With a stage name like Colo Chanel, this Midwestern rapper is destined for chic, musical greatness. Raised in Kansas City, Missouri and based in Des Moines, Iowa, Colo Chanel’s aesthetically driven image is anything but average. By having the majority of her music on Soundcloud, this Show Me State rapper’s online presence shows the importance of online discovery for underground artists. As a student at Drake University and entering her 20s, Colo Chanel’s lyrics cover everything from young adulthood, growing up in vibrant Kansas City, to who she wants to be in the music world. With heavy experience in spoken word poetry and an ear for carrying a tune, Colo Chanel’s music pulls a visceral chord in any listener, all while creating a current and confident noise to polish off her feminine, hypnotic sound.
So tell us about your journey about how you got into music?
I have been writing since kindergarten and started performing spoken word poetry in 7th grade, so I got my initial fan base through entering poetry contests and talent shows around Kansas City. It wasn’t til junior year of high school after being in a poetry group called Ultimate 515, that people starting telling me to try music since I was a poet, so I eventually joined a music group called The WAYV (We Are Young Visionaries) that I got my first experience in the music world. As the only girl in the group, I didn’t know what I wanted out of my musical career, so I decided to go solo.
What are you studying/year you are in school and how have you dealt with balancing with school work and creating music?
I’m currently a sophomore Digital Media Strategies major at Drake University.
It can be really hard balancing the two things because you need studio times.
If you want to perform, you need a reputable portfolio of songs, and it can be hard to find time being a full-time student at having a full-time job. One time, I had a 20-minute set but I didn’t have enough songs to perform so I went straight to the studio after work and class and ended up being in the studio until 1 am.
How has being based in such an influential state for politics influenced your lyrics and music?
Most of my music is focused on my morals and how blunt I am, which can be seen in my first songs. Now, I create music about how far I have come in life and how the people around me have helped me. Life changes and you really learn who is and isn’t there for you at the end of the day. I am still finding myself, though.
When can we hear a potential EP/album from you, and what music do you have as of now? Who are your influences?
I don’t have any EP’s out right now, but I do have 4 singles out on Soundcloud and I am working on getting my music on all of the major streaming services. My PR team has been great with telling me when I can release new music. Believe or not, my PR team includes Erica Cohen, a PR student at Drake University, and two people from my high school who help me with my social media, graphic design, and calendar. I do have mixed feelings about Soundcloud though. I would get a lot more attention if I was on all major platforms, but SoundCloud is free and is the easiest way to reach a youthful demographic. I have a few upcoming shows in May once school gets out. I was invited to a poetry showcase award show in Kansas City in late April to perform, and I have a concert at the Kum and Go Theatre in Kansas City, as well. Being on all platforms looks good when presenting a catalog to a record label. I look up to Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill in terms of music, but I look to Tupac for poetry.
What is the story behind your stage name?
Colo is actually a hybrid from my original stage name, but everyone kept telling me that I need to pick something new. My brother actually came up with adding Chanel to the ending to make my name more memorable.
Being from Missouri myself, I appreciate the Kansas City area getting the attention it deserves when it comes to talent. Is the music scene in Des Moines something us listeners should be looking out for?
I am from Kansas City, but I went to high school here in Des Moines, so I go off of the music scene in Des Moines. Des Moines’s musicians are very versatile, diverse, and are definitely exploring both basic sounds and underground tones. The wave of hip-hop music happening here depends on the trends in the larger music world.
What would you tell those music lovers in the Midwest looking for something new in the hip-hop world?
I really want music fans to know that I am one of the few Des Moines hip-hop artists, let alone female rappers. Females don’t have a lot of representation, so please keep an open mind and share our music.