There is hardly a more striking rapper on the Czech music scene. Yet, Hellwana is certainly more than a mere statistical boost of a particular segment. To the somewhat stale pond of Czech rap – let alone the entire Czech pop scene – she brings a whiff of fresh air, female optics plus the influences of the most recent London street sound. After all, she grew up in London and English is her second native tongue. Hellwana had a rocket-powered start to her career – in November 2017 she made a four track EP record called Sunbeam and a year later she won the "Czeching" song export competition, held by the public Czech radio station Radio Wave, in which foreign (non-Czech) programmers and journalists choose Czech domestic music talents that are likely to make it abroad. Hellwana’s victory was quite unexpected, yet deserved, as proved by the performance she gave at the "Czeching" showcase evening.

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The viewers were enthralled by her plucky and charismatic routine, consummate rapping, singing and dancing. Off stage, Hellwana, aka Monika Evans, is rather quiet and reserved. “Hellwana is basically the extrovert part of myself that revels in human interaction, flashing smiles, fooling and prancing around,” she revealed in her interview for Radio Wave. “Myself, I am calmer and in the company of others Ican be quite shy. If I were to go on stage as Monika, my knees would buckle. Hellwana somehow gets on with it,” she explains laughing. She was introduced to music by her mother who used to take her to dancehall, reggae and drum’n’bass parties. At home they would listen to jazz and soul. In Prague, Hellwana joined a hip-hop group called Trash Gang, the members of which helped her with the "Sunbeam" EP. It is a cocktail made up of ingredients such as grime, trap and neo-soul. At present, Hellwana is working up with a producer and a DJ who calls himself Cyper Sound. They are collaborating on another EP, this one to be sung in Czech. In her lyrics, Hellwana supports a positive treatment of the human body and roots for the new girl generation. Her favourite artists include, for instance, the singer Jorja Smith and rapper Skepta. Overall, her attitude to the hip-hop genre is not without criticism: “Today, they rap about money, about women and men, who to sleep or not to sleep with, what house or car to have. We no longer rap about typical, everyday things. The music is losing touch with humanity,” says Hellwana, the great hope of Czech rap.


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Craig Smith
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