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Empire ISIS (true name Miriam Moufide, also stage-named The Gangstress) is a singer, songwriter and social activist based in Montreal, Canada. Her musical style has been described as a blend ofdancehall, reggae, hip hop, pop and World music. She is signed to Monumental Records and distributed by Universal Music Group.
At the age of 16, Moufide moved to Costa Rica for school and began a four year trip around the world, living with small and marginalised communities. Her love for music and anthropology led her to visit and live in 30 different countries, and to eventually put her experiences to music.
Activism and Charity
At 21 while in the Amazon rainforest attending the Bumba Meu Boi festival, she met members of the Rainbow Caravan for Peace (including Alberto Ruz Buenfil) and joined them as they visited indigenous villages and festivals. Drawing on her education in theatre, music and workshop facilitation she worked with them performing in street theatre and giving workshops on bioregionalism, permaculture, ecovillage design,nutrition and spiritual gatherings. Her lyrics often focus on social matters like women’s rights (“NANA Power”), building community (“Participate”) and defending your dreams ("Get up on it", "Won't surrender").
The artist tries to use her international recognition to draw attention to issues that matter to her, by hosting and performing charitable events, especially in her home cities of Montreal and New York.
The song S.O.S. to Freedom is currently being used in a campaign against human trafficking across the United States.
Moufide, having taken the stage name Empire ISIS, began making music while traveling in Jamaica, working with the legendary Jamaican musicians Dean Fraser and Chinna Smith, as well as Miami-based producers The Iconz. She recorded her debut album “Empress Gangstress” in part at Bob Marley's legendary Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston. It featured reggae singers Bushman and Half Pint. Empire ISIS has played in over 20 different countries, including Brazil, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Senegal and Canada and the American festivals SXSW and CMJ.
On her more recent albums, Empire ISIS has worked and recorded with world-renowned producers like Prayon and Kovas. As well as songwriting for Empire ISIS, she also writes under the name Miriam Moufide for other musicians and is published by Cherry Lane Music and pigFACTORY Music.
Some awards and nominations Empire ISIS has received are listed below.