Nápoles: The ‘Cloud 9’ Inteview

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In the heart of Stockholm, the steady rise of boundary-breaking female DJs has led the artistic and community-centric borough to emerge as the epicenter of Sweden’s nightlife scene. Nápoles is at the forefront, leading Ladieslovehiphop, a creative collective that she founded in 2014 together with her childhood friends Nataša and Rebecca. Since then, Nápoles has opened up for Beyonce and Jay-Z on Friends Arena, collaborated with ADIDAS, and much more. Although when it comes to music, it’s much deeper for the DJ and musician.

For Nápoles, music has always been a quintessential part of her life. As a youth, she took dance classes and sang in the local choir, which further helped hone her musical craft for singing and songwriting. In 2020, Nápoles unveiled her debut EP, Slowin It. The 6-track offering contains tracks like “Sun Passion” and “Slowzy,” one of Nápoles’ most popular records to date.

With the release of her new EP, Cloud 9, Nápoles looks to expand her evergrowing catalog of soulful tunes. It arrives with pre-release singles such as “4 In The Morning,” a love song dedicated to that special someone that you can’t wait to hold and go back to after a long day. Elsewhere, records like “Know My Place” and “Give It Up” appear, two songs that grew to become favorites for Nápoles’ fans over the year.

We had the pleasure of talking to Nápoles about getting into music, Ladieslovehiphop, and advice for young creatives to name a few topics. Check it out below!

Hi Nápoles! How did you first get into music?

I’ve always had a big interest in music ever since I can remember. From the time when I was like 4-5 years old me and my friends would always love to go to parties with our parents. We would dress up, dance, and play around. After my first visit to Cuba at the age of eight, I was really hooked. Music was a way for me to communicate with my family and to the Cuban culture overall. When I was ten, I joined a local dance group for children in Santiago de Cuba and participated in the yearly carnival show. That was such a dream for me and one of my best summers in Cuba. After that, I took music really seriously and started dancing and singing back home in Sweden.

What is it like being a young artist in the ever-growing Stockholm scene? What has your experience been?

Stockholm is filled with amazing creatives and artists which makes it a great place to be in when it comes to music. Since I established myself as a DJ through Ladieslovehiphop first I was well connected before my journey as a recording artist and that has helped a lot. My biggest challenge in Stockholm is that the scene within RnB, Soul, and alternative hip-hop isn’t really that big yet. It makes it harder to get a firm base here and that’s something that makes a lot of local artists look outside of Sweden.

Songs like “4 In The Morning” are extremely nostalgic—is there anyone in particular that has inspired you when creating your new music?

I just love the chill vibe of the 90 and the 00s especially the slow jams and neo-soul. For “4 In The Morning,” Musiq Soulchild came to my mind while I was writing the song. Other than that, I just tried to match the vocals and lyrics to the beautiful beat I was given by Wahib.

With the release of Cloud 9, what do you want your listeners to take away from the project?

I want the listeners to enter my mind and world. In Cloud 9, I show new sides of me as an artist and I’m really looking forward to sharing that. The whole EP is made by me and Wahib and our goal has been to create a cohesive piece of work that you can enjoy from start to finish.

You’ve received a lot of positive response from your first EP, Slowin It, how has it changed your approach to music, and did it play a role in creating your latest project?

I did not expect that kind of recognition so I was really happy to receive it that early. My plan has always been to grow organically and I feel like Cloud 9 is an elevation to my previous work. Having that first positive response on Slowin It has given me a little boost in confidence but I don’t think it has impacted the sound of Cloud 9 really.

Obviously, Ladieslovehiphop has also been a very big part of your career as well, do you have any plans in place now that lockdown is coming to an end?

Yes, we do! To celebrate the release of Cloud 9 we’re throwing a big party just like in the days before the pandemic. It’s going to be mad and I can’t wait to gather everybody.

Do you have a moment that’s been the most memorable for you in your career so far?

There are many but the first thing that pops up in my mind is the intimate release event that we did for “4 In The Morning.” We hosted it at the local restaurant Garba in Stockholm which is absolutely beautiful and gathered our Ladieslovehiphop community. The place was filled with love and I love to connect with people in that way, it’s a memory I’ll hold on to. I’m really looking forward to getting out on the road so that I can connect with more people like that. The pandemic has really been in the way of that.

Do you have any advice for young creatives out there looking to follow your path?

My advice would be to find out what your strengths are and what makes you happy. As long as you work hard and take care of yourself, I think that the possibilities are endless. Make it fun and believe in yourself!

If you enjoyed our interview with Nápoles, check out our chat with Fana Hues!