Culture

Stefflon Don on Making History at the Women's Euro and Empowering the Next Generation

The artist is set to perform at the first-ever Women’s Euro final show.

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Stefflon Don on Making History at the Women's Euro and Empowering the Next Generation

The artist is set to perform at the first-ever Women’s Euro final show.

British MOBO award-winning rapper Stefflon Don is set to make history as she’ll be part of the first-ever UEFA Women’s Euro final show. Working in collaboration with Pepsi MAX, the artist will be performing alongside an all-female lineup that includes Becky Hill and ’90s legend Ultra Naté.

We caught up with Stefflon Don ahead of the performance to chat about why the Women’s Euro tournament has been so significant this year, what it means to other young women watching and what her plans are for the future. Read on to check out our full interview below.

You’re performing at the first-ever Women’s Euro final in collaboration with PEPSI Max. What can fans expect to hear from you?
There are two amazing artists that I’ll be performing with at the Pepsi Max stage. I feel like I bring the edge and the Jamaican rap vibes. We’re gonna give you the U.K.‘s Charlie’s Angels.

What’s it been like to be a part of such a significant moment in women’s sport?
It’s amazing. It’s definitely a part of history because women’s sport is now getting more attention, gaining more fans and getting more support and I’m just happy to be able to be a part of that.

Definitely. Both yourself and the Women’s Euro team know a thing or two about being in male-dominated environments and industries. How have you navigated that over the last couple of years?
Music is definitely very heavily male-dominated, but I just don’t focus on that, that’s just the way it is. When you meet other females who do what you do, you just develop a closer bond because you can relate. I do see more and more females coming through and doing their thing, too, which is amazing.

What do you think still needs to change to keep that going and make more women feel like they can get into these industries and feel comfortable? 
If a woman wants to get into an industry, she should definitely do it regardless of whether it’s male-dominated or not. That’s what we’re seeing with women’s football. That’s why it’s so amazing to see the support it’s getting because then it makes young girls feel like, “Oh, I can actually pick a sport like that as a profession, and be taken seriously.” I think that’s a good start. With the Women’s Euro final alone, young girls are looking at that and it can make them feel so inspired and like they could definitely do it, too.

What do you think that people could be doing to make that happen quicker?
What’s about to happen at Wembley, that alone is going to be a historical moment. That alone is going to have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of young girls watching that and it’ll change the perception in their minds so they can say, “One day that could be me.” I think that’s where it starts. As long as we keep doing stuff like that, it will grow naturally.

Do you have any advice for those women who want to become rappers, footballers and athletes? What would you say to them?
I would say you only have one life so always go for what you love the most. Ask yourself what excites you. What sets that fire in your soul? What makes you just so happy when the world is crashing down? What is the one thing you do that you forget about all your problems? I say whatever that is, you go for it. You should never worry about what people think because it’s about how it makes you feel.

I’d never worry about all those other people because a lot of people are going to have opinions. Some people may not like you, some people will but you can’t expect to be liked by everybody. With this generation of social media, I feel like everyone has an opinion. With all of us being on one platform and everyone feeling like they have something to say it can get a bit scary, especially for young women just coming up in the scene, everything matters, having an image and this and that. I would say don’t listen to anyone and literally keep doing you because, at the end of it, all that matters is the work you’ve put in, how you feel inside and how happy you are with yourself. I will always say never doubt yourself and always try to create and keep being better than you were yesterday.

What was your experience like? Do you feel like it’s harder starting out now, being able to see what everyone’s saying about you?
I still have the same principles that I did coming into the game, thankfully. But I can see how it can be very difficult for someone who’s starting out like this. When I came up in the scene there was no Instagram, at least not the way it is now. It just wasn’t as popular. There was less bullying in the comments, now a lot of it is very negative. If someone doesn’t like something, they will just start saying it. Before, when I was coming up, if there was someone that didn’t like something, they wouldn’t really say it. You wouldn’t really know, and even if they did, it would be like one or two people whereas now it’s like hundreds of people saying something.

I can only imagine what that does for a young entrepreneur, a young business person or a young rapper coming up. Looking at other people getting flack for something is only gonna make them think, “Oh let me not try to do the same because look at what they’re getting.” I would say don’t listen to that because I think that people online are very fickle. When you do something they like, they love you but when you don’t, they don’t. It’s a love-hate relationship, and you can’t take it like it’s personal or like it’s serious because none of these people really know you. I would love young girls to know that when you see this stuff you should never take it seriously because if these people met you in real life, they would probably love you. It’s not real. Don’t focus on all those negative stuff. Focus on everything that could be so amazing instead.

Exactly. Taking it back to music, your last single was released in June, what have you been working on since then?
I’m working on my album and I’ve got some new singles coming out soon. “Sweet Bounce” was the single that came out in June, by a DJ called DJ Frass that featured me on it and it was a really popular Jamaican vibe. My official single is coming in a couple of weeks though and that’ll be one of the leading singles of my album.

Well, that’s exciting, what can you tell us about the album?
It’s called Island 54 and it’s dropping in September. I’ve got this amazing Dancehall artist Spice doing a feature. Everybody loves her and when she comes out and performs a show, it’s so entertaining. The song we have, I know that when it drops everyone and their moms are going to be dancing and that’s what I live for. I live for those moments where I create music that brings people together and makes people just feel happy and forget about their problems. And it’s worrying their songs are called clockwork. So you already know about black get to work.

Finally, what’s next for you?
Dropping the album, it’s about 16 songs and there’s going to be videos dropping. There are going to be a lot of things surrounding that, definitely a tour!

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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