It’s 5pm on a cold Friday evening and walking to a studio in west London, I’m desperately trying to cling onto my slowly fading caffeine buzz. Making my way to meet rising R&B duo Misunderstood, I’m expecting the same slightly-knackered vibes from the pair who have been working tirelessly in the studio all week, but those expectations are quickly banished.
Bounding into our interview like they’ve been snorting blue Smarties, Stephan Benson and Jeffrey Okyere are two of the most upbeat people I have ever met, immediately charging me with some much needed energy without resorting to a double figure coffee day. The pair have been friends for a decade and first met when their older sisters became convinced that they would get along and forced them together. Evidently being correct — as older sisters often annoyingly are — the two became part of the same dance group. “Whilst we were in the dance group, we both knew we wanted to do music,” Okyere tells me, so when the group dissolved, the pair turned towards melodies.
Jeffrey wears trousers and hoodie STUSSY, shoes and socks stylist’s own. Stephan wears trousers and jumper STUSSY and shoes and socks VANS
Eventually becoming inseparable to the point where people would always ask where the “other one” was if they were on their own, Benson and Okyere spent the last few years dedicated to honing their craft (“No distractions! No Nandos! Nandos is a distraction!”) before dropping their first proper release, “Ghetto Style”, last year. A fun-filled pop track, the song is a celebration of the women who the pair think deserve more credit. “We’ve been saying to each other for so long, ‘Oh my gosh, we can’t wait ’til the day that it just goes pop!’ And it’s actually popped!” Benson laughs. “But yeah, we just want to make sure that we get it right before an album comes out.” “Yeah,” Okyere agrees, “‘Ghetto Style’ is just one little flavour.”
Already with huge ambitions for the future, the pair are adamant about using their platform to address the younger generation who listen to their music. “I think that a lot of them have no idea what life is about at the moment,” Okyere explains. “We talk about the importance of being yourself and being true to who you are and letting people know that being misunderstood is okay.” And where’s that going to get them by this time next year? “Grammy awards, Brit awards, MOBO awards!” Okyere laughs. “And definitely Nandos!”
Taken from the Winter 17/18 Issue of Wonderland; out now and available to buy here.