Empress Of

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Empress Of
Empress Of performing in 2019
Empress Of performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameLorely Rodriguez
Born (1989-10-19) October 19, 1989 (age 34)
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
Years active2011–present
Labels
Websiteempressof.com

Lorely Rodriguez (born October 19, 1989), known professionally as Empress Of, is a Honduran-American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer based in Los Angeles, California.

To date, she has released four studio albums: her critically acclaimed debut, Me (2015), Us (2018), I'm Your Empress Of (2020) via XL Recordings and Terrible Records, while her most recent, For Your Consideration was released on March 22, 2024, via her own independent label, Major Arcana [1] and American independent label, Giant Music. [2]

Career[edit]

2011–2016: Early releases, Systems and Me[edit]

After completing a sound engineering degree at Boston's Berklee College of Music in 2011, Rodriguez moved to New York City and quickly broke into the local music scene performing in a Brooklyn-based band with American musician, Sam Owens called Celestial Shore, but soon left the group to focus on her own music.[3]

In 2012, Rodriguez initially gained attention for anonymously releasing a series of one minute-long demos (via YouTube) prefaced only by a solid color entitled "Colorminutes".[4] Her first 7" single, "Champagne", was released soon after on November 5, 2012, through a limited run via No Recordings.[5][6]

Rodriguez's stage name was inspired by a tarot card reading she did with a friend: "The first card he pulled out was an Empress card and I was like, 'It's me, I am Empress.' [...] the Empress card is connected to fertility and mothering and strength. It's kind of nice to have those feelings."[7]

On April 2, 2013, her bilingual four-track EP Systems was released via Double Denim and Terrible Records in the UK and North America respectively.[8] Since the release of her EP, she has showcased at SXSW, Iceland Airwaves and Pitchfork's Summer Music Festival,[9] and toured as a support act with the likes of Jamie Lidell, Jungle, Kimbra, and Florence and the Machine.

In 2013, Rodriguez signed to British independent label XL Recordings via a joint deal through Terrible[10] and began to work on material for her debut album, while living in Brooklyn. A few weeks into writing, she went on a retreat to Mexico. After finding New York's environment was negatively affecting what she had produced thus far, the isolation of the trip allowed Rodriguez to be fully introspective and truly begin the writing and pre-production for her debut at the end of 2013. The rest of the writing and production would continue back in New York over the course of 2014.[11]

On April 14, 2015, "Water Water", the first single from her unannounced debut full-length, was released via XL/Terrible.[12] A Spanish version of the track, "Agua Agua", was released on June 8, 2015, exclusively via SoundCloud. The alternative version was meant as a way for Rodriguez's mother to connect and listen to her daughter's music.[13]

On June 20, 2015, the album's second single, "Kitty Kat", was released alongside the announcement of her debut album, Me, which was released on September 11, 2015, via XL Recordings and Terrible.[14] The other singles that preceded the album's announcement were "How Do You Do It"[15] and "Standard", released in September 2015.[16] On August 31, 2015, Rodriguez also released a cover of Katy Perry's song "Hot n Cold" via SoundCloud for Rookie Magazine's "Theme Song" series.[17]

The album was met with critical acclaim from mainstream critics and peaked at number five on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart upon its release.[18][19][20] A majority of publications praised Rodriguez's emotional vulnerability to create such an intensely personal album while, also highlighting the direct approach of her unique songwriting and experimental production compared to the layered opaqueness of her earlier work.[21] Following its release, Rodriguez toured the UK and North America throughout the fall of 2015 in promotion of the album with Awful Records artist ABRA and Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring respectively.[22]

The video for the album's fifth single, "Icon", was released November 16, 2015, via Urban Outfitters' "UO Video Series".[23]

"Woman is a Word", a b-side from the album, was released on March 14, 2016.[24] It would later be added to a deluxe version of Me released as a limited edition cassette during her 2016 UK & European Tour via XL/Terrible.[25]

2017–2019: Us[edit]

