We got a chance to talk with a few artists from the 4th Cariforum-EU Business Forum in Frankfurt, Germany!
The Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit hosted the 4th CARIFORUM-European Union Business Forum under the theme of Building Stronger Partnerships in a Dynamic Global Economy at the Union Halle in Frankfurt, Germany. This initiative is designed to create new opportunities in trade and business for CARIFORUM companies. The focus of this year’s forum is the creative industries and agro-processing. We got a chance to speak with several of the artists featured at the forum. Check out our interviews with Black Haze, Kenyo Bally, LYFE AZ ROSE, Marin, and Sumerr!
The Knockturnal: So tell us what you’ve been up to since the last time you and I caught up.
Blvckhaze: We made a new video clip in Saint Vincent for the lyric video. Then we went to London. I had my first ever performance in London. I opened up for an artist called Dulapo and The Waiting Room. Now we’re here in Germany having a show.
The Knockturnal: What’s tomorrow’s show about?
Blvckhaze: Tomorrow’s show is about a lot of different artists, a lot of Caribbean artists and they’re all going to show their talents, three songs. And lots of labels are here to come see the talents.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about your new music, your inspiration, and where you pulled your inspiration from.
Blvckhaze: I had a few sessions. This time I really pulled inspiration off of what I was feeling at the time and going through. So you’ve got some songs about feeling really happy and at some points and if I wasn’t feeling that happy, you would get some songs that were based on that, so mostly about what I was feeling.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us more about the lyric video?
Blvckhaze: The lyric video was made in Saint Vincent. We were basically in the hood where we would go every day, there’s this place called Bully’s where we would go there and eat amazing pork. Every day we would hang out there. So basically, in that vicinity we shot the video.
The Knockturnal: That launches October 9th?
Blvckhaze: No, “Swa” launches October 9th. “Swa” was recorded in Barbados a while back in a writing camp. We were at a writing camp with different artists and producers. One night me and a producer made “Swa” and the video clip was shot in December in Barbados. It was choreographed by Trevor and Nat. Trevor also styled the outfits and directed the video.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about your diversified background and how you pull that into music?
Blvckhaze: Growing up my dad plays the drums, my mom used to sing in church, my sister dances and sings as well. Because my whole family is very musical it helped me being able to express myself musically as well and my feelings in music. In the house they were always playing the Gospel or Jazz. Miles Davis, Jill Scott, Crystal Lewis. I was very influenced by that, but because I grew up so Christian I started listening to Hannah Montana, High School Musical, like very Disney kind of music and then when I got a little bit older like 14-15 I started listening to Rihanna, Usher, Lil Wayne, Drake, etc.
The Knockturnal: Can You tell us a little bit about where you’re from?
Blvckhaze: I’m from Curacao that’s in the Dutch Caribbean. It’s part of the ABC Islands, we speak four languages there – Papiamento, Dutch, English and most people speak Spanish. I speak a little bit of Spanish and I speak a little bit of Suriname because my dad is from Suriname. Curacao is beautiful. Great food and great people. The music there is called Tambú, Tumba, Ritmo Kombina but we also have Dembo which is like dance hall but with our language on it Papiamento. So I would say that’s also my background in music.
The Knockturnal: So you would call your unique style of music Papiamento?
Blvckhaze: I would call it Island Pop because I listen to a lot of dancehall and reggae. Especially for the EP coming out I listened to 90’s dancehall and reggae a lot so it would be like Shabba Ranks, Patra, Ty Stevens, Lady Saw etc. As you said, I do like to incorporate Papiamento in my music sometimes so I would put like a few lines of Papiamento because, yeah I got to represent home.
The Knockturnal: So Kenyo, tell me where you’re from?
Kenyo Baly: I’m from St. Martin. It’s an island in the Caribbean.
The Knockturnal: And tell me about your musical influences.
Kenyo Baly: I grew up singing gospel, R&B, and soul, so my influences would consist of John Legend, Brandy—I listened to a lot of 90s R&B growing up. And then I also listened to a lot of reggae music, so Bob Marley is also one of my influences.
