The music Wovvoka has released so far makes an impact in short, sharp bursts like a bolt of lightning slashing across the night sky. The beats are skeletal and bass-heavy, the energy of the rapping is always on ten, and the music videos are memorable. Wovvoka is a recent high school graduate who grew up in Lebanon, IL, a town with a population of less than 5,000 people. She only recently started taking music seriously, and it’s already paying off.

“Life in Lebanon is mostly filled with peace and quiet,” she tells us. “Though it is not a place where you must look over your shoulders, there’s a lot of favoritism in this area that if you don’t live here you wouldn’t understand. It’s a place where everyone knows every business, street, and face. A place so small that my high school didn’t have a football team, so we’d have to travel to other schools to watch games. I feel like living in Lebanon is the reason I am the person I am today, so I am grateful for that.”

With mostly country music being played in school, Wovvoka’s musical education came through her older brothers and exploring platforms like YouTube. “I started poetry before rap music when I was around 16,” she explains. “Once I started, I knew I wanted to create music. I studied other artists, but I didn’t start recording until 2019 and never took it too seriously until I released ‘Right Foot.’ [in early 2021]”

That song made its way to the right ears, and Wovvoka partnered with Wolf + Rothstein, the management company, label, and creative agency founded by Donald Glover, Wolf Taylor, and, Fam Rothstein, last year. She says, “By their words, they just loved my sound starting from the ‘Right Foot’ music video and I’m happy to say I started my music career off with such good people because a lot of artists can’t say that. We all work as a team and that’ll always take you further. Something I am learning is to just enjoy the ride because it’ll always work if you keep your hunger behind it.”

Although the music Wovvoka has released so far has been rap, her taste is wide-ranging, with James Brown and M83 cited as her biggest influences. It feels as if we’re just starting to get a peek at the creativity and artistry of this rising talent and much more is planned for 2022. “My actions always speak louder than my words, so I won’t say too much but just know it’s only the beginning and the beginning has barely begun,” Wovvoka says.—Alex Gardner

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