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Nadirah X: “As an artist, I must set an example of strength and independence”

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The Jamaican rapper told us about her journey in hip hop since her beginnings in 2002, her collaborations with Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics) and her love for poetry. 

How and when were you introduced to hip hop?

My brother Junior AKA Mr. E  was a DJ when I was younger, he introduced me to hip hop /rap via playing records from Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah,  MC Lyte, Tribe Called Quest etc. He was very influential in my desire to pursue this aspect of music as career, I always look to his opinion on my songs to this day.

How did you start rapping?

When I was younger, I loved and am a fan of Patra, Lady G, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and the list goes on. Women who stood out to me as powerful and smart in their delivery. At the time I wasn’t thinking of doing it myself. Most of what I wrote was poetry, I wanted to write for other artists.  I was pitching a song to Homer Harris Jamaican music veteran (Patra, Sizzla) and he said he loved my voice and he encouraged me to record my material, he insisted I wrote more consistently for myself. I was then introduced to Andy Livingston ( Jamaican singer / songwriter) and he heard me rapping and took me to meet Sly and Robbie. I ended up doing my 1st and 2nd single with them…That process lead to where I am today.

Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics) signed you to his label in the early 2000’s and invited you to England to make music and perform. How did this opportunity change your career?

Yes, that was an obvious turning point, it completely took me to another realm so to speak. I learnt an enormous amount from Dave, he is a very giving, nurturing artist and over all good human being. He put me in great situations, touring, writing and performing with so many incredible artists/legends, from Mudbone to Jimmy Cliff to Annie Lennox to Mick Jagger. It has been an amazing journey.

Poetry plays an important part in your art. What kind of poetry/poets do you like to read?

I was drawn to the Elizabethan era at a young age, the flow and use of the English language at that time is intriguing. Louise Bennett-Coverley is a heroine of mine and Maya Angelou is also huge inspiration.

How do you work on your flow? Do you use special techniques or routines?

I am always writing, maybe just hearing a word during a conversation or an experience, sets me in motion. Honestly, I don’t have a routine, it’s the inspiration in the moment, you know, and how I’m moved to express what I’m feeling.

In 2012, you released an EP with  American rapper and producer Swish under the Mr & Mrs name. Can you tell us more about this project? Are you working on new material?

Jon Fields previously known as Swish and I got married in 2010. Dave thought it was an excellent idea to work on a project together. He actually named us Mr. & Mrs. We put together that project very organically, it was an amazing experience. We received some great reviews in LA Weekly and The Huffington Post. The project did pretty well. We are very proud of that body of work. On my new project Jon is producing some of the tracks that I’m very excited to share once it’s done.

Who are your female role models?

I have a few but I’d have to say the main one is my mother, she’s a tower of strength and love. She’s been an amazing example of patience and perseverance. She has taught me love, pure love. The “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” kinda love. She’s my hero.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how would you define your own feminism?

I think anyone who respects women and their rights as human beings are feminists. So yes, I am. Being able to express myself freely on every level is extremely important and as an artist I must continue to set an example of strength and independence defying expectations set on us by society.

What are your upcoming projects?

I just released my second poetry book Never From Nowhere available on Amazon and I’m working on some great collabs for my upcoming album of the same name. I will keep you guys in the loop.

What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

I think your team at Madame Rap are doing an excellent job. I love that you are a platform that gives our voices an outlet. You are so appreciated.

Find Nadirah X on FacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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