The Knockturnal: Alright and what have you’ve been working on?
Kenyo Baly: I’ve been a soca artist for the past two years, but I’m branching out into like the fusion sound. Branching out to more of an international sound, the afro fusion kind of thing, which will easily fall into pop. I’m a very versatile artist so I could, I could do anything basically from R&B to rock n’ roll to gospel.
The Knockturnal: And what is currently out now that our audience could hear to get to know you as an artist?
Kenyo Baly: Yeah so, I have my soca songs that I’ve released for the past two years. You could find anything on all musical platforms. Just search Kenyo Bally music and everything should be there. I also have a few collaborations out. I’m currently writing and in the production process of releasing new music, which would be the new sound that I’m getting into.
The Knockturnal: And the new music will come out in 2020?
Kenyo Baly: Yes for the 2020 cd.
The Knockturnal: What else would you like people to know about you as an artist?
Kenyo Baly: Well, I would say for sure to not be afraid to start over. You know, cause I’ve endured a lot of struggles and challenges with starting over and building back up. In St. Martin, we got hit really hard a couple of years ago with a record-breaking hurricane, Hurricane Irma in 2017. And it’s kind of like something that we had to go through to get something fresh in return you know like everything-out of a bad situation you should look at it in an optimistic way. It’s your chance to rebuild. So that’s what I want to say as artists, whatever you’re going through look at your struggles as a chance to rebuild yourself, rebrand yourself and just be optimistic you know.
The Knockturnal: And don’t be afraid to change your mind and realize that the path has changed.
Kenyo Baly: Yeah, exactly. Exactly, cause that’s what’s happening for me is, it’s almost the best thing that happened if—It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.
The Knockturnal: That’s awesome! That’s really cool! I’m really excited to hear what you’ve done so far and what you got going on soon.
Kenyo Baly: Thank you!
Lyfe Az Rose
The Knockturnal: Okay so LA, tell me about where you’re from and what your sound is?
Lyfe Az Rose: I grew up in Trinidad in Tobago, small Caribbean island and music was always a part of my life it’s on my mom’s side. She always used to have us singing in churches and functions growing up. Basically, what inspires me was her, you know? Her struggles as a mom a single mom and her strength to bring up all four of us-me and my siblings-her strength is what inspired me.
The Knockturnal: And what would you say your music sounds like and what can we hear currently and what’s next?
Lyfe Az Rose: So my music is very is like an island soul music fusion of Pop, Reggae, a little bit of R&B and Jazz in there some Caribbean vibe to it is as well
The Knockturnal: So what are your new songs what’s coming?
Lyfe Az Rose: So I recently released a song called “We All Need Love” a pretty universal song I would think and the inspiration behind that is just people I love, people I love to vibe with different energies. I just wanted to write a song that’s universal, that can fit any age, any ethnicity, any country, you know, just a song that covers everything so that’s what “We All Need Love” is about.
The Knockturnal: And where can we hear it?
Lyfe Az Rose: You can hear that on YouTube, iTunes, Diesel. Most online platforms you can hear it
The Knockturnal: And what is next for you?
Lyfe Az Rose: What is next for me? I see myself being a Grammy artist I know for a lot of people it’s farfetched, but I think that’s where I see my platform and performing a lot performing use my music to do so much more in the world.
The Knockturnal: Cool. And do you have an album coming out?
Lyfe Az Rose: Not yet but I have a few singles that are gonna be dropping soon. It’s a mix of EDM, more inspirational music I’m writing and I want to dabble in a few things, probably Alternative as well.
The Knockturnal: Is there any message you would like to share with your audience?
Lyfe Az Rose: Well the message I want to communicate to any audience is to never give up on your dream and on your goal. Had I done that I would not be in Germany now. It’s been difficult as an artist trying to be in your own creative space and have your own voice amongst so many other energies but the beauty of it is when you finally find what your purpose is and who you are as a person and you’re okay with that then anything is possible
Marin (Twang System)
The Knockturnal: So Marin, tell me about your sound.
