Empire ISIS is a unique urban artist that fuses together hip-hop, reggae and pop music to create a harmonious style. Her latest album, ‘Brand New Style’ was released earlier this year, and Empire ISIS has since been touring Europe and Africa.
Empire ISIS also has her own television show on Quebec, Canada’s Musique Plus called Les Chroniques D’une Gangstress (The Chronicles of a Gangstress).
13 Questions with Empire ISIS
1. How do you keep your work on the cutting edge?
I don’t really think of my work that way, I just create and listen to the NOW hoping it will take me into the FUTURE. Mostly it’s about knowing yourself and searching your soul for the message you want to communicate, then transforming it, with your producer, into something tangible and most of all listenable (memorable helps too!!).
2. How do you reset yourself to become creative? Do you have any rituals?
I don’t follow any rituals per se, but I’m constantly writing and coming up with ideas; I could be at a dinner party and then have a sick hook in my head and… BOOM! That’s where the creation process starts. I could be in the shower humming something, you know what I’m saying, and it’s always different, the spark that ignites the idea…
3. What is an example of a time where you have thrown away an existing idea to force yourself to find something new?
My initial inspiration for "Brand New Style’s" hook used to be "back off six feet and keep your distance gal, a seriousness in every instance" ... then it got changed to "don’t you act like you know me from before and don’t think that putting me down is going to get you anywhere." The message, in the end, was clearer that way, I mean, I’ll always keep the other lyrics I wrote and maybe they will serve for something one day, but in the meantime the hook I used ended up more on point.
4. How did you get involved in music and television and what motivates you to continue?
My mother was a theater director so I grew up backstage and participated in musicals with her on a regular basis. I guess you can say that’s where it all started for me, aside from being surrounded by an eclectic, expressive, African family. What motivates me to continue is to find a balance in my "edutainment," actually in all that I do… this will take time, but at the very basic level, it’s my desire to communicate a message of strength and empowerment to people.
5. How significant are the topics of cool hunting and trend spotting in the world of entertainment?
I think they are pretty important, especially because of how the business is now. When the whole "machine" gets behind you, it’s usually because of big hype created on the Internet. People are always looking for the next big thing, some hype is real but some just fizzles out. It really depends on the particular case, but being considered "cool" or "trendy" always comes from some sort of buzz.
6. How do you define cool?
Something that is natural and not forced… effortless and completely real and authentic to the phenomenon or the person.
7. How do you define a trend?
Something you hear about from trendsetters (taste makers) and then all of a sudden everyone is doing it, using it, wearing it, or copying it.
8. What is the coolest aspect about your current tour?
The best thing about being in Europe and Africa is getting to meet all my cyber-soldiers that have been following my career since the beginning. When I meet them in person, they bring me everywhere I need to go and help out with videos, location scouting, visiting places and they even take me to the radio and TV stations to introduce me to the "important" people. Another cool aspect is being surrounded by thousands of years of culture that I want to soak in profoundly - these are really the best things about being on tour… performing on stage and having to translate everything to French so the girls can get the message also is pretty cool and empowering; you feel like you can go basically anywhere you want and your message can be understood!
9. Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?
Running an edutainment empire with music, TV and movies as the focus, with a division for my food products that all come from my eco-village contacts across the Americas. I want to participate in big, big, big ecological projects related to alternative fuel and its by-products. Also, human rights have been a very important aspect in my upbringing so I would definitely like to be part of organizations that promote that. There are so many things I would like to do, I think I’ll leave it at that for now!
10. If you weren’t in entertainment, what would your dream profession be?
I’d be a cryptologist, cracking codes right left and center!
11. What are your favorite hobbies?
I love reading (I read a lot!!), dancing, and discovering new lands, cultures and people.
12. If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you do?
If I could I’d ask to work with Carlos Sims, convince him to spend his money to help people, not just on himself.
13. Who is your favorite musician of the moment, and what makes that person cool to you?
I would have to say Michael Jackson right now. I’m still mourning this huge loss to the music world and really and truly, there will never be anyone like him again. His attention to detail and desire to touch the masses is unparalleled. What makes him cool to me are his dancing skills, his uniforms, his lyrics and the tone of voice; there’s so much really. He was just always cool yet the media has always tried to tarnish his reputation. I love Michael Jackson.
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Infused Maple Syrups
Participatory Poetry Performances