Bilingual rapper Audax the Damsel talks inspiration behind some of her songs

Daniella Tello-Garzon, Reporter

Audax the Damsel, a bilingual rapper from the greater Chicago area and Weinberg sophomore, spoke with The Daily about the inspiration behind some of her greatest songs, the meaning behind her name and her history as a rapper.

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Daniella Tello-Garzon, and you’re listening to Sound Source, a podcast about the music scene at Northwestern. This episode is about Audax the Damsel, an Argentinian rapper from the greater Chicago area. 

SOFÍA STUTZ: Hi, my name is Sofía Stutz, and I go by Audax the Damsel. And I’m a rapper, and I sing as well. 

It’s kind of hard for me to remember when I started rapping, but I think it started initially in high school, and I came up with the name maybe sophomore year of high school. I wanted to have something that was clearly feminine, so that’s where the damsel part comes in. Because, you know, Audax on its own, you might think that that’s a male rapper, and I just wanted to be clear, this is a woman. And it’s also a contrast to the first part of the name Audax. Audax means “bold” in Latin, and I wanted something like that because I think it’s kind of a funny contrast: the bold damsel. You know, people think of damsel as being associated with the “damsel in distress,” but I didn’t want to put forth that image. I wanted something bold and sassy and strong and fierce, so I chose Audax. 

I started producing music with a student from my high school professionally in a studio when I was a junior. I was involved with a club called poetry club at my school, and I got in contact with the director of the program and he was able to arrange for me to record professionally in a studio that was right across the street from our school. So I got to do that for free for the rest of my time at the high school. I started recording and writing on a regular basis and getting to release things. I would say that that’s when my role as Audax the Damsel got solidified. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: What is your favorite song that you’ve created?

SOFÍA STUTZ: Oh, that’s kind of hard. I feel like that’s asking a parent, like, what their favorite child is. But I would say I really, really enjoyed writing “Seasons.” This is a song that I wrote in the fall of this year, and it was the first song that I wrote in college. That song captures a nostalgia that comes up a lot in my songs, and in it, I talk about the transition from summer into fall and how it’s always a very painful transition because in the summer, it feels unlimited. We have all this time to do all these things that we’ve been wanting to do, all these goals that we set for ourselves. But inevitably, there’s never enough time to do all of those things. And so it’s always disappointing because then the fall comes and you have other obligations, and you can’t get to all the things you wanted to do in the summer. So, it’s painful and sad, but it’s also exciting because the fall is a time of renewal and new beginnings. And when I wrote that song I was referencing specific places in Northwestern. There’s one part where I talk about sitting in the library. I don’t explicitly say that, but I say 

“I make my way to 

My favorite space

I say okay, 

Imma just stay 

for a bit

But I sit, 

Don’t quit till the moonlit

Wit dissipates and I fade

Swayed by the weight of my eyelids

I bid this island of silence goodbye

Transported back to my century

I step away from revery.”

So, at that point I’m referring to being in the library, and I have a specific image of Deering Library in my mind, and the stained glass windows. When I’m in the library, I’m transported to the past, to this historical sensation of being in a place where you know that years ago, students, like 50 years ago, were in that library studying, and so it’s this cool feeling I get being in Deering Library. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: Audax the Damsel’s songs are often inspired by real people and experiences, as in her song, “We Could Be.” 

SOFÍA STUTZ: I would say that the song was inspired by someone, but I no longer have feelings for that person. I think of it now as more of a song that applies to whenever I’m interested in someone and that exciting feeling of newness and opportunity and excitement and anticipation. I no longer think about it as a song about a particular person. 

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

SOFÍA STUTZ: I think one of the biggest challenges for me is sharing with people that I’m a rapper. A lot of times when people look at me and then they hear that and have never listened to my music, they’re surprised, and I understand that response. When people think of rapper, they oftentimes have a very specific image come to mind, and I do not fit that box. But, it’s an experience for me of challenging that narrow conception of what it means to be a rapper and being comfortable being different in that way and reminding people that rappers come in all types. In some ways, it’s a very similar experience when people find out that I’m Latina. I’m white passing — blond hair, blue eyes — and for a lot of people here in the United States, it’s hard to look past certain preconceptions of what it means to be Latina. I don’t fit necessarily fit the stereotype. But there are Latinos who look like me and there are Latinos who look like anything. I definitely understand the response, but it’s frustrating because people have assumptions, and it’s a permanent challenging of those assumptions; being a rapper and being a white Latina.

DANIELLA TELLO-GARZON: You can follow Audax the Damsel on instagram @Audax_Damsel. You can also find her music on most music streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and Youtube. 

Thanks for listening, this is Daniella Tello-Garzon, and I’ll see you next time. This episode was reported and produced by me, Daniella Tello-Garzon. The summer managing editors are Sneha Dey and James Pollard, and the summer editor in chief is Emma Edmund.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @daniellatgarzon

Related Stories:

Sound Source: FreePlanet twin rappers say their music is like a dum dum lollipop 

Sound Source: The Altars discuss their inspiration, rehearsal dynamics, and music 

Sound Source: Creating Another Definition of Hip-Hop

Comments