Empress Kush pairs soulful singing with edgy rap over beats that range from a catchy pop-edm fusion to straight up West Coast bangers.
Her earlier, self-produced works have earned high praises from longtime fans; and new collaborations with platinum producer Darren Vegas upgraded her sound to the next level, attracting an enthusiastic growing fan base.
Empress Kush has been creating music for decades, having composed her first piano piece at age 4. She started writing lyrics around age 10, won 1st place in her school district for a piano composition in 7th grade, and performed in many musical theater productions during her youth.
Her solo music endeavors began not long after graduating from high school, when she booked gigs playing piano and singing around the Los Angeles area under her given name, Christel South. She also spearheaded a short-lived band called “Firebrand” in the mid-2000’s. That era saw the Empress release several underground tracks as Christel South, on platforms such as Myspace and Reverbnation; countless songs were never recorded.
Empress Kush’s rap career launched with a funny rap song and music video called “Holla 818” that went viral on her Christel South Youtube channel in 2009. The 2010 music video for “OH NO, THE 5-0’s COMIN!” introduced the character Empress Kush, although she did not adopt the moniker as her stage name until 2014, when she dropped the self-produced stoner anthem “We Smoke The Blunts”. Prior to that, she learned how to use video editing software while editing her 2011 music video for “Rock Hard Juicy”, the title track from the “Rock Hard Juicy EP” by Christel South.
A 2017 album of self-produced songs called “Crazy Bitch” was shelved when the producer who was assisting with the vocals threatened to murder her. Two of the tracks from that album appeared on Empress Kush’s discography in 2018, before she dropped the first collaboration with her current producer, Darren Vegas. Their musical synergy has blossomed through a number of songs, including fan favorites “Live It Up” and “Coke Dick”, leading up to the first full length album Empress Kush has ever released, the epic 2023 opus “Celebrity Crush”.
Revisiting her love of pop & electronic music alongside the West Coast hip hop where her rap style shines, Empress Kush explores the full range of her vocal abilities on “Celebrity Crush” as Darren Vegas displays the breadth of his production skills.
Determined to fulfill what she has long viewed as her destiny, the Empress promised herself long ago that she would never give up on music, no matter how long it took to become successful.
Having battled severe depression for as long as she can remember, Empress Kush has faced many obstacles both internal and external. Through homelessness, multiple abusive relationships and a period of drug abuse (she is clean now), Empress Kush’s vow to never give up on music has been tested heavily over the last 21 years.
In fact, by December of 2021, exhausted from arduous years of frustration and disappointment, Empress Kush had all but let go of her goal to succeed in music. It was only the inspirational words and example set by her celebrity crush that spurred her on to give it one more push, letting everything else go in order to focus completely on her music goals. The impact this man has had on her life is reflected in the twelve tracks on her album, “Celebrity Crush”, out on 2/27/2023.
The Empress is passionate about advocating for marginalized groups; she has found herself a member of several as her life traversed the depths of her own personal hell. She has a plan to end homelessness and provide a better quality of life to people who are done running themselves ragged on the increasingly demanding hamster wheel of consumerist culture. Her ultimate goal is to shift the cultural paradigm towards cooperation and abundant resources for all, and away from domination and engineered scarcity.
Empress Kush, a wilderness enthusiast who requires the peace of solitude, currently lives in a van and has a goal of documenting visits to all of the van-accessible National Parks, Forests & Monuments. She chose van life as a means to reduce expenses and escape the adult entertainment industry, in which she felt trapped due to the high cost of living in Southern California; as well as to have the freedom to travel.