Brianna Roye



October 22, 2019
432 Picks

We at AFROPUNK have known and admired the woman behind Wild Black for a hot minute. Elsa Gebremichael was just a musically rambunctious teenager from Saskatoon, Canada when her first band, From Chimpan A to Chimpan Z, played AFROPUNK events in NYC, before the festival even launched. Over the years, we’ve seen her grow in the synth-rock duo, We Were Lovers. Now based in Toronto, it’s been super exciting her blossoming as Wild Black, bringing an emotionally poignant songwriting perspective to progressive, new-wave dance beats.

Wild Black’s newest track, “Moon Star Lover,” reflects a sound and perspective that tackles a personal reclaiming of space — a new life in a new town. And the track’s video, directed by Lulu Wei and Lindsay Goeldner, is a beautiful, loving visualization of discovering this life. When we asked about the origins and the background of the song and video, Elsa wrote about her transitions, and how they affected the music she was currently making:

“I wrote ‘Moon Star Lover’ during a time of serious transition. I had just moved to a new city with a partner who I loved, but it was becoming clear that we wanted different things, and that love would not be enough for us. We inevitably parted ways with deep sadness but incredible memories. In the midst of this confusion and heartbreak, a frequent collaborator of mine, Ash Lamothe, sent me a beat that instantly connected with what I was going through. A sweetness that could accompany the bitterness I was feeling. Quickly, the expression of my questions and uncertainties and challenges spilled out of me to create ‘Moon Star Lover.’

“I wanted to get to work on creating a video to accompany this release, but my personal journey was building: I was in a new city alone, almost forced out of loneliness and heartbreak, to look inward and evaluate my identity. I was spiraling a bit with fear and confusion and self-medicating to avoid the challenge of being honest with myself. I knew that what I was experiencing was important and necessary for growth, no matter how messy it was. I began to shift towards focusing on being honest with myself and the people I love and to start telling people that I am pansexual. That was a huge shift, which came while I was planning the video for the track.

“I was excited to work with Toronto-based filmmakers Lulu Wei and Lindsay Goeldner (of LXL Directors), the director and producer of this video. I wanted to transform my journey and the honesty I was ready to express into something beautiful and fun that celebrates and focuses on queer femme and non-binary folks of color. Something that reflects who we are and the people we want to see more of in this industry. It was something positive for me to focus on, even though it created some inner conflict and tension, especially as the daughter of a Muslim Ethiopian immigrant. I hadn’t yet expressed my queer identity to many people, or to my family. Coming out is one of the hardest things that someone can do for many different reasons, and for many folks – especially folks who date all genders – it’s something we have to keep doing over and over again. For me, it has been a bittersweet and very slow process, but making this song and this video served as a therapeutic catalyst for my self-expression, and self love. Life is unpredictable and I guess if you leave it to the moon and the stars, everything unfolds the way it’s meant to.”

Wild Black’s “Moon Star Lover” is on all the streaming services now.