ISSUE NO. 11 / December 2021
A Rap & a cup of tea
Featuring Sam's // Still Fresh // Ya Levis & much more
• Editor • Punch • Review • Playli • Intern • The Te • Credi
ill Fresh p.5
Ya Levis p.21
r's Speech p.3 hlines p.4 ws p.11 ist p.20 national Feat p.27 eam p.29 its p.31
Photography Cover © Fifou
This year is coming to an end and I sincerely hope that 2021 has lived up to your expectations and that you’ve been able to put all your passion to achieve your dreams. Please remember to never be afraid of dreaming too big, too high, too far. It’s well known that “Hard work always pays off” and I can definitely prove it. I created this magazine while still being a student without a penny with only my determination as my only asset. And now, look where we are! We’re 9 people (and sometimes more) working for this magazine. Once again, passion triumphed over the pessimist comments that lined our path. I know this year has been complicated again with Covid, and I hope with all my heart that 2022 will give us more hope about the health situation. Above all, I wish you all the best in 2022 and never lose sight of your goals. Take care of yourself, your loved ones and especially those who love you - true wealth lies in love! Mama Lova? We’re already launching the 11th issue... 11! OMG, such pride! I have no other purpose on earth than to be your pride and to always do everything to be worthy of you, of the love you carry me and of all the sacrifices you have made for both of us, all our life. I love you so much, Mom, so much... As Disiz said: “Luckily there was Rap in my life”. And that’s totally true, what would I have done without music in my life!? As for me, to close this latest issue of 2021, I'd simply say: “Luckily, you were there in our lives to support us and carry this magazine so high.” Thank you for the strength, for the sharing, and especially for the love you have given us. Merci infiniment! Happy new year guys! Bonne année les G! With all my love, Fanny Hill Scott
Punchline "If you don't know where you're going, look where you're from." Rim'k
"No ocean on Earth can drown my sorrow." Dinos
"We have the age of our actions, the wisdom of their consequences." Lino
"Tell me where it hurts, I’ll tell you who you are." Dosseh
"I hope to be a good dad like Mom." Frenetik
"If you are often alone with your problems, it’s because the problem is you quite often." Orelsan
Illustration © Emilia Smolka
stILL Fresh 5
Don't look any further for the one who stands out as much in Urban Pop as in Rap. He's here with us and his name is Still Fresh. With a stunning career and big hits such as "Elle M'A Dit", "Mon Ami" and "Je Te Vois", Still Fresh managed to dominate the French musical scene thanks to his undeniable talent. When it comes to "versatile" songs, Fresh is the king of groovy, danceable, and mindful hits. With thousands of hours of creation to his name after almost 15 years of rapping, the Parisian artist never ceases to delight his audience. Humble, composed and thoughtful, he is here today with A Rap & A Cup Of Tea to talk about his musical inspirations, his interest in the EP format and above all his never-ending desire to create. He never ceases to reinvent himself, to reinvent themes again and again without ever being redundant and this is probably his greatest artistic quality. How would you describe your music to an English-speaking audience interested in getting to know you? I'd say that it's music made for dancing and thinking. It depends on the mood you're in. I talk a lot about human relationships and love, and love in all its forms. Not just about passion and "I love you" sort of things, but everything that love entails, both positive and negative. I do my best to be as truthful as possible. Of all the storytelling in your songs, is there one that stands out in your eyes? Yes, there are some that hits differently than others. Maybe because I've really gone deep into what the human mind can fathom, subconsciously. For example, in a song called "Jamais", I write about myself talking to my ex's new boyfriend. I'm taunting him by letting him know that he'll never replace me, she'll always have me in her head with a bunch of arrogant, rageful lines. The truth is, many people have gone through a similar situation at some point. You try to convince yourself that the girl will never forget you, you know? Sometimes it's true but sometimes it's not. So, it allows you to voice out certain emotions that are overwhelming, that hurt you and that you need to get out of your head. In your feat with S.Pri Noir, "Demande-Moi", you also convey a subliminal message... Totally! It's my first hit song. In this particular song, I talk to My Lady and I let her know that yes, we do get in over our heads and that it does hurt us. But if you need something, just ask me. We've all had this conversation before. It goes back to what I said, I make songs that you can dance to or sit and reflect on.
