“It’s gonna be my first tour ever just as CLEO”

Tomorrow night rapper Cleo is performing at Debaser in Stockholm as a part of her spring tour. Radar caught up with her about the year that’s been, her upcoming single, current tour and what’s next to come.

Since Cleo began her career as a part of the hiphop collective Random Bastards she has become somewhat of a veteran in the industry. She has performed before massive audiences and done more shows than we can count. 2014 came to be a big year, she released an EP, fell in love, won the award for “Live of the Year”, and had tremendous amount of success with the organizations Femtastic and FATTA! Radar caught up with her about the year that’s been, her upcoming single, current tour and what’s next to come.

What have you been up to lately?
– Wow, a lot of things. I started this year with changing homes, moving and fixing up my new apartment. I’m trying to chill down after a really intense 2014 and at the same time getting started with my new projects. So there’s been a lot of writing, recording, thinking and sceemin’!

Tell us about your spring tour.
– I’m so stoked about the whole thing. It’s gonna be my first tour ever just as CLEO,  without a feature or a collab, only me! :)  In the end of March I’m releasing the first single from my solo project that will be followed by an EP. I’m so happy working together with Luger, my booking agency. They really put together a great tour. There will be a lot of updates in my show… new backdrops, lights, visuals, clothes, etc etc. Things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. You could say this spring tour is about showcasing what’s next to come. To tease and give the audience a little taste of what the CLEO vibe will be like in 2015!!

What did it feel like to win the award for “Live of the year” at Kingsizegalan?
– When I heard my name at the gala I screamed, like ”what the fuck?” What did he say?”, ”Seriously, what?”. I can’t lie, of course I’d been hoping and thinking about it. What it would feel like to win, but the brain works in mysterious ways… and I always turn out having really low expectations. It felt soooo good, I remember thinking, “Fuck yea I deserve this”. I’ve been touring so much, and doing so many different kinds of shows. Giving my all, every single bit of energy I have in me on to the stage. But to realize that a lot of people actually have been takin the time to give their vote to me is a beautiful feeling. Theres a lot of love in that.

My next single is a song I’ve been wanting to do for the past 4 years

Which performance has been your favorite one?
– Theres a lot of special memories and moments. But last year, I’ll have to say the Ladies First show at Dramaten in May. I’ll never forget the audience and the feeling of hearing thousands of people screaming from the beginning of the show till the end of it. And to share that with a dozen of female MCs and musicians. TURNT!!!!

Which performance was your least favorite?
– Haha, I’ve been doin shows where the audience is shouting out for another artist during our show. Thats really frustrating, because you feel you just want to get out of there and give them what they want which is obviously not me at that moment.

Your releasing a new single soon, what’s it called and what’s it about?
– Oooh, I like this question. My first answer to be given about my new music. My next single is a song I’ve been wanting to do for the past 4 years maybe. Its called 240! 240 stands for Volvo 240, that is a classic Swedish cult car. This car stands for a lifestyle, a way of living that has a lot to do with where I grew up and what I come from. First impression is me rapping with a lot of attitude about my car.. about me not caring what anybody thinks. About me wearing fake bling, being really poor and not giving a shit. About people trying to stop me because my car looks like a white trash addict pothead kind of car. But under all that it’s about inspiring people to not care so much, lifting a lifestyle, a way of living that is looked upon as less ”for real”/cool or right and make it a hundred procent OK.

Cleo 2015 Foto Niceguzz 2

Tell us about Femtastic that you started together with Vanessa Marko.
– Femtastic is the heart of almost everything I do:) It’s my family, my crew and what I stand for. It’s a collective of female artists, musicians, djs, etc, from the urban music scene in Sweden. And our ambition is to create a structural change of a male dominated music industry. And we do that mostly through workshops, events, clubs, music, campaigns and PR. We started 2010 and has grown together for the last 5 years. Developed a way of working and thinking!

Femtastic has taken over the club Marie Laveau, what can we expect?
– Yea its so dope!! We turned the whole basement at Marie Laveau to our head quarter. We brought a whole bunch of graffiti artists down there to paint the walls, there’s palm trees, color, african fabric, and urban music floating thru the speakers every friday and saturday. This is our scene, our scene where we headline women. We’ve had a lot of clubs and events since 2010, but always moving around to differens places.  I think its really good for us being able to create our own scene at one place. Its a warm, safe and stable kind of feeling. To answer your question, you can expect extremely good music, we got our best DJs in the house every weekend, skilled MCs on stage that 98% of the time are women, and just the Femtastic message and vibe all over the place!!

I hope this next year will be more easy going so that I can use what I’ve learned and just do my shit in peace

What was the best thing that happened during 2014?
– I could say a lot of different things here. For example that my 5 year old son learned to ride a bike, or that I fell in love with someone, or that FATTA! turned out to what it is today.. this huge movement with a major influence, or that we did several of shows with a massive respons, or that I had the opportunity to preform with one of my idols on stage, etc etc. I don’t know what to pick. Last year was so intense, I learned sooooo much. I hope this next year will be more easy going so that I can use what I’ve learned and just do my shit in peace:)

What are your goals for 2015?
– I wish this year to be a productive year. That I can release a lot of new music, CLEO music. That I’ll give myself the time, space and calm to create it. I’m so looking forward preforming, getting better at what i do and overcome some fears and just keep on striveing to become a hell of a good MC and artist. I’m also looking forward to working near the crew of people that I’ve been working with for a lot of years now. But doing it better all the time, learning together. Im still independent you know, so we grind and we keep getting excellent at what we do!


Photograpahy by Saga Berlin/Niceguzz