Honduran-American musician Empress Of's latest album, For Your Consideration, is set to release today, promising listeners a way to jumpstart the weekend. Building on the love from fans from the first single off the album, Kiss Me, featuring Rina Sawayama, the album takes Empress Of's music to new heights, taking on a lighter, less heartbroken sound.
While this is Empress Of’s fourth album, this feels like a radically different path. For Your Consideration, a Spanish- and English-language album, takes energy from rejection or heartbreak and repurposes it into this dance-pop album. While fan favourite Kiss Me featuring Rina Sawayama established early that this album would be a feat, the album follows through on this promise. Written during a period of being single, this fun, free, and flirty energy permeates the entire album, expelling the negativity and instead embodying a more playful and sensual energy. Femenine captures this essence well, as Empress Of manifests a feminine partner through her vocals, stirring up “wanting to reverse roles” and taking over as a dominant woman. The vocals become an embodied extra layer of the drums with this ASMR-like breathy quality, making this record so urgent and yet enchanting. 
Empress Of, the moniker of Los Angeles-based artist Lorely Rodriguez, has consistently captivated audiences with her performances, including opening for Carly Rae Jepsen and gracing stages at various festivals. This album release marks Rodriguez’s third full-length album, it’s been released via the label Giant Music. In conversation with METAL, Empress Of shares into her inspiration and thoughts behind the release, live shows, and collaborations.
Hello, Empress Of! You have certainly opened 2024 with a bang. How do you find yourself feeling?
All the feelings! I’m excited and a little overwhelmed. That’s how it always goes I guess with album releases.
The first single and taste into your new album we received last September – Kiss Me featuring Rina Sawayama. How does this set up the forthcoming album?
It’s the first song I’ve put out from the album, and I feel like it’s a statement. To have Rina on the track with me is just a slay. She’s one of my favourite singers, incredible talent. I think the song also sets up the mood for an epic pop album.
Youve always had a raw emotional talent that you exert in your music when you sing about relationships. How do you find the dating scene now is changing how you approach writing about these relationships?
I feel like I’ve written a lot of songs about being heartbroken. This record was mostly written while single. I think there is a fun, free, explorative energy to it. Less lamenting, more horny maybe (laughs). 
In the single Femenine released last year, there is this marked shift in your music: you seem fully empowered, rather than melancholic. Can you walk us through the inspiration and creative process behind this specific track?
Yes! I wrote this track in Miami with Nick Leon. I had been wanting to work with him for some time and spontaneously booked a studio and flight to Miami. The night I landed I went to a strip club. The next days I felt the energy of the club and the beach while writing this song.
Youve spoken before about this album, specifically with reference to Femenine, as manifesting this more feminine partner. Can you expand a little bit more on what this manifestation process looks like and means for you?
Yes, I was definitely trying to manifest! I think it came from being at the strip clubs and seeing how the dancers were with men and wanting to reverse rolls. Wanting someone who would dance for me, strut for me. But I also like the idea of being dom and singing about it. I think it’s a fun perspective.
Your upcoming album For Your Consideration has already been recognised as one of the most anticipated albums of 2024, and we have to agree. This album though, sees you depart from the introspection in your earlier three albums, to this new lighter, empowered sound. Can you share how this musical evolution reflects your personal journey and growth as an artist?
The simplest way I can say it is caring less. Caring less about other people caring. Also, confidence, I feel so confident in myself right now I love it. So, I think that lightness you hear in the album is actually just a clear path from point a to point b musically, emotionally.
Your vocals are described as becoming the drumbeats, bass, and keyboard lines, with ASMR breathing surfacing throughout the album. How do you find this application changes or enhances the emotional response for this album?
I think a central focus of this album is the voice. There are lots of breaths, beatboxing, harmonies, and layers of my voice that make the record so urgent. I was listening to a lot of Caroline Shaw when started making this record. I was obsessed with finding how other artists used their voice in recordings, whether it was Justin Timberlake or Imogen Heap. I loved the sound.
If you could cater the perfect listening environment for your fans to experience this album, what do you imagine it would look or feel like?
Under the stars.
This album really delivers on many fronts, and we also hear you make a different sound entirely your own on tracks like Fácil and Sucia, which stand out on the album to me. Can you walk us through these songs and the inspiration behind them?
Those songs are definitely new to me. I knew I wanted to use my voice as much as possible in the production. I also liked the idea of using simple lyrics to get my point across. I think sometimes the sweetness in my voice can be deceiving to the meaning of the song. I like that duality.
You opened for Carly Rae Jepsen and performed at various festivals on her North American tour in addition to wowing audiences at festivals. Have you found that your experience performing live has influenced the production and arrangement of your studio album?
I think now that I dance a lot more than I used to, music I can move to is really important. I definitely move a lot in the studio when I’m making songs. I want to be able to feel it in my body as well.
You have worked very well other musicians, notably with Rina Sawayama before. Are there any dream collaborations that you have in mind?
Definitely! I’ve always said Robyn is a dream collab of mine. She’s one of my musical idols. So is Kylie Minogue. As far as peers in the industry, I’m a massive fan of Adrianne Lenker and I don’t know if there would ever be a world where we could make music together but, one can dream.
What can we expect to see and hear from you following the album release?
Well there’s going to be some touring! Which is really exciting. I’m just anticipating telling this story as much as I can.