What is more challenging for you: a love song in which you pour your heart out or a breakup song? Um... When I am writing, I don't think of making a song "only about breakups". The fact that I talk about love in all its forms implies that I'll write about all its aspects. There is the "I'm in love" side, but there are also all the other feelings that we can go through, such as doubt, regrets, fear, mistrust, anger, etc. For example, in my last EP Amour Noir (Saison 4) I made a song called "T'as Géchan" and I tell the story of a girl I knew who changed when she started seeing someone new. We've all been through this situation, either as the culprit or the victim. It's not about a breakup, nor is it a heart-to-heart thing, that's what I like to do.
'' I make songs that you can dance to or sit and reflect on.'' How do you always find this inspiration for all your projects? Well, I find it through watching, listening, talking. I watch a lot of movies, documentaries, I read a lot of books... The stories that people tell me too, the anecdotes, etc. Anything can be an inspiration for a topic. The things I experience that will affect me and that will naturally make me want to talk about this or that topic. You could say that I'm like a sponge, everything that surrounds me will inspire me. For example, as we're talking, there might be a word that will stick out to me and I can create a whole song about it. You seem really fond of the EP format... Yeah, you're not wrong, actually you're right. (laughs) In this generation we live in, the way we consume music has become more and more industrialized. Projects are released every Friday and in a year, there are hundreds of releases, one after the other. So basically, you can spend 3 years working on an album, make the best album of the year with the best feats, it doesn't change the fact that people might consume it as if it was a mixtape created in a month. That's why I would rather be around all year long with EP's like this.
I just release a small project with 5 songs, 2-3 months later I release more songs, a few more months later I do the same thing and at the end of the year it's like I released an album with 20 songs. I guess it's like a magazine or something like that where every once in a while you get your fill.
Does each EP have its own symbolism and personal story or do you see it more as a big story that you chopped up in several parts as you like? I would say that each EP has its own story with a particular mood for each one of them. For example, I realized that this one, feels much more dramatic than the others. Even the cover is different from the others. The inspiration came from an Instagram post by Rihanna. (laughs) That means the season 4 cover couldn't be on the one for this season since the post is only 3 months old, I think. So you know, we're in the moment. Whether it's music, covers, art direction or themes, everything is inspired by the moment.
Would you say that you're an instinctive person? Yes, I'm very instinctive since I don't write my lyrics ahead of time. When I'm in the studio, I have ideas, I have a melody, I'll find words to put on it and then I'll rehearse them for a while before going straight to the recording booth. I'd rather make a lot of tracks and select some of them than spend a month on a track that will never be released because I won't like it, you know? Of course, it can happen to me but more rarely. I like to be in the moment because every single second has its own story to tell.
When making a feat, I have the impression that for you it is more important for the connection to be human before being musical. Yes, totally. First of all, mutual respect is important as well as chemistry. Sometimes, big names can work together and come up with a song, but when there's no chemistry, the song will not take off, no matter how many artists you put together. There's a feat between Eminem and Beyoncé... Have you seen the result!? (laughs)
In the course of your career, you have done a lot of featurings with artists like Joé Dwèt Filé, Haristone, Abou Debeing, etc. But there is one person with whom we see that the connection is on a different level: S.Pri Noir. You two are often involved in each other's projects and "Demande-Moi" is also a song that marked your respective careers. Can you tell me more about your relationship? He's like my brother. We started together, it will soon be 15 years... I feel like an old man when I say that, yet I'm quite young. (laughs) Basically, he's one of the big brothers from the project that I used to see rapping, I used to rap myself in my own corner, but as time went by, we started working together with the people who later became our producers and managers. The connection between us is musical for sure, but it goes far beyond that. When we meet in real life, we talk about music 10% of the time, and the rest of the time about life or many other things you know? He's like family to me.
''A common project with S.Pri Noir? We all have busy schedules to manage but you never know. Everything's possible.'' I know that the fans ask a lot for a common project... It's true, they keep telling me that. It's true that it would be nice because it's a real friendship story. But did you know that we already collaborated on a project in 2012? In our generation, we were among the first to do it. We actually shared this American mindset of "Come on, let's sit down in the studio, let's have fun, let's make some songs without thinking too much about it". Who knows if it will happen again? We talk about it sometimes but then you know, we all have busy schedules to manage. But you never know. Everything's possible.
