China Rivera has taken all of the unexpected events in her life and is creating her voice. Using music to represents where she comes from and where she is going. Originally published October 2020.
There are many obstacles throughout life. Before our eyes, we get older. We get new people in our lives, experience new places, and forget the years' details. Change is the most natural aspect of living. With all the change, music, and art, keep up with it all.
Life changes have given Jersey-based artist China Rivera, stage name Chinamofo, the motivation to forge her future. While new to the scene, Rivera is making power moves. She has faced loss and has had questions about where to take her life. Yet, the loss has led her back to her love for entertaining.
"When I was younger, I would stand in front of the tv. I would dance, watch MTV, and Beyonce. But as I got older, I felt like I came across a lot of situations that would make me forget about that," says Rivera. "My dad was strict. He believed in school first and then straight to college. My mom was like that too, so I guess I gave up on that. When my dad passed away, I didn't know what I was going to college for."
Fear can be the root of why many people hold themself back. As people, there will always be so much that we can't predict. However, for an artist, the unknown can be embraced to help in the creative mindset.
For those whose focus is music, freestyling can be a tool. Based on not knowing or knowing very few details—juxtaposed to making time to collect thoughts and then convey them.
"I honestly love both (freestyling and writing). Freestyling pushes you as an artist. With writing, I can take my time and express how I want people to hear my music. Freestyling is being out of your comfort zone. Writing, I'm in my comfort zone," Rivera explains.
Chinamofo's music brings fun and current energy. A great example is her videos for Nicki Minaj's #MegatronChallenge. There was a strength, rawness, and bliss to her execution.
Rivera herself has a sweet, down-to-earth persona and is deep in Jersey pride. She exudes these emotions in her voice as she speaks about her home in New Jersey. From North New Jersey, Rivera feels blessed to be born and raised there.
"I love being from Jersey. Here, so many artists have their own style... Being from Jersey, you create our own style and work hard," she said.
In the early 2000s, Jersey Club music made a jump to the mainstream. Fast tempo music that plays around with vocals incorporates dance moves and has comical relief to music. It is playful and infectious. The influence is apparent in her music. Songs like Jerseyyy and Fuckin Wit Me? deliver confident and joyful energy.
She has also created tracks with other local artists such as Covy and E1EVEN.
As an artist, Chinamofo is refreshing in that she is honest about knowing she can be better at her craft. Too often, people do not consider the amount of work it truly takes to achieve their goals. Rivera has a realistic plan, and the work she has put in this year shows she has what it takes to go far.
"In two years, I'll be 24. I want to have my own studio and my own house. I want my studio in my house this way; I can wake up and do what I love—being a better artist—having my shit down pack, Rivera shares.
"In five years, I want to be a bigger artist. Hitting charts and making my shit."
She speaks on her aspiration to use her success to help others have a better life. Specifically in areas of a healthy environment and children facing homelessness. She is genuinely aiming to be better. Rivera is on a path to becoming a musician and a better person.
The argument of nurture versus nature is always interesting in the context of music taste. Being from Jersey has played a significant role in Chinamofo's personal and professional interests. However, her mom and what her mother has gone through, which expands Rivera's music profile.
"My mom was heartbroken when she and my dad got a divorce. She played a lot of Keisha Cole, Mariah Carey. Alicia Keys was my favorite, and Ciara had the hits," Rivera mentioned.
"A lot of R&B. When I think about who influenced me, I'll say my mom. My mom also had a beautiful voice, and I guess she didn't get to try to go for her dreams. Being around her, we would always listen to music."
It is easy to sense a love for music in her voice and a fondness for those memories when she talked about them. When she mentioned her mother playing Love by Keisha Cole, I got flashbacks to being around my mother—truly overplaying that song.
Chinamofo is a relatable, goofy, assiduous artist with a genuine love for creating. She is working on an upcoming EP. She takes her experiences and writes from a soulful place. She is looking for ways to be a strong artist and remain humbled. Rivera is a solid feminine force added into the music scene.
Find Chinamofo on Instagram and Soundcloud - @chinamofo
Photo credit to Staci Rodriguez - @srphotography.