BLESSED's debut mixtape Music Is The Medicine is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and so much more.
Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos
Last week, African-Australian rockstar BLESSED released his debut mixtape, Music Is The Medicine. Navigating self love, growth, understanding and the generational hunger for hope, the release transcends the confines of genre, instead creating a multi-genre sequence of songs.
Fusing together rap, rock, punk and alternative sounds, BLESSED has carved out his own path on Music Is The Medicine. An excellent display of his versatility as an artist, the mixtape is complete with relatable and introspective lyricism.
On the release, the musician collaborates with Ghanaian-American rapper Amaarae on Count On Me, showcasing a more easy going approach to his lyricism, whilst standout track Rosalía is an homage to the Spanish pop-star, featuring a sample approved by the star herself.
BLESSED will launch the release with a handful of exclusive headline shows at Sydney’s Mary's Underground. Taking place on December 10th, the musician will perform two shows taking place that evening.
Music Is The Medicine is out now! Read our interview with BLESSED below.
Tell us a bit about how your musical journey began…
I started making music when my family bought our first home computer, back when you had to use dial up internet. I quickly learned how to download, taught myself to produce using FL Studio and then I bought my first microphone using Centrelink money. I haven’t stopped making music ever since.
Congratulations on the release of your debut mixtape!
Music Is The Medicine navigates self love, growth, understanding and the generational hunger for hope. Could you tell us about the release as a whole and what prompted you to explore the themes present?
Music is the medicine is a mixture of perspectives, experiences and self diagnosed healing through the music and the frequencies attached to it. I was going through a lot writing these songs and making them really helped me get through that.
The release is your first full-length musical venture, which you’ve been working on for some time. How did the mixtape evolve and change throughout its creation?
I had most of the songs for the mixtape finished in 2019 but I ended up losing a lot of the files on my laptop and they weren’t backed up. So the project evolved a lot from the time it was started to its release .
This mixtape is a multi-genre sequence of songs, transcending one set genre. How did you arrive at this genre-bending soundscape present on the release?
I’ve always been into different genres and never really understood how anyone could be into a singular style. I’ve played guitar in punk bands, rapped and wrote folk songs. I think good music is just good.
You collaborated with some great artists, Amaarae and LENGHOCK. How did these collaborations come about and what do you think each artist brings to their respective tracks to elevate the songs?
LENGHOCK and I have been making music together for years, we both share a love for punk guitars, trap beats and the pureness of vulnerability. The Amaarae collaboration came through a mutual friend of ours and a producer on the song Kyu. I remember Kyu playing me songs he worked on with Ama in Paris and I instantly fell in love with her vocal.
Rosalía is an homage to the Spanish pop-star and also features an approved sample. What was the process like getting that approved sample and has she heard the song yet?
Honestly I wasn’t even going to try to get the sample cleared haha. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think artists should steal from each other but I also believe that musical expression and being inspired or moved by a piece to create your own shouldn’t be limited by rules. Luckily my manager Lucy thinks the opposite and made it happen haha/
You’ve released some great visuals throughout the mixtapes rollout! How important are the visuals to you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track?
I think the imagery is almost as important as the sonics. It’s hard to tell the full story touching on only one of our senses and visuals allow you to say so much without even saying anything at all.
If you had to pick three songs off Music Is The Medicine to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which three would they be and why?
Rosalia, True To Me and Count On Me. All three carry a different energy that sums me up as not only an artist, but also as a person.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from the release?
I want listeners to know they are not alone in this mono experience and even though no one could see through your eyes, that we all share one thing and that is emotions.
Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
I’m an introvert so naturally I’m reclusive. I make most of my music alone but this pandemic was really a time for me to connect deeper with my family and loved ones. Also it gave me clarity on why I make music and the purpose I have in doing so.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
There’s a lot of talented creatives coming from Australia but especially from Western Sydney. Lately I’ve been excited about young artists like Baby Prince, Billymaree and Chirine. All three will be royalty of their own lanes and they’re the definition of when talent meets great work ethic.
You have some shows coming up next month to celebrate the mixtapes release! How are you approaching crafting a set and overall live experience for these socially distanced shows?
I want the show to be a celebration of togetherness. Even though we have new laws and restrictions, I want to remind people that we’re all in this together through live music in an intimate setting. That could be just what a lot of us need right now.
Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Kurt Cobain.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Emotive, esoteric and spiritual.
Best song of 2020?
Blessed - Count On Me.
The most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Supporting Matt Corby in Melbourne.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Best concert you have been to?
Last concert you went to?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
Drake for sure.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Current self : stay true to who you are, future self : keep working hard, a year from now : enjoy every moment.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
When I found out Kanye produces his own music.