Interview: Afro pop singer-songwriter Le She makes the move to Perth alongside new release

Le She

Le She is leaning back in his chair, framed by the city lights, looking thoroughly at home in the suave Ritz-Carlton meeting room. Adorned with a tasteful amount of gold and silver, and clad in a black leather jacket, he’s the sort of person who looks like they’re about to leave Perth, not someone who’s just arrived.

Known professionally as Le She, Stephane Keita is originally from Paris, but has lived in Sydney, the Gold Coast, and Melbourne, before finally settling in Perth. As an Afro pop singer-songwriter, he found a particularly large and welcoming African community on the west coast.

It’s not just because there are so many Afro people here, it’s the kind of music they’re playing. It’s Afro pop, Amapiano – the kind of music in my profile. In Sydney there’s more rock, R&B, soul, that kind of music,” Le She explains.

The words come to him first, but they’re often a mix of the seven languages he knows, including Creole, English, French, and different African languages. He chooses the language he feels fits the meaning the most, and once the lyrics are written, he collaborates with musicians from all around the world to create the final product. If the song is Afro pop (a genre he’s focusing on at the moment), he works with artists in Nigeria, where they’re experts in that type of music. Then, if it’s reggae, he works with people in Jamaica, and if it’s rap or R&B, artists from the US or UK.

Le She’s recent releases are mostly classic Afro pop, where he brings classical components – like the piano, flute, or viola – to pop music and then ‘adds African style’. When asked how he sees people experiencing his music, Le She says,

When you get to 35 or 40, you might already have a family, and so you don’t want to go to the club anymore – but you still need to have fun, enjoy your life, and listen to music. Sometimes you just want to go chill out and don’t want to dance in the club with the kids.

Alongside his arrival in Perth, Le She has released his latest single, ‘Prise De Tête’. Le She says the song talks about when “You’re in a relationship that’s going up and down… In the morning you’re happy, then at midday you’re fighting”. The music video was filmed in Perth last year and features rustic urban scenes, and what Le She describes as a ‘rock girl’ who is shown riding a motorbike through the streets. This is significant, as the video is telling the story of two people whose worlds don’t meet and don’t work well together.

Le She often writes songs with romantic or emotional themes like this and has been doing so since he started songwriting as a teenager. According to him, with his African upbringing, he wasn’t encouraged to express his emotions and so instead he used music as an outlet. And now, in Australia, he still finds his writing therapeutic.

Sometimes I miss my family. I don’t have anyone here, I’m single and only know a few people, so sometimes I take my pain and I write down all my emotions. I bring lots of emotions into my music.

For Le She, connection and family are important, that’s another reason he chose Perth as his home. He is looking for a stable place to let down roots, a place to have a family. And just like any Perth resident knows, the city is very much like a small town. Le She says,

I’m from Paris, people are so busy and they don’t have any time. Perth is a little city, so everyone knows everyone. That kind of thing is important for me, being connected with people is important to me.”

Le She is currently collaborating with a Nigerian artist, filming another music video, but this time in Nigeria and Perth. And with a wealthy catalogue of songs ready to go, there will be even more to come soon.

You can keep up to date with Le She on Facebook and Instagram