05 mai. 2022

Article in English
Auteur: Delali Amegah

THE VISIBLES is a series of interviews and articles with a focus on underrepresented creatives and artists in Luxembourg’s art scene.

EDSUN is a well-known R&B and pop singer in Luxembourg’s music industry. After winning the Artist of Year and Best Video awards at the Luxembourg Music Awards in 2018, the Luxembourgish/Cape Verdean artist’s star keeps rising as he continues to excel in his various artistic projects. His much anticipated live performance at the Rockhal is tomorrow, the 6th of May.

How has it been going with the preparation of the show?

Can someone gift me a spa day? I’m kidding, but a lot of energy has gone into it and I know the show is going to be great. I’d say the mood is very uplifting and celebratory, it’s a party! In the beginning, I had a garden party theme on my mood board, but it’s slowly developed into its own thing with cool people and cool music arrangements thanks to my great friend and colleague Sergio Manique Jr and the fantastic choreographer Selasi Dogbatse who has worked with the likes of Rihanna and Cardi B. Working with her has been amazing. I cannot wait for everyone to see the results of our hard work.

Steven Marques

© Steven Marques

What’s been your best performance so far?

There are so many! But I think one of the most memorable ones was when I performed at the Luxembourg Music Awards. It was such a great evening (for obvious reasons) because I got to perform with dancers.

Has music always been part of your life?

I think I’ve always been a performer. My parents owned a pub when I was younger and there was music playing there all the time. According to my mother I used to sing and dance on the tables. My parents are from Cape Verde, so I grew up with traditional Cape Verdean music, but I’d say the music that was playing on the radio in the 90s is what influenced me the most, the likes of Michael Jackson, Destiny’s Child, various hip hop artists and even Prince later on! My sisters were also big music listeners so that was a huge part of my childhood. I did a few talent shows years ago and took hip hop dance lessons. I also wanted to sing, but when I auditioned I got rejected, which is why I chose dance at the Conservatoire de Musique here in Luxembourg. I had also been writing since I was in high school but never actually composed or anything like that, so the beginning of my writing journey was really about discovery.

Are there any recurring themes in the first songs you wrote?

I was very elusive and vague about my feelings, I wanted to voice certain thoughts without necessarily being explicit. My songs were very sad and dark at the beginning. It was a frustrating process, coming out as a young Black and queer artist. I wanted to write about that struggle while still hiding it, being as subtle as possible, but I think that around 2019 I became more and more fearless, much clearer and specific about who I identified as and what I was into. I actually believe I came out through a song, while writing my second EP. This process was very therapeutic, it helped me be more at ease with myself, I felt more liberated.

How do you find the music industry in Luxembourg?

I wouldn’t call it an industry, rather a music scene. It’s a really welcoming space in which I have received and continue to receive amazing support from fellow artists. I didn’t have a great time in high school so it was definitely a stepping stone which made me feel it was safe for me to just be myself and that everything would be fine. Luxembourg’s music scene is particular because it’s quite small, but that’s not always a bad thing, as I feel like we have a lot of creative freedom. We can experiment with different things and different people. We’re all growing together, we’re still taking our first steps, regardless of the profession. Our music scene has a strong foundation that has been working for years but we still have a lot of catch up on and learn from other countries.

Steven Marques

© Steven Marques

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m an independent artist but I work with IZ Entertainement and WITHFOQUS, both help me with management, publishing, bookings, interviews, that type of stuff. I spend a lot of time writing and composing melodies with my producer Sergio with whom I have great chemistry with. I wasn’t looking for specific people when I started, it all happened organically and I’m very happy about that. Every day is different, but to give you an idea of what I had to do before the show: I went to Bâtiment 4 for an entire week to rehearse, then to 1535° Creative Hub for some studio sessions, checked some outfit details with my stylist and other days filled with interviews, it’s a marathon!

Is EDSUN your alter ego?

I do believe in the idea of an alter ego, but I haven’t defined one yet. I definitely have a different energy on stage – give me a few minutes and I go into beast mode. It isn’t something I can control. I’m actually very shy but the performer in me is very energetic, he has a lot to give.

Can you make a living as a singer in Luxembourg?

In the beginning, I was doing the most random jobs to support myself, but I had to stop as I realised I no longer had time to work on my music. That’s when I decided to focus exclusively on my music and it paid off. It’s not easy but at the end of the day, I have food on the table and a roof over my head while doing my dream job and that’s what matters.

What is your biggest career goal?

Being the opening act in arenas and stadiums. Can you imagine me at the Grammys as well? That’s the dream! I would also like to dive a bit into acting. I’ve done a bit of theatre before but I would have to take acting classes for sure. For now I just want to enjoy performing, to inspire and be inspired. 

Steven Marques

© Steven Marques

How do you cope with social media and external validation as an artist?

I used to get stressed out by the number of views and likes for my songs. Social media can feel like pressure especially when you are an artist. But my perception has shifted now. I understand that the worth of a song is not determined by these factors, I’ve decided to simply embrace the journey and just keep going!

When it comes to external validation, I have a funny story about that. I was opening for a rock artist and because I obviously do something very different to him his die-hard fans were booing me. It was embarrassing but I had to keep going. I wasn’t alone on stage, there were musicians and dancers, I couldn’t just give up because that moment wasn’t just my moment. It was a collective effort. You have to be resilient and persistent no matter what!

If you want to become an artist, you need to have that passion within. Be patient with yourself and understanding of the people you work with. Practice being a good listener. It requires a lot of strength and the ability to handle criticism. It’s important because it allows you to take a step back and see that there might be some truth to it, which can help you to improve your craft. We often think we have all the answers but this couldn’t be further from the truth, we’re always going to need help!

What are your thoughts about all the mainstream artists coming out in recent years?

The music industry and famous artists in particular can seem very superficial, which isn’t necessarily a false perception, but I still think embodying more queerness openly is a huge step forward. People look up to them and will naturally feel more comfortable being themselves and expressing it through various outlets like social media. It’s not so much about queerness but more so about a freedom we didn’t have for years. The queer community simply offers a space for that freedom.

Sexuality is a spectrum, and I think it’s brave and refreshing to see artists like Harry Styles going against the codes of toxic masculinity and opening doors for boys who want to paint their nails and wear crop tops because there is nothing wrong with that. For people who say we are too much, well we are and there’s nothing you can do about it.

We also have to take into account that some people are still in the process of figuring themselves out, queer or not. There’s always so much more to a person than the song they release or the pictures they post. We forget it’s about a journey and we probably don’t see half of it on social media. Maybe it took someone a year to show themselves with makeup on and doing it on social media can be therapeutic. It depends on your intentions, there are so many angles and perspectives to it.