From artists like KYLE to D.R.A.M., the intersection of music and gaming is now hotter than ever! Sony Music has just launched their newest imprint Lost Rings—a label that focuses on the bridging of music and the gaming industry. With this launch, 3 new artists have emerged that are reinventing how you interact with both games and music!
Sunzi is so much more than a musician. This girl is hardcore about her games—coming from a household where gaming bonded the family, to taking her PS4 to all of her favorite conventions (where she also cosplays), she’s proven herself to be a powerhouse of geekdom. See what she has to say on how she got her start with Lost Rings, and how she’s slated to turn the industry on its head!
Tell us about yourself!
Well, I’m Sunzi the flame princess! I’m super passionate about Hip Hop, pop culture, and geek media! I’ve been an avid gamer, comic/manga reader and anime otaku for as long as I can remember!
My dad was into video games, comics, anime and Hip Hop, and he was one of the first Blerds I’ve ever known—outside [of] my Granpa, who is a HUGE sci-fi geek! Back in the day, we didn’t have labels like we do now, but these hobbies were passed down to me as we would have open discussions about current movies and TV shows in our household. My mom loved to draw and play Ms. Pac-Man, so we had a well-rounded household in geekdoms. Lol.
Growing up, I often felt out of place sometimes. But, I eventually found my tribe in my younger adolescent years with likeminded black girls and boys in my schools. It was like finding unicorns, and from there my similar passions forged lifelong bonds with some of my coolest and geekiest friends.
We would attend [comic] cons and from there my passion of cosplay was born. Years down the line—and many cosplays and video games later—I still enjoy the same geekdoms and fandoms, but with an ever growing community of dope geeks from all walks of life.
Tell us a little bit about Lost Rings!
Lost Rings is a division under SONY that represents the diversity of the geeky artist! We’re a small collective of gamers that love to translate our hobbies and passions into our music in hopes of shedding light on certain “geek genres” of music that have been around and behind the scenes, yet subconsciously prevalent in mainstream society!
How did you become a part of Lost Rings?
I’ve been pretty visible in the geek and urban scenes for some time now, and one of my main gateways was through geek media. I’ve been podcasting since 2014 discussing my passions in movies, comics, video games, TV shows and anime. I used to cohost Blerd Vision, and was also the Show Writer/Host for Girlscantgeek for a short while.
I’ve also been featured in small publications here and there for my cosplay persona, and since I’m an avid con goer I tend to make my way around the scenes in the community. I decided to create my own podcast, “GEEK&CHILL”, and through that relative experience I was able to have a lot of my writing noticed by the right people.
One thing led to another, I started writing songs and music, and next thing you know I’m on the label as an artist! It was a process, but they wanted to know if I was truly into what I was into. It’s important to be as authentic as I can and I think the label trusted me to share my musical perspective in such a way.
When did you realize you wanted to be a musical artist?
For me, I’ve always been an “I like art” type girl. so I’ve always dabbled in a bit of everything to say the least. I’ve always wanted to be a modern renaissance woman, and I’ve always admired women like Frida Kahlo and Eartha Kitt.
I used to draw and was a serious artist all the way into my 20’s, and picked up writing poetry and spoken word in college. I used cosplay as a form of performance art so the amalgamation of all my hobbies were kind of molding me on the low. Lol.
I used to sing in choir as a kid and even sung for middle school graduation, but I never thought I personally had the confidence to explore my voice. My love for Hip Hop definitely taught me flow, because I used to always try to rap on par with my favorite rappers when they spit.
I was very addicted to understanding the history of Hip Hop and music and gaming, because I loved music and art and geek sh*t all the same. So, you can say the day I finally found the confidence to use ALL my skills was the day I realized I can actually create music—and that didn’t happen until about 2 1/2 yrs ago. I wasn’t confident at first, but I would write to myself whenever I felt the need, and it was my personal form of expression: me writing to the beats and reading it out of catharsis.
How has your journey as a creative been thus far?
It’s been very interesting, very emotional, a lot of give and take. To be creative, you have to be able to stand in your truth, in your emotions and feelings, and convey them for people to relate to. Whether that’s when you’re angry or sad, whether you want to turn up, or you [want to feel] feel sexy or even [feel] introspective. It’s been a journey of self-understanding and love. Taking out the parts I don’t know about myself and using my creativity to learn and understand myself and others. It in turns make you highly empathetic, and I think you need to be in order to creatively express and create art.
How did you come up with your stage name?
Some friends of mine used to call me sunshine because of my warm and inviting personality—and because my [real] name has a Z I thought it would be cool to call myself Sunzi. I used to make jokes and call myself sunniZ like SunnyD, so it became a moniker for me.
That, and my respect for Sun Tsu and “The Art Of War”, which was a book I read in my younger that teaches strategy. I used to love Code Geass and Shikamaru type anime characters (the strategic folk) because of how cool and calm they were, yet always one step ahead. I was a very naïve child growing up, and the big bad world taught me [that] I had to be aware.
