dope.
What’s your favorite song on his new project?
I like the one that has the Caribbean beat, “TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD.” ‘Cause I’m Caribbean so I’m biased. I like the fusion of the beat and the raps.
How important is social media for your career?
It’s pretty important. I’m at an odds end with social media right now because after getting back from Africa, my perspective got so shifted. It’s hard to jump back into social media because out there, there’s so much kindness. So little need for validation and all that stuff. Coming home, it’s like I had this whole support system out there and hardly touched my phone. Getting back into the swing of things… but it’s really important. It allows me to still keep in touch with everybody worldwide, and I know I can network with.
Who’s your favorite influencer to follow on IG?
This is hard. I have 3 on here [phone] right now. Okay, Elle Mills is one of my favorite YouTube influencers. Because she makes movies and that’s really fucking dope. She puts her whole heart and soul into a video. Will literally risk her freedom, her reputation, anything. I’ve never seen a Youtuber go that hard to make one video. Each of them is that hard. I got so many people hip to her. Even her coming out video was so over the top. She literally put rainbow wrapping paper all over her whole house, had her mom arrive.
I also love @heyclaire. She’s LA-based, I know she’s more so in the makeup scene. In the real life realm right now, so she doesn’t produce as much content. I love how she approached storytelling in her videos. Then Jackie Aina for sure. I’ve met Jackie and she’s a comedian. She’s so funny, but she also has been a pivotal person in advocating shade ranges for women of color. Not just Black women, but our South Asian women, Indian women, different sectors of the world where people are of color and don’t fit in to that generic spectrum. Shout out Jackie, hey girl!
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Yes, the “Unlawful” video is actually dropping! Via Live Nation, that’s gonna be really dope. I’m excited because it was produced homemade. I ended up having my mom as the producer. A lot of people were like “your mom!” A lot of the crew said she’s one of the best producers they’ve ever worked with, because she has her doctorate. She’s very type A, so it was so smooth. I love hiring my friends because they really get the vision. They’re all so creative. This video was all in-house.