With the “AltR&B” wave in full swing, an edgier generation of vocalists are more likely to reveal to expose their raw emotions and innermost thoughts on real life, everyday situations as opposed to flossing about popping bottles in the club or fantasised sexual encounters over David Guetta beats, which at some point has become the twisted reality of the R&B mainstream. Artists like Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, JMSN, Jhene Aiko and even former teen sensation JoJo, amongst countless others have flipped this on it’s head and speak on something deeper. The UK needed an answer to this exciting new sub-genre when in stepped East London’s Azekel…
As a child Azekel had learned to play a number of instruments including keyboard, guitar and bass, and began to tie his instrumental talents together when he started to experiment with production, later progressing into song-writing, which resulted in some pop demos recorded for the likes of Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson, a stark contrast to his own material.
Having recently released a double A-side single, That Feeling/ A Song To An Unborn Child, Azekel has been attracting a lot of online attention despite having such a small amount of music available. Inspired by a diverse range of influences including Sly Stone, Prince, Nirvana, David Bowie and D’Angelo (whose “Voodoo” he cites as the greatest album of all time), and with an aim to always push the boundaries of the genres within which he works, it has been a natural progression, both in songwriting and production, for Azekel to move towards something slightly more alternative. The result comes off as honest and authentic music that sounds fresh and interesting, rather than a rehashed soul music or a contrived attempt at something cool.
His most recent release, a remix of That Feeling with a guest verse from US rapper Dom McLennon, has been receiving a lot of blog coverage and the transatlantic collaboration been a great way to bridge the US/UK gap which will hopefully allow him to start building fanbases from both sides of the Atlantic from the roots up. The impact of his first single has been strong, and he’s not looking to stop there, promising a visual for A Song To An Unborn Child within the month and plenty more music dropping throughout the year, hopefully culminating in a debut EP this Winter.
Words by @GrantBrydon