“People are used to hearing a girl sing about how hurt she is, and obviously that is relatable. But when I sit with my friends, we talk about how strong we are and all the amazing things we want to do with our lives. Those are the stories I want to tell.”
Guernsey-born singer Chloe Curran uses moniker Empara Mi – derived from the Latin word meaning “seize” or “take over” – to channel an uncompromising message of empowerment when telling these stories. And it translates. The ambition is palpable in her piercing, ethereal vocals and quasi-gothic lyricism, and Curran’s choice of alias is becoming quite fitting for her trajectory so far.
It all started when Mi, now 26, was gifted a karaoke machine as a young child. “It was game over! From that day forward, I thought I was Eminem,” she laughs. “Not much has changed.” At 15 she moved to London to pursue music, and cites the obstacles she faced as a young female in the industry as the greatest challenge to becoming the artist she’s always wanted to be.
Now, having set up her own record label and found her own identity, Mi is claiming her space and story as a musician. “I’ve taken back the con- trol over my career that I gave away so readily early on,” she enthuses, explaining: “I find it empowering to know that I can do what I want, but also that means that I’m responsible for the outcome of this. There’s no one else to blame if I don’t work hard enough. Somehow, that’s probably the most empowering part.”
Not only does Mi have control back over the direction of her music, but she’s also dedicated to transforming her stories into visuals herself. You’ll find that she’s often credited with the styling and creative direction on her cinematic, self-professed “mental” music videos.
Blazer by MSGM and top by Tibi
Blazer by MSGM and top by Tibi
Films play a huge role in her songwriting process too, and Mi tells me
she imagines the concept of each track in the form of a movie sequence. She cites Quentin Tarantino and Baz Luhrmann as key inspirations, so much so that in her video for haunting single “Crying” – released earlier this year in March – she reinvented the final scene of Luhrmann’s 1996 take on Romeo + Juliet with a twist: Juliet lives.
Mi’s “Ditch” stands out as a certified bad bitch anthem: alongside a high drama sample of Mozart’s “Requiem”, her airy vocals imbue the track with an ominous, imposing sense of doom as she sings “Stone cold killer on the low / Didn’t know you could be so cold…” In the accompanying video, she pulls up to a grave (presumably that of an ex) in a convertible at sunset, dropping off a bouquet of roses wearing an ankle-skimming fur coat, PVC boots, a black mesh veil and bond- age lingerie.
Her forthcoming new single “WYGD” (have an exclusive listen below) strikes a similar tone, layering empowering lyrics over dark, dramatic electronics. “I want people to feel empowered, of course, but also kind of laugh,” she says of the release. “This song for me was the exact moment I realised: ‘What the hell am I doing? Why am I taking this?’ It’s the moment you almost pity the other person. It’s the ‘fuck it’ moment.”
What’s interesting about her portrayal of badass women is that it doesn’t submit to the zeitgeist: it feels honest and uninterrupted. “Honestly, I write best when I’m angry, when somebody’s said something to hurt me or I’ve watched something that aggravates me. The only way I can get rid of that feeling is by writing,” she concludes, emphasising that it’s making music – as ever – that provides the tools for her to galvanise her own emotions, and those of her audience too: “It gives me the type of buzz that takes everything else away – it gives me all the superpowers I need.”