Following the release of Me, Rodriguez relocated back to Los Angeles from New York, with the goal of collaborating with musical contemporaries, while also being closer to family and reconnecting with her hometown roots.[26][27]

Rodriguez released a standalone single, "Go to Hell", on July 12, 2017, via Terrible. It was co-written with former Chairlift vocalist Caroline Polachek.[28] She also featured on two singles for Los Angeles producers, DJDS with the Billboard-charting "Why Don't You Come On" featuring El Paso R&B singer, Khalid; and a cover of Lana Del Rey's Lust for Life single, "Love". These were released on August 29, 2017, and December 1, 2017, respectively, through Loma Vista Recordings for their third studio album, Big Wave More Fire.

On April 11, 2018, the double single "Trust Me Baby / In Dreams" premiered on Zane Lowe's Apple Music Beats 1 radio show and released via Terrible. The former was co-produced by Cole M.G.N.

On August 20, 2018, Rodriguez's announced her second studio album, Us, which was released on October 19, 2018, via XL/Terrible.[29] The album's second single, "When I'm With Him", was released on August 22, 2018. The song would later be featured on the soundtrack of the video game eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020.[30]

The album's third and fourth singles, "Love For Me" and "I Don't Even Smoke Weed", were released on September 26 and October 18, 2018, respectively, prior to the album's release.[31][32] She featured on the title track of Khalid's first EP, Suncity, which was also released on October 19, 2018, via RCA Records.[33]

With the release of Us, Rodriguez embarked on an international headlining tour with opening support from Colombian electronic duo Salt Cathedral on the North American leg of the tour, and a string of summer music festivals including Sideways, Primavera Sound and Meow Wolf Vortex Music Festival, throughout 2019.[34] She concluded the year featuring on Australian producer Kito's single, "Wild Girl", released on September 27, 2019, via UMG Recordings,[35] and touring as the support act for Maggie Rogers' Heard It in a Past Life and Lizzo's Cuz I Love You Too U.S. Fall tours.[36]

2020–2021: I'm Your Empress Of and becoming independent with Major Arcana[edit]

On April 12, 2020, Rodriguez released her third studio album, I'm Your Empress Of, via XL Recordings and Terrible. The album was preceded by the single "Give Me Another Chance", released and premiered March 3. 2020 via Zane Lowe's Apple Music Beats 1 radio show.[37] Due to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, no touring or live performances could be done to promote the album.

During 2020, Rodriguez founded and announced the start of her own record label, Major Arcana, via partnering with US-based artist management company, mtheory. The announcement marked the fulfilment of her contracts with XL Recordings and Terrible Records, thus allowing all future releases to be fully independent under her own brand.[38]

On October 27, 2020, Rodriguez released her first single via Major Arcana, "You've Got To Feel", featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Amber Mark,[39] while subsequently releasing another single, "Broken", for the soundtrack of the Amazon Prime Video series The Wilds on Nov 20, 2020.[40]

During 2021, Rodriguez was featured on American singer/producer MNDR's single "Love in Reverse", released March 31, 2021, from her second studio album, Hell To Be You Baby, via Watersound Records.[41]

On April 30, 2021, Rodriguez announced partnering with an Ad Council-backed national campaign called "Sound It Out Together". The purpose of the campaign was to highlight youth mental health and create an outlet for adolescents of color, to express their emotions and experiences through music. With assistance from professional songwriters (Rodriguez, KAMAUU, Lauren Jauregui and Tobe Nwigwe respectively), the subjects discussed by the artists and children were turned into fully produced songs and released as a compilation EP for the campaign via Mass Appeal.[42] Rodriguez's involvement included the single "One Breath", a collaboration with a 14-year-old girl named Marianne on their shared experience of both being first-generation Latin Americans and balancing that duality or double consciousness through daily life.[43]

2022–present: Save Me and For Your Consideration[edit]

On April 8, 2022, Rodriguez premiered "Save Me", the first single from her third EP of the same name, which was released on June 24, 2022, via her independent imprint, Major Arcana.[44]

The announcement of the EP, produced by Rodriguez with additional production from frequent collaborator BJ Burton and Johan Lennox, was made through the release of the second single, "Dance for You", on May 25, 2022.[45] On June 7, 2022, Rodriguez was announced as the main support for Carly Rae Jepsen's "So Nice" North American tour, which proceeded during the fall of 2022.[46]

A remix EP of "Dance for You" was released on November 18, 2022, featuring remixes/edits of the single by Blue Hawaii, DJ Kirby, DJ Python, Nick León and Sassy 009.

