Raheem Bakaré | MOBO Interview
Raheem Bakaré is making his move on the music industry, with his soulfully infused sound beginning to be picked up by the masses! We caught up with Raheem to find out a bit more about him, talk about his 'AWOL' EP, the artists which inspire him and the process he undertakes when making his music.
Hi Raheem Bakaré! Can you please introduce yourself to our mobo.com readers and tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey! My name is Raheem Bakaré and I'm an artist from South London. I sing, produce and write music
What is your musical background and when did you decide music was the things for you?
I started singing in a boy group named "Adept" with my good friend Bluey Robinson when I was in secondary school. The group split around mid college time and I remained active within my inclination to music. I studied Music Technology at college and later went on to university to study Media Production.
I bought a Mac in 2010 and the production of music and visual art has stuck with me ever since… four years down the line I believe that I have grown with inspiration and developed key aspirations to move forward with.
What inspires you to write music?
I stay inspired by the influence of people around me and other musicians I listen to or come in contact with. I somehow break up my attention span per week from writing and producing to filming and editing short pieces to always test and develop my skills.
Life in general inspires me to write songs because I believe a feeling or emotion can always be explained or expressed on more than one level.
Growing up which artists had your ear and became the artists that you looked up to?
Growing up I listened to the likes of Jagged Edge and Boyz II Men. I shamelessly developed a habit of stealing my older brother’s tapes. This was my first encounter with Hip Hop artists like Ma$e, Wu Tang Clan and Tupac. I feel that all of the music I listened to has really had an impact on my musical taste up to today. Oh I also love Outkast, Their songs are far from conventional and I like this quirky aspect of artistically how they translate emotions through words and melody. Relating back to my debut EP AWOL, it’s evident that Hip Hop as well as R&B both influence and inspire me in my creative approach to writing.
What previous MOBO Award winners have inspired you over the last 18 years of MOBO?
I love the fact that icons such as Lauryn Hill and Boyz II Men have won a MOBO award in previous years but one very special MOBO that I was extremely proud and supportive of is the award presented to Tinie Tempah in 2011. As he grew up in the same area as me, it was a really inspiring moment and I hope to win my very own MOBO one day!
How important is it that MOBO continues to recognise urban music and provide artists with the platform to go on to do great things?
It is extremely important for the MOBO awards to continue in sighting urban talents as it definitely raises the awareness of the efforts and successes that each artist/groups have worked so hard to achieve.
Your debut EP ‘AWOL’ was released at the start of this month. What was the creative process behind that EP and how have you found it to be received thus far?
There was no rigid plan of how the EP would sound. I just had the idea for the name for years and I knew that the process of making the EP would leave me incubated in an environment where I didn’t have a social life. Each song within the EP speaks for different aspects of my life. “Wake Up Call” was written about my struggles with chasing my career path and earning a living. Songs like “Carried Away” and “Purple Sky” from the EP came together organically when working in studio with the right individuals as well as spending sleepless nights tweaking. “Portrait of Love” is the lead track from “AWOL” and also one of my favourites because it speaks of love, which I feel the majority of us can relate to. The lyrical cross-reference and representation of photography within concept is something quirky that I figured could be added in the mix. It is also field I have technical experience within. There are two producers, Matti Roots and Mars that I worked alongside with on the AWOL EP project, very talented!
What is your favourite part of being an artist? Is performing the best bit or do you prefer being in the studio writing new music?
I actually love both. My idea of being an artist is warming up and going for it at every opportunity you get to sing over a chord progression and record some improvised melodies. I always love the spontaneity of note selection within freestyle, it can vary depending on what I've been listening to.
What can we expect from Raheem Bakare over the coming months?
A lot more music to work on and a couple more shows lined up, some great collaborations and definitely more knowledge as I’m learning something new everyday.
Who else are you rating in the UK scene at the moment?
I'm really rating the likes of Jessie J, James Blake, Lianne La Havas and Ed Sheeran! Their music always pulls me in and they each have a unique sound that compliments their vocals.
What would be your dream collaboration?
My dream collaboration would be with Ryan Leslie. I believe that his style and sound would compliment the way I arrange my vocals. His creative workflow would be good to learn from also, he’s a genius!
Our MOBO UnSung competition is now open for all aspiring artist to enter. What are you learning as a new artist in the industry?
I am learning that with regards to the business side of the industry, there are a lot more things that happen behind the scenes than most would imagine. I’ve also learnt that there is no one-way to go about building your audience and expressing your personality. Performing and getting use to the stage is definitely one aspect of building a healthy career within music, but on the other side having a voice online is important as well. There is so much to share and social networks are very powerful tools that should never be overlooked.
What advice would you give to all aspiring artists?
Plan before putting anything out. It's also a good idea to start getting to know your sound and know yourself as an artist. This will ensure that your projects cohesively develop naturally.
What do aspire to achieve as an artist?
I aspire to complete several innovations of audio/visual film that conceptually hold a story behind them. I want my following to increase to a commercial scale and as much as I love the creative process of music as an art form, I want to lightly involve my skills in cinematography and story telling to further enhance my music and give it unique packaging and of course win a MOBO!