Continuing in our interview series for International Women’s Day, we’re speaking with Lalin St. Juste from The Seshen. Frontwoman for the San Francisco Bay Area-based six piece, she explores femininity and power through her music, notably on The Seshen’s debut album ‘Flames & Figures’.
We’ve also just released our IWD playlist curated by Lalin, other artists on the label and the Tru Thoughts office. Give it a listen here.
Who are your female influences, in music or otherwise?
I have been heavily influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu and Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon.
What is your favourite empowering female track and why?
I have to say that many times I have danced to “Who Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce feeling pretty damned empowered.
Have you found there to be any pressure to fit into a particular role in the industry?
Definitely. I think the industry favours a particular type of femininity at times…for Black female artists, the most notable tend to be lighter skinned with straight flowing hair and sexy.
In your opinion, is there enough being done by the music industry to give women equal opportunities in music?
There are amazing organisations that target women in order to support our visibility and acquire skills in areas that aren’t represented as much – such as engineering, producing, etc. I think there’s a gradual cultural shift to continue to acknowledge the ways in which women are still oppressed and how we are relegated to certain roles.
Have you felt attitudes change towards women in music throughout your life?
I think there’s a gradual cultural shift to continue to acknowledge the ways in which women are still oppressed and how we are relegated to certain roles. The #MeToo movement, Women’s marches, all of this has an impact on the music industry as well. It is a time of heightened awareness and a collective consciousness is forming around the need for change.
Where do you feel most free to be creative?
I feel most creative when I am under the sun.
How do you make yourself heard?
By continuously practising to use my voice. It is a constant struggle to unlearn the ways in which I have been conditioned, but each day I get bolder.
Who helped you to get to where you are today?
My Mother has always been a strong example of perseverance. I also have a beautiful network of women who uplift each other in who we are and what we dream about.
If you could offer some advice to women in the music industry, what would it be?
Be yourself, be confident, keep your eyes open, do what you desire.
You can follow Lalin’s work with The Seshen here.