In 2023, Rodriguez provided tour support as the opening act for Japanese–British singer Rina Sawayama throughout the European leg of her "Hold the Girl" World Tour during February 2023 and the remaining North American leg during the fall of 2023.[47][48][49][50][51]

During the latter half of that tour, the two would release the collaborative single "Kiss Me" on September 25, 2023, from Rodriguez's then-unannounced fourth studio album, via Major Arcana and Giant Music respectively.[52]

The album's second single, "Femenine", was released on December 1, 2023, with an accompanying music video directed by famed American dancer and choreographer, Ryan Heffington.[53][54]

On January 23, 2024, Rodriguez announced her fourth studio album, For Your Consideration, which was released on March 22, 2024, via Major Arcana and Giant Music.[55] The album was preceded by third and fourth singles, "What's Love" featuring American indie pop group, MUNA and "Precoisa" released January 24 and March 1. 2024 respectively.[56][57]

Musical style[edit]

Influences[edit]

Lorely's first experiences with music were listening to her father's cassette tapes of the Beatles and Pet Shop Boys.[7] She cites Julee Cruise, Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, the Zombies, and the Beach Boys as some of her musical inspirations.[58]

Personal life[edit]

Rodriguez is a first-generation Honduran American.[59] She was raised by her mother, Reyna, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area,[60] and her father, Adán, one of the original pianists and founding members of the Honduran Latin music ensemble, Banda Blanca.[61]

Rodriguez has a degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston.[62]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Systems (2013)
  • Tristeza (2014)
  • Save Me (2022)
  • Dance for You (Remixes) (2022)

Mixtapes[edit]

  • Colorminutes (2013)

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"Champagne" 2012 Non-album singles
"Realize You" 2013
"Water Water" 2015 Me
"Kitty Kat"
"How Do You Do It"
"Standard"
"Icon"
"Woman Is a Word" 2016 Non-album singles
"Go to Hell" 2017
"Trust Me Baby" 2018 Us
"When I'm with Him"
"Love for Me"
"I Don't Even Smoke Weed"
"Call Me" 2020 The Turning (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
"Give Me Another Chance" I'm Your Empress Of
"Love Is a Drug"
"You've Got to Feel"
(featuring Amber Mark)
Non-album single
"Broken" The Wilds (Amazon Original Soundtrack)
"One Breath" [63] 2021 Sound It Out - EP via
"Sound It Out Together" Campaign
"Save Me" [64] 2022 Save Me
"Dance for You" [65]
"Turn the Table" (w/ Jim-E Stack)
"Kiss Me"
(featuring Rina Sawayama) [66]
2023 For Your Consideration
"Femenine"
What's Love (featuring MUNA) 2024
Preciosa

