The recent 2021 Queensland Music Awards (QMAs) celebrated the achievements of a talented and diverse array of the state’s finest burgeoning musical acts and their support networks across the unprecedented pandemic related challenges of the past twelve months.
One of this year’s most noteworthy winners was local hip-hop force of nature Jesswar. Regularly championed in the pages of Blank over the past few years, Jesswar took out the Hip Hop / Rap award for her explosive track ‘Venom’, the first female artist to take out the category since its inception four years ago.
Having recently released her debut EP, ‘TROPIXX’, she also recently took time out from the studio to hit the North Queensland tropics to headline the ‘Grrrls To The North’ travelling regional tour in late June, where she played shows in Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns as part of an all-female hip hop line-up showcasing a remarkable mix of talent curated from each region.
Jesswar recently took time out from her busy schedule to fill us in on her ground breaking win at the QMAs.
Big congrats on your recent achievement at the QMAs. Can you describe what it was like when your name was announced as the winner – did you think you were in with a chance of taking out the category?
THANK YOU!! I was unsure if I would win but all my crew, family and friends were telling me to prepare a speech because I was going to win. I didn’t think I would so I didn’t write anything down, plus I was placed right at the back of the room so I thought that if I was going to win I would be seated up front. It was a wild experience and the first thing I’ve ever won… I was lost for words and in a bit of shock when I got up there! It all sunk in when I got off stage and all my people were calling me and messaging me telling me how proud they were. I feel pretty grateful to have experienced that!
Do you feel that you can make a positive difference to other aspiring female rap artists by being the first female to win this category, especially in a genre that is often perceived as being very male dominated?
One hundred per cent! I believe you got to see it to be it and representation is extremely important. We need to see ourselves in these spaces and there needs to be room for us.
Can you put us in the picture on the inspiration for the track and how it came together?
I wrote ‘Venom’ at a time in my life where I was feeling depleted in all aspects of my life. It was written at a time where I had to pull myself back up again. Writing the track helped me get through it. When I look back now, it gives me strength knowing I stood back up and gave my all.
What’s on your musical agenda over the coming few months – I believe you may be in the studio recording at the moment?
Yes, I’m in writing mode and looking forward to putting out some new music! I’m also focusing on looking after myself and going wild with self-care before I set back out on tour.
Jesswar’s debut EP, ‘TROPIXX’ is available now on the usual streaming services.