Some have already obtained small successes, spending years in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to shine and others have barely left their bedroom studios. Some aim for headlining festival stages, others aim for nothing in particular – but all of them have developed a sound with the potential to turn heads. With this feature we shine a light on some of the most interesting new musical talents our tiny country has to offer.
For the Antwerp-born Angela aka Miss Angel, things have been going incredibly fast. About 9 months ago, she was doing slam poetry shows across town, but little did we know she was working hard on her rap career behind closed curtains. After the drop of her three first singles (‘Ghetto Superstar’, 'Money Making Mami' and ‘All Of The Shmoke’) and a couple of live shows, she was invited by Zwangere Guy to perform as his support act in front of a sold out Ancienne Belgiques. She must have impressed a couple of bookers over there, because she’s on the bill of an impressive list of grade-A festivals like Rock Werchter, Dour Festival, Pukkelpop and Couleur Café. Now that her debut EP ‘Ghetto Mami Vol. 1’ is out there, nothing seems to be able to stop Miss Angel. Seems like we were lucky to even get this talent in front of our lens for a quick interview.
You just dropped your debut EP ‘Ghetto Mami Vol. 1’. How does it feel to have it out there?
People have been really positive, so I can’t complain! Most people in my circles know me as a dancer, so not everyone believed I was serious about making music. With this EP, I wanted to show everyone who I was: a ghetto mami who likes to rap (laughs). There’s not really a central message in there. It’s ‘Angela in a tape’, with all sorts of different vibes and moods. Basically, it’s all me in 5 songs.
So, are you a dancer as well?
Originally I am one, yes. That’s why I would call myself an artist, rather than just a rapper. Unfortunately, I have to keep dancing on hold for the moment, but that’s where it all started for me when I was around 9 years old. It helped me to understand rhythm, so I’m always on beat. Maybe it makes me hear things in a different perspective sometimes. That’s why dancing helped me a lot throughout my life.
Dancing helped me to understand rhythm, so I’m always on beat.
So did dancing help you realize you wanted to become a rapper?
Well, I never really wanted to become one; it
just happened. I have always been listening and dancing to hip hop and rap,
especially the female MC’s. This inspired me to write, so me and a couple of
friends founded a little slam poetry group called Female Takeover, which contained all sorts of different artists.
Seeing other people standing in front of the mic, using their voice… I wanted
to do the same. Slowly I was doing open mics here and there; and there was this
one time I was put on a real stage. No music, just acapella, but people loved
it. That’s when I knew: I’ll give this rap thing a shot. Next thing I’m looking
for beats, and contacting producers all over the place. It took a while for me
to take this step, because there are not a lot of female rappers in Antwerp. It
didn’t take long before my first real rap song, ‘Ghetto Superstar’, was made.
When the music videos for ‘All of the Shmoke’ and ‘Like That’ (featuring Blu Samu and KRANKk) dropped, that was when things really started taking off. I
was finally making music as a ‘rapper rapper’.
What’s your relation with the music scene here in Antwerp?
That’s a hard question, because I think people out here still don’t really acknowledge the fact that I make music and do shows. It’s a hard city for someone who wants to break through, because it can feel like people don’t really work together or appreciate each other enough. Of course you have the pioneers who are doing their thing, but it's challenging.
Is it that bad?
Yeah. I don’t know why that’s the case. It’s painful to feel this way, because when I go to Brussels, it’s clear they love me. Out there, they come to my shows, they support me, they show me love… It has been like this for years. At least, now it feels like more artists are coming up, so we’re trying our best. Maybe one day we’ll all get the love we all deserve out here.
You know how they say that some people suddenly become your ‘best friend’ once you have a video out? That really happens!
Would you consider moving elsewhere then?
Brussels sounds tempting, but I don’t know if I would take my chances elsewhere. Part of me still wants to shake things up around here. It’s our duty. Antwerp is where I’m from, so not wanting to leave is understandable, right? At least I want to be able to have made a real impact before I move to another place.
Now that you’re out there, are there things that come with this relative fame that have surprised you?
Yes! You know how they say that people around you who have never paid attention suddenly become your ‘best friend’ once you have a video out? That really happens! I thought it was an exaggeration, but it’s not. Clout chasers, that’s how you call it, right? When you’re doing good, that’s when they say “I’m proud of you” or “we should hang out again”. When I was a dancer, people didn’t send me messages like that! It’s mad, because I really seem to have many folks like that; and I didn’t expect it.
What does Miss Angel sound like on a stage, compared to your recorded music?
I consider myself an MC, a spitter. When you hear songs like ‘Oh My Dayz’ or ‘Bassdrum’, you can hear what I’m talking about. Now just imagine that kind of energy on stage; I go absolutely crazy. I just enjoy myself, I laugh with the audience, I make jokes, … It’s just one big party, for sure.
So what’s the game plan from here?
It’s festival season and I’m ready for it. Rock Werchter, Dour, Couleur Café, Pukkelpop, Fire Is Gold, Lokerse Feesten: it’s all happening. There are some smaller shows sprinkled in here and there. Other than that, I’m already in the studio cooking up something new for you guys.