Malaika Astorga for Pink Things: Hi Artemis! Why don’t you begin by telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Artemis: I’m an artist from Vancouver Canada, currently living in Montreal and working primarily on music. I’m a singer/songwriter and hopefully will soon be producing as well! I have a lot of creative interests, but I find that music is such a wonderful way to combine them into one vision.
PT: When did you start making music, and what kind of music was it? Has your style changed at all from when you first started?
Artemis: Singing and songwriting has always been a part of my life. I still have notebooks with horribly spelled lyrics from when I was seven years old. Throughout high school I dabbled in a few musical projects with different people. However, it wasn’t until September 2018 that I made the decision to pursue music with a more directed intention.
I think my style has evolved a lot since I’ve started. Especially now that I’ve started to record, and I’ve learned so much about what goes into constructing a song. I’d say I’ve always made the same genre of music (R&B, Soul, and Pop), but now I have a clear idea of my personal sound. I get really inspired by certain instruments and genres, and will then want to apply those sounds to my songs, like disco drums for example.
PT: Tell us about your music-making process. Do you work on your songs alone, or is your writing process more collaborative?
Artemis: It’s definitely a collaborative process. I wouldn’t have been able to make my music without the very talented people I work with. I usually write the songs alone, most often while I’m walking around or biking. I’ll then bring that melody and idea to other musicians and producers. There’s always a feel I have in mind for a song, and certain moments I know I want to emphasize or melodies I can hear playing out. I’ve been lucky in finding people that share the same taste in music that I do, and who have the patience to help make my songs come to life.
PT: Who are your creative inspirations?
Artemis: There are endless people that inspire me from Etta James to Hiatus Kaiyote, Erykah Badu, Steve Lacy, and many more. I’ve recently been really into disco, and want to make some sparkly neo disco tracks. The people around me and who I work with are also big inspirations, seeing how hard they work and how dedicated they are pushes me to want to be better.
PT: Your music seems to be inspired by primarily Black female-fronted R&B groups, such as Charlotte Dos Santos and Ravyn Lenae. These artists are also known for incorporating personal experiences into their music, touching on themes of feminism and Black female identity. Do you also draw inspiration from your own life experiences and personal values? How so?
Artemis: Yes, I can only really write songs that are about my experiences. I find singing and writing about something painful can be cathartic and a release of that energy or emotion. There’s something very empowering about singing as loud as you can about something that once hurt. It allows you to take ownership of your experience, and to control the narrative around it.
I also really enjoy whenever I’m able to write a song that doesn’t revolve around another person. My song Synchronicity, which is a collaboration with Isaiah Terrell-Dobbs from Schwey, was a spiritual expression of myself and how I want to move through the world. In a strange way the more personal a song is, the more relatable its content is to a large audience. Sometimes I’ll hear a song that is clearly a specific story to the artist and I feel as if it could have been written about my life. I think that’s the magic of songwriting.
PT: Do you think that your community has been influential to your music making process?
Artemis: Yes very much so. My friend Ben Robertson From Winona Forever (who produced the majority of the songs on my EP) once used the term “music family,” and I think that describes it perfectly. The people I’ve worked with are all intertwined musically, and collaborate together on different projects. It does feel like your music fam, and when someone in the family is doing well, everyone is proud.
PT: What was your experience transitioning from the Vancouver music scene to the Montreal scene like? How are the two different?
Artemis: I still feel new to both scenes at this point, I have a bigger following in Vancouver I’d say because my friends are so supportive, and because I grew up there. However, all the shows I’ve played in Montreal have gotten a really positive response, so I’m excited moving forward and want to keep playing as much as I can.
PT: Do you have any advice for femmes who are thinking about making music for the first time?
Artemis: If you have a vision that you want to bring to life, surround yourself with people who believe in you and are excited about your projects. It can be hard to be the driving force behind your music, but it is worth it to see things come together. Also, I think it’s okay to be in a position where you are new and learning, it doesn’t make anyone better than you or devalue your art. Even if it is intimidating entering a scene, don’t put people on a pedestal, you are just as worthy.
PT: We ask everyone this, what does pink mean to you?
Artemis: I think pink is powerful, but a different type of power than we see in the patriarchy. Pink is the strength within softness, the power in love and affection within humans. It may be an undervalued power in our society, but it is possibly the strongest.
PT: Finally, are there any upcoming projects or shows you want to promote?
Artemis: I just came out with my debut EP Glow4meplz which is on all streaming platforms if you want to check it out. I’m hoping to get my next EP that I’m currently working on with Cyrus Jordan, Ben Robertson, and Alex Bingham, out in the fall. I’ll be playing more shows in Montreal in September, which you’ll be able to find through my social media. I may also make a small appearance at the festival Browser Records is putting on in Vancouver June 8th. Lots to come!