Beatport Next: Powerhouse Twins Coco & Breezy Channeling the High Vibe
Beatport Next: Powerhouse Twins Coco & Breezy Channeling the High VibeOctober 19, 2023
Growing up in the suburbs of Applevalley, Minnesota, twin sisters Corianna (Coco) and Brianna (Breezy) Dotson felt like they never really fitted in. Virtually the only pupils of color at school and adorned with piercings, dyed hair, and a flair for fashion, they were bullied by the other kids for being different. However, with a fierce independent spirit instilled at an early age by encouraging parents, Coco & Breezy left for NYC after completing high school with just $1,000 in their pocket, and a dream to make something of themselves in the big city.
Funneling their creativity into DIY fashion projects as teenagers, they hit it big with their first eye-wear pieces – goggles adorned with metal studs glued to them. They garnered a huge following on MySpace (a real throw-back for you millennials out there) and people started offering them money. It was the first time in their life they felt accepted and part of a community, and from there they embarked on their artistic and entrepreneurial journey.
Long story short – word spread of the Coco & Breezy name, their brand garnering a cult-like status with their glasses being worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and the late Prince. Their eponymously named eyewear brand (Coco & Breezy) is now in six hundred stores, yet amongst their various businesses, they’ve quickly proven themselves to be equally talented behind the decks and producing songs. Just like their idiosyncratic fashion sense, their music style is eclectic, blending influences from soul and R&B, to 90s US dance music and beyond. For the twins, everything has the potential of a creative outlet, and it seems that they have a skill in translating their unique artistic language across disciplines and domains. Transitioning to music was a natural, perhaps inevitible process – but also one that seemed to thread all of their creative powers together through the immediacy of performance and the direct impact that music has on the soul.
From very humble beginnings, the self-made sisters have been one another’s best companions and trusted business partners, with a strong drive to spread inclusivity, love and positivity to dancefloors and beyond. Currently members of the Beatport Next Class of 2023 and now on tour with Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo with some new music in the pipeline, the inimitable sister duo are feeling empowered to make their mark on the world of music.
Coco & Breezy’s newest single “There Is A Light” drops on October 26th via Free Your Soul / Moodswing Music. Buy it on Beatport.
Thanks for joining us! You just got back from playing Life is Beautiful, how was that?
Breezy: It was such a vibe! It was fresh, it was beautiful. It was a long day for us too, because before that we were on tour with Chromeo, and then we were shooting content with Rolling Stone and doing this fan meet and greet at Pringle.
How has it been since you started to properly play out to crowds?
Breezy: To give you an update on the progress – last year we were doing like the early, early set times, and yesterday we did the last slot on our stage. Which is like, moving on up!
Coco: Well this was the first year we were on lineups. You know how when they do the lineups at festivals they have ‘this person’, ‘that person’, then ‘plus more’ – well we would be part of the ‘plus more’… Now, they add our names to the lineup!
You also started putting out music just a few years ago, at that point were you just doing music on the side? How do you balance it now with running the businesses and everything else?
Breezy: Yeah, exactly. So we put a song out in 2018 I believe? But that was when we did not know our sound, it was kind of a cover of a song called “Differences.” Then from there, we were like, “you know what? Let’s discover our sound.” So we put something out before then, I just don’t exactly count it, but our first real song was in 2020.
Coco: We’re spending a lot more time on music now. Because you know, at the end of the day, music drives culture. So we’re spending so much time on music because it helps feed everything else. But it’s all coming together, and I feel very grateful for our team on the eyewear side because they’re holding it down while we tour.
So in terms of that transition from running a successful eyewear business to DJing, producing and going to festivals, are there some things you learned or realized?
Breezy: So before we got into the touring and the music world, we’d been DJing for like eight years before we got into the festivals. But as traveling/touring DJs, we started last year. So before we started touring, we had never been to an electronic music festival, and also we’ve never been party girls. So it’s been cool that every venue, every festival we’ve been to has been a first-time experience. We had no idea what the vibes were gonna be. And we were just able to come in there kind of blind to it and just be true to who we really are and not have any expectations of what we think people want.
