By Molly Randhawa
VANCOUVER – After having just returned back to Vancouver from Oakland, California, to record an upcoming EP, Horsepowar is ready to deliver. Grabbing the attention of CBC heavyweight Peter Mansbridge and other major media outlets like Fader and Noisey, the 25-year-old Richmond native who normally goes by the name Jasleen Powar has been making waves.
When it comes to performing, Powar isn’t shy of the spotlight, but after being compared to artists like M.I.A. for their similar “brown girl aesthetics,” the rapper wants to make it clear that she’s not a gimmick. “I can’t claim Desi culture, but everything I do will be Indian just because I am Indian,” the artist says over a plate of hot wings while sitting in a crowded bar on Main Street.
Powar first began performing in the form of slam poetry in the ninth grade, after the death of her older brother. The artist explains how the experience was therapeutic and helped her express her feelings of loss in a positive way. “I feel like [writing and slam poetry] helped me not become a bitch.” Working to channel her energies into developing her own style as a rapper, the confidence that Powar naturally radiates is undisputed. With years of experience performing live under her belt, the artist’s natural candor shines through.
However, even with the confidence that Powar carries, the rapper reveals the struggles of remaining powerful yet humble in her hometown. “[People] say that you have to be a narcissist [in order] to be an artist, but I don’t believe that. If you wanna be successful, you gotta know how to love yourself,” she explains. “You can see through that shit when it’s not authentic. This is real for me; it’s not a gimmick.”
Having taken a hiatus from performing while working on her new album, Powar expressed her excitement about showcasing her new material at her upcoming shows. “I want [this record] to be very full of itself. I want people to know that I am the shit and the urine.”
Horsepowar performs April 12 with Playboi Carti at Venue as part of Seasons Festival.horsepowar, Seasons Festival, Venue