Join us for an exclusive interview with the remarkable music artist Queen LaBelle as she takes us on a journey through her captivating biography, the creative process behind her latest album, the exciting merchandise promotion for October, and the symbolism behind her album cover art.
Can you share a bit about your background and artistic journey, including some of the memorable moments you’ve experienced?
I was born in Los Angeles, but I was taken from my parents at three months old and was appointed to be raised by one of my maternal aunts living in New York. I grew up in Brooklyn. I had anger management issues due to my circumstances and I turned to dance and drama classes to help me express my emotions in a healthier way. I then developed a passion for writing, and it led me into the world of poetry and spoken word.
I faced some identity issues growing up as multiracial and I faced various traumas but writing helped me make sense of it all and provided a means for me to voice my story.
I returned to Los Angeles to live as an adult. One of the most memorable milestones on my artistic journey was when I opened for Dr. Cornel West at UCLA. The atmosphere that day was filled with bubbling energy, with Dr. West himself enthusiastically celebrating my performance. He was genuinely overjoyed, jumping with excitement as if he was watching his favorite artist perform at a concert. After my performance, he gave me a warm, heartfelt hug. The crowd also erupted into a spirited standing ovation.
Receiving such high praise from a respected figure was an immense honor. It served as a powerful reminder of the potential of words to inspire unity and positive change. Dr. Cornel West’s enthusiasm encouraged me to continue creating pieces that explore the injustices faced by Black people and the ways we can uplift one another. My poems also touch on topics related to love, relationships, sex, abuse, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Your latest album, “For the Kings and Queens Spoken Word,” is generating a lot of buzz. Could you tell us about the creative process behind it and how it blends spoken word with hip-hop? What sets it apart from traditional spoken word?
When creating this album, I aimed to take spoken word to a whole new level by infusing it with the dynamic energy of hip-hop. Unlike traditional spoken word, which is often presented acapella or with minimal instrumental backing, I decided to add vibrant hip-hop beats and components to give the work more life while still maintaining the softer voice and slower tempo of reciting poetry.
The creative process was a unique blend of crafting powerful spoken word pieces that carried a strong message, while also weaving in the rhythmic and engaging elements of hip-hop. It allowed me to tell stories, share experiences, and evoke emotions in a way that traditional spoken word alone couldn’t.
What sets this album apart is the fusion of spoken word and hip-hop. It’s like a bridge connecting two powerful forms of expression. It takes the raw, honest, and inspirational aspects of spoken word and pairs them with the engaging and rhythmic beats of hip-hop. This fusion breathes new life into spoken word, inviting listeners to experience poetry in a fresh and vibrant way. It’s about breaking boundaries, transcending traditional genres, and resonating with a diverse audience in a unique and powerful manner.
Lastly, the album also features tracks produced by Grammy Award Winning Producers, such as, My Guy Mars, who has produced for T.I, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle, Jay-Z, and many more. There are also features from legendary artists, such as Cappadonna from the Wu-Tang Clan.
I also have to give special thanks to Thirty Dark Zero Records / Rob Hayes for being the Executive Producer and a featured artist on the album.
Your merchandise store is offering a fantastic 50% discount for October. Can you give us a sneak peek into the range of merchandise available and the inspiration behind the designs?
Absolutely! I wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy my merchandise at an affordable price.
The store currently features five collections, each with a unique inspiration:
- **Queen LaBelle Merch Fan Collection:** This collection draws inspiration from my album cover art. Here, you can find a unisex hoodie and tee featuring Queen LaBelle’s album art, symbolizing courage. Elevate your style with our hat, express yourself with stickers, and carry your essentials in our tote. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your truth with us and share your story.
- **Kidnapping Your Brain Collection:** Inspired by one of my singles, this collection offers a variety of options, including hoodies, sweatshirts, tees, and mugs. Don’t forget to grab a sticker to express your love for my music in style.
- **For the Kings Collection:** Experience royalty with this collection, inspired by one of my singles. Choose from tees, hoodies, mugs, sweatshirts, or stickers and embrace a regal vibe in style.
- **For the Queens Collection:** Indulge in our ‘For the Queens’ collection, inspired by another of my singles. Discover options including totes, hoodies, mugs, sweatshirts, stickers, and tees. It’s an opportunity to embrace your inner queen with style and grace.
- **Self Love Collection:** This collection is inspired by yet another single of mine. It’s all about empowering self-love. You’ll find notebooks, tees, totes, hoodies, hats, mugs, and stickers to embrace self-love in every aspect of your life. This collection even offers a tee for pets, because who said self love is only for humans?
To take advantage of this exclusive offer, visit my website at www.queenlabellemerch.com and use the discount code “ALBUMPARTY” during checkout. It’s a limited-time opportunity to grab a piece of my merchandise collection and carry a bit of inspiration with you.
Let’s talk about the album cover art. What inspired the design, and how does it complement the overall message and theme of your album?
The cover art features a woman in a pose reminiscent of Jesus on the cross, holding swords. This striking image represents vulnerability, the courage to share my own personal story, and the determination to highlight the issues in our society that demand change. It’s a visual representation of the strength and determination it takes to confront these issues head-on.
The cover art complements the overall message and theme of my album by conveying the idea that true courage lies in vulnerability and in raising one’s voice to address the critical issues of our time. It symbolizes a commitment to standing up for what’s right and pushing for change, even in the face of adversity.
This powerful imagery is meant to resonate with listeners, inviting them to join in the journey of self-discovery and social change that the album explores. It’s a visual representation of the bravery it takes to be honest and open about our experiences and to call for transformation in our society.
As an artist, what do you want your audience to take away from “For the Kings and Queens Spoken Word”? Any messages or themes that are particularly close to your heart?
I want my listeners to find inspiration and empowerment.
Ultimately, I want my audience to feel moved and motivated by the spoken word and poetry in this album. I hope it sparks conversations, encourages self-reflection, and stirs a desire for positive change in our society. It’s a call to action, a celebration of unity, and an exploration of the strength that can be found in vulnerability.
Lastly, can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that your fans can look forward to in the near future?
In the near future, my fans can look forward to an exciting project that will enhance the spoken word experience of listening to my poetry.
I’m planning to create videos for every track on the album. These videos will provide a visual dimension to the spoken word experience, adding another layer of depth and meaning to each piece. It’s a way to bring my words to life, further engaging the audience and allowing them to immerse themselves fully in the stories and messages I convey through my work.
I believe that this project will be a unique and captivating way to connect with my fans and continue to share the themes and stories that are close to my heart. I can’t wait for everyone to experience the spoken word in a whole new way through these upcoming videos.
Learn more about Queen LaBelle here.