Bianca Leonor Quiñones grew up a choirgirl in Altadena, California, where she was super-close with her two younger sisters, Bailey Rose and Blair Mahya. At 19, after a short time at college and some soul-searching by the Bay, Quiñones realized she was meant to make music professionally, so she started recording some songs with her friends. In the time since then, the L.A. native has opened for Erykah Badu (“Mommy”); been featured on G-Eazy’s latest album, When It’s Dark Out; and recorded her own debut EP, Galactica, which she released in October under the name QUIÑ.
“I used to go by Bianca Leonor,” QUIÑ tells Rogue. “I’d never fully embraced my last name because no one could ever pronounce it. But then my friends were like, ‘Yo, your last name’s kinda dope. You’re kinda trippin’.’
“And I was like, ‘Bianca Quiñones? I don’t know…’ So I simplified it to QUIN and threw a li’l tilde at the top, because it’s cute, and it actually is my name.”
Preventing further confusion, the refrain to QUIÑ’s song ‘I AM’ goes, “I am QUIÑ the magnificent, I am.”
“[That] came from a little ditty I used to always sing to myself,” QUIÑ says. “It was actually a poem that I wrote back in like 2014. I wanted to make a song out of it, but I wasn’t, like, pressed to. Then one day, I was in a bad mood because somebody was annoying me, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna need to remind myself who I am really quick.’ Then that came to me, and it turned into this whole song.”
Most of QUIÑ’s songs require a more formalized writing process, though. “I’ll usually listen to something that the homie plays me. Then I’ll instantly go in the booth and lay down some freestyles,” she says. “The freestyles leave you clues as to what you need to fill in the blanks with. Sometimes you don’t even know, and your brain kinda does it for you. You’re like, ‘Whoa, that’s what I was supposed to be talkin’ about? Alright, cool.’ You kind of just help yourself along the way. That’s my favorite part—filling in the blanks of the syllables. I just love writing. That puzzle is my favorite.”
But the artistry doesn’t stop there. QUIÑ is also heavily involved in the production of her music. “I always vocally arrange everything you hear. All of the backgrounds and the cool shit—that’s all me,” she says proudly.
Talking to QUIÑ, it becomes abundantly clear that the she sees collaboration as an indispensable element of her creative quest. The most famous partner she’s worked with is easily G-Eazy, with whom she became “instant homies” after appearing (naked) in his ‘Tumblr Girls’ video.
Later on, QUIÑ was with G-Eazy and some other friends when she decided to take the aux and play a song that she and Garrett Nash (aka gnash) had made. At the time, it was called ‘Don’t.’ The whole squad loved it, including G-Eazy.
QUIN says, “G pulled me to the side later, and he was like ‘Yo, I’m actually trying to arrange my album, and I really think this song is dope as fuck.’ So that’s how ‘Think About You’ happened. He made sure it went through all the cuts and ended up on the album.”
G-Eazy later returned the favor by rapping on the Galactica track “OVER AGAIN”.
Going forward, QUIÑ has a whole bunch of songs up her sleeve that she plans on dropping eventually. “[My] songs are like healthy medicine for your brain,” she says. “I feel like there’s a lot of stagnant music that’s here to keep you where you are instead of building your brain to be something bigger. So I’m here to help you, you know, expand your mind a little bit.”
At this point, it’s mostly a matter of determining the best format for her creations to flourish under. She says she’s open to everything from a series of EPs to a full-length visual album.
“I’m just trying to figure out what kinds of stories I want to tell next,” QUIÑ says. “They could be long, or they could be short, but they’re all just little chapters of this giant book I’m creating. Galactica is Chapter 1.”
Photography by Bad Boi
Written by Cody Fitzpatrick