- 29 Mar 19
With boundless energy, Empress Of delivered a shining performance to cap off her European tour.
Los Angeles based producer and songwriter Lorely Rodriquez, better known as Empress Of, first burst into the spotlight in 2015 with her debut album Me. Propelled by a moody and dark atmosphere, her creative take on alt-R&B struck a chord with it’s uncompromising originality and electronic experiments. Her follow up 2018 album Us saw Rodriquez collaborate with producers such as Dev Hynes and DJDS, turning to a brighter feel for her infectious dance-pop. Us is packed with warm and bouncy songs, whose happier vibe belies lyrics that continue to be frank and reflective.
Empress Of sweeps onstage with bilingual bop ‘Trust Me Baby’. The track’s sunny and chilled out grooves set a mood that is readily received by a crowd just itching to dance. The Honduran-American artist sails smoothly between Spanish and English on the track. As she sings “I’m vulnerable again, I’m on exhibition, I need you to listen”, there's no question she has the audience on board, eagerly listening.
Ensuing songs turn up the danceability. ‘All for Nothing’ marries an infectious synth melody with an angsty atmosphere and pounding beat. It transitions wonderfully into ‘Water, Water’, a stormy electronic banger from Me and one of the night’s highlights. The rapturous audience was completely swept up in the track’s sultry hook and Rodriquez’s energetic performance.
Other highlights of the night were the beautiful ‘When I’m With Him’ and the anthemic ‘Woman is a Word’. ‘When I’m With Him’ is a perfectly melancholic pop lament. Shimmery instrumentation underlies lyrics that describe a failing relationship, all topped off by delicate and emotive vocals. As catchy as it is incisive, ‘Woman is a Word’ set the crowd alight. With an impassioned performance from Rodriguez, the audience joyfully shouted the cutting lyrics interrogating gender, laid over a driving dance beat.
A propulsive show from front to back, Rodriguez wasted no time between tracks, preferring to let her music do the talking. At the end of the show, an enthused crowd chanted for a speech. She replied that she is “not a good public speaker”, but anyone there would certainly beg to differ. With charm and wit, Rodriguez shared an anecdote about her Mother making her stage clothes. This story underlines Lorely Rodriguez’s knack for connecting to the listener with authentic personality. Closing out her European Tour, Empress Of’s first visit to Dublin will surely leave many in anticipation of whatever is next to come from this much needed voice in pop music.