Q+A: 5 minutes with Patricia Baloge
Patricia Baloge is a bit of a nomad. The French Ghanian, New York based singer-songwriter and producer wears her complex cultural roots on her sleeve and weaves their textures into her music. The result is a distinct and forward thinking emulsion of house, afrobeats, highlife, and neon soaked synthwave; a sound that fuses the multiple histories that make up her whole. On her recently released EP Queen Of The Dawn, Baloge ventures further into her influences in search of her sonic identity. She emerges empowered, deftly assured in her unique point of view with an arsenal of club leaning pop tracks to back her up. We caught up with Baloge to find out more about how she embraces her cultural influences on Queen Of The Dawn, and how music has been the key to understanding the complexities of her identity.
Patricia, welcome to The Playground! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Set the tone for us. Why music?
Music because I simply love it. Music because it’s the most satisfying and most powerful way I can express my feelings and emotions. And finally, music because I get to share my wisdom and truth to connect with, and help others.
You have French Ghanaian roots, and are currently living in New York. Would you consider yourself a bit of a nomad?
Maybe a little. Although, I like to stay in one place for a while before I move to the next . I take as much knowledge and energy from that place before I go on to somewhere else.
How does the experience of living a multi-cultural life influence your music?
It naturally expands my musical palette. It has given me the ability and the freedom to mix sounds from different genres to create my own. Thanks to it I get to produce a sound that is truly mine.
Do you find that making music is a process of discovery for you, where you are finding out more about your identity through the ideas and sounds you choose to explore?
Absolutely! Music is my tool for discovering what’s hidden within myself. It’s also what is helping me become the best woman that I can be. I get to choose the rhythms, texture and words that illustrate the person that I am at the moment, and I get to share that with the world. I’m basically defining myself through that process. Once I get done and I listen back to it, I feel like I’m standing in my power.
You recently worked with producer Hyenah, what was that experience like?
It was interesting. He approached me a little after the release of my previous EP Womb, and asked for a collaboration on his newly released album, which I was super ecstatic about. He sent me the track that I felt was a great one and I vocally let myself go on it. Beautiful track!
Hyenah has been pivotal in leading the assimilation of South African house music in Europe. Did working on ‘Moood’ inspire you to go further into afrohouse?
As an African myself, and as an avid listener of House music, there’s always going to be some AfroHouse in my sound. However I do not want to confine myself to one genre. My goal through producing my records is to create my own sound and my own movement.
You’re gearing up to release your EP, ‘Queen Of The Dawn.’ Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind the project?
Queen of the Dawn was born from my experiences as a Woman and more so as a Black Woman. It’s about overcoming all the abuses, micro or macro, and the tricks that a woman has to undergo in society before finally understanding her intrinsic power in the world. The “Dawn” is symbolic of a time between darkness and light where she is gaining in confidence and escaping the darkness. But these dark forces are still roaming around her trying to pull her back and she has to fight to get to the light, and stay there. All the music in this project is aimed as a tool for self preservation. I want any woman, young or older, to listen to this EP and understand that she deserves the very best of this world. And that anything less isn’t worth her energy no matter how great it looks.
On the EP, you’re fusing all these lush dance music influences, from the kwaito beats of ‘Destiny’ to the synthwave of the title track. What about the styles that you work with on the record resonate with you as an artist?
I’ve always been super moved by synthwave. There’s an element of nostalgia that I find in it that truly speaks to me. About the Kwaito sound, I just tend to go there very instinctively. Since the first time I heard Brenda Fassie almost two decades ago, I’ve been obsessed with South African sounds. It’s the kind of sound that just makes me feel like home.
The almost microhouse sort of pulse of ‘Victory’ is amazing, and a standout for us on the EP. Do you have a favourite track on the record, and why?
Queen of the Dawn is the most meaningful track for me in this EP, hence the title. It really summarises my experience as a woman in the world up until now. And I listen to it anytime I feel like someone or something is trying to make me doubt my value. However, Victory is the one that stands out to me sonically. I cannot help but get in the zone each time that beat is on. It’s almost hypnotic! It’s the one track that really makes me feel proud as a producer.
Who’s on your current playlist, and who should we be listening to right now?
These are the go to tracks and must listen on my playlist right now!
“My mind is heavy” by Gluckskind
“Just for Us” by Francis and the Light
“Learn To Forget” by Adam Swim
“Je te vois enfin” by Christine and The Queens
“Killer” by Fka Twigs
Sirens of Lesbos, Banks and Burna Boy
What’s next for you? Do you have any plans to tour ‘Queen Of The Dawn’?
There’s more music coming. And I will start hitting the stage in New York City in September this year. Stay tuned for dates!
If you had the power to turn back time and write any song in the world, which one would it be and why?
“She Works Hard for The Money” by Donna Summer. A timeless ode to the independent woman and her quest to be treated right. Something we’re still fighting for today. And it’s a wonderful track!
Listen to Victory from Queen Of The Dawn below.
Follow Patricia Baloge