Ms. Lotus Fankh’s new EP meditates on social issues, ancestry and history

Ms. Lotus Fankh’s new EP meditates on social issues, ancestry and history

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As with many musicians, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy for Ms. Lotus Fankh. Before the pandemic set in, the soulful singer/songwriter worked for a large non-profit that raises funds for cancer research. It was her main source of income. Unfortunately the pandemic meant her former employer couldn’t carry out its main fundraiser, so it had to resort to layoffs.

But the loss of her job gave Lotus Fankh a lot of time to think. 

“When I lost my job it was like, this big relief,” says Lotus Fankh. “And in this time, with Covid-19? It’s like, well, everybody lost a job. As little as they did, the government was trying to help people through these times. So it was like, I felt encouraged at least.” The upside, she says, is that losing her job has given her more freedom to pursue music, something she’s wanted to do full time.

Jess Ayla Ms. Lotus Fankh

She’s also used the time to do some soul searching. She says she’s been considering the value of herself as a part of the art she creates, especially in the wake of Black Lives Matter. Black people, and really musicians at large, get the short end of the stick in the music industry, she says.

“These people pour their heart and souls into a track and that track is an embodiment of their life, their community and their family and the money goes to none of their lives,” Lotus Fankh says. “It’s like that has to stop.”

When the protests surrounding George Floyd’s death began, she says she didn’t feel like being creative or producing music through the pain. She didn’t buy into the cliché that pain fuels art.

“So when that took place that catapulted all this attention to all these, like, lesions of racism that just exists throughout our country,” she says. “It was just like it was just exhausting.”

Despite the stress of her job loss, the pandemic and social injustice, Lotus Fankh has been back in the studio. She has a new EP coming out titled “I.S.O.L.A.T.E.,” short for in search of life after time evolves. 

The new EP, she says, was inspired in part by the stresses of a 9-5 job and “being in environments where you have to navigate spaces of like, explaining Blackness.”

Lotus Fankh having a conversation on Zoom
Lotus Fankh brings humor to the difficulties she has faced during the coronavirus pandemic

Lotus Fankh took her reflections on community, family and Black pain and put it in her work. The murals of support and mourning of Joel Acevdo and Jacob Blake are in her music video for “No Funerals.”

The video also pays tribute to her great-great-grandma Edna Thompson. Edna has been honored as one of the oldest walkers during the 1963 March on Washington.

In addition Lotus Fankh has started a new venture. She’s selling shea butter and she is organizing Heard Space’s new season of writer’s workshops.

She’s got a lot on her plate and a pandemic isn’t holding her back.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee