Lithuanian/Syrian tour de force Silvana Imam is not afraid to push boundaries. Sometimes that means just being herself. Her expressive work is often labelled political and uncompromising, as she never shies away from giving voice to her beliefs. It's about feminism, it's about equality, it's about inclusiveness, and it's about freedom. Words matter, and no one knows words better than Silvana Imam.
When it comes to creativity, what is that to you? For example, are you a maker or a thinker?
I’m first and foremost a thinker, and my thoughts create my reality. I believe this is the situation for everyone. Your thoughts will either keep you captured in something, in sorrow or in happiness. You can control a lot with your thoughts. But I create a lot from my emotions, I’m an emotional person, so I also believe that you can’t force anything. It’s just something that comes when you’re in that space. I need to be in a good space to be able to create.
Even if it is a hard topic or something that is difficult for you? It still has to come from a joyful place?
Yes, because then I can see things the way they are. When you’re in your emotions, it can get very dark. If you’re talking about dark subjects, like society, politics, it’s not very uplifting. I don’t want people to feel like the world is ending, I want to give hope, because that’s what I want from other people. I give what I need.
Often you are described as pushing things forward, is this what you really mean by that?
Yes, and that’s just because I’m looking for my own freedom.
Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you failed?
You know, I really try not to think about what I do as success or failure, because those words create an emotion within you, and it might stick to you. I don’t want these words to define my creativity and my music. What is failure really? Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player in the world, missed thousands and thousands of shots. That’s what created a legend.
So would you say failure is a part of creativity?
100%! If we have to use that word. But failure, success, happiness, sadness, all these words and emotions don’t define us. They are just words and emotions.
It’s like you’re giving advice to your younger self?
Oh, all the time. When I was like 14, 15, I read this book by Eckhart Tolle called “The New Earth”, and he put my thoughts into words. Detaching yourself from yourself is the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do. This is the essence of who we are. We are limitless creators, but these words and definitions limit us, so we need to detach ourselves from ourselves. That is the ultimate freedom.
This is interesting, since you chose to be a rapper and work with words so much?
Yes. I’m obsessed with words. But I’m obsessed with my emotions as well. But when you’re really into something, you become kind of anti. I’m anti-words, I’m anti-emotions. It’s too much to handle sometimes. So I try to explain everything. “Why am I sad about this situation? What does it mean?” It’s a process.
Is this what you’re curious about?
Well, sometimes when you’re a creative person, you need structure. Routines. I’m more curious about that life. I just started a new company, so what does it mean to be a CEO? I’m kind of doing the opposite of being an artist. I have to dive into something that I’m not comfortable in. I’m expanding my own desires and finding out what my desires are.
Connected to that, what do you think you will do in 5 years?
I’m building a house, called House of Kraft. In my mind, I have these different ideas that I want to fill all the rooms with. Like design, jewellry, clothing, education. So I’ll be working with that, besides the music of course.
How would you translate House of Kraft, it’s a very different word from the English equivalent of Power?
Yes, that’s why I chose the word Kraft. It’s one of my favourite words. Same with Mod (English: Courage). It’s also a very Swedish word. I chose Kraft because I don’t want to be the face of it. I have a record label and I’m the face of my music. But House of Kraft is everybody, it’s a collective. I’m part of something. That’s what I wanted to create with my music, this is really the next step. With my music, I created a space, and now it’s like “ok, so what are we going to do, together?” We will see where it ends up. I’m really excited. It’s going to change my world.