Lous and the Yakuza: “Music is a power that artists themselves don’t understand”

Within a few seasons, the musician imposed her pop aura and solar energy. After the international success of “Gore”, here she is, all dressed up in Louis Vuitton, evoking her second album, “Iota”.

“I woke up excited from a dream. I believe that dreams are our spiritual channel ”. says Lous and the Yakuza in a mischievous voice, even though we know she is serious. This blend of spirituality and lightness is undoubtedly what characterizes it the most. By marital status Marie-Pierra Kakoma, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo twenty-six years ago, raised between Belgium and Rwanda, former philosophy student and homeless, passionate about art in all its forms, to the point of almost losing her skin, earlier, in 2019, having been revealed by the single Dilemma. Her first album, gore, recorded with Rosalía’s producer, El Guincho, revealed Lous’s trauma, defects and resilience.

Majestic, she takes over pop culture with a rare determination, which also seduces designers like Nicolas Ghesquière. She is also dressed in Louis Vuitton, a house of which she appreciates her values ​​as a guideline, which she places today, in front of the lens of her Belgian compatriot Charlotte Abramow. But it is without filters that she gives herself to us, to her evolution as a woman of head, heart and guts, that she resonates strongly in her second album, the irresistible Iota.

You recently opened for Gorillaz, Coldplay and Alicia Keys, how was it?

Lous and the Yakuza – Nothing to do with my concerts, which I end up crying with joy in the arms of my fans. It was galvanizing, but I had to face the indifference or even the rejection of 30,000 people, knowing that the next day the gladiatorial fight would start again at another stage. After about fifteen rehearsed dates, I realized that the important thing was to focus on every vocalization, every change of pace, every movement on stage … and savor it. We don’t do this job to suffer!

If it’s even more captivating than Gore, Iota respect the hybridization card that has been yours since your beginnings, which does not choose between soul, r’n’b, tropicalia …

Otherwise I wouldn’t feel complete! I am the result of a mixture of cultures: my clips refer to Japanese directors, I love to read Western philosophy, I am Congolese, Rwandan, Belgian, but also French because I spend a lot of time here … gore, I had suffered so much from not being heard that I had a thousand things to say and the text mattered more than anything else. But it became an international gold record! From the moment we succeed in non-French-speaking countries, we realize that we exist far beyond words. What I considered for Iota : I remain obsessed with words while giving all the place they deserve to the vibrations of sound, in all its variations.

© Charlotte Abramow for Les Inrockuptibles

So fully assume the pop format

Absolutely. Please tell the radios that they keep claiming that I make urban music! In the reality of the cultural industry it is risky not to fit into the schemes… Having said that, my career hasn’t made any sense since it started! Sometimes I wake up thinking: “What the hell am I doing here?” But this is the beauty of our professions: all trajectories are possible and the order of things is constantly reversed. I will remember all my life when I was called to sing at Jimmy Fallon [à distance, en octobre 2020, elle performe le temps d’une vidéo son titre Amigo]. I could never have imagined what had happened to me since the release of gore. I had a crazy chance. And, taking a step back, I realized that music is a power that artists themselves don’t understand.

With titles like Money Where is it Interpol, where you sing what you want “change name”, mention related ailments
to fame.

It took me a while to understand the concept of notoriety, which interests me little. But it would be ignoring our generation that lives with social networks by being fans of everything and nothing. Some follow the slightest of your gestures and words … and this can make you want to go very far. Because we pressure ourselves to live up to what others expect.

For the social animal that I am it was not very pleasant … until this summer, when, during my ten days of vacation, I realized that at 26 I could go to a bar and dance on a table, laugh, be happy ! Taking a little away from the responsibilities of an artist’s life, which has nothing to do with the glitz and glam Instagram: We spend more time with our accountants than with our fans.

© Charlotte Abramow for Les Inrockuptibles

You are also an entrepreneur. Are you proud of it?

Yes. I decided to be the owner of my business to be sure of the way they are managed… I could also have done art by myself in my room without wanting to market it, but as soon as it passes the sector filter it becomes a product. In this case, as far as I am in control. I pay my employees with my own scholarship, study everything I do legally and it takes a long time. Even if nobody talks about it, because the topic is not exciting for the public, it concerns all the at least independent artists! I, I want to be fully.

“There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it.” We owe you the translation of Amanda Gorman’s poems. What is the poem The hill we go up, from which these words are taken, do they resonate in you?

To hope. She was the youngest poetess to speak at an investiture [celle du président américain Joe Biden, le 20 janvier 2021]. As an author, and a black one, I know the battles she had to fight to be where she is, the suffering she went through. The hill we go up… What wisdom. Me, my first album was called gore, it was less encouraging! Don’t get angry, respect my energies as well as those of others, it’s complicated for a bloodthirsty person like me. But Amanda Gorman is one of those artists who show us a new path. To me, as to so many others!

Iota (Columbia / SonyMusic). Released November 4th.

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