In the course of your career, you've managed to come up with nothing but hits. What is your recipe for success? I don't know if I have a recipe, but I think what people love is that I can put words to emotions. I try to express in a sincere way things that we sometimes wish we could say. There's also the fact that my songs are easy to sing, easy to understand, you know? Basically, it's a mix of all of that, making the music easy to enjoy, easy to digest, and easy to remember. And when you just feel like dancing, you can just listen to the song and not get carried away with the lyrics. However, if you want to sit down and chill out, you realize that the lyrics actually hold a lot of meaning. As an artist, would you say that you prefer the studio or performing on stage? That's a tough one, but for the moment I prefer the studio. Being able to create something is powerful. Leaving the studio after creating something that didn't exist the day before, it's like having superpowers in a way. "Shaping sounds", there's a magical side to it that I really enjoy. I see myself as a scientist, you know? What would you really like to achieve in your career? What I really want to do is always come up with good stuff. Songs that reflect who I am and that I will still be proud of in 10 years. Always challenge myself so I can strive to get better every time. Always be productive, always have new inspirations, new topics to address, new melodies to experiment with... I'm lucky to be well surrounded for that.
Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © Fasmer
11/2021 © 7th Magnitude // Wagram Music
In November 2021, Orelsan released his fourth studio album. With Civilization, the rapper returns to the French Rap scene by the front door. A return eagerly awaited by the public, part of which grew up listening to the famous French rapper. Successful, the album is composed of 15 tracks in which Orelsan still reveals new facets to us through his recognizable style. The rapper uses simple words to talk about social facts, which speak to everyone and invite us to reflect. The texts are indeed sought after but accessible and effective. Thus, the rapper manages to create an album that is both personal and also about society, hence the title "Civilization". Social networks and new medias are subjects strongly present in this album, which we find in "Seul Avec Du Monde Autour", "Rêve Mieux", "L’odeur De L’essence" or even "Manifeste". In this track, Orelsan also mentions the terms Covid, Ouïghours, retirement, stress, genderfluid and vegan; words that speak to us since they are part of current concerns. Orelsan invites three artists for this album; Skread, The Neptunes and his friend Gringe with whom he forms the duo Casseurs Flowters. The song is called "Casseurs Flowters Infinity", and the track reminds us with nostalgia the music of the famous duo. In addition to offering us an album of great richness in texts and melodies, the rapper also offered two surprises for his fans. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Orelsan has hidden 5 gold tickets in the CDs on sale which allow lifetime access to all his concerts. Moreover, around fifteen different editions of the CD have been commercialised. It’s enough to hope to be one of the very lucky ones!
© Anna Hias
La Nuit Sera Calme
09/2021 © NBOW
11/2022 © Errro // Chrome Castle
How to perfectly describe one of the best albums of 2021? How to find the right words at the height of the pen and the talent of this artist who is undoubtedly the breakthrough artist of the year?
Certainly one of the most popular artists this year, justified by his productivity between 2020 and 2021, Ziak just released his first studio album Akimbo last November. With 17 tracks including only one featuring on the album (with Maes - such a guest!) on the title "Rhum & Machette".
B.B.Jacques also known as BlackBird Jacques, or Tino has everything to him, literally everything. A sharp pen, the punchlines’ skill, the gift to sublimate words, an incredible choice of music beats, a gripping and palpable passion for Rap, and especially an innate talent. From songs like “Boom Boom” as an intro to the project that lays the foundation to “Bleu Cristal” or “Éclair Brut”, Tino delivers a touching and brutally honest project. The tone of the album oscillates between melancholy and shattering truth. Just listen to the song “Loin D'ici” to understand the essence of the project and measure the artist’s musical ambition. As he says: “I'll do it with great talent and very few contacts”. We can clearly say that he kept his promise because this first album is a real gem for French Rap. Evocative, fascinating and captivating, B.B. Jacques shoots everything and everyone. His words form part of his diction and are at the service of an enchanting Rap that we listen to over and over again. As if each listening session allowed a new interpretation. What can we wish for this large-scale artist? All the success he deserves - far more than many current mainstream rappers. Do not miss this raw talent!
