Morena Roas is a multi-cultural, multi-talented artist. The native Houstonian identifies as queer, Black, and Puerto Rican, and her perspectives all shine through in her music.
The tunes she grew up listening to were bilingual. “It wasn’t just hip hop, but Spanish and Black,” Roas notes. “I’m a combination of it all. Latin, jazz, hip hop. I sing, I rap, and I might just go out and do the Cumbia!”
Roas has been performing live, hosting events and weekly shows, and competing in local singing competitions for years. But she also has a presence in Brazil that includes performances in clubs and LGBTQ festivals.
“I love Brazil,” Roas says. “I’d be there right now if I wasn’t afraid to travel. When I’m rich, I’ll have a home in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and in Houston.”
Other than curtailing her travel plans, the pandemic hasn’t done much to slow Roas down. She’s performed streaming sets featuring earlier songs such as “Molly Where You At?” and last November dropped the new single “Next To Ya” on streaming platforms. “That was my feel-good song,” she says. “An easygoing one.” She followed that with the grittier hip-hop song “Gangsta Vampire” in January.
“[Keeping ‘vampire’ hours] is just my life—late nights [and] bartenders. You’ll get bit if you wake me up in the morning,” she laughs. “But it’s also just a cool name.”
The music video for “Gangsta Vampire” was choreographed by the talented Mike Baerga, and is the first single being released under Roas’ new record label, Mollynation Records, where she plans to bring together Houston-based artists as a thank-you for their support.
“I’m an independent artist,” Roas says. “And I support all artists. We all have to support each other.”
Right now, she’s finishing a live album and putting on some shows around town. But she misses the synergy of working with other artists.
“I was really looking forward to my Discovery Green debut with Las Fenix [this month],” she says. “But it’s been postponed again because of COVID.”
One of the women in the group contracted COVID-19, and although all are well and recovering, one of the women is pregnant, so the band decided to take time off from public events. The downtown park concert has been rescheduled for May 5, 2022.
Follow Roas’ work at morenaroas.com.
This article appears in the September 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.