Bronx-based soul singer Storm has quite the presence.
The Puerto Rican diva with the big voice is one of New York City’s most gifted indie singers, and she has built a name for herself on the strength of her impassioned performances and heartfelt songwriting. She explains that her confidence as a vocalist began very early in life; she always knew what she was destined to be.
“All 70s households had a wall dedicated to just mirrors,” she recalls with a laugh. “And I used to take [my mom’s] hair brush and stand in front of [the mirror wall] and pose and sing. I knew at an early age that I had a talent. When I really developed it was after my early teens; but I always knew there was something there. I started professionally [when] I was 18.” Storm was born in Brooklyn, but her family moved to Puerto Rico when she was twelve. “My mom learned how to speak English through music—country music, soul, British Invasion—so my sound is like a mixture of everything,” Storm says. “It’s a mixture of old school soul with a new vibe and some Latin feel.”
Since returning to New York City as an adult, she’s honed her sound by performing with an amazing set of musicians and she says the experience helped her expand her palette onstage and learn how to move a crowd.
“A lot of the musicians that I used to work with were musicians that had been in the game for many years, so they taught me the ropes in terms of presentation and how to feel out your audience,” says Storm. “I thank God that I haven’t had any type of horror story where there was a misunderstanding with the audience.” Storm felt right at home with older musicians, as she admits that her musical approach is informed by the artists of yesteryear. “I come from an old school type of vibe in regards to songwriting. I grew up listening to old school R&B,” she explains. “My favorite singers were Marvin Gaye and Al Green. [Other singers] I loved were Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. So that concept of songwriting and the texture of the songs is hard to fit with what’s happening now. I don’t fit in–so I create my own aesthetic. I came out at the wrong time, I should’ve come out in 1980-something or 1990-something; because my audience now is an older crowd. Which I love.”
On her independently-released self-titled album, the singer’s voice is front-and-center, along with her creativity. Songs like, “I Don’t Miss You Anymore” and “Where I Want To Be” are the kind of heart-on-your-sleeve statements that cut to the essence of soul music and sincere expression.
“My creative approach is very spontaneous,” Storm says regarding songwriting. “I go through these bouts of writer’s block–and I get them often. [So] when muse knocks on my door, I take total advantage. It’s kind of feverish and I become very annoyed because I don’t want that link to get cut. I become kind of a mad woman.”
“I don’t play any instrument, so I constantly record melodies I hear in my head,” she adds. “I go to any producer and say ‘This is the sound that I want, this is the vibe that I want,’ and we work from there.”
She’s had to learn her lessons, as many have. The music business can be unforgiving, and Storm understands the realities of navigating this male-dominated world.
“It’s hard being a woman in the industry,” Storm admits. “They don’t take you seriously as a businesswoman, they don’t take you seriously as a singer. That’s one of the most challenging aspects that I’ve had to face. I had to create a thick skin.” Through her own independent releases and her soul-stirring live performances, Storm has been able to build a base and express herself freely–and she says both outlets continue to inspire her to push forward.
“I could have had the worst day in the world and I go to a gig and just the thought alone–that I’m going to be onstage releasing–that makes me feel better,” she shares. “That is the best. It’s a release and it’s what I was born to do. I don’t see myself ever stopping music.”