If you haven’t already, prepare to become obsessed with Qveen Herby. The hip hop sensation just dropped her latest single, “Check,” and we had the chance to exclusively chat with her about the new track, the message behind it, her upcoming album, her plans to hit the road and more!
For those who don’t know, Qveen Herby’s real name is actually Amy Renee Noonan, and she used to be in a group called Karmin with her husband, Nick Noonan. Karmin actually opened up for the Jonas Brothers on their Live Tour back in 2013, and fans probably remember their hit songs “Acapella” or “Brokenhearted.” Since she transformed herself into Qveen Herby, Amy has released seven epic EPs so far, and it’s only the beginning.
J-14: Tell us about “Check,” what’s that about?
Qveen Herby: This is probably the most exciting single I’ve ever put out because it’s actually a Missy Elliott-type of track. She’s technically a writer on the song, it has that throwback vibe, that 2000’s vibe. The concept is basically demanding payment for what you’re bringing to the table. It’s a really good message.
J-14: Was it inspired by anyone or anything in your real life?
Qveen Herby: Yes. I feel like a lot of times I use Qveen Herby as a way to get out emotions about things that happened to me because she’s allowed to be a little bit more feisty and sassy. It definitely is based on a real situation that happened, kind of like a Rihanna “B***h better have my money” type of moment. It was somebody I was working with that basically owed me money and I was like, “Look, if you want the best for me, you’ve got to pay up.”
J-14: Do you have a favorite song off of the upcoming EP?
Qveen Herby: “Check” is definitely my favorite because we got Missy Elliott vibes all over that thing. I just can’t stop listening to it. It’s one of those that you can hear a million times and it never gets old.
J-14: Is there one specific message you’re hoping to deliver with the EP?
Qveen Herby: This EP is my eighth EP, so we’ve put out a few already. My message is always preaching about self worth and about demanding what you’re worth and understanding that you are such an important person. I do live chats every week to chat with my fans about it because everybody’s sort of on this mission to find their purpose. Where as other artists may have a lot of love songs, I only have a couple love songs. But the message of EP eight is no different, it’s very empowering, very good music to put on before a job interview or whenever you need to feel powerful. One of the songs is about appreciating your body, and I’m really excited to put that one out.
J-14: What’s next for you after this EP?
Qveen Herby: I’m going to hop on tour come April, and finally get out and see my people in person. I haven’t officially toured yet. We’re going to release one more EP — the ninth one — and then we’re going to drop album one probably top of next year. This year will just be about EP eight and nine. I’m psyched, I’m like how do I complete this story? It’s been a fun two years.
J-14: What made you choose the name Qveen Herby?
Qveen Herby: I wanted to make a statement as a solo female. I wanted to make a statement as a strong woman because I felt like I had this opportunity to have a voice in hip hop, and not a lot of girls from where I’m from — the midwest — do pursue something like that. I figured I needed a really strong name and in college people used to call me queen, but because I’m Russian they used to say it like “Qveen,” and I was like, “Wow, I should really run with that.” And sure enough, it was available. I trademarked it and launched my own makeup line with the name “Qveen” with a “V.” As for Herby, I always felt that Qveen was so feminine and Herby was so masculine, and I love having that balance. But Herby is also the mascot for the Nebraska corn huskers, which is where I’m from, so it’s sort of like, “Don’t forget where you came from girl.”
J-14: What is the main difference between your music now and your music as Karmin?
Qveen Herby: It’s certainly got a lot of similarities, like it has that pop-y… All the catchy melodies are there and the attitude is definitely there. I think in Karmin, by the time we hit that song “Accapella,” that was almost her. That was almost my idea of Qveen Herby. This is just what happens when you have years of experience and you get more sophisticated and it’s a testament to doing what you love to do. We just never gave up, and it evolved into this thing that we think now is the best. Every EP that we drop we say, “Oh, this is the best music we ever put out.” We’re waiting for it to stop getting better, but it just keeps getting better. I would say, we had to take a couple years off to learn how to produce our own music because we were working with different producers as Karmin, so I would say the biggest difference is now it’s consistent. Now it’s fully me, while that was a collaboration with a bunch of different people. And we’re totally independent now.
J-14: Why did you guys ultimately decide to make the switch?
Qveen Herby: I think both of us just felt that natural — like you can feel when something is getting stale, at least as a creative person it’s hard to say because nobody tells you, “Hey. Stop this and do this instead.” It was definitely kind of a scary transition, we didn’t know how to do it. There were even people telling us not to do it. There’s just this urge that you feel in your solar plexus — basically like a gut feeling. We woke up every day like, “Wow, whoever this new sound is, whoever this new character is, we need to commit to her.” It took a couple of years to do it, but it was all this random gut feeling like, “This is what we need to do.” And thank God it’s working, people are loving it.
J-14: How has the dynamic changed now that you’re making music on your own versus with your husband?
Qveen Herby: He’s producing all of the music, like the beats. I think he was kind of done doing the dance moves and the music videos — he likes being behind the camera we’re finding out. He’s a really good producer and he knows me so well, I couldn’t ask for a better person to create with. I don’t think he misses it, he never really liked to have to worry about Instagram and all those things. I’m the kind of artist where I’m like, I want to do a three hour meet and greet. I love the role of being the artist, being front and center, and that’s kind of always been the case. We’re both happier, if that answers the question. We found a life that we love. We create constantly.
J-14: Is it ever hard working with your husband? Do you ever argue?
Qveen Herby: Oh, we definitely used to. I think now, with two years of this under our belt — doing this alone, we’ve got the system down really smooth. But I think it is important to note that it’s really rare that you can do this with your partner. We’re really lucky, we try not to brag about it because we know as soon as you do that, it falls apart. But we definitely have a synergy and we’ve kind of figured out who does what and we respect those roles.
J-14: Who is your ultimate dream collab?
Qveen Herby: I would love to do a song with Kendrick Lamar! But there’s also a lot of female artists — I just want to put all the best female rappers on an album together. I’m like the fairy godmother of female rapper. I love Summer Walker, Siza, Billie Eilish is a genius — I can’t even imagine what we’d create, she’s so cool.
Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.