Meet Fed­z­illa, the astute and out­spoken MC who effort­lessly nav­ig­ates dem­bow-heavy beats with a Lat­in twist. Based in Lon­don, Fed­z­illa is a prom­in­ent fig­ure in the UK fest­iv­al scene, cap­tiv­at­ing audi­ences with her mul­ti­lin­gual lyr­i­cism and dynam­ic per­form­ances influ­enced by sound sys­tem cul­ture. Born to a Chilean moth­er and Ger­man fath­er, she spent her form­at­ive years in the US before estab­lish­ing her­self as a dis­tinct rap­per in Lon­don’s glob­al bass music scene. With a back­ground rich in ragga, cumbia, hip-hop, and dance­hall, Fed­z­illa fear­lessly addresses issues of gentri­fic­a­tion, migra­tion, racism, and miso­gyny in her lyr­ic­al nar­rat­ives.

A former key mem­ber of Cuban power­house Wara, Fed­z­il­la’s col­lab­or­a­tions extend to renowned bands like 47SOUL, Sam and the Womp, and Full Attack Band. As the pan­dem­ic unfol­ded, she intro­duced the ‘Fed­room Ses­sions,’ a home-recor­ded video series tack­ling diverse sub­jects with humor and cheeky swag­ger, ran­ging from pat­ri­archy and Palestini­an free­dom to the com­fort of track­suits.

Build­ing on her solo debut, “Can­dela,” released on Movi­mi­en­tos Records in 2021, Fed­z­illa stays true to her­self, ignit­ing Lat­in club music and refus­ing to gloss over the com­plex­it­ies. In this exclus­ive inter­view, delve into the mind of Fed­z­illa as she shares the inspir­a­tion behind her debut EP, ‘Junc­tion,’ a test­a­ment to her fear­less explor­a­tion of diverse music­al land­scapes and unapo­lo­get­ic com­ment­ary on the world around her.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on the release of your debut EP, ‘Junc­tion’! Can you share the inspir­a­tion behind the title and how it reflects your music­al jour­ney so far?

Big thanks! I’d say that ‘Junc­tion’ serves as a snap­shot of my cur­rent music­al junc­tion and jour­ney. The cre­ation of this EP reflects back on the past dec­ade of MCing and rap­ping, per­form­ing and col­lab­or­at­ing. My pas­sion for hip-hop meets my South Amer­ic­an roots, throw­ing in some dance­hall grooves and stay­ing true to intro­spect­ive lyr­ics and punchy bars. And I’m stand­ing in the middle, right in the junc­tion.

I also find myself to be in an incred­ibly fruit­ful space of cre­ativ­ity. I’ve nev­er asso­ci­ated with just one style — I have a weak spot for rag­gamuffin jungle as much as I do for polit­ic­al spoken word. So cur­rently, I find that I have end­less ways in which I can explore and go, with no pres­sure to need to choose one way.

Your EP draws on Glob­al South roots, sil­ver-tongued hip hop, and Lat­in fire. How did these diverse influ­ences shape the sound and themes of ‘Junc­tion’?

Hip hop will always be at the root of my begin­nings. It’s my medi­um of expres­sion, release and pas­sion, and I find myself com­ing back to it no mat­ter the mood or cir­cum­stance. I almost con­sider it my music­al ‘moth­er tongue’. So when I knew I wanted to do a salsa song for example, I couldn’t wait to incor­por­ate rap verse and play around with a hip hop flow, instead of fol­low­ing the usu­al salsa vocals. “Tiempo”, the lead single, draws dir­ectly from my love for Lat­in Amer­ic­an folk, which I loved in com­bin­a­tion with a dance­hall bounce on the verses.

Col­lab­or­a­tion seems to be a sig­ni­fic­ant part of your music­al jour­ney, from work­ing with bands like WARA to col­lab­or­at­ing with Eli­ane Cor­rea and Kensaye on ‘Junc­tion.’ How does col­lab­or­a­tion enhance your cre­at­ive pro­cess?

