The summer heat is in full effect, and everyone is headed outdoors to stay out later and make up for all the hours we spent indoors this winter. Coming off an electrifying show this past Sunday at the Pyramid Scheme, Linda Tellis a.k.a Lady Ace Boogie
showed us that this summer is not done heating up.
Her new EP “Don’t Box Me In” has been in the works since last summer and is set to launch this fall. Rapid Growth caught up with Tellis to ask more about the EP, the song “Love Me For Me” off the EP, and her current inspiration.
The music video Love Me For Me
addresses the five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Tellis, alongside creative director Naomi Brown, wove the love languages into the narrative of the video. Showing that loving someone multifaceted requires a multifaceted approach.
As we spoke more in depth about the inspiration for the song, the following poem came into conversation:
“Adoro la ambivalencia poética de una cicatriz, que tiene dos mensajes: aquí dolió, aquí sanó.” Louise Madeira
I adore the poetic ambivalence of a scar, which has two messages: Here there was pain, Here there was healing.
This poem speaks about the beauty in the ambivalence of a scar, and the duality of its message. Where a scar says here there was pain, and here there was healing. Tellis says “Give the world a vulnerable piece of yourself, you can’t have your gates up. That’s when you miss out on real connections.”
Tellis is not shy about talking about her physical and emotional scars, and she speaks of them as if they were old acquaintances. She recalls them with some laughter and others with somber notes. Tellis says she is able to easily discuss these issues because she has been practicing being more intentional in her life. During moments of heartbreak, many people often have questions about themselves, about the relationship, and what they are looking for moving forward, she says.
“I’m becoming more intentional about the people I allow into my space…because I want to share connections that go beyond just my music,” says Tellis. The new EP will, in some ways, be a departure from her previous work, "Feel Good Music." She talks about how she has begun to embrace her singing voice and has brought it to the forefront. It can be heard prominently in “Love Me For Me” as a tertiary level of meaning to the song, where she displays that as Lady Ace she does more than rap, she sings with grit as well.
With still some songs yet to be recorded, Tellis says that “Don’t Box Me In” will be so very different than what was heard on Feel Good Music. “It’s totally different, I try to not be so much the center in the songs, and I let the production stand out more” says Tellis. When asked if this EP is her “808’s & Heartbreak” (Kanye West) or her “Lasers” (Lupe Fiasco), she leans back and chuckles and nods agreeingly. Both albums respectively were drastic departures for both West and Fiasco into new experimental territory in their respective careers, and if this is a sign of her possible trajectory all signs point to more good music.
Tellis is quick to come back to the metaphor of the ambivalence of the scar and reminds me that the although there was pain and loss, there has also been healing and she has found the woman of her dreams “that loves me for me.”
Tellis herself has had difficulty within the music industry with audiences not seeing her for who she is, namely an artist first and foremost. She is often categorized as a female rapper first instead of a rapper.
Overcoming obstacles is not a foreign task for Tellis, as a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community with her work with LoveGR
and a woman of color, being unapologetically herself has been her killer formula for succeeding in an industry that has in most ways positioned itself directly against her.
Tellis has shown time and again that she will stand up and speak up. She stood up with fellow musician Ajax Stacks
to speak out against the Oak Initiative’s anti-gay 2015 billboard campaign with their very own response by collaborating on the LoveGR campaign. Last year, during the continued rise in anti-black violence by police around the country Tellis again collaborated with a fellow musician in JROB
with their song The Great Ones HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT
Feeling further boxed in by the rap genre, she has continued to push the limits of the genre, with her content, and of her own skills by adding singing to her repertoire. Forcing her audience and her critics to always be on their toes, and never giving them a moment’s rest to allow them to box her in.
During a time in our society where there can be such divisive messages directing us to find the flaws and differences in our neighbors, Tellis’ music is furthering a growing movement of self care and self love. Self love teaches us to love ourselves and our flaws, so that we may be able to have the space to love, understand, and empathize with those who are different than us.
Lady Ace Boogie touring info can be found here
. Can be followed on Facebook here
, and can be envied through her Instagram here
. Word is that no other artist knows a better food spot than Lady Ace Boogie herself.
Ken Miguel-Cipriano is Rapid Growth’s innovation and jobs editor. To reach Ken, you can email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.