Her new album ‘Miss Power’ is fearless, relentless, uncompromising and honest. Give it up for Connie Constance!
In recent years, Connie Constance (real name Constance Rose Power) has been on a journey of self-discovery. Though she is notably mild mannered, prone to fits of giggles and a self-described “fairy bitch”, she recently got her full astrological chart which described her personality type as an aggravator, and it really resonated with her. “I’ve been doing that without realising it,” she says before her tone becomes incredulous. “I never knew it would be such a big thing to want to make indie music.”
Over the last few years she’s had to make bold moves like leaving major labels behind to carve her own path. She spent the last two years releasing on her independent label Jump The Fence and has since signed with indie label Play It Again Sam, she has been busy creating create indie pop tracks infused with punk and soul that feel true to her riotous roots. With her last two EPs she’s taken a far more DIY approach with everything from songwriting to music video directing. But the gear change has certainly been well received. BBC Radio 1 named Connie artist of the month for August last year while The Guardian described her sound as a “strikingly effective combination of disparate strains of British pop.”
It’s taken some strength and convictions in her own voice. “I feel like I’m finally being treated as an adult and creative partner versus a young crazy creative girl,” she says. It’s a stark contrast from the days where she was making songs that didn’t sound like what she listened to. However as a Nigerian-British artist, she believes the UK music industry struggled to understand alternative women of color as previous label staff likened her to other mixed race British singers Corinne Bailey Rae, Mabel and Jorja Smith (“I was like dude let them do their thing”) and told her “we don’t know how to market you with braids.”
The Watford-born 27-year-old has remained laser focused on putting out music that fits how she sees the world rather than how the world sees her. And she takes her place among rising alternative black girls from WILLOW to Nova Twins who have proved that natural hair and underground sounds don’t make you too niche.
Her new album, Miss Power, is both nostalgic and zeitgeist, imbued with powerful drums, playful guitar riffs, and anthemic feminist rage via playful lyricism like: “I’m not your perfect little princess and I have my own unique vagina” as well as the hard-hitting screams “I’m not a specimen for you just to study and your opinion does not count for nothing”. These lyrics hint at the way women, Connie in particular, have to rally against external voices. Especially as a songwriter. She held her cards close to her chest for the project as she finds that too many cooks spoil her auditory broth by getting too many opinions on her demos. “You can kind of mess it up before you’ve even given birth to it.”
She says that this album is the first time she’s felt she’s done exactly what she wanted to do, dubbing her sound “a fairy bitch genre” as that’s the vibe she feels when she wakes up in the morning. The concept record was written as if an ancient fairy from tens of thousands of years ago was frozen in time and they woke up today. It starts with being wowed by the excitement, the shining lights, the buzz and how fun it is to be young right now, but then it spirals downward as signposted by titles like ‘Hurt You’ and ‘Kamikaze’, which she calls a “feminist anthem”. ‘Home’ sees the fairy look at the struggles within tackling “anxiety and negative intrusive thoughts” the song finishes with a talk to relax and lift the spirits voiced by fellow musician Hak Baker. On, ‘Heavyweight Champion,’ a deeply personal track on her new album, Connie unpacks her strained relationship with her father. “I wanted to write a song about how it sucks that we’ll never actually be able to reconcile properly as he doesn’t see the world the same as most people do,” she adds, “If I don’t write about something then it feels like I can’t let it go.”
She makes music for those of us with ‘main character syndrome,’ looking for a soundtrack as they too find their way in life. Powerhouses like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen who she says had an ‘I’m doing me, fuck you all’ kind of energy inspire her ethos and attitude, while the bravado of Santigold and MIA leave her feeling emboldened. She’s even made a vocal cameo on a Swedish House Mafia track showing that her versatile sound can work on rock anthems as euphoric EDM dancefloor fillers.
Connie soaks up a lot from her environment and the multiple worlds she straddles. Her paternal family are Nigerian and she plans to travel there for the first time; whenever she speaks to her grandfather it feels like he’s preparing to once again board a flight and return. Meanwhile her maternal side is British, so British they had a “VE day” party in lockdown. Her album title, lyricism, and overall mantra to celebrate strong women is down to the people that matter most to her. “I was raised by my mum – she’s a boss. All my best mates are boss females that kick arse and that’s the energy I feel and want to represent”. But she doesn’t shy away from her insecurities and anxieties either, as even the fiercest women have their vulnerabilities. As for her rock vocals and hard-hitting melodies, she credits her stepdad with playing Paul Weller, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys around the house and getting her hooked on guitar music.
Connie attended prestigious dance school, The Urdang Academy, aged 18 which gave her a taste for performing. Having recently supported the Nova Twins she’s feeling re-energised by their cult fan base and assured that black women in alternative music needn’t be thought of as a risky niche. Touring showed her there’s people out there who want it and are “obsessed” with the scene. Because her music touches on themes of mental health, Connie regularly ends up talking to her fans who want to hear more about how she got through her tribulations, connecting via their similar journeys. “They’re my mates, they feel like my little sisters and brothers”. As such she’s excited for her chance to connect further with her fans – who she calls “the Gremlins” – in her own live shows.
Connie’s excitement to venture out into the world as her authentic self is palpable, and by the sounds of it, she’s ready to step into her power.
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