I’ve been incred­ibly blessed to work with Eli­ane Cor­rea and Kensaye on this EP. I’ve been work­ing with Eli­ane since 2015 and I’ve always con­sidered her to be my music­al muse (as well as a close friend). She has seen my growth over so many years, and with the amount of shows and fest­ivals we’ve done togeth­er, I don’t think any­one knows me music­ally as well as she does. She’s been the archi­tect to my vis­ions, and with such incred­ible skills in com­pos­i­tion, arran­ging and pro­du­cing, she really brought my songs to life. When I have a song in my head, she knows exactly how to help extract it from my brain — or when I’m strug­gling with a cer­tain ele­ment of a song — she seems to magic­ally know exactly what’s miss­ing.

As for Kensaye, Eli­ane and I always joke about ‘The Kensaye Treat­ment’. Whatever we send him, he makes it sound punchi­er, tight­er and boun­ci­er. There’s been numer­ous times where we’re sit­ting on an almost fin­ished song, but can’t put our fin­ger on what’s miss­ing. Two Wetrans­fers later, Kensaye has nailed it and taken the song to a whole new level.

The lead single ‘Tiempo’ fea­tures Puerto Ric­an sing­er Mar­ina y su Melao. Can you tell us more about the col­lab­or­a­tion and the cos­mic theme explored in the song?
‘Tiempo’ is actu­ally a remake from an ori­gin­al WARA song. After the group dis­ban­ded in 2021, Eli­ane and I found ourselves sit­ting on a trove of banging tunes we had writ­ten. I always had an affin­ity for ‘Tiempo’, the bounce of the track and the tripped-out lyr­ics about time melt­ing made it one of my favour­ites. I couldn’t bear the thought of let­ting it go! Turns out, Eli­ane was just as eager to revive it.

There was so much incred­ible mater­i­al to work with, yet we knew we wanted to draw in space for col­lab­or­a­tion. The stringed instru­ment you hear in the chor­uses and intro is a requinto, played by Luzmira Zerpa, who comes from a deep tra­di­tion of Venezuelan and Afro-Lat­in folk music. She also played the maracas, which give a play­ful nod to the tick­ing of time. We were blessed to have Mar­ina y su Melao’s ambro­sial voice fea­ture on the chor­uses. In one of the verses I ask ‘A quién vas a llamar si se acaban las hor­as?’ (who would you call if the hours ran out?). Turns out it’s strong power­ful women :). The song itselves delves into a cos­mic probe of space and time. Sus­pen­ded exist­ences in a world where the hours have run out. Who would you call? As the clock melts in your hand, the minutes drip away, drop by drop. Except it’s incred­ibly catchy.

‘Clos­ure’ delves into raw lyr­ics over a pulsing beat with 00s hip hop strings samples. What inspired the intense and intro­spect­ive nature of this track?

Love this ques­tion. ‘Clos­ure’ is one of my favour­ite songs I have ever writ­ten. Last year, I was going through some beats that Kensaye had made and fell in love with this one. There was some­thing about it that pulled me in, invit­ing vul­ner­ab­il­ity and raw truth. Once I star­ted writ­ing, the floodgates opened. It was a true moment of look­ing at myself in the mir­ror, know­ing that some of my pat­terns and traits no longer serve me, and that it fully up to make to take respons­ib­il­ity for that.

On one hand, it’s incred­ibly vul­ner­able to decon­struct your ego in front of people. On the oth­er, you gain a cer­tain power by parad­ing your faults by the col­lar. I enjoyed lyr­ic­ally play­ing with, and teas­ing, my demons, so instead of grap­pling with their shad­ows, I’m mans­pread­ing and feast­ing with them:

“The demons were gnaw­ing
At an all you can eat buf­fet of raw emo­tions, darling
So pulled up a chair and joined ‘em
And pass the plate of self-hate over here, I’m starving
I now take my hedon­ism with a pinch of salt and pep­per a dash hot sauce
Feel it drip­ping, I’m lick­ing down from elbow to wrist, while my most bit­ter thoughts drip thick”

‘Salsa Insec­ur­it­ies’ stands out as a humor­ous dia­spora soli­lo­quy explor­ing the com­plex­it­ies of ‘Lat­in­id­ad.’ How import­ant is it for you to infuse humor and com­ment­ary into your music?

Indeed it does. Spot on. I’ve always con­sidered myself to be a per­former as much as I am an MC. Since I’ve begun, I’ve been inspired by the lar­ger-than-life dee­jay per­so­nas of Jamaic­an sound­sys­tem cul­ture and that type of Busta Rhymes 00s stage flair. I bring that with me across all types of per­form­ances. I also love a good bit of self-deprec­a­tion — since this was a song that makes fun of my own insec­ur­it­ies — I knew I couldn’t take myself too ser­i­ous.

