New Wave: Jerrika Karlae Stops By Essence HQ
Photo: Natasha Hatendi

When it comes to women in music, there is a positive infiltration of ladies leading the scene. Up next, Jerrika Karlae.

While Karlae has featured on a few tracks from her rumored fiance, Young Thug, she has also created an independent following from her popular swimsuit line and her love for fashion. With a Trina and Young Miami video, in addition to her music in the vault, the rapper is gearing up for her first official project.

“I just started feeling more liberated as an artist,” said Karlae. “I started recording and writing and I developed a passion for it. Music gave me an outlet to express myself and just feel free as a woman.” Although the influencer is not afraid of the spotlight, as she steps into a new feild she is curating a fearless approach to the music industry.

Karlae stopped by Essence HQ for a quick chat about fashion, music, and what she carries in her limited edition Dior bag. Read below.

“Music gave me an outlet to express myself and just feel free as a woman.” – Jerrika Karlae

ESSENCE: What do you want to accomplish with your music?

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Karlae: I want my music and my brand to just represent anything is possible and you can develop a passion overnight. Passion isn’t defined by doing something since you were a child. Good days, bad days, I can express myself through my music. It gives me a platform to speak to other women.

ESSENCE: How has living in Atlanta inspired you?

Karlae: I would say a lot because I feel like Atlanta is swag and it’s full of culture. I would say it influenced my music a lot because when I make music I want to make music that makes you feel good.

ESSENCE: What made you want to step into design?

Karlae: I started it in 2016. I wanted to do swimwear because I feel like at the time Kiva J was my inspo. She’s a black swimwear designer and her stuff was just super fashionable for the beach. I had a friend who could sketch and he just was sketching dramatic ideas with me. I had reached turmoil though because I couldn’t afford to get something so drastic manufactured. So, I just started off making cool bikinis with holes in it. And then it started to grow on social media.

But I had a hard time, just being honest, balancing fashion, hair, beauty products, and doing tutorials. So that’s something I want to tell women, that it is about finding a balance. Don’t overexert yourself because of social media.

ESSENCE: What are some pieces in your closet that you are absolutely loving?

Karlae: I have these Valentino furry shoes and I think I wear them too much. I love them because they just make any outfit, just look over the top. The Dior bag that I have now, I absolutely love because it goes with everything. And I have a pair of Steve Madden boots, they strap all the way past your knees. I’m obsessed with boots.