We Interview German Hip-Hop Star Eunique And Renowned Choreographer, Jouana Samia
A match made in heaven.
Hamburg’s finest, Eunique, has been taking the German hip-hop scene by storm since her debut album Gift dropped in March. Since then, her popularity has soared overnight, even bagging herself a reality TV show, Becoming Eunique on YouTube. However, her talent ceases to have no limit as she has recently teamed up with renowned choreographer Jouana Samia, CEO of The Company Berlin and a Nike Ambassador. Together these two boss ladies are changing the game for women everywhere.
So, when and how did you two meet?
Jouana: We met this year on my birthday, July 23, which was very nice and humble.
Eunique: Nike connected us and told me how much Jouana likes to dance and how she’s very engaged in social projects; like arranging dance classes for people that can’t afford them. Jouana also has an interesting story on overcoming injuries and moving past scarring on her face and burn marks.
Jouana: Eunique and I had talked about our visions and goals with Nike and we just found each other, like it was meant to be.
What do you appreciate about the other person and what do you find inspiring in each other’s personality?
Eunique: I see myself as a lioness, so when I see another lioness, you get the same sense of motivation. In our first training session, Jouana brought out the beast in me, so it was a good combination.
Jouana: I love how hard working Eunique is. She works her ass off to reach her goal and that’s what I find inspiring and I love that she inspires women to live their dreams.
What are some things you two have in common?
Eunique: The passion for music and the passion for movement. I’ve been dancing since I was little, but I wasn’t ever a professional dancer. My mom would send me to hip hop classes, but I would join for like a month. So, now I’m happy that I can really focus on it and train with focus.
Jouana: I agree, definitely our addictions for our passions. Both of us work our asses off to fulfill our ambitions and I think that’s very common.
Jouana, when did you start to dance and when did you decide to become a professional dancer?
I remember dancing all the time when I was younger. Anytime music was playing, my mom would put me on the table and I would just dance. I joined a dance club at school where I learnt the choreography, and then when I turned 16, I went to a dance school which was very cool. At 19, I had my first dance class in a very professional dance school – it was very expensive, and I had no money to pay for dance classes. I always knew I wanted to dance so I worked to pay for my dance classes by myself.
Congrats on your first tour, Eunique! It must have been a crazy summer for you! What was your personal highlight from the start of your career until this moment and why?
Eunique: Charting at place 1 and 7 in the hip-hop charts was amazing. As a female, that was an accomplishment. Also, the half-marathon I ran was a big thing for me. It was like I was chasing my dreams and it was uplifting for me personally, and I overcame obstacles and pushed through.
What is your vision for the girls you are casting? Are you looking for a specific type or skills?
Jouana: We needed strong professional dancers, because I know how hard it is to be on tour and to be on stage for 90 minutes one day after another. That’s a lot of pressure and you need the fitness and strength to sustain it.
Eunique: Jouana showed me the girls. Watching their videos and how they present themselves on social media, I said I only want to click with lionesses, so if I see the vibe, and she’s a beast, then I want her to dance with me.
Jouana, why did you start your own company? Was it hard in the beginning and what difficulties did you have to face? What is the mission for The Company?
Jouana: I’ve always wanted to do something for female and under privileged dancers. I sometimes do free classes or workshops for people who can’t afford to pay full prices.
What do you have in mind when it comes to the choreography for the tour?
Jouana: Come to the tour and watch because I won’t reveal anything!
Eunique: I want it to be aggressive and sharp, like my natural movement. I want it to be natural and authentic and rooted in 2018 in terms of coolness and easiness. Maybe I could fly out over the crowd!
Jouana, what is the process in developing a choreography? What steps does it take and how is it different to make one for Hip Hop instead of Electronic Music?
Jouana: I use Sunday as my choreography day. When I choose the song, it depends on my mood – maybe something sensual and sexy or more heartbreaking. Choreography is like building a house, you start with the foundational basics, and then add details and decorate it with a twist of yourself.
Of course, there’s a difference between electronic and hip-hop. Hip-hop is normally groovy where as electronic music is strict and sharp. More lines, less groove.
Eunique, what’s changed for you in the past few months and what role does dance play in your life? What music do you like to dance to?
Eunique: I love dancing to sexy R&B, slow grime and hip-hop. I also like Daughter and Banks and expressive styles of dancing.
In the past few months, I’ve learned that if you have a certain amount of talent, don’t ignore it, but work on it.
If you already know you can dance but you’re afraid to show it or do it, it’s nice to have a third person, a friend, or someone you trust to be like, “No, that was nice, and you can do that.” So, I guess I’m just experiencing coming out of my shell more.
Jouana, you told us before, that you weren't happy with the situation in the dance scene. What role does gender play in the industry?
Jouana: Male dancers do sometimes get paid more than female dancers and I can’t tell you why.
And what about you Eunique? How have you rallied against the prejudices facing women in Hip Hop?
Eunique: At the end of the day, I don’t want respect for being a woman, or a because I’m a female rapper. I want respect for what I do and my achievements. If people respect that, then they respect me, and I just happen to be a girl.
If I’m good, I’m good no matter if I am a girl or not. I have had interviews where they ask, “How do you feel about being the only woman on stage?” and it’s like, did you ask the men that question? I just ignore prejudice, and if the criticism isn’t constructive, then I can’t do anything with it.
What is your advice for young women who want to work in the creative industries? What are you looking forward to in the future besides the project you're working on together?
Eunique: My advice is to know who you are and take time to figure that shit out. I had to be patient with so many things. Don’t push against the wind, and let it guide you. Anything bad that happens to you is a learning experience for later in life.
I’m looking forward to continuing on my journey, working on my songs and my personal development. Your journey is safe, anything happening in between only serves to make you stronger. So, keep on your path and it’ll work out.
Jouana: Keep on going and Just Do It, haha! There’s always going to be someone who tells you that you’re not good enough, but you need to learn to not give a fuck and just walk through it.
Eunique: Hard work beats talent. Like when you’re writing songs about your life and experiences to tell other people, so you need to have lived that and be real to yourself.
Why do you both think it’s important to get together and build a support network of women to work on bigger things together?
Jouana: When women work together, you build the courage to do bigger things, and encourage more women to push each other to do better.
Eunique: What I wanna do is start a community where we support girls and it’s totally normal and note a social statement. I want to inspire and be inspired by other women.
Who inspires you Jouana?
Beyoncé! Also, Frida Kahlo and also the weirdness of Lady Gaga. She is one of the greatest performers I’ve seen live and she’s very tough.
What is the plan for the next few weeks leading up to the tour? Can you say more about the physical and mental training as preparation?
Jouana: One rehearsal day is eight hours, and we have 30 rehearsal days. I am meeting the whole crew next week to talk about wishes, plans, desires and things they might be afraid of, so they can stay focused. Going on tour is like being part of a family and you have to have that sense of support. You can’t just be a sprinter, you need the strength to run long distance on a tour like this.
Photography: Brit The Kid