©Fanny Hill Scott
Ziak made a name for himself through his mysterious universe that intrigues his fanbase. His nonchalant gait, his masked face, and recognizable gimmicks such as "free all my buddies" and "the worst is already over". The artist has all the visible criteria of the U.K. Drill with the prods, the flows, the lyrics, the gestures as well as the violence. The Drill being more and more present in the French Rap, just like the Trap was in 2014/2015, Ziak fits perfectly in the codes of Drill. For his flagship video clips such as "Rasputin" or "Fixette", Ziak has always remained in the typical Drill codes but for Akimbo it was different. Risks were taken, whether in the subjects discussed, the prods, as well as his character who saw himself open up a bit more especially on "Shonen". We met a Ziak more melancholic, sweeter in his words, who also lower less on his voice and shown us a more vulnerable part of him. "Badman Trip" is a piece that divided the audience. This is justified by a beat "less Drill" which is closer to a "techno" vibe universe, while keeping a flow and lyrics similar to his usual register. Personally, I find this sound interesting, because of the diversification and the colours that this track can bring to the album. The sound that hit me the most is undoubtedly "Lloret de Mar" with its more melodious side that allowed a little calm before the storm that triggers the sound "Lauiss". In short, Akimbo is a very successful first album, Ziak knew how to keep his footprint that he masters to perfection while taking risks that proved gagging. As a diligent listener of Ziak, I look forward to his new release!
Sam's when it comes to music, Moussa Mansaly when it comes to movies. But who is really behind this versatile artist from Bordeaux? With this magnificent new album, Sam's once again asserts his reputation as a talented artist. Today for A Rap & A Cup Of Tea, he talks about his determination to always surpass himself in music and especially the genuine desire to address all topics, from joy to melancholy that can overwhelm us. As he says, "I've been rapping for 15 years", and yet, after 15 years of writing and spending time in the studio, Sam's still finds the right words to amaze us and move our hearts, just like with "Le Fond De La Classe", the incredible outro of his latest album. After opening for legendary bands, Sam's found himself playing the lead in the Validé TV show, ranking on the podium, and here, he's in front of us, telling us about his story with his own words. If some people had trouble telling him apart from his character Mastar in Validé, Sam's seems to be the opposite of his character: straightforward, caring and cheerful. No pun intended; Sam's is totally Validé!
What made you want to take up acting? To be honest, I got into acting by accident. I never said to myself "I have to be an actor", it was not even in my plans. (laughs) But in 2006, during the riots between the youth and the police, there was an organization called "En Attendant Demain", founded by some of the big guys in my neighborhood. They were making short films in which they depicted young people from the neighborhood in real-life situations that could affect everyone, and most importantly, there was a lot of self-mockery in what they were producing, compared to what you could see in TV news reports. And quite simply it started from there. I started with a short film, then 2, then 3, etc. We posted them on YouTube or Dailymotion at the time. (laughs)
Until you play in your first movie... Exactly! It started creating a lot of hype and from there, Canal + approached me to star in my first movie. One thing leading to another, I found myself playing in a movie where Sabrina Ouazani introduced me to her agent, who later became mine, and thanks to him I started doing castings... You can say that I just went with the flow. (laughs)
You're doing movies, your own videos etc. Have you ever wanted to be on the other side of the camera? Well, I have so much respect for the profession that I'd rather wait until I have a lot more experience to be able to do it. There's nothing more frustrating than loving something, wanting to do it and not succeeding because you don't have the skills. The day I'm ready to do it, I'll do it my way because I'll have already acquired a lot of knowledge.
''Who I am today? An artist with deep roots in the cinema and the music industry.''
Would you say that your career in the cinema industry goes hand in hand with your musical career? With the ambitions that I have, I would say yes. For example, on the new album I've just made, I take inspiration from what I experience in the cinema so as not to be repetitive in my themes. Even in terms of the emotions I convey through my rap music, I'm not afraid to express myself just like I do in front of a camera. Speaking of your album, there is a storytelling throughout where we hear scenes from a movie set: where did you get this idea? I felt it was a good way to show who I am today: an artist with deep roots in the cinema and the music industry. I also wanted to show on a personal level that there was an evolution between the two and it goes back to what I told you before: I take inspiration from both. I wanted to put my cinematographic passion at the profit of my other passion, which is music, because that's who I am.
