Photos by Louis Browne

If you haven’t tuned in yet, catch up on life and things with Bri Hall, AKA La Hara, a multi-talented singer, songwriter, YouTuber and lifestyle blogger. She originally started her YouTube presence under the name “Smartista Beauty” in 2014, best known as “That Bitch” when it comes to the essentials of fashion, haircare and beauty. Since the early days, she has evolved into a creative guru, putting out R&B singles that capture her soulful presence and dishing out fabulous advice for self-care and inner beauty. The following on her channel has grown to over 700,000K, with millions of views to witness her wisdom and glow.

Watching her YouTube videos feels like listening to a friend – the one who has all the tips and tricks you need to feel fly AF on the daily… Be sure to watch her latest music video for the sultry single, “Unlawful“, and read our exclusive interview below.

Hi Bri! Tell us a little about your background; what are your roots and how has it lead you to where you are now?

My name is Bri Hall, I was born on Long Island, New York and raised in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Aside from the general facts that I can say about my roots, the most important one was my fascination from a young age about cause and affect in the human mind. I was very curious as a child, so it peaked my interest when I would draw or create something and it could change someone’s mood for better or for worse. I would show family or friends a drawing or poem and pay close attention to their reaction. In those moments, I noticed just how powerful art and words could be. I began to think maybe, just maybe, the more effective I became at creating, the more healing my work would do. This is why I give advice on my Youtube channel, make music about life, and love to create now.

You are a modern-day Renaissance woman – music, lifestyle, blogging, fashion, beauty… How did this all develop into you doing you?

The truth is the most freeing element of life. The closer aligned I became with my true self, the happier I became as well as the people around me. When I changed my major from Computer Science to Animation, I birthed this YouTube platform. When I started dying my hair bold colors [because] I wanted and stopped caring about stares, I was able to be the face of a hair dye box brand. When I took a chance and recorded myself performing a song I wrote for the first time, I became La Hara. I want to encourage my audience to live their most authentic lives and really go for it.

How would you describe your relationship to music? Were you always drawn to this form of expression?

Music and I have a relationship that started in my early years, even when I was a baby. My mom noticed when I was little, I would get so excited when she put on Whitney Houston and be like, “is this girl singing the words?”. Music is so powerful – I’ve always been drawn to it, but so hesitant to create it. I noticed how hypercritical people were about music and it scared me because art is fun for me. I remember how upset my 9th grade piano teacher would get when I didn’t flip the page on time (I couldn’t read the music, but I could play it). I didn’t like rules and I think that is why it took me so long to say “I’m going to just do this and do me”. We have to stop thinking that there’s only one way to create music, music is infinite.

What are your biggest influences in the music industry right now?

This is tough, because we’re losing so many legends. But I will say I support all the amazing women out here doing their thing right now! It’s so empowering and I have so much love for y’all!

As a creative person, when do you feel most inspired?

I’m ironically most inspired when I’m going through something. It’s like it triggers this creative switch in my brain. That gets scary as an artist though because it’s like damn if I’m genuinely happy is my work going to suck? Will it still resonate the same? I think that’s where I need the most inspiration, during those really happy upbeat times. I think I’m too busy living in the moment during happiness, but creativity is my escape during sadness.

Has there been anything in your life recently that you’ve experienced, accomplished, or come to realize that had you feeling proud, enlightened or just some type of way?

YES! My first single was on NYLON! I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t call an ambulance the way I was screaming. Like what? NYLON? Me? It didn’t feel real at all.

When it comes to your YouTube channel and your music, has your signature voice changed at all over the years?

Absolutely! I went through this period of immense self introspection. I used to wear my hair in every color of the rainbow and bold lips and different eye looks and then suddenly I started wearing jet black hair and hardly wore any make up. My mom was like, “your Hair is normal color… are you okay?”, which I thought was so hilarious because usually it’s the other way for parents. But I didn’t want my external appearance to do the talking for once. I wanted to unpack and look within to see what I had to offer outside of pink hair. When I started doing humanitarian work, I started really unpacking my past and probably became the happiest I’ve ever been! But now I’m ready for some hair color again because sis… I’m BACK!

Photo by Shaughn Cooper

Are there any pressures or stresses associated with those worlds that you’ve had to encounter? If so, how did/do you manage those?

There is definitely pressure in all the world. Sometimes it’s pressure to be in the mix, even if it means drama. But I’ve never been in the mix, even in elementary school when I got close to the mix, I exited the mix. It’s even a running joke with my friends where we say I’m the person in the corner with popcorn observing. But I’ve learned almost every aspect of growth and overcoming fear is on the other side of my comfort zone.

What is your parting advice for girls or women, interested in music, media, or just in general?

My advice would be: the moments being your most authentic self will be the most celebrated moments, that views are not everything. I have a few viral videos but ironically the videos people speak most to me about are the ones where I was the most transparent. Numbers don’t always equal impact. Keep grinding, keep pushing, and make sure to keep voting, because we are in some spooky times right now politically.

Thanks, Bri!