How would you describe your sound music wise?
My sounds feels like anime or cartoons, and kicking up to save the day while the handsome prince sighs because you chose to dip off into the night like Batman. It’s hood, but it’s geeky and weeby and feels very energetic. I pour a lot of my personality into my lyrics and sound! I’m a geeky Tupac-esque chica that mixes golden era East Coast Hip Hop with modern LoFi vibes! I like to rap over hard ass beats and sound like Buttercup from Powerpuff Girls beating Mojo Jojo’s ass!
Would you describe yourself as a Blerd/Geek of Color? If so, tell us about your experience in the Geek community!
Yes, I would describe myself as a Geek of Color. We’ve just recently coined terms to describe our demographic, and I’m happy to represent the niche of who we are! I’m an avid con goer and I’m very active in my PoC Geek space. It’s important to be visible, and I’m always networking with my local peers on dope projects. I’ve been in the community since [I was] a teenager attending cons, and it has given me so much!
I’ve been featured in huge publications and have made connections with all types of people in the geek community, from lead artists to cosplayers, and convention creators. So many of my friends have made lasting memories attending events and spaces tailored to us. I’ve been blessed to help be a part of some as well! It’s a wonderful community, and it’s always something dope happening!
What fandoms are you in?
I love anime! So Samurai Champloo, Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, Afro Samurai, Promised Neverland, Naruto (Shonen Jump in general), Berserk, Attack on Titan…the list goes on! I’m a fan of old school anime as well, like Ninja Scroll. As far as new, I frequent the yearly anime watch lists.
I’m also a Whovian—I friggin love Doctor Who! Harry Potter Too! Star Wars! I love comics, so everything Marvel/DC. And I absolutely love Kingdom Hearts! Many of the long standing PS titles are big faves: Metal Gear, Beyond Good and Evil, MVC, Tekken—the list goes on!
What’s the most exciting thing about being a part of fandom culture now?
Being able to connect with likeminded people that share the same passions!!!!
Why do you think it’s important to have representation in these communities (fandom, alternative, gamer, etc.), especially in today’s pop culture climate?
It’s very important to have representation so that younger generations—and even the older ones—can see themselves in the media that is created. It’s important to tell these stories simply because they’re relatable, and seeing yourself do things that are not “society’s stereotypical viewpoint of you” proves that we can do and be anything we want, as long as we love and care for our passion. Humans share stories and pass these stories down, and by being inspired you reciprocate the inspiration for others to be infected with. LOL.
What are your personal favorite music genres?
Some of my personal favorite genres are soulful R&B (think Musiq Soulchild, Vivian Green and Anita Baker vibes), Lofi music—which is a very underground genre that is starting to garner [mainstream] attention, but [which has been] BIG in the anime otaku scenes as we’ve listened to instrumentals and chill beats while studying, drawing, or even gaming since Nujabes and others hit the scene.
Hip Hop saved my life like Lupe says, because it’s been a lifetime of learning and loving Hip Hop, from its geographical significance, to rap styles and history. Hip Hop’s birth was so beautiful, and it evolves through the years in ways people never realized.
What’s the most exciting thing about being a part of this new subdivision of Columbia Records?
Being able to create and truly be myself! I’m able to highlight and showcase my community in a way that truly shines a light on the geek community, and it’s wonderful to be able to bring this type of blerdgirl magic to the music industry!
What are some fun things we should keep an eye out for from you and Lost Rings?
Definitely more music!!!!! I’ve already written a lot, and have so many vibes so I’m hoping to work on something more complete to give my audience! You can also catch me at your local anime/gaming/comic convention hanging with homies and geeking out! I’m also creating content with my geek media job Quirktastic as a podcaster and producer of dope things! You can check out my podcast GEEK&CHILL where we talk game, anime and pop culture news and reviews.
How can fans support you?
Fans can support by listening to my music and sending feedback or thoughts! I love hearing from my fellow geek peeps, so your thoughts matter and help shape this new industry we’re sharing with the normies LOL.
Following me on my social IG: @SUNN.ZII or FB: SUNZI allows me to connect and share my day to day with you! You can also check out LOSTRINGSOFFICIAL for my “Joystick” video by commenting, liking and sharing de love!!!
When does your album/single/etc. release?
I’ve already dropped one song, “Joystick” in June, but I’m working on releasing a few new singles and my music video for “Senpai”—as well as writing for my album!
Describe yourself in one word?
Follow Sunzi and Lost Rings on the social media channels below! And watch Sunzi’s first MV “Joystick” below and become a part of the #JoystickChallenge!
- Lost Rings: https://www.instagram.com/LostRingsOfficial/
- Sunzi- https://www.instagram.com/sunn.zi/
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