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The Healing R&B of Tracy Cruz

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Lorenzo Manag
/
Huemanly

 

 When Tracy Cruz was young, singing was just another language. Her mother and grandmother made ballads out of busy work, oftentimes singing in their native Tagalog as they did household chores. Tracy was born on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, but moved to San Jose, California when she was five.

As she was growing up in California, she’d sing along with her family and listen to them play the music of soul icons like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. She even made singing her “business” as her grandfathers would pay her each time she performed a tune for them.

Today, Tracy combines her Filipina roots with American soul as a professional singer and popular vocal coach. Lyrically, Tracy explores topics traditional to the R&B genre – like love found and love lost – but she also writes more celebratory, hopeful songs to help her overcome life’s struggles. In her new trilogy of EPs, she illustrates the trajectory of emotions associated with a break-up, building up and breaking down instrumentation just as feelings wax and wane.

Guest host Anita Rao speaks with Tracy Cruz about her tour, her children and healing through music. Tracy is joined in studio by Jaqui Renee on vocals, Howard “Soul” Joyner on the keys, Brandon Farmer on the drums and Chris Sharp on Bass. They perform tonight at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Beyu Caffe in Durham. The third EP in her trilogy, “Purple H3artifacts,” will be released on Saturday, July 28th.

Gabby received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Interactive Multimedia Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill, class of 2018. She the founder and director of WXYC 89.3fm's hip-hop specialty show, Free Samples, which airs on Thursdays from 5-7pm.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.