Posted at 8:00 a.m.
La Révélation Radio-Canada 2021-2022 receives us, colorful shirt, cap and shaved head, in a café two blocks from the Maisonneuve market. Julie Gagnon, her real name, spends her days close by: for several years, Hochelaga has become her headquarters. She also dedicated two songs from her first album to him, Meatball Proof. It’s that, like most hip-hop artists, Calamine talks about his reality. However, the bachelor’s degree in visual arts is very different from other rappers here.
As proof: his new disc addresses his lesbianism. No less than four titles refer to it: Lesbian woke on autotune (the title song), Official Dyke, Bad B*tch and Bad B*tch II (for butch – pejorative expression used to designate a so-called tomboy).
La multi-instrumentiste — elle joue de la guitare, du banjo et de la batterie — voulait ainsi créer un album de « rap de gouine ». Un « chunk de culture étrange », dit-elle, mais elle avait envie que cela existe. Elle voulait également briser les tabous, désacraliser les termes qu’elle emploie et dédramatiser la situation.
D’ailleurs, Calamine a récemment dénoncé une manifestation d’homophobie survenue au bar Le Dagobert, à Québec. « C’est pour ça qu’on ressent encore la nécessité de faire des tounes de gouine », a-t-elle écrit sur son compte Instagram.
L’ascension de la rappeuse a été quasi immédiate. En pleine pandémie, elle a participé deux fois au concours Les Francouvertes, dont une, en 2021, où elle est arrivée en deuxième position. La même année, elle a été nommée Révélation Radio-Canada, en plus de recevoir le prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson.
C’est allé tellement vite que je ne m’en suis pas rendu compte. Ma petite life est quand même ordinaire. J’fais du bicycle autour de mon bloc dans le Chlag [Hochelaga]. I squeal nothing.
Calamine, on her recent awards
A reality that is felt when she raps about her roommate or public transport. It is true that she is much more like the ordinary citizen than the artist we see everywhere.
“Bring on some political questions! »
It’s hard to talk about music with Calamine without talking about politics. In an hour, we discussed anarchism, decolonization and reappropriation. “I don’t care to talk about my best memory at 5 years old, she says in reference to certain interviews with journalists. Bring some questions [politiques]. It stimulates me. »
His jazz rap intertwined with Auto-Tune pleases with this committed side. Indeed, Calamine brings a breath of fresh air to the Quebec hip-hop scene with his lyrics that preach degrowth and non-binarity.
I think we hooked women and people queer who, a priori, were not a crowd of rap. It feels good to have this offer.
His approach? Tackle issues in a fun way. “It goes on a larger scale than if I were doing big”trap of a frustrated feminist”, quips the rapper with a contagious laugh. And she does it so well that even people who disagree with her talk can love her music. Moreover, she remains surprised to “not really” have any detractors.
At the same time, the rapper wonders if she is not taking the place of other hip-hop artists in festivals and in the media. “I’m perfectly aware that I benefit from a head that goes well,” she admits.
Calamine says that at a festival she recently attended in Trois-Rivières, a journalist was delighted that there were only hip-hop headliners: “It’s hot let’s get there,” he told her. “But we all have the same head,” she replied. Souldia, FouKi, Koriass and me… Beautiful shaved Whites! »
Curious to hear it? She will be alongside Ariane Moffatt, Sarahmée and Laura Niquay on the Esplanade of the Olympic Park on Saturday as part of the FeminiX concert at the Montreal Pride festival.