Bahja Rodriguez is best known for being a member of the OMG Girlz, the teenage girl group founded by Tameka “Tiny” Harris. Genuine, mature, and centered, the singer/songwriter has just released her debut solo EP, It Gets Better. The title holds profound meaning for Rodriguez and aims to inspire young women to keep pushing, no matter the obstacle.

We sat down with the mature 19-year-old Atlanta native to discuss her new music, biggest inspirations and the difference between working as part of a group and and being a solo artist.

Tell us about your new project?
“It took me six or seven months to develop the sound behind It Gets Better. I’m really proud of it and I’m excited to show the world what I have.”

Does the title draw from personal experience?
“It definitely does. This time last year, I was in a completely different place. The title describes where I am in my life right now. The situation I was in at the time felt never ending, as if it was never going to improve. Now that I’m here a year later, I feel so much different and I’m able to put out my music.”

Since this is your first solo project, what did you find different from working in a group to working alone?
“It’s now me writing, picking out beats, figuring out who I’m going to use on what tracks and taking on the entire responsibility of the music. On the flip side, if I mess up on a part, it’s on me to fix it. Working alone, there’s no one there to pass the blame when something goes wrong. It’s a blessing, because it makes me more responsible for my craft.”

How many of the songs on the six-track EP did you write?
“I wrote all except for one. I sometimes co-write with my engineer. A lot of my songs are based off personal experience and conversations I may have had that affected my mood.”

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Brandy, I just think she’s amazing. I love Britney Spears. Many people wouldn’t know this, but Britney was the first artist that encouraged me to sing. Beyoncé, Faith Evans, Monica, Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill. Whoever my mom listened to when I was growing up is pretty much everybody who influenced me.”

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
“Keep going no matter what. People get discouraged for a lot of different reasons. Women especially, we have people constantly telling us no, we get frustrated because we feel no one sees our effort. I’ve learned you can’t allow anyone to stop you from your goals and from what you’re trying to achieve. Just keep going, no bad situation last forever. It does get better.”