There's a track that I find remarkable in this album and that really gave me chills: the outro "Fond De La Classe". The production is quite melancholic, and the lyrics are really powerful... You even stop at one point in this song before starting again. It literally felt like a way out... Do you want to know the story behind this one? Well, when I listened to the Cehashi production, I knew right away what kind of song I wanted to make, except that it took me almost a year to write the lyrics... If I had written this song in a week or even an hour, it would never have had the same feeling because everything I wrote in this song is exactly what I went through during a year. Sometimes, I would spend evenings listening to the instrument on a loop, I'd write 4-5 lines and I'd start again and again... In the end, when I finally got to record the track, I did it in one shot. This song is not even structured, to tell you the truth, I don't even know how many bars I did. (laughs) As you said, this song is definitely a way out, it had to be released
One could say that you have "put your pain on paper"... That's totally it. In real life I'm always positive, I'm not the type to let myself go. But when it comes to music, it's a bit like cleaning out my life, letting go of everything. It's a kind of therapy you know.
In this song you also talk about your depression. It's a topic that is not really highlighted in Rap music... Even with your writing style, I imagine that it's quite difficult to talk about it? You know, I knew a lot of artists around me who were battling depression and who were afraid to admit it. There is nothing worse for an artist than to admit it. Sometimes, there are some who don't even realize that they are suffering from depression... I was lucky enough to realize it early on. As I mentioned in the song, at that time in my life I was going through some crazy things career-wise and yet that's when I was at my lowest point. It's kind of insane when you think about that. What I went through helped me appreciate the good times I'm living now. I was able to take a step back from it all to be able to talk about it.
For you, is it also the responsibility of an artist to talk about this kind of "taboo topic" openly? I think so, it can help. Opening up about depression or whatever brings people together in a way. There are people in the audience who will say "if he can talk about it, I can talk about it too" and that can help you know what I mean? Others might think: "He's got the good life; he can't understand what I'm going through" when it's not true. We can all be moved by this and sometimes we can even find comfort in certain songs.
''In real life, I'm always positive. But when it comes to music, it's a bit like cleaning out my life, letting go of everything.'' Storytelling seems to be important for you... Yes, it is. Albums that affected me the most, whether it be French or American, are the ones that tell a story. Do you want me to tell you the absolute truth? The best albums for me are the ones that I didn't understand at first. (laughs) If I listen to it the first time and I understood it, I easily move on. But when you don't understand it at first, you try to understand it and make sense of it. You ask around, you even watch interviews with the artist where he explains why he made such a choice or why he said things in such a way and you say to yourself "Oh yeah, I understand now". Everything makes more sense. Have you ever been faced with the writer's block syndrome? No, not that syndrome, but I suffered from dissatisfaction syndrome... (laughs) Sometimes I'll write entire songs and I'll say to myself "That's cool but...no." I'm a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. (laughs) In a song I never released by the way, I say "3 years of Sacem in my iPhone".
