Ranella Ferrer, the Filipino-American R&B talent to come straight out of Southern California has got the looks, the personality, the confidence and most of all, the talents to be the next person to get the Asian fever rising here in the States since Jin. However, don’t overlook Ranella as just another singer. Besides being passionate about singing, Ferrer is also passionate about being independent and learning all the tricks of the trade in the music industry as well as helping out those who are striving everyday, like her, to break into the entertainment industry.
My fellow Filipinos and other Asian Americans recognize that I’m trying to make something big for “us” and not just for me. They support me 110%!
So, how did Ranella get blessed to be where she is today as a singer? It’s all thanks to lots of practice and many performances.
“I sang at a lot of my school functions [in the Philippines since I was 2 ½ years old],” reminisced Ranella. “Weddings and Broadway shows were also some gigs that I used to sing at. Here in America, I remember the first performance I did with an urban crowd was at the “Watts Festival 2002”. That was an experience from just knowing how much I’ve grown from then and how nervous I got being with all the talented acts they had. It was a great feeling afterwards, especially being acknowledged by the crowd after the fact.
[These days,] I perform at clubs in Hollywood or just events that people invite me to, like weddings or big celebrations at different events in the Filipino community. My mom Gloria is to thank for that. She’s gotten me gigs for Filipino fashion shows and even to sing for the Senators and celebrities from my country. I love it because my fellow Filipinos and other Asian Americans recognize that I’m trying to make something big for “us” and not just for me. They support me 110%!”
Ranella has opened up for big names such as Twista, Murphy Lee (from Nelly’s camp), and Aaron Hall (formally of Guy). Of the many achievements Ranella has scored, she was the host for a local cable show, called “The Drop” (on the “Featured” segment of the show); she was a L’Oreal spokesmodel for the 2004 tour in California; and she has worked with Darelle Ross from Hidden Beach Production (Jill Scott’s label). She recently performed at the Pacific Media Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. She is currently pouring her sweat, blood and tears into her debut album release with producer Dwayne Wayans, musical composer of ABC’s Sitcom “My Wife and Kids” and with Amir Bayyan, from Kool and the Gang. Ranella talks about the progress of the album as well as vocalizing about the solid relationship between her and producer Dwayne Wayans.
“Well, my main producer is Shway, also known as Dwayne Wayans,” Ranella started off. “We come up with new ideas together sometimes or he just lets me hear whatever it is he just came up with. We have a great working relationship; he’s like a brother to me that I never wanted! Joking! It’s like I can call him at anytime of the day if I have an idea and he just adds the right finishing touches to it. He sees my vision and believes in me. We just have fun creating new stuff, goofing around in the studio and we even did an opera sound. That boy will be a great renowned producer one day, not just because he’s one of the “Wayans” family, but individually, he is very talented. He can produce R&B tracks down to rock and roll.”
Thank you to my family for not sending me to the mental institution,” jokes Ferrer. “[Thank you] for [not] thinking I’m crazy for pursuing this crazy business here in America instead of just going to the Philippines and becoming a nurse like what my mom wanted me to be.
Ranella states that her upcoming album will not be another album with one genre attached to it. She says that the album will be very “diverse,” which will include funk, ballads, R&B/hip-hop, techno and even alternative rock music. Why the wide spectrum of music genres in one album?
“I just want people to know that these are all my influences,” explains Ranella. “I’m not just segregating myself from one category. See, the thing is that I think I have different styles, which came from [when I was] living in the Philippines. They played music that was only in the top charts worldwide; therefore it could be from any genre. That is why I can’t really categorize myself. Back then in the 60’s, they only had 3 categories (pop, soul, rock), and now, as the music and the arts have expanded, we have hip-hop, funk, alternative, etc. So, I just want to test out everything while being myself, with my experiences and perceptions. That’s what I was really influenced by in the process of creating this album.
With that being said, I’m still in the studio and hoping to have everything done and ready to be sold by the spring. God willing!”
While working hard on solidifying her musical career, this ambitious individual has also been busy working hard to learn about the music industry through the music business program at UCLA as well as helping her backup dancers, “The Juniors” (BYI Entertainment), get their start in the entertainment industry. Ranella states that she truly wants to help out her backup dancers because she doesn’t want them to go through the same hardships she experienced while she was trying to break into the entertainment industry.
“[M]y back-up dancers are not only skilled at dancing, but they are great in other aspects of the entertainment industry,” proudly states Ranella. “My little sister, Dubhe, is actually my choreographer and she’s great. She not only dances but she also sings at concerts within the Asian-American community. My other dancers want to pursue acting, fashion designing and other aspects in the entertainment field; I even have a female beatboxer that’s as hot as Doug-E Fresh.
I love those kids to death and see the struggles they go through being an Asian American performer, which is very rare right now and the fact that they all hope to one day be a part of the ever so growing American music business… . I want them to just have fun right now and let me go through the obstacles of this game so I can hopefully open it up for them and [so that] they don’t have to go through it.
Later, I hope to manage them with their careers in the entertainment field once I make a mark for myself and after I learn the loopholes of this game. [I would like to] provide them guidance and hopefully share my knowledge.”
Learning the “loopholes of this game” is definitely what Ranella is actively doing. Right now she has no outside management taking care of her musical career and relies on herself to be her own manager, which is a good way for her to learn about the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. Ranella talks about being a “one-woman-army.”
“This is by choice,” stated Ranella.” ” I really want to learn as much as I can about the business before I completely depend on someone else for my career, from booking shows, talking with different reps and agents, to promotions and marketing, photo shoots, establishing relationships with different execs and producers, styling… pretty much everything that an artist needs and has to have for their career.
There are offers on the table from different management companies, but I’m still weighing my options on who will completely match my grind and help me extend my creativity furthermore. Although sometimes it gets really stressful and I just look at everything on my plate, it just makes me want to break down and cry. But I have to do it right now. I have a plan and my eyes are wide open for potential people to work with once everything is going right. I don’t want to be in the same predicament before, when I was younger and had a 2-year management contract, when I didn’t know anything about the business.”
Looking back on everything that Ranella has gone through to stand on her own feet, in addition to being a very confident and independent woman, she can’t forget the people who have supported her from day one: her parents and her family.
“Thank you to my family for not sending me to the mental institution,” jokes Ferrer. “[Thank you] for [not] thinking I’m crazy for pursuing this crazy business here in America instead of just going to the Philippines and becoming a nurse like what my mom wanted me to be. Thank you to my dad, Captain Ferrer and Vaughn Carter, too!”
“All the people I encountered, every single one of you that I shared my beliefs and values with and vice-versa, I’m who I am because of you. Regardless if it was on a positive or negative note, thank you so much for the people that believed and didn’t believe in me. You were my push to my grind! I love you all regardless.”
For those who have the same dream to make it big like Ranella, she tells it like it is.
“To all those people who have a dream, you can make it happen for yourself, count your blessings and start from there. Do not give up, believe in yourself and push yourself to the limit! Know that the world is at the bottom of your feet.”
As Ranella states, “Music is me, it’s part of my character, my everyday life. Ranella is MUSIC!”