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Tommy Genesis: “I prefer to make people question than to make them feel comfortable”

Tommy Genesis is the queen of fetish rap, a type of rap in which she embraces sexual self-reliance. The Canadian all-round artistic mastermind conquered the internet with her underground rebellious music and took over the Botanique in Brussels for her God is Wild tour last Sunday. Her intriguing videos, sexually uncomfortable lyrics and heavy beats combined with popish melodies make her beloved by men and women all around the world. We sat down with her after the show to talk sexuality, emotions and comfortability.

Article by Yaell Monas and pictures by Bavo Goossens

Tommy Genesis in Brussels' Botanique

Hi Genesis, how did you like the Belgian audience?

Belgium was the one show that we upgraded. Before I put the album out, I needed time to finish it, so we had to cancel our Brussels’ show back then. I felt really bad because Brussels is one of those places where I used to come about two years ago. I had some really punk and underground shows here. I always felt the connection, so now we made the venue bigger. I was surprised to see that many people and I didn’t even see the people hiding in the back. I kept looking and everyone was still singing.

You bring a message to young women, or people in general, to embrace their sexuality. Is it important for you to spread that message?

It was never really my intention to do that but the more I meet people who tell me how much my music means to them, the more I realise that people are actually listening to it. It’s really weird, because I was talking to my friend the other day. When you make music or art, you don’t do it necessarily for people to hear it. You do it because it kind of comes out of you and you’re just always making things.

The leap from being on my phone, on my computer or in my bedroom writing and making shit, to being on stage with people actually fucking with it is something that I as an artist, don’t really think about. I don’t know how to get from point A to point B. I'm never really sure if my fans or the audience is going to like something, and it's not what I think about when I'm writing something. But the fact that people fuck with my music makes me feel like I’m doing something good, and it makes me wanna keep doing it.

How have things changed since you brought out your latest album?

Nothing really has changed (laughs). I feel good. It has changed in the sense that there is now music for people to listen to. I think more people have heard my music. But as far as it involves me, I haven’t changed. I’ve just been myself and I’ve made a lot of music I’ve never put out. So, I think it’s changing but as I’m in the change, it’s hard to see it. If that makes any sense.

Your album had some emotional songs too, although no one expected to hear something like that from you. Did you want to show another side of yourself?

I actually write a lot of popsongs. Super random but I won’t put them out. I had to try to convince everybody to put these emotional songs out. Because they are not what people expect, and they are not my initial demographic. I never thought I would be making pop or emotional songs, as I actually am a rapper. But it’s how I was feeling and it’s what I like. Drive was stuck in my head, and I know Drive is so different from Play With It. But I just love the track, and I love the lyrics.

It was important for me to put out everything I was making that I fucked with. Because I hadn’t put out an album for so long and I didn’t wanna put out an album to please someone or to make somebody feel like I put the right songs out. I did this for me. And that’s kind of how I’m Yours was too. I put that song out for myself and my family.

Tommy Genesis in Brussels' Botanique

People are usually confused when they hear your music. Do you want that on purpose?

That’s fire! That’s amazing and I don’t mind. I think it’s better to make people question than to make people comfortable. We only live once, and I’d rather have an experience when I’m alive. I think I’m just really myself, and some people are okay with it and some people aren’t. I’m genuine and I’m actually a sweetheart, and I’m not a bitch even though I have a resting bitch face in my photos (laughs).”

Did you ever see yourself having your own headlining tour?

No, I didn’t. Actually, I didn’t even think about it and never imagined it being sold out. I was so emotional for the first show in London. It was a stressful day because I had a lot going on, shoots and I literally had no time to chill in-between. But then I got up on stage and played God Sent and I loved it. I posted videos from London’s show, and I was so emotional and shocked because people were screaming the lyrics to my new album. I just put this shit out and you guys know it better than me. So, that was crazy and shocking. It made me happy.

Tommy Genesis in Brussels' Botanique

After your album it might feel that you’ve used all creativity you had to offer that moment. Aren’t you scared you will one day be out of creativity?

No. Because I think I’m always making shit. I never even think about that because I would just switch. If I feel like I can’t make music anymore, I would just switch to painting or drawing. I also do my own music videos, I direct and edit them. And I have so much fun doing that, whatever is open to me I’ll take. But if a door closes I’ll just go another way. Honestly being here after this album has really made me feel like people are connected with the music in a way I didn’t feel it before.

Do you feel like you are at your best right now?

Are you at your best?

Well, I hope not.

I’m the exact same. Whatever you are feeling, I’m feeling.

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