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Flashes in the Pan: LadiBree

| Friday, September 27, 2019

Diane Park | The Observer

Editor’s Note: This is the second part in a series featuring local artists in the tri-campus community.

“The sky is up! The sun is shining!” senior Bree Connor — a rapper who performs under the moniker LadiBree — pronounced, caffeinating the dreary Monday evening with her positivity. “I’ve been back in the country … and I’m excited to be back … back in classes I guess.”

And her return (following a productive stint abroad) is a welcome event for those familiar with her work.

“I was in Tokyo, Japan, for about five months,” she continued. “I was studying abroad and doing a lot of music. I performed out there. I made some new music. Made some awesome friends.”

Then she dropped the kicker.

“I shot about four videos in the span of a month with four different people. It was dope,” she said.

Two are for songs released on her most recent EP — “Only Everything” —  and two are for soon-to-be-released singles: “Malarkey” and “BAM.” All were shot on location in Japan.

“I don’t know how I got good grades out there!” she exclaimed, understandably.

While others used their international experiences as a chance to slack off (as is the fashion with study-abroad participants), Connor, a double major in Management Consulting and Japanese, jumped on the opportunity to get to work.

“In Japan, you have class once a week and that class is an hour and a half,” she explained. “You definitely have more free time, more time to do stuff on weekends.”

Limited class time, for Connor, meant more time to perform, shoot videos and record.

“It was very, very easy. If I wanted to travel, if I wanted to shoot a video I could,” she said. “Notre Dame is not like that. You have class two or three times a week — some back-to-back — and you have to do your homework. You have to show up to office hours. You have to be here, and you have to be there. They keep us busy here.”

The on-campus grind, though, doesn’t hold her back.

“As someone who lives to be busy and someone who plans to live a life in which you get things done, this is good preparation,” she said.

Connor’s no stranger to the hustle. She’s been getting things done for a while now.

“For my tenth birthday, I took my birthday money and spent it on some studio time,” she said. “I paid about $180 for two hours. I was in a studio for the first time and had no clue what I was doing.”

Nonetheless, the young Connor — who began rapping in summer camp freestyle sessions at the age of six — made her own way via talent and determination.

As she developed her voice, Connor found she could take inspiration from her surroundings.

“I’m not going to talk to you about what it’s like to not have food,” she said. “That’s not my story to tell. … I definitely will talk about the struggle of being in a high school, of going to parties where beer pong is being played, of dealing with the hate of friends.”

Rather, Connor prefers to focus her content on topics that are more personal to her.

“Most of my inspiration comes from my life or aspirations or genuinely just talking [feigning a cough] crap, if I’m being very honest with you.”

Connor’s youthful fearlessness followed her to South Bend.

“I kind of just had to put myself out there,” she said. “My first performance was at Acousticafé, and you know how that goes: There’s no real sound system. You kind of have to bring your own stuff. And I’m like — I’m just going to do a cappella; hope they feel me. They liked it. They liked me. Things just kind of built from there.”

Putting yourself out there, Connor adds, isn’t always easy.

“Sometimes Notre Dame isn’t the best at supporting artists who don’t do classical or who aren’t there to major in a particular instrument,” she said. “But, we’re here. WVFI is here. Felix Rabito’s here. I’m here. You just have to let people know what you do. Be like, ‘Hey, I do music!’ They’ll be like, ‘Hey I have a friend who does music!’ That’s literally how this all happens, I’m telling you.”

Connor had some advice to share with prospective artists on campus.

“You’ll see events, you’ll see showcases, you’ll see talent shows. BCAC is doing the Black Images Showcase,” she said. “If you see somebody performing, audition. If you see a performance, ask who’s in charge and ask how you can get on there next.”

Connor also stressed the importance of leaving self-conscious attitudes at the door.

“It’s hard because a lot of people are really sensitive about their music,” she said. “They don’t know how people are going to receive it. You have to believe in yourself. You have to know how to take criticism and feedback and grow from it. For me, personally,” she continued, “my EP was good, but I can do better. I’m going to do better.”

For Connor, the bottom line is clear.

“You have to constantly be evolving and constantly build your confidence.”

Keep your ears open. Connor will be releasing a string of new singles and videos in the coming weeks. Also, catch a show if you can. Her live-wire act is unparalleled.

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