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NEW NOISE: JOSHUA IDEHEN – “KEEP UP YOUR CHIN”

The Sweden-based, British-born Nu-jazz artist offers up vulnerability in illuminating interview.

Joshua Idehen is many things – a poet, workshop facilitator, magazine editor, musician – but most importantly, he’s a father. Idehen draws from a wealth of artistic inspiration, evidenced by his many tendrils of creative expression. Each creative pursuit seems to enrich another, in turn creating his unparalleled genre-bending, jazz-infused sound.

Melding together lo-fi, soul, and his resonant words – “Hold Up Your Chin ” is a feat of sheer musical fortitude. Cementing his place as a mainstay of the music industry, critics and fans alike have revered the artist’s lyrical compassion and colourful instrumentation. Spread across six tracks, “Hold Up Your Chin ” features collaborations from some of music’s most valuable players. Contributors, such as Ade Omotayo, toured with Amy Winehouse as one of her backing singers; enough said.

“Hold Up Your Chin” oscillates between genres. Idehen’s soulful hit “Don’t You Give Up On Me” has new life breathed into it, with two remixes offering up vastly different soundscapes – including an Afro-Brazilian, carnival flair. Idehen’s rich repertoire of references are most on display with the track “What We’re Doing Tonight”. Arpeggiated synths play off of a commanding garage rhythm, all the while held together by Idehen’s captivating storytelling.

We had the absolute delight of picking Idehen’s brains, to find out all we can about such a singular figure. From bouts of depression, to what keeps his chin up – Idehen tells all.

Head below to read our eye-opening interview with Joshua Idehen…

Hey Joshua! What was the first thing you did when you woke up today?

My daughter has learnt the word “nose” so she pokes me every morning – on the nose. The first thing I did was give her dagger eyes, but she just laughed at me.

Congratulations on “Hold Your Chin Up”! Where would you say we are now in the Joshua Idehen journey?

Hopefully at the start! It’s taken me a long time and a lot of projects to become the person who could make this project. I’m grateful I can be here, and I’m looking forward to the next steps.

In those early sessions of making the project, what were your main goals?

Firstly, I wanted to make music I could dance to – music that made me happy. And then I wanted to spin all my grief into bops.

You blend lo-fi house, soul and poetry beautifully on the EP. Can you break down what the contents of your own playlists have looked like recently?

Lots of Amapiano, jazz, score, yacht rock, 80s coroners, left field pop and dance music. Highlights include that mellow and steezy song: you know the one. “Waves” by Lazy Habits, all of Floating Points and Busman’s Holiday.

What’s one thing that might surprise fans about the process of making “Hold Your Chin Up”?

I dunno if it’s surprising or obvious but it’s my first time having anything to do with a choir.

You really elevate optimism on the project, what drove you to write something so uplifting?

I went through a depressive state from 2017 to… Well, I’m managing it better now. That was also a very creative period for me, so I got the space to make a lot of very sad, angsty music. Come 2021, I had gotten most of it out of my system. Moving forward I wanted to try rhyming towards the light for a change.

You’re Sweden-based, however, are British-born Nigerian – how do you think these different settings have influenced your artistry?

It’s honestly easier to be positive when the country isn’t falling apart around you TBF. I like walking, and riding my bike when I’m thinking up lyrics. Moving through pleasant architecture and nature does make one see the good out there. Mind you, this was before the hard right wing win in the recent election, so the album might come out grim, still.

You’ve already worked with some amazing artists including Jordan Stephens and Lazy Habits – if you could link up with anyone else in the future, who would it be?

Bjork. 4Hero. Nicholas Britell. Khruangbin.

Finally, what’s next for Joshua Idehen?

Well, myself and my producer, Ludvig Parment, have just finished the next project – and we are hard at work on the next thing.

To listen to Joshua Idehen’s new EP “Keep Up Your Chin” head below…

NEW NOISE: JOSHUA IDEHEN – “KEEP UP YOUR CHIN”

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