I am Loréa, I am 41 years old, I’ve been a rapper for 25 years and now I offer coaching services to artists. I have also been running rap workshops for the past ten years, mainly on a weekly basis at the Maison du hip hop in the 11th arrondissement in Paris, as well as on request with different structures.
I loved rap music when I was a kid, I fell into it especially with Sidney’s hip hop show – by the way, there was a great documentary about it that was released in April, The real story of H.I.P H.O.P. In 1984, I met a guy who played me my first rap records and I immediately got hooked, especially with the values of the Zulu Nation, “peace, love, unity and having fun”. I started writing rap lyrics and talked about it to my friends. I told them I was rapping – well, I wasn’t really, I was sort of rapping, let’s say! And then I was told that there were guys rapping in their garage in Sarcelles who were looking for people to make a band. I was introduced to Sëar and the other people in the group with whom we created 1 Bario 5 S’pry. I brought in DJ Rody who became our beatmaker and the band was born in the 90s. People liked what we did, Sëar has a crazy talent and I was lucky enough to be under his wing. There weren’t many girls rapping at the time so the fact that we were a mixed group made us look good. There were also these magazines, like Groove and The Source, that were sold with CDs of the latest rap songs and we were lucky enough to have our songs on these records so our music was known in Marseille and all over France. That’s how it started for me.
I think rap music is more associated with positive values than gangsterism, so everyone who advocates delinquency, fighting, killing cops and spitting on women, for me it’s completely anti-rap.
The place of women in rap has changed since I started, well, actually it has and it hasn’t. It has evolved in the sense that today it’s easier to pay attention to women as there are obviously many more female rappers than before. There are also many things that are done to make room for women in hip hop, such as female-only sets and specific events, which was not the case in the 90s. Despite everything, there is something that still lasts, it’s this prejudice against female rap, this obvious sexism. A girl who raps will be less interesting to men. But I think a girl who kills it will get more attention than a guy who kills it, precisely because she’s a woman. Rap is still a very masculine field and we can compare it to the world of football, you have footballers and then you have women in the second zone, who perform very well and can be very talented, but the scene remains masculine above all. I think we need even more female rappers and maybe at some point we’ll reach parity !
The young people I see during my workshops are often amateur and beginner artists who want to improve their skills, their writing or their flow, but do not have the expertise needed. They ask me for a lot of advice, so it gave me the idea to push my investment in these artists further and to coach them artistically, so I created Je Veux Des Hits development. I help artists, from writing texts to studio recording, preparing concerts, but also with project development. They don’t necessarily know how to do it and how the industry works, but I trained this year, went to music school and graduated as a Production manager in contemporary music. It completed the knowledge I already had by evolving in the hip hop industry all my life. So I went back to school and it was great, I loved it! You don’t have the constraints you had when were young and you didn’t like school because there were subjects you didn’t care about. I chose this training so I knew I would like it, and I really felt in my element. I was looking forward to coming back every day to learn new things.
I’m going to get back to rapping a little bit. I had started a band with two other guys called Tau Ceti and then it was on standby because I had a lot of personal events and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. I’ll be going back to creation a little bit, but I don’t know yet in what form I’ll do it. I want to record songs and then I’ll see what I do with them. Every time I started a rap project I was stopped, sometimes by wonderful events like getting pregnant and giving birth to my child, and other times less pleasant and even tragic, because I lost people that were very close to me. It’s my life that is like that, punctuated by very strong events that become priorities on music and that’s why I’m sometimes here, sometimes not…. When I started writing with Tau Ceti, I was in a very dark mood and the texts I wrote for this project were total introspection and I was really talking about myself, which I couldn’t do before. I used to talk about it but timidly, I was immersed in it but with a kind of barrier, I didn’t know if I had the right to talk about it or not.
Being on stage is really amazing in terms of sensations and the strength the audience gives you. It’s something special to live and it does a lot of good, but the other side of it is the state I put myself in before a concert, with stage fright and the anxiety that goes with it.
Now I share hip hop and I find that I’m at an age where putting myself forward and being on stage is behind me. I’m happy with everything I’ve experienced before, but I don’t really project myself into it as an artist anymore. I feel more like sharing and transmitting, and that’s what I’ve been doing for some time. This is where I feel comfortable. All the people I have been able to work with in my workshops give it back to me, first because they are progressing, and then when they tell me that they really enjoy my classes and that it is a good vibe, it feels good for them and they feel their progress. The fact that I’m working a bit on the lyrics with the artists also means that I keep in touch with writing, I’m still working my brain to find the right rhyme, making alliterations, assonances. I still do this work but in another way, I do it to help others and it suits me well like that. I’m happy with this continuity and I find it logical at my age – well, I always say at my age, it’s not that I’m 60, but well, I don’t necessarily feel the energy to jump like a kangaroo on stage!
I help those who are trying to break through, those who are making it, and those who just want to have fun. I want to continue doing this more than ever, I’m going for it 100%. Now that I’m a graduate, I have the know-how and expertise to help! So who’s with me?