French singer-songwriter Morena celebrates her birthday in style by releasing her debut EP SAD BOY HOURS, we had the opportunity to talk to her about her come up and the project itself.
We don’t often check our direct messages on Instagram, but the one time we did towards the end of 2020 we discovered a very special talent— Morena. The emerging artist is a self-taught singer and songwriter from Paris, a city filled with some of the worlds finest up and coming artists. Not many French artists sing in the English language, and those that do, not many of them sing as well as Morena, in a language that often reveals their accent. Morena, and a few other artists we’ve covered (Lolo Zouaï, Dirtsa etc) and work with (YAOUNDÉBOXINGCLUB), cover their accent so well to the point where new listeners wouldn’t know they are French. Although Morena is blessed with an alluring vocal ability and an infectious personality that could possibly win over the meanest person you know, her songs have this finger-in-the-middle attitude, reminiscent of Rihanna in a way— fierce. Her lyrics are emotionally-driven, music being the element which she tends to overcome and transcend, one can hear a deep sensibility that she communicates with strength and fineness. Debut EP SAD BOY HOURS is a strong starting point for an artist with immense potential, and it was only right we picked her brain, and asked her some questions before she becomes famous.
Read our conversation below and make sure you check out SAD BOY HOURSreleased via Opus Records / DMY Artists, which is out today on all streaming platforms.
How are you doing Morena?
I feel a bit stressed with the release of the project but overall I’m pretty fine, thanks !
I can understand!How would you describe your 2020 in five words?
Five words are a lot for 2020 since I am still mentally stuck in March haha. But I would say: work, music, loneliness (sometimes), new beginnings— does that count as one word or two ? and covidfuckingninteen obviously.
Ha yes, I know what you mean! It will all be over soon, hopefully! That counts as one word.What are you hoping to achieve in 2021?
I hope to climb some stairs with my music, to work even harder on it and MONEY haha— I’m kidding but not really though. And of course great health because why not.
That sounds good to me— fingers crossed it all goes well for you.Let’s start from the beginning. Growing up you taught yourself how to sing and play instruments such as the guitar and piano. This is impressive, what inspired you to do this?
It really is not that impressive I’m not even that great at both instruments to be honest, but actually, I started teaching myself the guitar because I needed an excuse to sing and when I was younger I felt like I couldn’t just sing by myself because I was a bit insecure about my voice. So I was like : now that I’ve learned 4 chords I have an excuse to sing on top of those !
It’s very impressive, not many artists can play an instrument.What artists were you exposed to growing up in Paris?
I have always listened to a lot of US or UK artists, but for French music my favourite genre in definitely French Rap since at least middle school. First and most famous artists that come to my mind right now are Booba, Sch, PNL, Hamza, or Alpha Wann to give examples. I feel like the Rap scene in France is very good and has really evolved and expanded these last years, so you can’t escape to rap music when from Paris and Paris’ suburbs.
Yeah, French hip-hop is the second biggest in the world after the US. I love those artists too, you have an awesome taste. Tonton Booba is still going strong! What made you want to sing in English?
It wasn’t really a decision that I took on purpose. I think it was by decency and some kind of prudishness towards my parents. I started writing and singing my own texts as soon as I learned the guitar. Therefore I was in my bedroom and my mom could hear me from the other room, and obviously I talked about personal stuff. So at first I just wrote everything in English so that she wouldn’t understand what I was saying. And then I just kept writing in English. But I’m trying to write more in French now, I even made a French version of the song “Money Paper” that is on the EP.
Oh wow, that’s so cool but yet so personal as well. Do you ever dream of living in an English speaking country?
To be completely honest, not that much haha, sorry though ! I really really like Paris and I don’t see myself living anywhere else. But it would sure be pleasing to live in an English speaking country for some months or years for sure. I never had that chance for now but I think I would enjoy London or New York.
Good answer, stay in Paris haha. London is pretty cool, you should come here one day to perform and network with other creatives.Now, let’s have a chat about your debut project. Does the title have a meaning?
Yes it does. The “sad boy hour” is the moment you feel kinda down for no reasons— or you can have reasons to haha. And you get in your feelings. Most of the texts I wrote for this EP started from this context since I use music as a way of coping with those emotions, like a lot of people I think.
Have you ever encountered sad boys in your life?
Hahaha unfortunately yes sad boys, toxic boys, bring it in, that’s my type ! No but for real, in the end, in this project the sad boy is me, and it can be anyone that is feeling low at some point, or even anyone that is listening to this EP.
Haha, I really like that twist though, it makes the EP even more interesting to listen to.Which song on the EP was the most challenging to make?
Definitely “Whiskey”. Even if the lyrics and the melodies came to me instinctively and I wrote it in one night, it took us (with my producer) way more time for the instrumental, as weird as it sounds since there is almost just one piano. But at first we made a different instrumental that had some chill R&B type of vibe and then we decided that it wasn’t good enough because we wanted the song to really be powerful, and then I had to re-record it 3 times also, because it is quite a hard song to sing and I was never satisfied of how I was making it sound etc.
That’s one beautiful song, perfect for a Sunday morning and afternoon.How long did it take to work on this EP?
Well, it took me two years but I didn’t work full time on the EP during those two years. I had university and a job in addition to music. And I have to say two years because some songs I wrote two years ago, but at the moment I was writing them I didn’t have in mind the idea of doing a project yet. The idea came after, once I already had some songs that I really liked written and I wanted to do something with them.
I can honestly tell you took some time to put this together from lyrics to production.Where do you hope this EP takes your career?
It would be foolish of me to hope it takes me somewhere special from where I start. I just see it as a great starting point and I just hope it helps me climb some stairs in the industry and helps me keep moving forward.
That’s a great answer.Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I don’t even know where I see myself tomorrow, but I know for sure that I will still be singing and doing music no matter what, I just hope that it will be on an even more serious level.
Fingers crossed!Tell us a random fact about yourself.
My 24th birthday was the same day as the release date of the EP. That’s not that random but at least it’s a fact haha I’m can’t think of anything else I’m sorry.
That’s good enough haha. Joyeux anniversaire Morena ! What is your dream collaboration?
In my wildest dream I wish I could have even just a verse from Joey Bada$$ in one of my songs, or Jorja Smith that would be dope.
We’ll DM him for you.What’s next after this EP?
*Dj Khaled’s voice* Another one ! I will just keep working, and try to make this project live as long as I can until the next one.