I love to play upon the human exper­i­ence, our con­tra­dic­tions, hypo­cris­ies and insec­ur­it­ies. While we’re all skin and bones, iden­tity can be such a vis­cer­al feel­ing. By approach­ing it with humour, it wel­comes oth­er sim­il­ar exper­i­ences. While ‘Salsa Insec­ur­it­ies’ is spe­cific­ally about salsa, it can be just as relat­able to someone who doesn’t know how to dance bol­ly­wood, dab­ke, or sabar, and gen­er­ally feels as if they are miss­ing key mark­ers of cer­tain iden­tity and belong­ing. For oth­er themes, wheth­er it be migra­tion, gentri­fic­a­tion, pat­ri­archy, it’s a ‘either you laugh or cry’ situ­ation. As a per­former, I prefer to laugh.

‘Flight Paths’ seems to be a ret­ro­spect­ive anthem reflect­ing on memor­ies and his­tor­ies. Can you share the story behind this track and its sig­ni­fic­ance with­in the EP?

These lyr­ics are from “Rolling Stone”, a song I wrote for a col­lab­or­a­tion with the bril­liant Greek pro­du­cer Kill Emil (“EXTRA STYLEZ” album out on Janu­ary 8th). Work­ing on the EP was sim­ul­tan­eous with many changes hap­pen­ing in my life and major shifts in per­spect­ive. The lyr­ics encom­passed the shifts in my life so well. It was hard to find any bet­ter way to intro­duce my ‘junc­tion’ than with what I had writ­ten for that.

It also serves as a remind­er to myself of what I’ve achieved so far, and a pick-me-up for the days that I’m not feel­ing so strong. At the core, it appre­ci­ates the small things in life and cher­ishes the moments of joy and inspir­a­tion.

The EP was pro­duced by Eli­ane Cor­rea and co-pro­duced by Kensaye. How did their unique con­tri­bu­tions shape the over­all son­ic land­scape of ‘Junc­tion’?

The cre­ation of ‘Junc­tion’ was sup­por­ted by the PRS Foundation’s ‘Women Make Music Grant’ and Arts Coun­cil England’s ‘Devel­op Your Cre­at­ive Prac­tice’ Fund. How have these grants influ­enced the cre­at­ive pro­cess and devel­op­ment of the EP?
The sup­port from PRS and ACE have been a game changer. It also meant that the past year has been one of the busiest for me cre­at­ively. To be fully hon­est (and in hopes this can serve any­one else), one of the most import­ant things both the EP and the live band devel­op­ment taught me was how to com­mu­nic­ate expect­a­tions with each per­son involved, set trans­par­ent timelines, and also under­stand the needs and pri­or­it­ies of my cre­at­ors and col­lab­or­at­ors. You can be as cre­at­ive as you want, but without these ele­ments, I don’t think I would have got­ten to where I am now.

I also think it goes without say­ing — but hav­ing a budget to ensure that every­one involved got paid was bril­liant. While I still did have to call in some favours, and some cre­at­ors went above and bey­ond in their com­mit­ment, the work­flow changed com­pletely — and also allowed the col­lab­or­at­ors to pri­or­it­ise their work with me.

Ulti­mately, even just receiv­ing the sup­port and acknow­ledge­ment from these two organ­isa­tions did a lot for my self esteem and con­fid­ence. It was the pat on the back that I needed that my work was being recog­nised and encour­aged, and that people felt I was worth invest­ing in.

Words can­not express how much these grants have changed things for me and how thank­ful I am to both PRS and ACE. I see myself more con­fid­ent and ambi­tious than I’ve ever been in my music­al tra­ject­ory.

How did the EP launch go, and what can we expect from future live shows?

With the live shows, I can now extend and open up parts, cre­ate space for solos and impro­visa­tion, incor­por­ate skits, change the mood and drama, accen­tu­ate my move­ments on stage and so much more.

The EP launch show lit a fuse in my ideas. I’ll be up till early in the morn­ing some­times, just ima­gin­ing all the pos­sib­il­it­ies and ideas I’d like to play out and how to shape the way I inter­act with audi­ences!


Fol­low Fed­z­illa HERE



The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.