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Being only 21 years old, and thanks to her naivety, Connie Constance is pursuing her dream in the music business. Her career path asks for an ongoing progress, something that allows her to create music which speaks about London's hectic life as well as personal situations – a sort of escapism for the young British generation. She writes the songs you want to hear. We explore with her the presence of (black) women in the music industry, and the attraction of selfish writing.

Your debut was around a year ago with the song Stars. In its music video we can see your dancing skills, as well as in that for Books, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering that you studied for a year in the Urdang Academy. When did you realise you didn't want to continue in the dancing scene?
It was a number of things. I was working front of house at the Lyceum Theatre, where the Lion King is shown; after watching the show over 100 times I realised that if I was to graduate The Urdang Academy, not only was this show one of the few West End musicals that I’d even be considered for (due to being mixed raced), I also couldn’t face the repetition of performing the same movements and singing the same songs 8 times a week.
I had always loved dancers that no one could copy, that were incomparable. At dance school you’re taught to become a blank canvas, someone who can copy movement precisely and powerfully. I do not disagree with this, as this is what you need to be in order to be successful in the dance industry. However, it's just not the path I want to follow in any creative industry. 
It was a decision that changed your whole life. How do you feel when looking back at this past year?
I’m forever in and out of shock but always grateful for this past year. I have realised how naive I was to decide to leave one of the greatest performing arts schools in the country to pursue a career I knew nothing about. Naivety can be harmful in most cases, but without it I don’t think I would have had the self-belief in my work, my lyrics, my scruffy messy notepads, needed to achieve any dream.
I have learnt many lessons this year, one of them being that If you look at the world in wonder, with eyes of freedom to do anything, then you can build a new reality step by step, one change at a time. I’m going to be forever grateful for this 21st year, as I’ve met some of the most incredible dreamers and go-getters in the world. The type of people that make you feel guilty for being less than you could be!

You come from a town called Watford, in the northwest of London. How does living in the city affect the music you create?
London is so hectic, by the end of each hour of waking life I’ve probably felt over ten emotions. If I had a studio, a band and an audio engineer in my head I could probably write an album a day. I don’t think I know one twenty year old in London that doesn’t have some kind of mental or social health issue. Very harsh, but very rewarding if you work hard. Everything I feel, see, conversations I have, situations of love and conflict that I get into, I write about.
Do you think it would be different if you lived elsewhere?
I think If I lived elsewhere I would still be writing about situations that happened in the city six months after I left!
I have read that your teachers wanted to get rid of the huskiness in your voice, but you fought against them. That's a common trait between jazz singers, but your music coexists among soul and indie rock, according to your own description. Do you think having something special is the key to success?
Yes, it was a silent fight, I would train my voice at home to jazz instrumentals. I think that doing what you love is the key to success. I love jazz singers, soul and indie rock, so it's hard for me to want to sing clear and technical because it's just not what I love. I think that believing that you need to be special in order to be successful is actually what holds so many people back. Growing up I thought it was only certain people that achieved their dreams, certain people that were trained from young and had parents in the arts. When I  was 11, I got a scholarship out of 100 people for a musical theatre group called Songtime; at that time I realised that if you want something all you have to do is figure out all the components you need to get it, and then walk in the room confident that you're the best candidate. Also knowing that you can’t afford to go to this school if you don’t get the scholarship helps; understanding that if you have less, you deserve more, has been my drive always. So now it's my duty to let every single young person know that they are the special one and they can achieve their wildest dreams.

“Believing that you need to be special in order to be successful is actually what holds so many people back.”
Your lyrics come straight out from your diary entries, and they represent an escapism for you. Is it weird for you to sing your own thoughts?
Yes, I am a very selfish writer. I write the songs I need to hear. I write what's going on in my life because I need something to relate to.  It's not weird because my goal has always been to write truthfully, so if there is someone going through the same thing as me, they know that they are not alone.
Your last music video for the song Lose My Mind is fully made by a female team. It represents a delicate, loving and tender vision of men, in artistic contraposition to the image of the bad guys we can see in the industry. Do you think the music industry is slowly accepting gender equality?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Someone said to me something like, “women have an easier time in the music industry,” and for a moment I was like a cartoon network character, with my mouth and tongue touching the ground! I think we are starting to be taken more seriously in the underground/indie world, but in the commercial world I think it has actually got worse. As a young female myself, I’m not unaware that I could use beauty and sexiness to further my projects. But I know that, for me, all that would create would be insecurities of whether people actually like my music or just think I'm hot. But it's all relative, because if you want to be sexy and flaunt your best assets, then you should.
What's necessary to accomplish this longstanding battle?
It's tough, I think the only way we can move forward as a gender is being true to ourselves. If we feel uncomfortable about something, then say it – just like that saying, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

You take part of an historical movement in which black women are empowering themselves to do whatever they want to do. But do you feel like historically jazz is the only genre they can rule in the music industry?
In the past and present, black women absolutely shake the world with their ownership vocally of those genres. But no, I’m pretty sure black women already rule them all, with Beyoncé and Rihanna fronting the pop industry for females worldwide.
I think the hardest place for black women is actually England. I don’t think England quite understands how to have a black female ruling the pop or indie industry, or just black people in general. The last black woman with an afro that got any exposure was Mel B, and she was called “Scary Spice” – so you know there is every ceiling in the British music industry to be broken right now.
I assume that growing up as a mixed-raced kid in a white family wasn't easy, especially when there weren't a lot of black women referents in ‘90s Europe. But, as you’ve just mentioned, you found someone to look up to in Mel B. Have you thought of yourself as a potential referent for girls nowadays?
Definitely, the boundaries are there to be broken and for a much bigger picture than myself. Every young girl and boy deserves a representative in the limelight, and I’m more than happy to take that responsibility if the opportunity comes.
If you could give an advice to young females trying to pursue a career the music industry, which would it be?
Find yourself first. Don’t let anyone tell you how you need to be in order to be successful. You're a perfect circle.

Words
Adriana Barreno
Photos
Christian Cassiel
Styling
Connor Gaffe
Clothing
Rokit vintage

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