Or captivating harmony, Énaé is undoubtedly the artist to watch very, very closely at the end of 2023. Rich in her cultural diversity, the artist fuses soul, r&b, dancehall and confident prose influences that sound like blessed bread for our ears. With Punani , a single tinged with ego-trip and girl power featuring Le Juiice, she announces the color of her new EP, 528 HZ , scheduled for December 1st. As sparkling and vibrant as her titles, Énaé shared with us her contagious passion for music.
Are there any artists who have strongly influenced your way of approaching music?
When I started singing and writing my lyrics, the Ibeyi sisters influenced me a lot. I admired how united they were and how powerful their music was, I really felt connected to them. Willow Smith was also a source of inspiration in my early days, as were Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, both through their lyrics and their performance. And I would without hesitation say Amy Winehouse, because of the way in which she is tortured, her sadness, her melancholy… It has always spoken to me.
How is the fusion of your Haitian-American and French-Spanish origins reflected in your artistic process?
It’s true that it comes quite instinctively. I don't really think when I create. It's so natural for me to write in English, to incorporate a little Creole and dancehall vibes. It's really an expression of what I love, the productions I hear and the compositions I can create myself.
Sharing the stage with renowned artists such as Kalash, Jok'Air and others, how have these experiences influenced your musical journey and your approach to live performance?
It has already strengthened me a lot. When you're opening, people aren't expecting you, so you have to give 200% to captivate a few people and get them to like your style. It’s a challenge where you say to yourself: “It has to work, it has to take off, people have to be touched.” Sometimes it works better than others, because not all audiences are receptive. But I loved doing those of Jok'Air and Meryl, it gave me the strength to always do better.
You made your first featuring with Le Juiice for the title Punani , how did this musical encounter go? Was it obvious for you to collaborate with Trap Mama?
Juiice is an artist that I have followed for a long time, I have always been attached to his madness. I think she has an incredible performance and that she embodies her character really well. Even though my world is totally different from his, I immediately thought that the two could be a good match. When it comes to collaborations, I really like mixing very varied styles because that's when something super interesting musically is born. The meeting went really well, it only took one day in the studio and it was done!
Is there an artist you would dream of collaborating with?
Of course, I even have several! If we talk about a dream featuring, it would really be at a very high level, Rosalía for example, it's the goal. There’s also SZA, Raye… It would be great to be able to collaborate with Kalash and even Angie! Every time, we tell ourselves that we have to do something together (haha), that would really make me happy.
Your EP 528 HZ comes out on December 1st. Can you give us an overview of the progression of your musical style and the themes explored in this new album?
In my first project, the approach was less defined in terms of the themes addressed. In 528 HZ , it's much more explicit. It’s truly an EP that revolves around love in all its forms, sensuality, femininity, but also healing. In my opinion, it's more in-depth in terms of musicality. I tried to push the harmonies, to sing more, to indulge more. It frees me from lots of things, whether it's injuries or even what can do me good. Everything I want to express, I transpose it into my music and particularly into this EP.
How do you juggle influences from neo-soul, afro, R&B and other genres, while remaining true to your own distinctive musical identity?
It’s Énaé (haha)! I immerse myself so much in what I love, in my music and in what I want to embody. I don't force myself to do anything. The featuring with Le Juiice was very “drip”, very dancehall. It's not the main color of the EP, but I know this one has meaning because I have my vocal identity.
Dancing is also one of your passions. Do you think that dancing and singing are inevitably linked in your art? Does this art allow you to communicate a message that you could not express through music?
Dance is really the continuity of my bodily expression. It passes from the voice to my body and it is a way of expressing my sensuality. On stage, dancing frees me a lot and also unlocks a lot of things. I don't just take dance classes to know how to dance, but to embody myself, to become aware of my body, my posture and my movements, so yes, even if all my titles are not made for dancing, it's is obviously linked to my music!
What message do you want to convey through your art?
It is a message of acceptance, trust and above all love. Before being an artist, before trying to shine, we are humans with a story, a journey. We all go through very difficult times, but then comes the light and you have to constantly do your best to get there.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into music?
Ask yourself why you want to do it, what are your motivations, it’s so important. Many artists today are wrong. I sincerely think that it is one of the most complicated professions, just like artistic professions in general, because it requires a lot of mental and emotional parameters. If you get lost in the fame thing, doing it for the hype, you lose the very essence of the art and it's easy to get lost in that. Surrounding yourself well is also essential, it’s even the basis. Take your time, put your ego aside when you arrive at the studio, don't be afraid of constructive criticism and listen to yourself.
Thank you Énaé for this moment! We can't wait to have fun on 528 HZ and see you on stage on January 12 at Hasard Ludique.
Take your place quickly! : www.lehasardludique.paris/concert/2023-10-31/enae%23reservation
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Written by Camille Noel Djaleb ( @cosycam )