Name: Liz Willis
Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Occupation: Sales and marketing representative, poet, and hip-hop artist.
What’s your inspiration?
My inspiration is just day-to-day life. I try to take a lot from experiences or emotions that I’m feeling. I listen to a lot of different artists to get insight as far as what types of tones, chords, or beats they use. I try to incorporate that into my own unique sound...but just daily life. The struggles of being almost thirty and just grinding it out while still trying to honor my passions and chase my dreams.
What’s most rewarding?
It’s two-fold. For myself, it’s an outlet, a stress reliever. Something to help me make sense of my emotions. On the flip side, it’s the energy I get from people when I am performing live. The coolest thing is when it’s completely silent, and you know people are really listening.
What’s your biggest challenge?
It’s hard to get your sound and music outside of the community. I wish there were more resources for networking opportunities as an artist. I’ve been local for six or seven years now. Also, just to get people to respect what you’re doing and not think that this is just a hobby. I’m doing this for real. I want people to respect that in order to be properly compensated.
What does it mean to you to be a Southern woman?
That’s a loaded question. It’s a huge part of my past and my current identity. There is a societal pressure to adhere to the norms, especially in the South where there is more pressure to conform to traditional gender roles. If you have any form of internal conflict with that...that’s been a spark for what instigated my musical career. Women are always “fighting against the patriarchy” or trying to find our own identity without it being attached to patriarchal values.
And, being able to stand alone and have our own identity. Like, a “femcee” is a perfect example. I am a female rapper, why can’t I just be an “emcee”? It’s a loaded term in the context of everything that’s going on with new-wave feminism. But, I think there is strength and power in being a Southern woman. It’s a weird juxtaposition.