Danielle Balbuena fears very little, even on one of the spookiest days of the year (and even when a subpar Yelp rating is staring her right in the face).
Balbuena, better known as 070 Shake, is sitting across from me at Vaibhav Indian Spice Journey, a restaurant in Jersey City. Dripped out in a white button-up and tie, she’s situated herself behind one of two tables she reserved for herself and her entourage of 10 crew members.
The 24-year-old artist has spotted lackluster Yelp reviews for the restaurant, which is not far from her hometown of North Bergen, New Jersey. Customers have given it a measly 3.5 stars out of 5, but she’s been here before. She knows the staff. And on this Friday the 13th, which just happens to be a day she was born on. “My mom wanted to hold me and wait, because she didn’t want me to be born on Friday the 13th,” she says. “Can’t run away from it.” Today, she promises me some good-ass chicken tikka masala.
Some things, Shake tells me, can’t be determined by outside judgment, or Yelp reviews for that matter. As we start talking about her upcoming sophomore effort, You Can’t Kill Me, she explains that music is one of those things. “To put it out in the world, it’s a very vulnerable thing, very vulnerable for sure,” she says. “Music is expression. Having to see it be judged, I don’t think that’s what music’s about. It’s just very precious to you.”