Rapper, Mother, Superstar: Ana Tijoux Finds Her Words

In her latest album, French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux finds inspiration in the birth of her child and the complexities of womanhood. She shares her thoughts on making music that's universal.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Since you listened to NPR, you probably know by now that this week is the South by Southwest Music Festival. Among the performers is Ana Tijoux.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Tijoux is one of the most influential hip hop artists in Latin America. Here in the U.S., fans of the TV show "Breaking Bad" might recognize this song of hers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "1977")

ANA TIJOUX: (Singing in foreign language)

BLOCK: Ana Tijoux has a new record. It's called "Vengo." She told us she recorded most of the songs shortly after the birth of her second child.

TIJOUX: I was with my kid that got 9 and my baby and trying to find the words with no sleeping. So I was putting, like, clock at 3, 4:00 in the morning. So it was hard in that sense of being, like, tired. But at the same time, it's like I let it go, and all these energy also of having a baby, no sleeping, that was the energy, really, in this album.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TIJOUX: (Singing in foreign language)

This album doesn't have samples. Everything is played and inspired by Latin-American music and, of course, Chilean music also, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF "VENGO")

TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

When you play with a live band, you get the possibility of travelling with other musician in songs. So your dialogue is not only with the DJ. It's also with the trumpetist(ph), the bassist, whatever, all the musician that are in the stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VENGO")

TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

There is a very thin line between to have an opinion and - going to be an icon, which is the most horrible stuff that can happen to you, when people got expectation, so much expectation. We're just musician, and the way that I deal with that is because I've got kids. And when you got to change your baby or your kid is searching on advice about school, you don't think about that way. And you can have that. I mean, we got an opinion, which I love about musician, but we can have the weight of the world and the sadness of the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VENGO")

TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

BLOCK: That's the French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. Her latest album is called "Vengo," and you can hear it at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VENGO")

TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.