Check out our Madame Talk podcast with Swiss rapper and singer Ash Calisto!
Ash Calisto is a rapper, singer and independent artist based in Lausanne, Romandy. With Guinean and Spanish orginins, he grew up in Cossonay, a small town in the canton of Vaud, in the West of the country, and was “one of the few Black people there.“
He discovered music by listening to the radio, especially Nostalgie, and rap music with MC Solaar. He learned recorder for eight years and sang at the school choir.
In 2018, he created the character Ash Calisto in Spain, where he lived for a year and a half. Whereas “Ash” refers to his first name Sasha, “Callisto” is the name of one of Jupiter’s moons.
Stars and comets are omnipresent in Ash Calisto’s uncategorizable and dreamlike universe. Like a UFO coming from another galaxy, he mixes electro, neo soul, rap, jazz and afro-latino sounds. Multilingual, he writes in French, Spanish and English, and composes, mixes and masterises his own tracks.
If his refusal to conform can be a drawback, in a society that enjoys labels and boxes, Ash Calisto identifies with the term queer, which he understands as “being out of the norm” and allows him to be whoever he wants.
The artist told us about his creative process, his identity as a Black and queer man, homophobia in rap, the artistic scene in Switzerland and his upcoming project Projection astrale.