Empress Of, fill in the blank. Because it could be anything.
The producer and musician (also, Libra) known to her parents as Lorely Rodriguez has been tinkering on the family piano from an early age. Coming from a musical family and a childhood spent listening to her dad's Beatles albums, the 27-year-old, studied classical and jazz for about 13 years. At 17 she got a laptop and has been making electronic music ever since.
When she released her first album, Lorely revealed that it was written mainly in solitude in Mexico. A state of being, the musician shares, that “is so extreme and forces you to deal with a lot of your own personal shit." She claims, "I needed something really drastic like that for my first album because I didn’t really know what kind of album I wanted to make. To some extent, I always make music in solitude because…I work alone!"
Empress Of is her solo project, but the LA-native isn't sure she'd take the same approach again, at least not at the moment. "I don’t think I need to go to the extreme of being in a lake town by myself for a month right now,” she says.
What she does need is more time to cook for herself, as well as “coffee and museums and weird ‘70s horror movies.” As well as playing live shows. “I love that part so much,” she says. She also maintains that though singles are the “immediate songs that grab a listener,” she “loves albums and will probably always make music thinking about that bigger picture.” She's currently working on her second album, an experience she's called an "emotional roller coaster-- not so much making the music, but playing it for other people."
After moving home to LA from New York last year (the musician won’t tell us what coast she prefers, only admitting that she enjoys "not freezing"), she harps that she think it’s important to follow your intuition, “like Jewel song.” In all seriousness Empress Of knows the importance of “believing in the choices you make as it is your art and company you are representing.”
More from Empress Of below.
Who are the people you consider your mentors or influences and why?
I look at the careers of people I really respect. Bjork has always been a big mentor for me. Frida Kahlo as well.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
That phrase means equality to me. Having the same opportunities regardless of your race, sex or sexual orientation.
How does it feel to be a woman in the music industry?
It feels great. It feels like all the other things you would imagine being a woman in most industries would feel like, challenging and under represented. I am very excited to work towards a day where I don't have to talk about being a woman making music and I can just talk about making music. But as far as the industry, I put my opinions out into my music so usually, most the people I work with know I won't put up with archaic mentalities.
What are some of the biggest challenges you've encountered along the way?
Doing something else when the one thing you relied on isn't going to work. There is no formula for being a successful artist today. I try not to let that stop me or my career. Being really creative and thinking up the next and the next and the next thing to do is part of everyday of this job.
What is the best piece of "real talk" advice you've received?
I think the one thing that has always stuck with me is trust yourself.
International Women’s Day is coming up. It's a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. If you could steer the conversation around International Women’s Day, what would that dialogue be about?
I would love to talk about the future of women in the world. How can we educate future generations of men and woman on social equality so we can achieve even more progress?