How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this album? My main weakness is that I get myself carried away. I say I want to do one thing and I end up doing 50 more, and eventually even my manager couldn't handle it. (laughs) Actually, the album was supposed to be released in June and it ended up being released in November... Can you imagine how many times I said: "No wait, we can add this"? (laughs) I was very surprised by your feat with Keblack and Naza on "Palace", because when you see their names, you think "it's going to be a big song for a party" and it turned out to be quite the opposite. You know that originally the song was supposed to be only with Naza? And when we played it to Keblack, he almost threatened us to be on it. (laughs) I like to surprise people, for example when Niro starts my album or like you said, people expecting a big zumba vibe. Naza made me listen to a guitar track he was working on and it inspired me. I wanted to create something where we could have a little fun but still tell a strong story. You're under the spotlight between the season 2 of Validé that just came out, the week at Planète Rap and the release of your album. How are you dealing with all this pressure? The real pressure is time. You need to do as much as possible in a given time and you're afraid of not doing things right. Not overlooking anything in a short period of time is the real pressure. Fallout pressure is not that big of a deal to me. I just focus on my goals and move forward. Whether it's successful or not is not essential, the most important thing is the heart and the energy I put into it
Samsuchiwa Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © Fifou
Playlist Chilla x Bianca Costa x Davinhor x Le Juiice x Vicky R “AHOO”
Niska x Hamza
“Vague À L' Âme”
“A La Base”
Atanaz x Jok'Air “Angel”
“Elle Avait Les Mots”
Drawings © Gabriel Dominiak
ya LeVis 21
If you like French Urban Pop, you must know Ya Levis. Famous for his hits such as "Katchua", "Mbangu Te" or "Aïcha", he succeeded to seduce his audience thanks to his incredible talent. Originally from Kinshasa, Ya Levis brought a tiny touch of his native Congo when he arrived in France as a young man and was able to sublimate it in his songs. The man who has decided to put Lingala in the spotlight in all his songs, is here with us today to talk about his musical journey and the importance he gives to his family. If he's proud to share his family stories in his songs, he certainly doesn't forget his audience, to whom he commits his heart and soul when he performs on stage. For A Rap & A Cup Of Tea, Ya Levis unveils everything that makes him strong in his daily life and his musical inspirations. Affectionate, sincere and unabashed, this hit-maker is truly an artist to listen to in full measure!
How would you describe your music to an English-speaking audience interested in getting to know you? I would say that my music would definitely be listed as love songs. I often produce love songs to soothe people's hearts.
I heard you come from a musical family too... That's right! (laughs) My father was a singer; my mother sang in a Catholic church. I have brothers and sisters who are also singers. Others have dancing skills... You can say that we're a musical family.
Having been immersed in music all your life, did you always know that you were destined for this path? When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with my father in recording studios, rehearsing for concerts, etc. My father also gave me the chance to pick up the microphone in my early years, he kind of shaped me. It was only natural that I would end up a musician too. I grew up with it all my life. I did everything there is to do with music, you know? I've always been around music. I fell in love with it.
We know you since 2015, but it's only in 2018 that your career took a great jump with the title "Katcha". How did you handle it, this milestone in your career? Honestly, it was very impressive. It was a big surprise because I didn't expect it. In music, you never know when it is going to happen. This world is full of surprises. That's when I realized that in the music industry, you have to be patient. You need to persevere; you have to work hard because it can take off at any time. You must be ready. I really think that my career started at the right time.
'' The album I'm working on right now, which will be released in 2022, got different vibes.''
Why this particular time? When I look back on what happened in my life after that, I realize how lucky I was. I was able to do so much for my mom... She was someone who didn't necessarily want me to become a musician because she knows the music industry and its uncertainties. After the success of this track, I was able to show her that no matter what obstacles may come my way, I'll always strive to succeed. I was able to invite her to Kinshasa for the first time and prove many things to her. Today, knowing that she's no longer around, I say to myself that things happened for me at the right time. As I say every time, God does things well. Actually, I wanted to talk about your track "Libala". Apparently, it's a very special song for you because it tells the story of your parents... Yes, that's exactly it. I'm kind of going through the story of my parents. How they met, etc. In the lyrics, there are words that my father used to say to my mother. It was really important for me to do that. To show how important marriage is. Getting married before God is not something to be taken lightly. My parents didn't have the chance to get married because my father died two months before their wedding... I had a long discussion with my mother about this and their story. Like all mothers, she opened my eyes on marriage and on many things, so it was important for me to pay a tribute to them through this song.
Are there other songs in your discography that have a particular meaning for you like this one? For the moment, no... Actually, there are some songs that were inspired by real life experiences and others that are simply based on a theme. For example, "5 ans après" is a real life experience as well as "Chocolat"... (laughs)
The first time you wrote songs like "Chocolat", "Nakati" or "Lokesha" where you talk about carnal desire, were you a bit prudish or did you simply dive in without thinking about it? To be honest, I don't ask myself any questions. Once I have an idea in mind, I go for it. As a matter of fact, in music, you don't have to ask yourself 10,000 questions. I'm a pretty perfectionist but sometimes you don't have to think too much, you know? I don't care what people think because it's still music and nothing forbids us to talk about "it", "rough" songs if you have to name them. (laughs) Besides, I know that this kind of songs speak a lot to people. Usually, this kind of music can be found in the US but not in France.
