The only female member of breakthrough garage act So Solid Crew, Lisa Maffia smashed prejudices and changed attitudes with her stand-out vocals and verses in the noughties. Whilst the group had a large number of members, beginning with nineteen and growing to thirty, Maffia refused to blend into the crowd. She made sure her voice was heard loud and clear. We have a lot to thank So Solid Crew for, given that the break-out success of homegrown genres like garage and grime can be traced back to the group’s unprecedented success and trailblazing tenacity.
However, as a mother, businesswoman, musician, and so, so much more, Maffia’s story doesn’t end with So Solid. Quite the opposite, in fact. Outside of the crew, Maffia has launched manifold entrepreneurial and creative projects, exploring her ambition to its fullest potential.
LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING, HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN MUSIC?
When I was just 14 years old, I met the So Solid Crew boys in Battersea and we became mates. I was invited down to the studio at [the age of] 22 to lay vocals on our very first hit ‘Oh No’ and it all started right then.
AS ONE OF THE FIRST GARAGE ACTS TO BREAK THROUGH TO CHART SUCCESS, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SO SOLID’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WIDER UK MUSIC SCENE?
We proved you could be successful in anything you want to do. No matter where you come from. And me, as the only women in So Solid Crew, showed other women that you can shine among a male dominated industry.
YOU JUGGLED SUCCESS AND FAME WITH SO SOLID AND YOUR SOLO PROJECTS WHILST ALSO BEING A MOTHER. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER PARENTS WORKING TOWARDS A CAREER WHILST HAVING YOUNG CHILDREN?
Don’t forget your children and their happiness. A career can be built but building it without the happiness of your family means nothing. Don’t give up, and set goals and go for it.
EVEN WITH SOME HIGH PROFILE SUCCESS-STORIES, IT’S STILL UNUSUAL TO SEE FEMALE RAPPERS. WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN AS A WOMAN WORKING IN HIP HOP?
Tough, but the challenges are what drives me to do better. It’s helped me be more creative too and also humbled me, through the graft it took to get me here today.
ALONGSIDE YOUR MUSICAL CAREER, YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN BUSINESS, FRONTING AN ONLINE BOUTIQUE AND A BOOKING AGENCY. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM YOUR TIME IN THE PUBLIC EYE THAT HAS BEEN BENEFICIAL TO YOUR BUSINESS CAREER?
The support of supporters of my music has been so beneficial because I can sell, promote, and share things with them. I’ve become my own marketing/PR tool for anything I do. I’ve learnt that nothing lasts forever, so stay focussed and enjoy what you do.
AFTER RELEASES ‘DON’T BREAK MY HEART‘ AND ‘WAH GWARN‘ IN 2017, DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE MUSIC PROJECTS FOR 2018?
Yes I do, I’ll be back with another three singles between February and May 2018. Look out for my festival called ‘Shard Fest’ too, my brand new show called ‘The Ghetto Cab’ via YouTube and ‘Certified’ via Virgin/Sky/Freeview.
Listen to ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ on Spotify and keep an eye out for new track, ‘Old Habits’, due for release in April 2018. Tour dates are available on Instagram.