Much like many rising artists, 19-year-old Dash Machete has a lot on her plate.

Between being in school full time, holding a part-time job and working on cultivating her talents as an emcee, she is able to balance it all with a grace wise beyond her years. Her natural work ethic is coming into play in a major way this year, as she continues to explore her creative side through her music. Dash has greeted 2016 by consistently reaching new milestones as a rapper, such as releasing her debut single, “Be Nice,” earlier this year.

“Be Nice” is a wonderful introduction to her as a recording artist, incorporating her light-hearted sense of humor into her razor-sharp vocal delivery with an impressive confidence for someone just getting started. As a rapper, she is still coming into her own, drawing inspiration from the trailblazing female rappers that came before her.

For giving her music the visual treatment for the first time, Dash tactfully chose to portray her innocence in a deceiving way, juxtaposing her track’s theme of “Being Nice” with her and her friends robbing a corner store, all while dressed to the nine’s. While the music video does create a playful vibe, don’t let the premise it builds allow you to mistake her kindness for weakness. Even at 19, Dash herself knows better.

How long have you been doing what you do? What inspired you to start making music?
I’ve been rapping since the age of seven. My biggest inspirations branch from Missy Elliott to Gwen Stefani. When I was younger, I would watch the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and rap along to the theme song. In the early 2000s, I saw women rapping and I said to myself: I can do this too!

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why? Biggest inspiration?
Biggest highlight so far is the premiere of my first single “Be Nice;” it was so special. I didn’t even care about the numbers. My goal was 1,000 plays and we exceeded it. Those moments are so precious to me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience filming this new video, especially considering it was your first time giving a track the visual treatment. Looks like you all had a blast. How did you come up with the concept?
My crew and I had a blast. We came across a lot of challenges such as traveling on public transportation with a wheelchair and rain on the second day of shooting, but we did it! We were inspired by the movie, Spring Breakers and the concept of good girls doing bad things. When my director told me about the movie, I watched it twice in a row and thought about how I would incorporate that concept with our own twist.

What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful?
Passion and routine. Not taking your work lightly.

How do you balance work/school/music? What advice do you have to creatives who are juggling school in addition to their craft?
I do so by setting a schedule for myself and sticking to it. I write songs in between shifts, that way, school, work, and music become one. My advice to anyone would be to be as organized as possible and do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What are you hoping people walk away with when they listen to your music?
When listeners and fans hear my music, I want them to learn a lesson. I want them to be able to relate, I want them to dance and I also want them to feel empowered.

What are you working towards next?
I’m taking it slow and steady. Building my catalog in order to release a project. I’m very passionate about what I do. Expect shows and lots more music!