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Rilès and Gracy Hopkins form the next generation of rap with the Levi’s® Music Project

The Parisian district of Goutte d’Or has seen the birth of future stars. Every weekend, the twelve artists of the Levi’s® Music Project found themselves in the studios of FGO Barbara, a mythical Parisian concert hall, which vibrated for six months to the rhythm of voices and instruments. Guided by the advice of Riles and Grace Hopkins, these young talents discovered together the entire creative process of music. Writing, composition, recording, mixing, broadcasting and even promotion: all aspects of creation and business were covered. The goal? Accompany their first steps in music and give them the keys to success.

Aniya, AK2, Ave Amapola, bad doe, Bvfo, Goldhee, Ray, simeondatrack, Sinap, Snow & yazz of the group Motel 87, Tizzy Miller and White March. They and they form the new promotion of the Levi’s® Music Project. The next generation of rap, selected by the Rilès label and the brand’s teams. Twelve talents with a unique style, whether authors, performers or composers, whose personality has blossomed over multiple work sessions. At first shy and reserved, they got to know each other and worked alone and in groups during various workshops, until they formed a real family.

“There were characters: the one who messed up, the one with a weird sense of humor, the little cutie. ” recount bad doe, a pupil with a velvet voice and a hypnotic charisma, who embarked on the adventure without expecting anything and learned a lot. “Working as a team and making concessions, above all,” she says. “Until now, I had worked alone. There, it was all together. Inevitably, such a configuration is not without some tensions, quickly dissipated. A classroom atmosphere, where everyone has finally found their place and where strong bonds have been forged.

An opportunity to learn in the presence of experienced artists, to whom it is important to pass on their experience. “When you understand that if you don’t give, you don’t get back, you realize that you have to teach people. ” exposed Rileswhich develops the careers of artists Younes and Leone on his own label. No coincidence that it was the educational component of the Levi’s® Music Project that made him want to take part in the experience. “Seeing the students made me humble, I got slapped,” he continues. “They’re hungry, and you don’t know where that hunger can take them. Everyone has their own genius, we’re just at different stages of our evolution. »

Grace Hopkinsother bedroom producer who assisted Rilès in his task, also found his benefit there. “I’ve always been looking for an example, a model of success,” he says. “To be able to be that for young artists, because of our experience, it’s an honor. The key to helping these talents bring to light the potential they already have within them? “Just talk to them. Stepping back to see what they still can’t see for themselves. Far from being a one-way street, this exchange enriches both students and mentors. “It reminds me of where I come from and why I make music. It’s an inexhaustible source of energy”, testifies the artist from Torcy.

The energy and dynamics of the group, precisely, marked the spirits. “In a word, the Levi’s® Music Project was stimulating,” recalls Bade Biche. “My fears and doubts disappeared. At the end of the day, I would go home and record all night. Gracy Hopkins agrees: “There was a symbiosis, an incredible fusion. And Rilès adds: “Since the project lasted six months, people came together naturally. Some went to record with others, or helped each other shoot a clip. They didn’t wait to work together. »

So how did the mentors facilitate synergies between their students? “They gave us challenges, like: get together and you have thirty minutes to write a sound, record it and play it,” says Bad Biche, in a burst of stress and joy. Rilès explains: “A girl who sings soul with a guy who does trap beats, we put them together, to see what comes out of it. Sometimes there are good surprises and connections that are made. Exit the theory. Here, we are not at school. Make way for conversation and practical exercises, in order to go beyond your own limits.

Although key, the role of the two “brothers”, as Rilès and Gracy Hopkins call each other, was limited to opening the dialogue and providing useful advice. Then, the artists were decision makers on the whole creative process. From demos, they selected the songs they wanted to champion and compiled them into what became the mixtape. Lab_501, released a few days ago on the platforms. “Everyone submitted title ideas,” recalls Rilès. ” Lab_501 was chosen, because it was a laboratory, where lots of mad scientists created their potion. »

A title that nods to the brand founded by Levi Strauss, who defended the values ​​of courage, empathy and creativity all his life. Initiated in the United States, at a time when the US government was cutting art subsidies, the Levi’s® Music Project draws on these founding values ​​to support music and the communities that sustain it. Promoting culture is one of the brand’s prerogatives, as explained to us by a Levi’s® manager, who came to support the artists during the concert event organized at FGO Barbara for the release of the mixtape.

A few days later, Gracy Hopkins remembers the concert with emotion. “From a silent room, where no one dared to speak, we moved on to a harmonious room, due to the fact that all their voices sounded at the same time, at the same note and at the same intensity. “For him, who took on the role of sports coach, “It’s as if we had become a football team. There are defenders, midfielders, attackers and the goalkeeper. Our only objective is to put a goal. First match won for his foals, who presented their titles on stage and intend to carry their message as far as possible. “Whether it’s deep or superficial, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s sincere,” says the Torcean.

In addition to the experience acquired, the artists have found in their comrades and their mentors precious allies. “Humanly, it goes beyond the Levi’s® Music Project,” concludes Rilès. “There is a group on which we continue to exchange. Just an example: simeondatrack (co-producer of hit single “Bad Mood” alongside AK2, ndr) just sent me a prod. Ave Amapola (singer with subtle words and a soft timbre, whose melodious trap is tinged with Latin accents, ndr), she was told that she does not hesitate if she needs contacts. They know where to reach us and vice versa. ” The following ? May they take advantage of this springboard and the lasting ties it has forged to chart their path in music.

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