How would you explain that? I don't know, I feel like we're not open-minded enough... More and more, I notice that my music does much better elsewhere than in France. Then I think that with time, things can change.
And is it hard for you to write a love song? No, not anymore. I know there was a time when I was more reserved, but that's in the past. On my last few songs, I also worked with my A.D [artistic director], Ralflow, who helped me a lot to reach a more mature, different songwriting. I'm always looking for the words that you don't usually hear. It's important to meet with writers or people with a gift for writing who can take you in new artistic directions. It makes your songs even more interesting.
You're always pushing yourself out of your comfort zone... That's it, exactly. All the time. The album I'm working on right now, which will be released in 2022, you'll see anyway, you'll experience a different vibe, it's very sought after. Musically speaking, I ventured on many things. I've tried new things that I'm not used to do, you know? I brought a little touch of Ya Levis on every musical style actually.
I saw in an interview that you said it was important for you to speak Lingala in your music. Can you tell me about the importance of this for you? Ever since I was young, I always thought "Why don't we put Lingala in different styles of music?" Because it's a beautiful language, you know? For me, it's the most beautiful African language. At the time, we didn't dare to put Lingala everywhere. Even I was afraid that people wouldn't like it. But my older brother, who is a rapper, pushed me in that direction and I managed to break through. Today, people are vibing with music. It's kind of a credit to my country.
'' My favourite moment is when I'm on stage and I interact with the audience, it's just insane.''
Is there a feat that you always dreamed of doing? I would say King Kester without hesitation. He's a major figure in Congolese music. I grew up with his music, my father also knew him, and I would have loved to do a song with him. I am not sure if you know but he is the one who brought the keyboard to Rumba. At the time, there were certain rules, we were not allowed to play the keyboard or many other instruments. Basically, Rumba was just vocals, a guitar and a quiet rhythm. And today things have changed thanks to artists like him. It comes back to what I said: it's good to take risks sometimes.Trying new things to develop the music of our country, the language etc.
Your featuring with Franglish "Pour Moi" was a real success for me. Did you expect this song to have such an outstanding success? Not at all. I'm not the kind of person who says to himself "Let's do it like this so that it gets played on the radio". The truth is that Franglish and I met in the studio, he told me that he had an idea in mind, and he made me listen to a track that I was actually listening to at the time. That's the magic of music, we both had the same view of what we wanted to create together. This featuring stemmed from a real connection. Even on stage during his concert at the Trianon in Paris, when we played this song, there was a great chemistry between us. It was incredible, I was even surprised that the audience knew the lyrics by heart, it was crazy! Do you like being on stage? Absolutely crazy about that feeling! My favorite moment is when I am on stage and I interact with the audience, it's just insane. It's a dream. You really have to live it, to understand that feeling. To see that you have an audience knowing your songs by heart, it's just incredible, you know? It's like they're saying: "We're here for you, we support you". Sometimes people travel a long way just to see you sing for 30 minutes. You have to keep in mind that you are not entitled to make a mistake. That's why I give 100% whether it's a showcase or a concert. I know you've already been to London in concert... I was here 2 years ago and last time it was a huge success! We were sold out in 3 days, it's crazy! We're coming back in January too... Hope to see you there!
Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © Samuel Nogues
INTERNATI Morocco x France Dadju x Kaly x Soolking x Ayman Serhani “Wouli Liya”
Malik Mon “Click C
Nigeria x France MHD x Yemi Alade “Aleo”
D.R. Congo x France Fally Ipupa x Ninho “À Kinshasa”
Italy x France
Sfera Ebasta x SCH “Cartine Cartier”
Franglish x “My S
nd x France
ntana x Dosseh Clack Bang”
a x France
x Tory Lanez Salsa”
Great Britain x France Nekfeu x Murkage Dave “OD”
USA x France Kalash x Gucci Mane “Flair”
Mali x France Sidiki Diabaté x Hiro “Désolé”
Cameroon x France Manu Dibango x Dinos “Les Garçon Ne Pleurent Pas” Illustration © Emilia Smolka
the team 29
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