Coco & Breezy Explain How Creatives Can Balance Multiple Passions
Coco & Breezy know that it takes two to make a thing go right.
Identical Afro-latina twins Corianna (Coco) and Brianna (Breezy) Dotson, 30, know the power of teamwork better than most. With dreams of making it big, the sisters moved from their hometown in Minnesota to New York in 2009 with less than $1,000 combined. The two had become well-known on the web for their fresh takes on sunglasses, but weren’t satisfied with internet stardom—they wanted make a name for themselves in the real world, too.
Ten years and a largely successful eponymous eyewear label later, Coco and Breezy’s over-the-top styles have found fans in Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Beyonce and the late Prince. Their skills have helped them become some of the most celebrated accessories designers of our generation, but they’re not limiting themselves to a singular creative avenue. For the past several years, the sisters have been working on their joint music career as well.
“We’ve been producing for a while,” they said over the phone, while speaking as a unit. “We’ve been DJ’ing for almost 5 years. Producing around the same time as well. I think what’s really special is that it took us a while to find our sound.”
Fresh off of the heels of their latest music release, “Convo,” Coco and Breezy spoke with GU about their love for fashion and music, the production process for their latest musical offering, and how creatives can go about publicly having more than one interest.
Read our conversation below.
GU: You’ve been heralded for your work as designers, but you also have careers as musicians. How has it been juggling the two?
Coco & Breezy: Juggling the two, I would say that we sacrifice our social life a little bit. But the one thing I am grateful for is that we have amazing teams. We have a team on the music side that kills it, and we have a team on the eyewear side that kills it. We also have a team on our talent/brand partnerships side and everyone knows what the one big goal is. I think that’s what I feel very grateful and that’s what really important. Even though we have the eyewear company and we are doing music, we’re telling one story.
“I think that’s the fun part about our records, you have all different sorts of genres that tie in together. That’s who we are.”
I was listening to the track, and it has a very pronounced pop feel to it. So what were some of the additional musical influences that fueled the song?
Coco & Breezy: When you tie back and listen to our DJ sets, you might hear a house song, you might hear a pop song, you might hear a hip-hop song. But, we’re creating this world and this experience. With our new single, “Convo,” you hear house. It has indie pop influences and R&B influences and then there are influences of us being Afro-Latina. We play the live congas [and] we play some live percussion that we grew up playing in our Puerto Rican household. I think that’s the fun part about our records, you have all different sorts of genres that tie in together. That’s who we are.
You said it took a year—from ideation to completion—to make this project happen. Can you walk us through what that time period entailed for you?
Coco & Breezy: It’s funny because the reason why it took a year is because when you’re working on a product, which at this time was a song, you have the idea, and the idea is so good but it doesn’t feel like it’s good enough. I think its so important as a creative to know when to put your pen down, but then to know when to keep going.
We actually made about six different versions of the song. Once it got to a good point, we made the shift to be like, ‘Hold on, this is about to be a really good song.’
I will never forget it, Breezy was out of town and I made the really big change to know that this was like, the final, almost like 90% done song. I was working on the song and was actually a little bit emotional because I’m like, ‘How do we get it to the space and the feel that we want it to get to?’ I spent a whole weekend by myself, just kind of like, adding the little elements. When Breezy got back into town, that’s when we actually finished it off.
I want to give a shout out to the team that helped us with it as well. On the vocals, there’s this beautiful voice. Her name is Claire. Some other people on the team are DJ Shiftee, Zak Leever, and Mike.
The process was fun, but the team also helped. Everyone was on the same frequency when we were creating it.
“When you’re a creative, you try to do everything by yourself in the beginning stages. It is important to learn how to do it yourself, but then if you want to grow, as an artist, as a creative, or as an entrepreneur, it’s important to learn how to delegate.”
It’s great how much emphasis you place on the people who help bring your visions to life. And of course teamwork is such an integral part of your brand because you two work together on all of your productions. What do you have to say to people who believe they have to be a one-person machine?
Coco & Breezy: When you’re a creative, you try to do everything by yourself in the beginning stages. It is important to learn how to do it yourself, but then if you want to grow, as an artist, as a creative, or as an entrepreneur, it’s important to learn how to delegate. You can bring people in who can do what you want, better.
Once you have ideas, you have to learn how to let go of a few elements so you can have those experts that are great at those minute elements. [It helps] you really build the bigger picture that you’re trying to create.
What key tidbit should people know when they’re thinking about publicly pursuing more than one creative endeavor?
Coco & Breezy: Know what your ultimate goal is. When we first started, we started out just focusing on our eyewear company and really understanding what the Coco and Breezy brand is. It took us a while to really build the eyewear company before we took the time out to build anything else.
We also believe that it can be challenging in the beginning if you’re giving five percent here, ten percent there, twenty percent there…It is important to kind of have some focus on the beginning endeavors. As we grew and as we started building out teams to help us do our different verticals, that was very helpful.
We think the reason why it works for us is with the eyewear company, we’re doing more operations and have to think extremely hard. So when it comes to music, we can be more creative.
The cool thing about our experience—we have the eyewear, we’re DJ’s/producers, we’re also co-founders of a real estate property company, we have a podcast, we’re doing awesome brand partnerships and we’re on a TV show—but they’re not different things. They’re extensions of the brand.
A lot of folks that attempt to be multifaceted have multiple goals. Where it can get a little mixed up is that it doesn’t look like an extension. It looks like there’s a lot going on. But for us, we’re able to kind of streamline everything because it’s all an extension of who we genuinely are.
Listen to “Convo” below.
Photo credit: Source