Marin: My sound is a nice blend of soul, character, and reggae music. I definitely got the soul coming in, got the Caribbean touch in as well. It’s hard to label myself about what my sound is, it’s definitely uplifting. Spread a lot of love and a lot of messages in the lyrics.
The Knockturnal: Okay. So, tell me what you have out right now and where that came from.
Marin: At the moment I’m part of a group as well, called Twang System from Sweden. So together with the music, we also do solo projects as well. So, we’ve been working together since 2009 and that’s actually how I started recording. From there, I’ve been inspired by a lot of music- especially from my father who’s a drummer and singer as well. Also, other people in my family who also succeeded in music. That was the incentive to realize music is my calling. I have a voice that needs to be heard, it speaks for the people.
The Knockturnal: Where can we hear your music?
Marin: You can find it on Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud.
The Knockturnal: What music do you have coming up?
Marin: I have a lot of music on the way. At the moment, I released some singles a few years back. I’ve basically been working a lot, performing. With Twang System, our last release was in January, a single called “Para-fanns.” It’s in Swedish. It means “money existence,” like a slang for we had money.
The Knockturnal: What’s next for you?
Marin: Next is I’m working with Twang System on releasing a collection because we’ve been working together for 10 years. So, we’ll be releasing an album or an EP, and some singles as well. For myself, I may be working on an EP. I haven’t decided if it’s gonna be a collection or singles. But I do have a few tracks waiting to be put up in 2020.
The Knockturnal: Anything else that your listeners, or new listeners, should know about you?
Marin: About me? Well, where to start? I want to inspire people, you know? So that is definitely my calling. I wanted to reach out to people and make people look within themselves and grow as well to grow together with my music.
The Knockturnal: So Sumerr, tell me about your music.
SumeRR: My music is a fusion sound I would think. I think I’m very versatile when it comes to music but I think my strength comes from a fusion between reggae and R&B. I think I have like a Lauren Hill influence, Amy Whinehouse, even a little bit of Beyoncé some may say, so I think that’s my strong point but I do try to do different genres with music. But my strong point is fusion music.
The Knockturnal: And what are your projects, what do you have coming out this year and what have you already released?
SumeRR: My recent release, I had two late releases last month, ‘Old School’, my single it made it on the reggae Global Charts at number 19, and ‘Crush’ which I released last month from Base Culture productions in Spain. I’m working with them for a reggae album which we plan to release at the end of this year.
The Knockturnal: And what are you doing here in Frankfurt?
SumeRR: I’m here really for the experience and potentially meeting people who can help me to expand my career or help to take it to a next level or help to influence my music and my direction.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell me about the conference with Sara Bell?
SumeRR: So overall, it’s a showcase of like Caribbean people coming to Europe like an exchange market. So the Caribbean agency brings the artists and then the European investors or people who have an interest in an artists or whatever art they find interesting we have an exchange or like a trade. So I think the conference is to let people who are here meet with record labels, and publishers and producers, and get to hear us artists who are in the showcase and to potentially work together.
The Knockturnal: And what is the name of the album?
SumeRR: I don’t have a name yet, but this morning in my room, you know, I was there being all sad because unfortunately my grandfather passed yesterday, but I’m still trying to be strong and keep the face-up. But I was in my room and I was listening and I’m thinking, I’m going to call my album ‘Tears, Rain, and Sunshine’. I don’t know, I’m thinking I’m gonna call it that. This is the first time I’m telling you, by the way, it is the first time I’ve ever said it because on the album I didn’t know what to call it because it’s my very first album so all the songs are a little bit different. Some of the songs talk about my past, some talk about my present, some talk about happy moments. So I’m thinking ‘Tears, Rain, and Sunshine’.
The Knockturnal: Cool, and you’re looking for a full album drop in 2020?
SumeRR: Yes, that’s what I’m hoping. I think one of my problems now as an artist is that my fan base can’t really find- well, I really sell lots of singles but over the years its really me trying to find my sound or trying out new things, its kind of all over the place. So now that I think I found my sound, I’m hoping that this album really concrete, solidifies my fan base.