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Dance/Elec.
[67]
US
[68]
Dance/Mix Show
[69]
"Waves at Night"
(Moons featuring Empress Of)
2012 Bloody Mouth
"Create Your Love"
(Amateur Best featuring Empress Of)
2013 Double Denim Vol. 1
"The Way That You Like"
(Pional featuring Empress Of)
2016 When Love Hurts
"Reformer"
(Darkstar featuring Empress Of)
Made to Measure
"Best to You"
(Blood Orange featuring Empress Of)
Freetown Sound
"Stonefist" (Remix)
(Health and Boys Noize featuring Empress Of)
2017 DISCO3+
"Why Don't You Come On"
(DJDS featuring Khalid & Empress Of)
30 Big Wave More Fire
"Love" (DJDS featuring Empress Of)
Zombie Conqueror
(Dirty Projectors featuring Empress Of)
2018 Lamp Lit Prose
"Suncity"
(Khalid featuring Empress Of)
88 Suncity
"Red Wine"
( featuring Empress Of)
Forever Neverland
"Naughty"
(Tommy Genesis featuring Empress Of)
Tommy Genesis
"Connect"
(Toro y Moi featuring Empress Of)
2019 Smartbeats
"Wild Girl"
(Kito featuring Empress Of)
28 Non-album singles
"Tennis Fan"
(Banoffee featuring Empress Of)
Look at Us Now Dad
"Note to Self"
(Jim-E Stack featuring Empress Of)
2020 EPHEMERA
"Love In Reverse"
(MNDR featuring Empress Of)
2021 Hell To Be You Baby
"Vacío"
(Jarina De Marco featuring Empress Of)
Vacío
"take me back"
(Isomonstrosity featuring Empress Of & Bryce Dessner)
2022 Isomonstrosity
"Wild N Sweet"
(Jam City featuring Empress Of)
2023 Jam City Presents EFM
"Highway"
(Lewis OfMan featuring Empress Of)
Cristal Medium Blue
"4evA"
(Shygirl featuring Empress Of & Kingdom)
2024 Club Shy
"system"
(salute featuring Empress Of)
TBA

Remixes[edit]

Title Year Artist(s)
"bodyache"
(Empress Of Remix)
2015 Purity Ring
"Romeo"
(Empress Of Remix)
2016 Chairlift
"Genghis Khan"
(Empress Of Remix)
Miike Snow
"How Do You Do It"
(Empress Of Remix)
Empress Of
"Never Enough"
(Empress Of Remix)
2017 Oyinda
"Ta Que Tiembla"
(Empress Of Remix)
2020 Buscabulla
"Johnny"
(Empress Of Remix)
Tei Shi
"Man's World"
(Empress Of Remix featuring Pabllo Vittar)
2021 MARINA
"Cherub"
(Empress Of Remix)
2023 Coco & Clair Clair

