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Interview: Eyve Madyise

EYVE – singer-songwriter and biological scientist Eyve Madyise – is a Zimbabwean artist based in Glasgow whose multi-genre approach to music is informed by Zimdancehall and Urban Groove, as well as her own experiences as a queer Black woman. She performed at COP26 with Musicians In Exile and is working on the EP Beyond The Sky Isn’t The Limit, with support from the Scottish Refugee Council. She took some time to speak to us about her upcoming collaboration with visual artist Veronica Petukhov at CCA as part of Cryptic Nights.

Beyond The Sky Isn’t The Limit is a tremendous title. Where did that come from?

As a Black woman I was always told that there’s places I can’t go, that there’s things I can’t do. I can’t be loud, I can’t complain too much, I can’t cry, I can’t go for the goals that I wanted to – be a doctor, be in the military, stuff like that. The things that I’m told that I can’t do don’t make any sense. These are people’s assumptions, things that society has set as a standard. I can’t go anywhere I want to, but I can do anything I want to as long as I put my mind to it. Beyond the Sky Isn’t The Limit means to me that it’s ok to go for things that we can’t see. Fear is always going to be there but it’s determination that matters the most.

You performed as part of the COP26 event in Glasgow last year. How was that for you?

It was the first big event that we had performed at as a group – I don’t know how I would have done it by myself. It was a great opportunity. The director [of Govan orchestra The Glasgow Barons], Paul MacAlindin, arranged it through Musicians In Exile and we were one of the groups from Glasgow that was picked to perform.

There’s so many elements to your music; I can hear bits of dancehall, bits of electronic music – how would you describe yourself as a musician?

I like to mix the genres of my music – I don’t like being confined! I like to be free to express myself without worrying about judgement or about fitting into a certain box, so for me as a person it’s more about exploration. My music is about acknowledging the life experiences that I’ve gone through and growing strong from it; not making them seem like failures, but lessons. It’s about strength, and growing.

How does your work as a scientist feed into what you do as a musician?

I am studying biological and physical sciences – I want to do biomedicine.

I’m still trying to figure that out! In my art it’s about the parts of the brain that are lit up by the performance. I am aware that the amygdala is the part of the brain that gets excited but it’s also that part that gets the negative emotions. From my performances I want to light up that positive part of my brain, I’m still trying to figure out how best to integrate that into my music.

You’re working with the visual artist Veronica Petukhov. How did that come about?

Veronica had done some work with Sonica (as part of youth music programme NextGen). I got to see them doing an event at Room 2. Their visuals are so colourful and amazing and I am a colourful person, so it’s a good match!

What can we expect from the performance at Cryptic Nights?

It’s going to be a surprise – there will be a lot of mixed emotions. For me it’s about the journey I’ve had as a musician and as a queer women of colour. It’s going to be good!

Cryptic Nights: EYVE and Veronica Petukhov is happening at CCA, Glasgow on Thursday 13th October.

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