24-year-old West Indian female rapper Lov’Nee told us about her musical education, her influences and how she supports gender equality with her music.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Lov’Nee, I am 24 years old. I am West Indian, of a Guadeloupean father and a Martinican mother. I’m always in a sunny mood and have been passionate about music since I was young. I learned to play guitar when I was 12, which made me want to learn to play bass, drums and other instruments. I like different music genres and try to highlight my culture through these different styles.
When and how did you discover hip hop?
I grew up listening to hip hop. I discovered this music thanks to artists like The Fugees with their track Ready Or Not and Killing Me Softly. Classics, as we say, with a real hip hop vibe and concrete messages. Missy Elliott, a huge rapper, who had a lot of influence on how I viewed hip hop because I liked her flow. And also Snoop Dogg, who will always remain one of the kings of hip hop. He is unmissable and will always be a reference in my musical universe.
You are a singer, a rapper and a musician. How do these three activities complement one another? Did you start them at the same time?
I didn’t start them at the same time. When I was younger, I had the chance to discover the rap band IAM as well as the femcee Diam’s, who completely changed how I viewed French rap. I began to write a few texts without taking myself too seriously. Those were my first raps.
I started to play more instruments when I entered a music class in school. I could put what I learned into practice by integrating the different styles of local bands. These live performances reinforced my desire to make music and make it a living. When I arrived in France, I felt the need to write my own texts and haven’t stopped writing ever since.
So, these three activities are very complementary. I had the chance to take the time to learn each of them and today I would like to gather them on several projects.
How do you compose your songs? Do you produce your own tracks or do you work with producers?
All the projects I released so far are collaborations. I don’t have a producer but I am surrounded by a team that guides me every day on my musical evolution.
What does the track “Pacificante” talk about?
I denounce the way some people behave in an inappropriate way. I met some of them and in this track, I tell them that I choose to keep only what’s best.
When you search the internet, you can find very little female rappers from Martinique. Why is that?
In Martinique, our culture is diffeerent. Dancehall and zouk have been the most popular music genres for a long time. For a few years, rap has become more and more popular. The West Indies are filled with talented artists of all ages who are hardly visible because too little of them manage to have a national or international career. In this hothouse, there are a lot of female rappers and I sincerely encourage them to pursue their dreams.
Who are the women who inspire you?
The three women who inspire me are:
Jocelyne Beroard, a major zouk artist and key member of the band Kassav. She is a strong woman who put her personality at the service of her music. She is a great example of success who inspires me and I thank her for that.
Diam’s, a great French rapper who I could relate to and made me see rap differently with her conscious rap, that was more subtle and less raw. She made me feel the emotion of her texts. I grasped the depth of her words and understood her story, which echoed mine.
The third woman is not famous but is definitely my model: it is my mother. Thanks to her, I learned how to be tenacious. She is passionate about music, loves to sing and was a back singer when she was young. It is partly thanks to her that I got involved in music. She passed down her passion to me with love. She has always believed in me and known how to value my learning and now, I am able to accomplish things I never thought I could.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?
Gender equality really matters to me and I am very sensitive to injustice. I am not a feminist activist but I believe women are as capable as men to fulfil themselves as they wish. I encourage them as I encourage myself to reach my life goals, no matter what they are. That’s why some of my texts support the idea of equality.
What are your upcoming projects?
Keep on releasing new music for my followers, make myself known to those who haven’t had the opportunity to listen to what I do, blossom with my music. Also, work more on the visual dimension of my projects and music production. And maybe work on a mixtape?
What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
I am proud to see that women can help each other. The role of women in rap is not perfect yet, but I truly believe that your media can contribute to change things. You encourage young girls and women to showcase their skills. Thanks for your relevance in music, we need it!