The newcomer is here to fuse his Eritrean background UK R&B for a fresh and addictive sound.
Here to merge their East African background with modern R&B-infused afrobeats is rising British artist Wauve. Dropping his new single “Pamela” today, the singer takes us through an intricate web of waist-moving rhythms, Spanish-influenced guitar strings and afrobeat-tinged basslines. Accompanied by a melanin-rich video set in an underground barbershop, Wauve shows his appreciation to African women with various women braiding hair under golden hues for a vibrant sun-kissed anthem.
Dropping his debut EP “Shade” tomorrow, Wauve revealed to us that his latest single is about taking pride in who you are while the EP, “symbolises the nostalgic moment of reflecting on all the memorable times, accepting both the good and bad”.
Having already gained traction form R&B legends Ne-Yo and Stargate, the burgeoning talent is well on his way to becoming an afrobeat-trap pioneer. With the release of his EP tomorrow, we caught up with Wauve talking his inspirations for the project, fusing his Eritrean background with pop sensibilities and what is next on the table for the rising star.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Wauve, how has this uncertain time been for you? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
it was kind of an emotional rollercoaster! Lockdown allowed me to spend more time on the thing that I actually love it which is sitting down making music in the home studio. That’s when I’m at my most experimental. Explored new sound, new ideas, lyrics & vibes. I was also just allowed to really gather my thoughts and think about what direction I want to go in with the music once we’re out of lockdown. Then between coronavirus, the Black lives matter movement & me losing a close family member it was really tough but It forced me to make one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever made, in “day by day”. and now as we seem to be easing out of lockdown it’s slowly but surely been getting more and more hectic and I’ve had to spend less time on creating & more time doing promo. With this new song “Pamela” and the “Shade” EP dropping! It’s been a journey!
How has your East African background fed and influenced your music? And how about London?
I think the East African influence is engrained deep within me. it’s not something that I consciously draw out because it’s in my DNA. Eritrean music is all my parents played in the house growing up. The melodies that I naturally draw for, the kinds of flows that I choose. It might not be obvious to the average listener because other styles of music that I listened to growing up have also heavily affected my choice of sound. But people who are East African may be able to tell. My use of Pentatonic scales for example is a huge part of my sound which is also a staple in Eritrean music. London has definitely affected my music. As an artist, your sound is a product of your environment. London is what I see in my day-to-day life. I was born and raised here. From grime & funky house, which was the first style of music I listen to as a youngster, to Afro swing and now drill. These all have definitely influenced my sound over the years.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
My musical heroes growing up were very much the golden era of early 2000’s R&B and hip-hop artists such as (just to name a few) Usher, Chris Brown, T-Pain, Bobby Valentino, Mario, Ne-Yo, Omarion, The dream etc. Rappers like Lil Wayne, jay z, kanye west, 50 cent also had a huge impact on my younger days. To this day I still feel like music was at a special place! I’m forever trying to recreate the feeling that era gave me.
How would you describe your genre?
I feel like I’m still on a mission to create my sound but it’s a mixture of Afrobeats and R&B. I haven’t created a trendy name for it yet but that’s the vibe I feel really shows who I am as an artist!
Congratulations on your new track “Pamela” – what is it about?
“Pamela” is a song which I hope inspires people to look deeper into their roots and to understand more about where they’ve come from. At the same time it’s a song you can just vibes to and play at any party. It’s about being proud of where you’ve come from. In the specific case of Pamela, she’s a girl who is of African descent who doesn’t really know too much about her roots as she was born & raised in London. The song is about me allowing her to get to know herself, before I start get to know her. The song is just me giving her a flavour of what really is to be African. I think this song represents a large demographic of people in the world and I feel like now more than ever we should be looking more at what makes us unique & becoming more proud of that!
And love the music video and the heat of it – it seems like a celebration! What did you want to convey with it? And where was it shot?
Thanks! I just wanted to convey black culture, African culture, the beauty of the black woman. To create more role models & images of black beauty for young people to look up to as I feel like when I was younger there weren’t many representation of people who looked like me in the media. so now I feel like it’s part of my duty while I’m here to put that message out there. We did this by having the models rocking traditional African hairstyles & clothing. It actually wasn’t shot in Africa, it was done in London due to Corona restrictions but the set design magicians got it looking really believable!
And you’ve got your EP “Shade” coming up too – how long has it been in the making?
“Shade” is a project that has been a long time coming. I feel like ever since I dropped my first single people have been calling for a project. The songs on the project were made anywhere In between two years ago and just this summer gone. But the thing that does tie them all in is that it’s an EP that really displays my musical DNA. I think this makes sense to put out as Shade will be my Debut Project! R&B & also very roots based music is where I’ve come from so expect to hear real music in this EP!
Why is it called “Shade” and what ties it together as a body of work?
“Shade” is a word that i use when I’m reflecting on nostalgic moments (i.e. I’m shading right now). I touch on both the good times (lighter shades) and the bad times (darker shades). Listeners can view this EP as my stream of consciousness while I “shade”. I think “Shade” is a very fitting name as throughout the EP each song displays a different shade to me musically. I feel like I’m a very versatile artist and this project exhibits my skill to the world for the first time within a project
What was the biggest challenge of putting it together at a time like this?
I like to be socially interactive, but I don’t particularly enjoy social media and I feel like the only thing that I lose from the experience of putting “Shade” out right now is not being able to have that person to person connection with my supporters. For example doing shows, holding events, holding pop-ups. I love all of that because it makes me feel like I’m doing something that’s really affecting people’s lives & it’s a shame that all of that won’t be possible due to the times were in!
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I want people to reminisce, I want people to feel nostalgia, I want people to feel the “Shade” emotion that I touched on earlier. It’s a big vibe, but in the same breath, introspective. It touches on life topics, both the good and the bad so it’s a very nice all-rounder!
What’s next and what are you looking forward to?
Hopefully, we’ve made a couple waves with this new project and music video for “Pamela”. I’ve got another music video that I’m planning to drop from one of the songs on the “Shade” EP which I’m really excited about! Then I can’t wait for these next couple months towards the end of the year. I’m going to just stay locked in the studio all winter and create the best music I’ve ever created in my life so that in 2021 we can come back with a bang. I really feel like a new brand-new artist right now and I want people to feel the new presence of Wauve as soon as the new year hits!