a: Zooming out a bit, can you talk about what you hope people take away from your music? What motivates you to create music?
B: I've been thinking a lot about that recently because, at first, if I do music, I'd say like most artists, it's a way to express myself. It's a means to say something that maybe I wouldn't say to anyone else but would still like to say, kind of like a diary. Of course, with a diary, you keep it to yourself and don't give it to other people to read, but with music, you do share it. So, you also have to take the listener into account. After releasing my first work, I got messages from people saying, 'I listened to your album before going to sleep—I have trouble going to sleep—and it's helped me so much.' I think it’s so magical that something I created out of a means to express myself can also help other people. I didn’t really plan much for this EP but for my next projects, especially when I'm able to do live performances, I'd love to include my audience in some way. Whether it's asking random people to record and send their vocals to me or picking someone from the public to sing with me during a performance, I'd love to create a bond and connect with my audience as much as possible.
a: For International Women’s Day, you did a special performance on aeyde’s IG Live and curated a playlist. Who are the inspiring women that have influenced your life and work?
B: The women I have the closest in my day-to-day life are my mother and two grandmothers—they've been my biggest role models. My dad used to tour a lot so when I was little my mom would take care of us, almost by herself. My mom would do everything. I used to look up to her like a superhero. My mother and all the women in my family have always been very encouraging and cultivated a healthy sense of community that made me feel like I could do anything and would always be welcome. I'm very grateful for that and for all that the women in my family have sacrificed. My grandmother was born in Cameroon and she moved with her seven children alone to France to give them a new life. My dad was then able to meet my mom and I have been able to live and grow up in Barcelona and have everything that I have. I will forever be grateful for what the women in my life have done for me.
At an artistic level, there are a lot of female artists that have influenced my work, many of which are in the playlist I made. Most of the music I listened to, especially when I was younger, was by women. Seeing my favorite artists perform also made me want to be like them. When I saw Erykah Badu performing to an audience with her pregnant belly, I was just like, ‘That's all I want in life.’
a: What are some of the characteristics that you most admire in the strong women in your life?
B: First and foremost, individuality. All the women in my life, as strong and powerful and independent as they are, are all very different. For example, my grandmother from my mom's side and my grandmother from my father's side are completely different. They grew up in very different environments and with different values and have different opinions on things, but they're able to embrace these differences and find common ground and build upon that. I find that very inspiring. I think, indirectly, this has influenced the way I approach conflict and solve problems in my day-to-day life. So I'm very grateful for that. I'd also say resilience. I see the women in my life as incredibly strong for everything that they've put up with and have sacrificed—and I really admire them for that.
Watch Bikôkô’s captivating live performance on @thisisaeyde and check out the playlist on our Spotify channel