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Time With: blackwave

Belgium's dynamic Hip-Hop duo, blackwave, emerges as an unstoppable force, captivating listeners with mesmerising rhythms and flows. Composed of the talents of Jean-Valéry Atohoun and Willem Ardui, blackwave's latest single serves as a profound testament to their artistry's weight so far. Birthing ‘Champion’, an emotive number in an alliance with Britain's very own Jordan Mackampa.

'Champion' draws inspiration from Atohoun's profound connection with his late father, resonating with heartfelt emotions that traverse the realms of nostalgia. Atohoun weaves profound wordplay within the lyrics, revealing treasured childhood memories, hope and ambition. Complemented alon

g Ardui's production, he skillfully constructs a jazz-infused sonic tapestry.

Mackampa's presence in the chorus of 'Champion' adds an undeniable layer of depth and empathy, his lyricism serving as a soulful guide. blackwave and Mackampa have forged a triumphant collaboration that is a harmonious fusion of talent, resulting in a musical hit we couldn't ignore.

1. Tell us a bit about your story: who are you and what has your journey looked like so far?

We’re Jean & Willem, two guys from Ghent and Antwerp who started making music together after meeting online. We’ve been releasing music since 2017 and have now released our sophomore album “no sleep in LA”.

2. Who inspires you musically and creatively?

Willem: Donald Glover and Tyler, The Creator are two names that come to mind instantly. I love how uncompromised their work is. I love their worldbuilding and storytelling. I’m inspired by how they bridge gaps between different artistic disciplines.

Jean: Tyler the Creator, Childish Gambino, Isaiah Rashad, Frank Ocean, SZA, J. Cole, Ye, Daniel Ceasar, Vicktor Taiwo, 070 Shake, Anderson. Paak and more. Some inspiring me by the way of how they approach their music, the flow and cadence or intricacies and beauty of their writing. Some also inspiring me by how they have become bigger than life by expanding beyond their musicianship and excel as a person thriving to take part in everything that lies within the possibilities.

3. What is the creative process behind your music? (Alternatively, what was the creative process behind your new music release?)

Willem: When we first started out it was usually me who made a beat that I then sent to Jay. He would write some parts, send it back and then I would finish with some of my vocals. We mixed everything ourselves too. Right now it’s more of an organic thing. We try to always get together in a studio somewhere and start something from scratch. A lot of times with just the two of us, but we also learned the beauty of collaborating. In Los Angeles this really helped us to break through some kind of rut. For ‘no sleep in LA’, we worked with a bunch of different producers, artists and instrumentalists, and then took it back home to finish it up together with our mixer and good friend Tobie.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve received during your journey?

Jean: “Don’t try to fit in, being your own authentic you is what makes you shine.”

5. How do you nurture your creativity?

Jean: Honestly there’s no specific answer to this. Every bit of inspiration is pulled from a personal experience in life, sometimes empowered or triggered by other forms of art.

6. What do you hope your music will reveal to your listeners? (Alternatively, what do you hope your new music will reveal to your listeners?)

Willem: We always try to convey a hopeful feeling with our music. We tell very personal stories, a lot of the time about things we are/were going through, but we always want to give it an uplifting twist. We want the listener to walk away from an album/concert inspired and lightened in a way.

7. Are there any upcoming shows or projects we can look forward to?

Willem: We have a pretty busy summer full of festivals and shows. We have two headline shows in our hometown of Antwerp in June that we’re looking forward to a lot. In September we’ll be releasing the deluxe version of our latest album ‘no sleep in LA’ with a couple of unreleased tracks and remixes. After that we’ll be doing an EU club tour while simultaneously working on our third album.

8. Is there any advice you want to give to new artists?

Jean: The biggest and fairly simple piece of advice I could give any person to date is to honestly just not listen to anyone and create to your heart’s content. Something you can easily lose track of as a creative with so much noise on the outside trying to infiltrate but in the end all of the best results are given when you do and create what feels right for your heart and gut. The rest will follow.

Listen to blackwave’s latest single, ‘Champion, below!


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