But really truly going in being – one: excited and also cherishing that first moment, and two: just really giving people that full Coco & Breezy experience. Because we don’t know anything about that festival, so we’re really truly just pouring our hearts out and being ourselves. So that’s been kind of fun to experience all these places, and doing these things, even to really understand our sound also as DJs and producers. I also feel so grateful that this culture has such a dedicated fan base, people are so loyal, it feels like a family. I love the electronic music space for that.
I know you both have a really eclectic taste in everything from music to fashion, so I was wondering what you’re listening to at the moment? What’s catching your ear right now?
Breezy: You really want to know what I was listening to earlier? I was listening to like some metalcore. Honestly, there’s something in the production that I got inspired by. I like listening to different genres to get inspired by in my music. Music is such a universal language. There were some drums that they did, and I was like “Oh shit that would be fire to put in one of our songs.” It’s not going to make my song sound like metalcore, but there’s something in it that did something to my soul – it was like a little [drum] break and I was like “this feels so good!”. And then also we’ve been listening to Diddy’s album that he just dropped, maybe twenty times in like three days. The production’s amazing…
So you’ve always had this kind of cross-pollination approach with your influences?
Coco: Yeah, like when we first started our brand, we always would go to art galleries. And Breezy would just get so inspired by the colors, about the paintings, or she’d get inspired by the sculptures. And that’s how she got inspiration with designing the glasses. And for music, like Diddy’s album – I’m so inspired. People need to step their game up! It’s very musical, and it’s so good, and literally I’ve also listened to it like maybe even thirty times. I haven’t listened to an album from top to bottom in a very long time. The production is gorgeous. So yeah, we go to other places for inspo. Even like early ’90s R&B – the vocal production was so incredible, the synths, the live instruments they use. Now, we’re recording a lot of our own percussion live, and we’re doing a lot of stuff live because we got inspired by that from other genres.
How do you go about working together on your music projects – is it the same as when you’re doing your other projects, or did you find a different flow when you’re making music?
Coco: I mean, we’re both creative, but Breezy’s like wild creative. It’s a really good balance.
Breezy: So I would say like with us as twins, we just find a balance. There’s like a certain level of synergy that we have, like unspoken synergy. But then there’s some times where like, Coco, she can be a little bit more technical. I’m more like taking risks, and yeah it’s a really good balance. A lot of times when we’re working over some projects together, or sometimes I’ll start something, and shit would happen or like vice-versa. Or even when we’re DJing, our hands are like on the deck together, but we’re not talking – but we’re talking, like telepathically, we just happen together.
I got the feeling that was the case. It seems like a more intuitive relationship, right?
Coco: You know what’s crazy. Even when it comes to making music, I even let that be intuitive. I think that the goal of the type of music that we’re trying to make is music that comes from the Divine. And it has to feel good. So we’re not thinking about what pad, or what pattern or like template do we need to use – we don’t do that. It’s more that we allow ourselves to be vessels. And like, true music that you want to hit the soul has to come from this higher power. And there’s things that we’ve done in songs that I don’t remember how I did it, because I allowed myself to just be a vessel, and allow this higher divine thing, to just like, direct my hands to make some cool shit.
What is the core message that you want to share in your music?
Breezy: I think for us the core message is that – we believe the people who come to our shows are supposed to be there for that healing. And before all of our shows, we like say a prayer and we just allow ourselves to be magnets to have our hearts open for people to feel the vibes.
And I think the biggest thing in our music – even if you’re not coming to a show – is that we just want someone to turn our song on, and you could be having the most terrible day of your life and the song would just make you feel so good and make you feel happy, and make you feel loved and make you feel seen, and it just has high vibrational energy.
I think that there’s a lot of music today promotes like “let’s get fucked up”, promotes like going on a bender and all these other things, and for me I don’t want to be a part of that at all. I’m not a fan of DJs pouring alcohol down a fan’s throat. That’s not cool. Because that fan could be sober and then all of a sudden have their favorite DJ’s pouring alcohol down their through. They weren’t even able to have a conversation like “Hey, do you actually drink alcohol?” That’s not cool to me. The people that do that, I don’t judge them, but that’s why it’s our duty and job to at least bring the healing, the good vibes, the high vibration.
Coco: One thing we love about being high vibration is, even expressing the darkness but just knowing that there’s light. So our song that’s coming out very soon talks about how it’s okay to know your darkness, but then know that there’s light on the other side. So I think that when people talk about positivity, it can be like a kind of toxic positivity. But we just always want to talk about how it’s okay to feel your emotions and just be real and authentic.
