An operatic diva turned MC: Eliza Legzdina is the latest Non-Basic Girl on our radar
Text Elisheba Akalawu
Photographer Anna Rosova
A name you’re not about to forget: Eliza (pronounced e-lee-za) Legzdina is the talent taking shots at the patriarchy through her unique blend of honest rap, trap, electric beats and synthy r&b sounds. Born, raised and classically trained from the age of 3 in a post-soviet Latvia, and moving to London to explore music further – Eliza’s debut EP Iron Curtain Golden Pussy is an ode to a lineage of women who, under a strict ‘Iron Curtain’ regime, were not allowed to embrace desire or seek sexual pleasure of any kind. The portrayal of Eastern European women has always been heavily influenced by the male gaze – usually stereotyped in the media as prostitutes, strippers, models or other hyper-sexualised characters. Eliza is putting her foot down and showing up for all the women who have ever had to run away from or suppress their femininity, pussy power and sexuality due to oppression. Her message is simple: women are powerful and it’s time to reclaim our sexual identities by rewriting the narrative for ourselves. She’s the icon she wishes to see.
The latest single fresh off the EP, ‘Tic Toc’, is something of a femme anthem championing women to go for exactly what they want. It’s unapologetic with its bouncing baseline and roaring sirens, inspiring a sexy, playful energy depicted perfectly in the visuals of Eliza and her girl gang as they galavant around the East London backdrop. The EP is a truly moving work of art that begs women to find their power and demands them to take up all the space which they deserve – if you’re ever feeling down this is the musical boost you’ll need to realise you really are THAT bitch. Iron Curtain Golden Pussy is available everywhere, now. Check it out and let us know what you think @nbga.mag.
It’s your debut EP – what have your emotions and thoughts been like leading up to this moment?
I’m so excited that it’s finally coming out. It’s a project that means a lot to me. I have spent so much time curating and preparing to share myself and my world with everyone, so I’m jumping in my seat. We shot the video in late October 2019, and my Grandfather died the morning after my shoot finished. I didn’t find out in time to make the funeral, but this is the moment I want to make them proud. My family, alive and past. I’m a little Latvian girl that left to build a life for herself, make space for other girls and be the change I want to see. I just want my mom to be happy and my brothers to see what you can do if you put your mind to it. I want to see a world where women have the choice and opportunity to lead the lives they want for themselves.
Tell us a little bit about the journey from being classically trained and living in Latvia to now becoming a femme ICON?
So I’m a REAL music nerd. I’ve sung opera soprano and bel canto for most of my professional career. I specialised in late romantic songs from Russia and Pan-Slavic territories and then some baroque stuff earlier, and sang in the Vatican. I’ve really done the whole classical thing; I received a scholarship to UEA and studied a Music Bachelors – I was a shy little kitten back then. Now, musically I’m a result of all of the things I’ve been through and it’s very eclectic. An operatic diva turns to a rap MC feels accurate for me. Recently I’ve been connecting with the discipline of classical singing and breathing techniques because they’re really useful. The femme icon part has been me my whole life – I’ve really been her and you can’t fake this shit. I’ve definitely just become more unapologetic about it over time. I don’t play up my femininity, I just refuse to be quiet because my sensuality makes someone else uncomfortable. We must not conform as women to this idea of femininity – it’s whatever you need it to be and it’s always evolving like women themselves.
What mood do you want to set with this EP – how do you want people to react?
DANCE! Dance around your room, dance on your IG, dance for your girlfriend, your sugar daddy, for yourself! I want people to feel good. Feel sexy. Feel powerful. Feel like taking a risk and believing in yourself, and never feeling like you have to measure your worth against someone else’s. I also want people to recognise that this is only the beginning for me – watch this space because my head is already deep in the next project.
What’s your best piece of advice for women who may be doubting their power – especially in a time like now, where many may be feeling stagnant?
Your magic is never dependent on anything else other than how you feel. You are not your productivity, you are not the number of direct messages you are receiving or the job opportunity that was postponed. You are the keeper of your own self and you owe nothing to your past. We are not the sum of the things that happen to us, we are the reaction to all of our challenges. Reach out, and say you need love if you do. I want to start doing this for myself. We all deserve to be filled up sometimes and we can’t always be a flowing cup. Surround yourself with those that promote your growth and don’t shrink you. Your pussy is golden too, don’t hide her, let her shine.
What can we expect next from you once quarantine is over?
I’ve been doing a lot of physical activity recently… so you can expect some backflips…….!
And that’s that on that; we can’t wait to see what’s next!