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.stereogum.com/2248945/empress-of-whats-love-feat-muna/music/
  2. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/empress-of-for-your-consideration-interview-1234992618/
  3. ^ "The Making of Me". September 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "Empress Of's 11 "Colorminutes" « PMA - Pretty Much Amazing". Prettymuchamazing.com. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Empress Of – "Champagne" Video". Stereogum.com. November 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Empress Of // "Champagne"". SoundCloud.com.
  7. ^ a b "Empress Of Takes the Cards She Was Dealt". Noisey.vice.com. September 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "Empress Of". Pitchfork.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "5 Minutes with Empress Of at Pitchfork Music Festival 2013". Sidewalkhustle.com. August 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "Exclusive: Terrible Records, XL Recordings Sign Joint Venture Deal for Select Releases". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Lorely from Los Angeles". October 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Empress Of Debuts "Water Water," Announces Tour Dates & NYC Residency"". THE FADER.
  13. ^ "Stream Empress Of's Spanish-Language "Agua Agua" and Peep Her New Video".
  14. ^ "Empress of Announces Debut Album Me, Shares New Song "Kitty Kat"". Pitchfork. July 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "Empress of Shares "How do You do It" Video, Covers Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold"". Pitchfork. September 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "Empress of shares 'Standard' from debut LP". September 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Rookie » Theme Song: Empress of". August 31, 2015.
  18. ^ "Empress of". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Empress of: Me". Pitchfork.
  20. ^ "Empress of | Me". January 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "Empress of Explores Sexism and the "Vulnerable and Honest" Lyrics of 'Me' | Exclaim!".
  22. ^ "Empress of announces debut album Me, world tour, whole bunch of imperatorial activities".
  23. ^ "Empress of Wanders in the Woods and Roams NYC's Busy Streets in the "Icon" Video".
  24. ^ "Listen to Empress Of's "Woman is a Word"".
  25. ^ "Empress of drops the Range remix of 'Icon'". May 25, 2016.
  26. ^ https://www.ssense.com/en-us/editorial/music/empress-of-is-such-a-libra
  27. ^ http://songexploder.net/transcripts/empress-of-transcript.pdf
  28. ^ "Empress Of's Message To Haters And Saboteurs: 'Go To Hell'". NPR. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023.
  29. ^ "Empress of announces new album, 'Us'".
  30. ^ "Empress Of's "When I'm with Him" video is a love letter to East L.A."
  31. ^ "Empress of Shares New Song "Love for Me": Listen". September 26, 2018.
  32. ^ "Listen to Empress Of's New Song "I Don't Even Smoke Weed"". Pitchfork. October 18, 2018.
  33. ^ "All 27 of Khalid's Collaborations, Ranked: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  34. ^ "Empress of Announces Tour, Shares New Video: Watch". Pitchfork. October 25, 2018.
  35. ^ "Kito / Empress of: "Wild Girl"". Pitchfork.
  36. ^ "Maggie Rogers unveils fall tour dates". The FADER. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  37. ^ "Empress of Announces New Album, Shares Video for New Song". Pitchfork. March 3, 2020.
  38. ^ "Empress of Didn't Start a Record Label Just for Herself (But It Helps)". November 11, 2020.
  39. ^ "Empress of enlists Amber Mark for new song "You've Got to Feel": Stream". Consequence. October 27, 2020.
  40. ^ "Empress of Shares Her Dark New Song 'Broken' from Amazon's 'The Wilds'". November 20, 2020.
  41. ^ "MNDR – "Love in Reverse" (Feat. Empress Of)". March 31, 2021.
  42. ^ "Empress of Releases New Song 'One Breath'". May 3, 2021.
  43. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Empress Of Behind the Scenes Extended l Middle School Mental Health l Ad Council". YouTube.
  44. ^ "Empress of Shares Video for New Song "Save Me"". Pitchfork. April 8, 2022.
  45. ^ "Empress of Announces New EP, Shares New Song "Dance for You": Listen". May 25, 2022.
  46. ^ "Carly Rae Jepsen is Touring North America in 2022 with Empress of". June 7, 2022.
  47. ^ "Event detail".
  48. ^ https://www.concertarchives.org/bands/rina-sawayama
  49. ^ "Rina Sawayama - AB".
  50. ^ "Rina Sawayama announces 2023 North American tour dates". March 28, 2023.
  51. ^ https://exclaim.ca/music/article/rina_sawayama_plots_hold_the_girl_reloaded_north_american_tour
  52. ^ https://pitchfork.com/news/empress-of-and-rina-sawayama-share-video-for-new-song-kiss-me-watch/
  53. ^ https://exclaim.ca/music/article/empress_of_femenine_music_video
  54. ^ https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/art-books-music/a45998498/empress-of-has-never-been-more-sure-of-herself/
  55. ^ https://uproxx.com/indie/empress-of-for-your-consideration-release-date-tracklist/
  56. ^ https://exclaim.ca/music/article/empress-of-is-for-your-consideration-on-new-album-with-muna-rina-sawayama
  57. ^ https://uproxx.com/indie/empress-of-preciosa-for-your-consideration/
  58. ^ "INTERVIEW: GETTING REAL WITH EMPRESS OF". Allstonpudding.com. April 10, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  59. ^ "Empress Of Pivots From 'Me' To 'Us'". NPR.org. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  60. ^ "Aha Moment: Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez | Studio 360".
  61. ^ "Home". evokela.com.
  62. ^ "Empress Of Releases Her Debut Record 'Me' With A Newfound Confidence". Galoremag.com. September 10, 2015. Archived from the original on April 28, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  63. ^ "Album".
  64. ^ "Empress of Shares New Song "Save Me": Listen". April 8, 2022.
  65. ^ "Empress of Returns with 'Dance for You' and Announces the 'Save Me' EP". May 25, 2022.
  66. ^ https://genius.com/Empress-of-kiss-me-lyrics
  67. ^ "Empress Of : Why Don't You Come On Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  68. ^ "Empress Of : Suncity Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  69. ^ "Kito & Empress Of : Wild Girl Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 19, 2018.

External links[edit]