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Tapping into the energy of Europe’s emerging music scene, we partner with the industry's latest tastemakers to explore life as a rising artist today
Meet Epoque, the Pop Star Putting Afro-Italian Sounds on the World Map
Born in Turin, Epoque is an Italian-Congolese artist with a lot to say. So much so that she sings and raps in Italian, Lingala and even French, on songs that blend rap, R&B and the most melodic of afrobeats. Her lyrics take a sharp look at society and the world she sees around her, and she doesn’t shy away from exploring her Afro-Italian roots. It’s a message that has connected her with a global audience; last year’s hit single “Cliche” has amassed over 1.5million streams.
As a former film school student, she thrives on adding theatricality to her live performances. And she even harbours ambitions of directing her own music videos, citing the likes of the legendary American director Spike Lee as an influence.
With all this in mind, we decided to catch up with Epoque in her Milan studio, to chat to her about her connection to the city, her creative process and where she finds her inspiration.
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Hello Epoque, tell us who you are and what you do.
I am Epoque, a singer born in Turin. I like to call my music afro vibes. I take inspiration from a lot of genres that I like, and put a lot of African influence into it… For me, I love to have different influences and experiences.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I I find inspiration through the people that I meet, rather than specific places. What I do and who I meet gives me inspiration. I also think that Milan is a creative town. It has a positive energy. Milan gives you the motivation to work hard.
How do you get in the right headspace for making music?
When I'm in the studio, I really love to meet the producer, and work with them from the beginning. It helps me to feel involved in my music and make it original.
What does it mean to be a woman in the industry, especially in your genre?
It means lots of work. You have to give your best whatever you do. And you think about what you’re doing ten times over, because it needs to be perfect – you need to prove you are equal. To be a woman [in this industry], you want to get your chance to prove you are an artist, not just a woman or a man.
Do you have any other interests outside of music?
Cinema, I love cinema. I wanted to be a director. I love the visionary directors, the ones who create their own unique worlds. I don’t direct my own music videos, but I'm really a part of it. I give the vision and the idea, but the rest is for the video team. [Directing] is a lot of work, and its really meticulous work… But maybe one day, when I'm ready, I will do it properly.
What does the New Era brand mean to you?
I have cousins from Texas, and they watch NFL so New Era reminds me of my cousins. My favourite New Era cap is an all-black one. I wear a lot of black.
What are you most excited about in your life right now?
New music, because when you finish something, you worry whether you will get inspiration for other music. And then you restart, and everything is back to the beginning – that's the exciting moment.