Earlier this year you had this remix done by DJ Sliink on “Just Say,” and you cite him as a brother and a mentor. How did you get connected and what’s a key thing you learned from spending time with him?
Coco: So we’ve been fans of him for a very long time. When we first started DJing eight years ago, a few friends of ours who grew up in New Jersey gave us their whole music libraries to help us get started. We got this whole library of DJ Sliink’s music, from when they were like in high school, from back in the day-day. When we met Sliink I was like “I’ve got songs you probably don’t even have no more!”. So we were fans first, but Sliink has the same manager as us, so that’s how we eventually got connected on a personal level.
But one thing I’ve seen since the beginning of our friendship, is that he’s always stuck to himself. He’s had his own signature sound, but he keeps evolving it to get better and better. And it takes time and now I think he’s finally having his really big era, because Jersey Club is finally being seen as dance music worldwide. What he’s done is always stuck to who he was, and just kept evolving, to make it sound even bigger. And that’s something that we’ve learned, to be sticking to ourselves. There’s small shifts that we always make, but we’re sticking to who we are, and I totally learned that from being around him.
You’ve mentioned that it’s taken a long time to feel comfortable and competent, particularly as black women across industries that are still underrepresented. So, I wanted to ask what helped you in that process of becoming more confident in yourselves and what you’re doing.
Coco: I think it’s owning who we are as individuals. If my DJ career left, and if I didn’t have an eyewear company, if I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I still know who I am. And it took some time to learn that. And now that I feel comfortable and confident with who I am, I feel like I can go into any space and live in my power finally. So now I don’t feel uncomfortable, because I’m just doing me. Like I’m not ‘code-switching’ anywhere, I’m not shifting who I am. I’m not changing the way I talk, I’m not shifting my music, and I feel very, very grateful. Because not everyone can get to that space, but it takes time, or not everyone has the privilege to be as like ‘free spirits’ as we are because we’re literally just painting our world, and we’re painting our lives right now. And the painting just keeps getting bigger and better. And there’s more and more layers being added to it. And so I think that as we continue to do that, we can also be an example that other people can follow.
Obviously, your parents have supported you a lot in your journey, in giving you a space and freedom to be yourselves. Did they influence you artistically as well?
Breezy: We’ve always been eclectic, we’ve always had hair that was super eclectic. And I’m really grateful because we didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but we grew up with a lot of love in our household and a lot of freedom to be ourselves. Since both my parents didn’t grow up with freedom – like my mom grew up in a very strict Puerto Rican household where her dad didn’t let her go for her dreams, and our dad grew up in the South during segregation, where as a black man he couldn’t even drink out of the same water fountain as everybody. And despite all of these challenges, they still raised us to have love for everybody, and to love and be true to ourselves. And since they didn’t get the freedom to go for their dreams they really pushed us to do it.
Coco: And yeah, they totally influenced us artistically. My mom plays percussion and congas, and then my dad was a painter. He loved painting. He was also just like a hustler back in the day. So, he taught us the hustle mentality. Again, I think the biggest challenge was making something out of nothing. I mean, the biggest creativity is like being creative when you don’t have a lot.
It’s crazy because growing up, I didn’t feel like we were living paycheck to paycheck because they really just made us feel so comfortable. It takes an art to do that, and I’m grateful we got to learn that. I wouldn’t change anything in our experience. It made us the women that we are today.
Just to end – after all the things you’ve learned from one another over the years, what’s one that comes to mind for each of you now?
Coco: We were just talking about this – one thing I learned from Breezy is how to manage your time, it’s called ‘time blocking’. She’s so good at that, like when we’re in the studio, I’m like I just want to be here all night. Breezy’s like “Coco let’s set a time that we should be done” and how much time should be spent on each part. Otherwise, we’ll just freely work over something that probably doesn’t need to be overworked on, and so I appreciated Breezy for that.
Breezy: The thing I learned from Coco is that she’s really intuitive. And she’s really good at reading body language. So, in the industry that we’re in, I’m not saying you can’t trust anybody, but you have to be mindful of the people around you. And she’s really good at picking up on things. I might be like, “Oh, this person’s cool. They want to work with us,” and she’s like, “Nah,” and ends up being right.
Like the yin to the yang… Thanks for the great conversation!