'CHAILA' out Friday, May 29th 2020

"As the scene and industry grappled with contextualising Irish hip-hop, Chaila did it for us, rapping, “What’s Irish rap? It’s a sound that you can’t predict.” Exactly."


"The limber lyricist pulls from pop culture, history and contemporary politics to fuel her flow."


"Denise Chaila has been tearing up the scene since releasing her ‘Copper Bullet / ‘Dual Citizenship’ single in early 2019. She’s taken that energy and split it open on every stage we’ve seen her perform on since then."


"She's a rapper and a philosopher. A feminist and a poet. She is a Zambian who speaks with an American accent, and she's also Irish. She has an academic mind, but is a woman of the people. There are many labels that you could use to describe Denise Chaila, but one of them - 'Rising Star of the Irish Hip-Hop Scene' - is indisputable."


"Her music marries art with a passion for justice and social change to build space for often forgotten stories and voices in dynamic and compelling ways."


"Chaila’s outlook was forged by the twin lands that made her... The twain meet in the song (Duel Citizenship)’s reference to “bacon and cabbage” and its sampling of a Zambian chorus. And instead of a collision, we get counterpoint: Two cultures weaving into each other. Like the fingers of joined hands."

- GoldenPlec.com


What’s Irish rap? It’s a sound that you can’t predict…

In her breakthrough track Copper Bullet, Denise Chaila succinctly described the thriving hip-hop scene in Ireland.

The fact that Chaila was able to convey the sentiment of a nation in one perfect line displays both the depth and skill of the Zambian-born, Irish-bred rapper and MC.

It perhaps partially explains why, following the release of her debut EP Dual Citizenship in February 2019, Denise has become one of the most in-demand MCs in Ireland and beyond. She spent the next year writing, performing and making music with some of her closest friends from collectives like Sim Simma Soundsystem (Dublin), PX Music (Limerick) and the two people who have been with her since day one: Rusangano Family’s God Knows and MuRli Bo.

This period saw her lend her skills to seminal hip-hop tracks such as Sim Simma Soundsystem Man Like Me, God Knows’ Who’s Asking (Southwest Allstars Remix) and the Chaila-written, MuRli-produced spoken word track, The Enlightenment.

On the live-front, during the past year Denise has performed at the Barbican Centre in London, the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Black Box Theatre, Galway - all three as part of the critically-acclaimed Imagining Ireland series, also featuring some of Denise’s cultural contemporaries such as musicians Imelda May, Radie Peat (Lankum), Soak, Lisa O’Neill and writers Sara Baume, Sinéad Gleeson and Sarah Moss. She performed at the opening of the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) and the National Concert Hall’s ‘Make your own Markievicz’ event for International Women’s Day 2020, attended by President Michael D. Higgins and hosted by NCH Chairwoman Maura McGrath. She also played the 2019 Red Bull Free Gaff weekend festival in Dublin and made a number of summer festival appearances last year at the likes of Body & Soul, All Together Now, Electric Picnic and Other Voices Dingle. In February 2020, she headlined St. Michael’s Church for Other Voices Mayo in a televised performance for RTÉ 2.

Perhaps the most exciting news to come from camp Chaila this year, though, is that a full-length musical project will be released later in 2020 on narolane records. Already, with just a single solo EP under her belt, Denise Chaila has been tipped as one to watch worldwide by the likes of NPR (USA), BBC (UK) and RTÉ (Ireland). On top of this, actor Cilian Murphy interviewed Chaila for Port Magazine, she wrote a piece that was included in Kevin Barry’s seminal arts anthology Winter Papers, she was interviewed for a publication she’s personally a big fan of, Gal-Dem, and featured on the cover of The Irish Times’ ‘50 people to watch in 2020’.

This level of success and critical acclaim in the space of just over a year is triumphant, and is not lost on Denise. Sure of her abilities yet humble about her ‘rising star’ status, she counts her blessings safe in the knowledge that she has worked hard for what she has. A star in her own right, yet in many ways inseparable from her collaborators and contemporaries. Straight up yet wonderfully complex. Denise Chaila is just getting started.


Sheena Madden, Amplify Agency / sheena@amplifyagency.ie / +353 87 245 8046

Created By
Sheena Madden


Tara Thomas