One of the best things about daydreams is how they transport us to worlds that seem so far yet feel so real. For Mexican alt-pop artist Foudeqush, she couldn’t have dreamed just how quickly her life would change for the better. The rising star recently spoke to Remezcla about her most recent single, taking a chance on pursuing music professionally, landing the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, playing her first festival, and more.
Born Paola Maldonado and hailing from Monclova in Coahuila, the 25-year-old says that her earliest influences ranged from My Chemical Romance to the likes of Björk, Grimes, and Crystal Castles. Foudeqush didn’t have ambitions to pursue music until later on in life when she moved to Monterrey at the age of 18 to study music.
“I didn’t make music as a kid,” she tells Remezcla via Zoom. “I started studying music because truly I didn’t want to devote myself to something boring,” she says with a laugh.
Avoiding a traditional life path, she began taking classical music classes and studied music production. In 2017, she made a new group with her classmates and formed the alt-group Kiddie Gang.
Around this time, Foudeqush unintentionally discovered her stage name while searching for an Instagram handle. As a fan of Doja Cat, she didn’t realize that the word “doja” was slang for “weed” and wanted to search for something just as unique. “In a translator, I put in the word ‘crazy’ in different languages to find something I liked phonetically,” she says. “Then ‘Fou’ came out, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cute!’” As people began to refer to her as “Foudeqush,” the name stuck, and she began to embrace it as her own.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, Kiddie Gang went on hiatus. It was then that Foudeqush started to work on solo projects, including experimental pop singles like “Puro Veneno” and “Makin Money.” Her songs gained traction for refusing to confine themselves to a single genre but instead allowing her musicality to flux between hip-hop, R&B, lo-fi, and trap laid over sensual lyrics and shimmery vocals.
After a fateful phone call from her management, Foudeqush landed the opportunity of a lifetime when she was asked to contribute to the soundtrack for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. “They only told me, ‘They want you for [Black Panther],’ but they didn’t tell me what it was going to be or anything,” she shares.
At the session, she met with composer Ludwig Göransson, who won an Academy Award for his work on the first Black Panther film. The two songs they worked on, “Con La Brisa” and “No Me Digas Mi Nombre,” were featured in the film. “I knew it would be impactful to have two songs [on the soundtrack],” she says. “But I didn’t know they would be so significant in the film.”
“I knew it would be impactful to have two songs [on Wakanda Forever‘s soundtrack]. But I didn’t know they would be so significant in the film.”
With the release of the soundtrack and Foudeqush under the global spotlight, the unexpected acclaim she received gave her an important perspective. “I think it helped me open up my panorama and see that my music was really meant for more,” she notes. “It’s opened up a lot of opportunities. People are reaching out to me for different things, and I’m taking my time to do everything calmly. But also trying to get things done quickly because people are expecting more from me.
Fortunately for her fans, the artist has more music on the pipeline this year, including her most recent single, “Daydreaming.” “It’s literally about dreaming while awake [and] I’m very romantic,” she says of the atmospheric trip-hop track. “I hit up a producer friend and said, ‘Send me a beat that’s like PinkPantheress,’ and it was born from there.”
Foudeqush has a few more exciting singles coming out in the next few months, including different genres like reggaeton and cumbia, that will lead to an album she hopes to release by the end of the year. The singer also revealed that in addition to her solo projects, more music with Kiddie Gang is on the way.
In Apr., Foudeqush is set to perform at the Ceremonia Festival in Mexico City. “I’m really excited because it’s my first festival,” she says with a grin as she explains that there are plenty of surprises in store. “I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that [the show] will be like a fantasy.” After Ceremonia, she’ll be performing in the U.S. for a string of shows alongside labelmate Girl Ultra.
With a promising future ahead of her and a fearless approach to her art, it’s no wonder why Foudeqush is making big moves in the industry. The risk was definitely worth the reward.