Singer Fanny Neguesha Talks Playing Drake's Leading Lady in 'Please Forgive Me' Short Film & Forthcoming Project
When Drake flaunted his acting chops in the short film Please Forgive Me, powered by Apple Music and released last month, the self-proclaimed "6 God" recruited Fanny Neguesha as his leading lady.
The 26-year-old singer/model/actress -- who is of Congolese, Italian, Egyptian and Rwandan descent but grew up in Belgium, Italy and Tenerife, and can speak four languages -- scored the gig after getting a personal ask from Drake, who has been following Neguesha on Instagram and trying to work with her for the past four years. Beyond her high-profile acting debut, Neguesha rolled out her pop record "Number One" -- where she sings mostly in French, but she's also been working on her English for the past three months to prep a proper album via her label, Def Jam (formerly Def Jam France).
With the help of a translator, the doe-eyed beauty talks modeling on Instagram, her candid thoughts on Donald Trump and landing the role in Drake's short film below.
How did you get into music?
I started in Def Jam France [for] one year, and it was difficult because I sing in French. I always wanted to sing in English, so it was a big opportunity for me to sing here in America, and sign to Def Jam US. Now, we just left the project in France, and started to work in America.
Could you describe your musical tastes?
African, Afro-beats, hip hop. Beyonce is the best, and I like Kanye West, Jay Z, Partynextdoor, Travis Scott, A$AP [Rocky]. I hope to work one day with big artists like that.
What do you hope your music in English represents?
I want to show that Europeans can also come to the United States and be very successful, and that the doors are open wide. Because in Europe, everybody listens to American artists. But in America, they don’t know European artists.
Are you aiming for more a pop sound?
I want to do something very Caribbean, very African, but with the bass of the hip hop. So, yeah, it’s going to be party music. We might have love songs too, but I think it’s going to be mostly dance.
Are there any producers who you’re working with right now?
For the moment, I'm working with a new producer, Tk Kayembe. He’s young but he’s talented. He’s from L.A. and from Congo, like me. He’s an African, but he’s born here. Working together is easy for me.
What has been the biggest culture shock about being here in America?
Just Trump, but that’s all. I think that he’s not a good idea if he’s going to be president, but we have two bad choices. The [worst] is Trump, so it’s better if we go with Hillary [Clinton].
How were you able to land a role in Drake’s short film Please Forgive Me.
Drake DM'd me four years ago [on Instagram], and he asked me to shoot a video for him, but I thought it was a joke. I was in a relationship, and my boyfriend was so jealous, and he said, "No, you’re never going to do it." When we broke up, like two years ago, [Drake] started to DM me again, and he said, "Fanny, no for real, I really want to work with you," and I said, "OK, let’s do it."
When I was on vacation with my friend, he said, "Fanny, where you at?" I said, "I’m in Miami enjoying vacation with my friends." He said, "If you’re free, come to South Africa to shoot my video, because I really want you in my video." I was like, “OK, I’ll give you my manager's number to call him." My manager said, "Take all your luggage. We’re going to South Africa."
When I was there, they told me it’s not a [music video], but a short movie. I was so honored to work on it, because Drake is such an amazing artist, and it was for the best songs off the album -- "Controlla" and "One Dance." I was so happy to do it.
How has social media been a tool for you in building your brand?
Social media is really important in my career because it’s like a window. I can show what I am and what I work for. I earn my money using social media. I know that some maybe think that Instagram is shit, but many people earn their lifestyle [on it]. Sometimes I have a brand or designer call me and say, "Fanny, I want to work with you. I want you to be the face of the brand." So it’s important for me.
What was the most challenging part about working on the Drake film?
It was my first time acting in a movie, so I was nervous, but I was excited to do it. The hardest part was when they shot me [in the film], because it’s not easy to act like you’re going to die. Also, I think maybe the love scene. It was hard, too, because there is like 30 people around you, like, "OK, Fanny. Do it again." But the rest was incredibly amazing.
I was cool before shooting the movie because [Drake] came to me and said, “Hey, I’m so happy that you came," and I was a little bit surprised because he said that he was honored that I came for him, and I was honored to do it. He’s very humble and a gentleman so he made me comfortable.
Any hopes for a possible song with him?
I hope. Maybe. Yeah, he said that he really liked my voice but he said, "You need to shoot to sing in English, because American people like you but they don’t know you, so you need to start singing in English. It’s better for you."
Are you taking lessons in English?
I’m going to take lessons because I just started to learn English three months ago.
What else can we expect from your upcoming project?
I have "Who Betta." "Who Betta" is a song where I talk to my boyfriend, and I know that he’s a Casanova, but I really like him, so I explain to him that, "Who betta than me? I give you what you want, I’m always there for you and I’m the baddest bitch in the game."