Episode 6: Rapper and social entrepreneur WondRWomN offers a new example of female leadership within hip hop
WondRWomN first came on our Sassy radar when showcasing her latest EP at Queer Party Night POPOLA. As a regular face on stages across London, WondRWomN is known for her high energy performances, delivering a conscious flow of lyrics over party beats and catchy anthem vibes. Alongside her solo career, and driven by a desire to make music accessible to people from all backgrounds, WondRWomN founded The Record Shop in 2015 to provide recording facilities and support to young and early career artists.
In this episode, we hear WondRWomN discuss how her love for poetry led her to becoming a rapper, and the route she's navigated into the hiphop scene today.
Tune in to hear WondRWomN discuss the importance of restructuring social politics, and her mission to facilitate greater cultural growth across society. She shares her thoughts on the preconceptions we make based on appearance as well as the various forms of sexism that exist within the music and entertainment industry. All these Sassy conversations are sandwiched between five of WondRWomN's latest songs including our Sassy fave 'Money's Not Real'.
Growing up in North London, WondRWomN tells us how she was a shy child, surrounded by her mum's music and three lively brothers. It was through the experience of soaking up early internet music videos and listening to Tupac and Eminem that WondRWomN started to write her own lyrics and poetry. This led her to take part in online rap forums, advancing her skills as a poet as she created imagery within playful poetic structures.
From there, WondRWomN was driven to research building a home studio so she could record her own tracks and share them online. By doing this, she taught herself the skills to have agency over her own sound and creations. Having slowly gained confidence behind the desk, WondRWomN took the next step and started performing. This was something WondRWomN found challenging, experiencing nerves and stage anxiety. But the more she performed, the more she humanised these feelings and realised the nerves were only a construction of her own imagination.
I think it’s really healthy and therapeutic to be ok with being embarrassed on stage and speaking infront of other people
In the process of developing her career, WondRWomn became aware of the obvious male domination within the rap scene. In a bid to find examples of female rappers, WondRWomn became inspired by artists such as Foxy Brown, Missy Elliot, Little Kim, Left Fly, Rar Digga. However, WondRWomN explains how it's still rare to find women on the rap scene today, particularly those delivering lyrics that speak to a more consciensciious train of thought.
With experience working with young people, WondRWomN found herself looking for a place to make music and offer opportunities to talented individuals who struggle to access studios or creative encouragement. She developed the concept of The Record Shop to bring her passion for music together with her interests in social politics and conscious creation through rap.
Having started out as a pop up seven years ago in Tottenham offering free services to young people, WondRWomN turned The Record Shop into a community interest company. She rented a studio to record and a second space to host community projects and workshops. With the support of various funding bodies, WondRWomN took her vision to the next level and opened a studio/performance space/bar complex in Wood Green's Shopping Mall. A welcoming home full of colour and sound inviting curious creatives to flourish in their skills.
Describing the journey as a learning experience, WondRWomN feels like she’s finally arrived at a point she was hoping to get to. To help people grow in their career through open mics, workshops in recording and production, stage confidence, and community networking. When talking about her future, WondRWomN is focused on scaling up to develop more projects to advance youth culture and reach more people to learn more and develop their skills. A key part of WondRWomN's work is to provide access into music without financial barriers, to fight against the classiest privilege music careers tend to be founded on.
For a long time people felt music wasn’t a viable career. But it definitely is and I want to encourage that belief in people, because they’re so talented
WondRWomN’s Sassy Side
When do you feel most confident?
When I’m happy
What key experience shaped you positively?
When things don’t go to plan, looking at that as a redirection. It makes me explore further.
One dream you wish to come true?
That The Record Shop can be worldwide
One cause that’s close to your heart?
Making music more accessible, giving more people the opportunity to enter music.
What is the best things about being you?
People describe me as unassuming.
Name your 5 Sassy tracks
WondRWomN - We B In The Club
WondRWomN - Table 4 1
WondRWomN - Who Done It?
WondRWomN - Money's Not Real
WondRWomN - WondRWomN What!
Interview and portraits by Bethany Burgoyne
Podcast edit by Shahna Says