The London-raised musician creating his own wave of modern neo-soul speaks on the release of his new EP 'That Secret Sauce', how the collaboration with Rhythm Section came about and the importance of freedom of expression.
Your previous single ‘Secret’, how does this track give us a glimpse into your new EP 'That Secret Sauce' and what were the main inspirations for the single?
'Secret' really sets the tone for Side A of ‘That Secret Sauce’. In particular, it has a seductive tone whilst giving you that feeling of nostalgia with some modern inflections.
How did your collaboration with Rhythm Section come about for this EP?
I first did a show with Rhythm Section at Jazz café a few years ago where Charlotte Dos Santos was headlining, we kind of just stayed in contact from there.
Sonically, the EP covers a lot of ground, what were your main influences going into creating the project?
Like all my projects, I wanted to create a musical journey that covered a vast array of sounds and influences whilst still remaining sonically cohesive. It was more about adapting an old era (the era of the 70’s) with a modern spin.
"... I explore the ideas of vulnerability, lust, power, acceptance, and triumph."
As an introspective songwriter, conceptually, what were you hoping to explore within this EP?
I tend to write in a stream of consciousness kind of form, so whenever it’s time to explain the project as a whole it’s almost always retrospectively; Conceptually, I explore the ideas of vulnerability, lust, power, acceptance, and triumph.
Back in 2019, you released your highly praised debut ‘Mood Swings (Volume One)’, how did the process of this project differ to ‘That Secret Sauce’?
The main difference with this EP is that I only had two producers on it, Talos produced six of the seven tracks and Jude Greaves produced one, so making the songs flow cohesively was a way easier job for me.
What were the main themes that you wanted to delve into on your debut EP?
With ‘Conversations’ I knew I didn’t want to talk about love, especially with it being my first release, so I decided to focus on social issues that me and my peer group were experiencing at the time; topics of solitude, environmental influence, spiritual growth and frivolously living.
"... I’m constantly in competition with myself, so sometimes I get caught up ...."
Can you hear the growth in your music or process from that first introductory EP?
I can definitely hear the growth from EP one to where I am now, with that said I’m constantly in competition with myself, so sometimes I get caught up in that ‘have I already done my best mentality’.
What does ‘FOE’ mean to you and your music?
'FOE' to me is a space where the lines of genres cease to exist, freedom of expression are the topics, thoughts and themes, fusion of everything is the sound, and I try to echo that concept throughout my day to day.
"... we are constantly in a state of growing and learning, so there’s always skills that can be sharpened or acquired by collaborating with other artists."
If you had to choose two of your tracks to best show your range as an artist, which would you choose and why?
First I would choose 'Lovesick', as it’s one of my most popular songs, and showcases my songwriting; it’s probably one of my most formulaic songs.
The second track would be ’Sauce’. I think vocally and sonically it shows greater range.
As someone who has featured on a fair few collaborations, which has been your favourite so far?
I think it’s really important, we are constantly in a state of growing and learning, so there’s always skills that can be sharpened or acquired by collaborating with other artists. Also it’s a great way to integrate fanbases.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and what kind of track would you want to make?
Alex Isley, I won’t say too much about the track because I already have one in mind, and I’m trying to protect this manifestation lol
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
D’Angelo without a doubt! Brandy, Marvin Gaye, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Joe inspired me to get into music, and all those artists inspire me today with the addition of Jazmine Sullivan, Robert Glasper, Alex Isley, Khruangbin, and my musical peers.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would you choose?
Speaking of musical peers ...
What’s coming up for 2021?
Well ‘That Secret Sauce’ will be available on vinyl, which is my first vinyl release. Things seem to be slowly opening up, so I’ve been booked for a couple shows, and I’ll be working on new music for you.