"It's just insane, it's so mad!"
Poppy Ajudha has spoken about it being an “honour” to discover that former US President Barack Obama named her as one of his favourite artists.
In December, the 44th President of the US revealed his favourite songs, films and books of the year in an extensive new list on Facebook. He said listing his picks was “a favourite tradition” to help him “pause and reflect on the year” through the books, movies and music he found “most thought-provoking, inspiring or just plain loved.”
As part of his extensive choices, Obama selected Tom Misch and Ajudha’s ‘Disco Yes’ as one of his favourite tracks of the year.
- Read More: The NME 100: Essential new artists for 2019
Now, speaking to Channel 4 news, Ajudha has responded by saying it was “an honour” to be hailed by Obama. Ajudha said: “It didn’t compute in my head that it was actually like Barack Obama because that’s just insane, it’s so mad!
“It was more just like an honour to know that he could be listening, he might be singing along…that was crazy.”
The South London singer, who featured on NME’s ‘100 Essential New Artists’ for 2019, also discussed identity politics and opened up about both her cultural and queer identity and the messages about both that she hopes her music will spread.
Ajudha said: “You kind of look different to your white family, you don’t fit in with your black family because you don’t look like them either…People often project these ideas of what they think you are which I think they don’t realise are very conditioned ideas that are radicalised and sexualised.
“I felt like the term bi-sexual when I was young, it was charged in a certain way whereby women could kind of experience same gender sexual experiences and it was seen as attractive to other men, but if men were doing the same thing it was seen as unattractive and I felt like that was quite homophobic.
“So I never really felt comfortable with saying that about myself…until I got to uni [and] I learnt the term queer…and I like ‘ah, this really fits me, its quite ambiguous and it doesn’t put me in a box.'” You can watch clips from the interview below:
The singer also spoke candidly about toxic masculinity and said she hoped her songs and discussions about these songs at live performances might help to open up the conversation on the topic more.
“I want [the conversation on toxic masculinity] to be inclusive because nothing will ever change if we’re kind of all in our circles talking to each another,” Ajudha explained.
She continued: “I think a lot of men aren’t taught to be reflective about themselves and that’s why I kind of talk about my songs at my shows and stuff because I don’t want them to feel intimidated or excluded by the conversation – I want them to be like, ‘ah this sounds really interesting, does that affect me, do I see any of those concepts in myself.'”
Ajudha also said she thought fans could identify with her honesty and openness on Instagram. “I just try and say how I am feeling so that other people might realise that it’s okay to feel like that or that they are not alone…I want people to realise that we are all human, we all feel things, we all mess up and we all do things wrong. It’s just life.”