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ENERGIA : “Romanian women are starting to find their voices”

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As she performed in Paris at a show organized by Call Me Femcee, Madame Rap met Romanian femcee ENERGIA, also a member of the crew MUZE, who told us about her experience as a rapper in Romania, her collaborations and motivations.

Where does the name “ENERGIA” come from?

ENERGIA is a pun with my real name, Gia. A classmate from high school once playfully called me that and I instantly loved it. When the time came to choose a name for my music project, I never thought of using anything else than ENERGIA.

On a deeper level, “energy” plays a major role not only in my music, but in all areas of my life. I thrive on the vibes I exchange with people, whether it’s through a song, a concert or even the simplest piece of writing. I carry this high energy with me everywhere I go and in everything I do.

When and how did you start rapping?

I’ve been writing poetry and prose for as far back as I can remember, but the idea of writing rap music popped up in my life quite unexpectedly in 2011.

A friend of mine had been rapping for some time and told me that I should give a shot at writing rap lyrics. I loved the music and anything to do with words, so I listened to his advice, and I was surprised to see that the results weren’t half bad. For a first-timer, at least. Plus, I loved the process, an aspect that keeps me going with music to this day.

At the end of 2011, I launched my first song and music video, followed by a series of collabs, an audiovisual mixtape project, and the rest is history.

What does being a rapper mean to you?

In my case, I don’t regard myself as a true rapper. A rapper, from my point of view, is a combination of advanced lyrics, killer delivery technique, and a genre-specific sound. Aside from the fact my lyrics and flow are nowhere near the complexity that rap sets the bar for, my sound production is often inspired from many other music styles.

But as a person who enjoys expression through music, for me it means creating a soul-to-soul connection with the person on the listening end and providing a rich experience they can get lost in when they need it the most.

How would you describe your music?

In one word : eclectic.

I love dipping into the craziest of styles and bending the rules that usually separate genres. For example, the most recent show I had in Paris for Call Me Femcee on May 11 included trap, drum and bass, classic rap, grime, R&B, and dubstep. You’ll always find me playing around with different sounds, so you can expect a surprise with almost every new project.

Why did you decide to mix English and Romanian in some of your songs?

The song ” C8H11NO2″ was an experiment that was bound to happen one day, considering that I am bilingual (I was born in Romania, but grew up in the USA). I wanted it to be an unusual and fun experience for the listener, no matter if they were Romanian or from anywhere else in the world.

I had planned to create an entire EP with songs that had both languages, but I reconsidered after receiving feedback that it might be confusing for the person listening.

In any case, C8H11NO2 is one of my favorite projects of all time. It got me out of my comfort zone from all points of view, from the very club-like sound to the music video that I co-directed and created the concept for.

How is the rap scene like in Romania? And the female rap scene?

Compared to France or America, the Romanian rap scene is extremely small. It took off here in the early to mid 90s, but it was always very much seen as an underground phenomenon. However, thanks to the rise of the internet, social media, and whatnot, we have a quite a rich and diverse rap scene nowadays.

Like everywhere in the world right now, trap is ever-growing in popularity here. Still, we have numerous classic MCs who have maintained their fan bases throughout the years. Depending on your tastes, you can probably find at least a few Romanian rappers that you’ll enjoy.

If the general Romanian rap scene is small, you can imagine how the female section is. Although there are a few of us (including my crew MUZE — the only female rap group in the country), I’ve been so happy to see more and more girls appearing in the past 2-3 years.

I’m excited to see what the future holds for Romanian femcees, and I’ll be there supporting them the whole way.

What do you think of the current situation of women in Romania?

Unfortunately, countless women in Romania are undergoing horrendous experiences. Domestic violence is still not taken as seriously as it should be here, nor are other critical issues such as rape or harassment.

At the same time, I believe that women here are slowly but surely starting to find their voices. Even if they risk being labeled as “crazy feminists” by the average person with an outdated mentality, women are beginning to take a stand for equality and safety.

You are a member of Call Me Femcee. How did you join the collective? And why is it important to you to be a part of this project? 

Back in 2014, the founder and manager of Call Me Femcee, Gauthier, reached out to me online and invited me to be part of the project as the representative for Romania. I couldn’t believe what I was reading in his invitation message, and I’m still half-expecting someone to wake me up and tell me it was all a dream.

Call Me Femcee is one of the projects that are closest to my heart for endless reasons. It represents everything I value and stand for even on a personal level — profound connection, cultural exchange, sharing music and experiences, and supporting the global community of femcees by giving them a platform fueled by unity, love, and positive vibes.

I think the project holds an invaluable place in hip hop culture worldwide, and I can’t wait for us to share all the goodies we have up our sleeve for the future of Call Me Femcee.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, what kind of feminism do you most relate to?

I’m unapologetically a feminist, but a feminist in the true sense of equality. I firmly believe that every individual should have the right to education, respect, health, and opportunity, regardless of gender, culture, race or socio-economic background.

This leads me to something I do not support — supremacy or domination of any kind, whether male or female. I believe that the only way we can attempt to heal the scars we’ve left throughout history is to choose love, acceptance, and mutual respect and leave hatred, intolerance, and megalomania in the past.

What are your upcoming projects?

The one I’m most hyped about is the new music video that I’ve been working on for my crew MUZE, which we will be dropping super soon. The song is insane and the video is a statement piece, but I won’t go into too many details so I won’t ruin the surprise. We’ve performed the track in a few concerts and the feedback was amazing until now, so I can’t wait for you guys to hear and see the final results !

Did you know Madame Rap before the interview? What do you think about it?

I had heard about Madame Rap through Call Me Femcee and I think the project is wonderful! It gives female artists a much-needed media platform for sharing their music and ideas. I also love that you have content both in French and English so it can reach a broader audience.

Find ENERGIA on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Soundcloud.

Her collective projects: MUZE, Call Me Femcee, TR1B and Fetele cu care cânt.

Interview by Maëlis Delorme.

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