Interview by Jana Letonja

American rapper and singer Coi Leray is a multifaceted entertainer, who is going against the status quo and stands up for what she believes in, consistently advocating for self-love, female empowerment, and being true to yourself. She released her second studio album ‘Coi’ this June. She began her career by posting music on SoundCloud and released her breakout single ‘Huddy’, along with her debut mixtape ‘Everythingcoz’ in 2018.

Coi, you just released your second album ‘Coi’ this June. What inspired this album and how would you describe it? What is the main message of this album to the listeners?

The main message of this album is just ‘Coi’, it’s just me. I wanted to show people who I really am as an artist. I wanted to show people that I’m not afraid to be versatile and that I can work towards any and all genres.

Which is you personal favorite song from this album and why so?

I really love the song ‘Bops’. I just feel like it has such a raw vibe to it. I love the beat we put together, I love the cadence. I had so much fun in the studio when we were recording the song. It’s one of those songs that always makes me want to get up and dance and I love that about it. 

You are constantly going against status quo and advocate for self love, female empowerment and being true to yourself. Why are these 3 topics so important, not only to you, but for the whole society?

It’s super important to me to be true to myself and have a lot of self love because at the end of the day, as long as I’m in tune with myself, I don’t really give a damn what anybody else says. That just doesn’t matter. It’s tough out here and you have to be your own biggest fan or else how do you expect anyone else to be your fan. 

Female empowerment promotes fairness and equal opportunities for women. Being in the hip-hop space as a woman isn’t always easy, so for me, it’s important to make sure I do my part and fight for us to have a bigger presence in the sea of men.

Since the beginning of your career, how have you grown and developed as an artist?

I think I’ve grown a lot as an artist. One thing is for sure, I’m more confident in my craft and in the space. I just do my thing and go about my own business, doing what I love and what I’m passionate about.

How did you get into music? What made you passionate about it?

I’ve always loved music, but got into it more seriously when I was 19. It’s always been a massive part of my life in so many ways and I think I’ve always had a good ear for it. I love to listen and take things apart or try to see how I can make it my own.

What is the most important thing for you when you go on stage?

I always got to make sure I stay hydrated and that my battery pack is on tight. I move around a ton and I need to drink as much as I can so I have the energy. And I can’t be out there with my pack falling off and slowing me down. It’s also important for me to always say my prayer before I go out there. Those moments before I go out on stage are crucial. I have to remember to take the time to appreciate where I’m at and that I get the opportunity to do this.

You love experimenting with your style, just as you like experimenting with your personas. How would you describe your style? What do you love the most about fashion?

My style is my style. I don’t think anyone really does it like me. I want to be in the little tops, I want to be in the sheer. I love that I get the opportunity to express myself through my sense of fashion and no matter what I’m feeling. I’ve been really lucky to build relationships working with incredible designers and brands to further establish myself in the fashion world.

Talent: Coi Leray @coileray
Photographer: Ricardo Abrahao @riabrahao
Stylist: Kirsty Stewart @kstewartstylist
Creative director: Gabriella Norberg @gabriella.norberg
Hair: Essence Jourdan @by.essnce
Make-up: Nikko Anthony @nikko.anthony
Nails: Angel My Linh @ The Only Agency @angelsnailz
Styling assistant: Caitriona Oladapo @stylebyco
Retouching: Eddie Mendes @eddiemendes
Producer: Bira @bira_in_uk
Editor: Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Cover design: Arthur Roeloffzen @arthurroeloffzen
Interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja