Born and raised in South-London from Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian heritage; SILVASTONE has been taking the Afrobeats scene by storm since 2015. The multi-talented and forever smiling artist/ producer/ songwriter/ DJ and multi-instrumentalist has received recognition throughout the years from inclusion on BBC Radio 1Xtra ‘Hot For 2015’ alumni plus a MOBO Awards ‘Best African Act’ nomination. Not to mention his work over-seas and festival turn-ups with a long list of big names, having music featured in Hollywood blockbusters as well as Netflix. These are just a selection of his reach as a force on the scene.
As if the extensive list of achievements wasn’t already enough, SILVASTONE has just released a brand-new EP ‘AFFIRMATION’ and we headed out to kick back and chat in his hometown with him.
Firstly, congratulations! So, tell me what has been the most exciting part of this EP so far because you haven’t even done a massive show yet for this particular EP?
Yeah, I think just the amount of people that have been enjoying the EP, that’s been really good, a lot of love on different playlists like Spotify as well as on Radio. Just seeing people enjoy it – I like that.
I bet! And where did you get the title from?
I am a very positive person when it comes to certain things and I think Affirmations are really important in our lives and especially as a creative, as someone who is trying to do something off of your own back, it’s not easy so you have to say positive things to keep yourself grounded, keep going, stuff like that. I guess after doing two other EP’s and a mixtape before I felt it was the right kind of time to have that title; AFFIRMATION. It just came to me.
I hear that. Did you hit any obstacles along the way that made this title resonate with you even more? Like you took a hit but still thought ‘this is THE EP, this is AFFIRMATION’.
I think my biggest obstacle is having too much music. So, just thinking about what to do and whether this should go on or that shouldn’t go on. It made sense to come to a conclusion that all the music I’m doing is going to come out at some point, so it doesn’t matter on when, it just matters that it does come out.
And listening to a lot of the songs on the EP, some of them are wholly romance based. I want to know, are any of them based on true situations?
No, not really! I think for me, especially in this current climate of music, there’s a lot of anger in certain records. I like music that makes you feel good, music that makes you feel nice. So, I guess that’s why it’s based like that; but I had another bunch of records that weren’t like that and obviously I was thinking ‘hmmm shall I put them on?’ I wasn’t sure and so I bunched these records together because it’s all about love man! This world has got enough hate and enough craziness going on without us injecting more of that into it.
And, when listening to this EP I feel like it takes me completely from one mood to another, from start to end. Did you feel that when you were collaborating with different artists on the album – that they bought a different influence into the album – did you feel that at all?
I think so! Because, you know, working with Ayo Beats who is a producer and artist who raps and sings, and then also Steff Capella, who also raps and sings, he’s from Kenya, and Sarkodie who’s a rapper as well, I guess, yes. I like different types of music as well so I really wanted to inject that into my project. So, I didn’t want it to be just one type of Afrobeat, I like to experiment – it’s all part of the journey.
Ok, so who was your favourite collab?
On the EP? Ahhh, that’s a hard one. I think the one with me and Ayo actually! The one with me and Steff was good as well! Between these two. It would be too hard to say just one.
I see, the next question is a big one; you’ve been described as ‘One of Africa’s most formidable music creators’. I wanted to know; where and who you’ve drawn inspiration from to get you to that point?
I don’t know – just life really! Good vibes, good energy and good producers, good artists, just good music. Trying to not be afraid of just doing what I feel is right. Listening to different artists from your greats past and present, I think it’s just really important to understand that those people have made a lasting impact in music and, we got to learn from that to not necessarily compete – were here to contribute. That’s the way I look at it so, I listen to loads of different artists, producers and just get that inspiration – from God obviously! You know what I mean? Being someone who’ played in church and that, I get a lot of my inspiration from there as well. I feel I get a good well-rounded set of inspirations like that.
And what kind of music was played in your house when you were growing up?
Classical, pop, Boy George, a lot of Hip Hop, Reggae, Dancehall. African music as well but when I went to Sierra Leone that was just a natural thing, a lot of African music was being played and a lot of Dancehall there as well.
Did you take any time out to travel when you were writing for the EP?
Yeah because the song with Steff Capella was made in Kenya, and Pickin as well.
That’s my favourite song off of the EP!
Thank you – that one was made in Ghana, so that was a good vibe and the rest of them were made in London. So, the EP actually has influences from different parts of Africa because that’s where I was when I created it. It was nice, I love to be able to travel with music, like to different places, I always carry a little studio with me to get the vibe and carry it with me.
That’s smart – so if you could pick one song off of this EP and then pick a verse out of it that sticks with you the most and definitely takes you back to something you were doing, what would it be?
I don’t know what exactly I was doing because I do write a lot out of fantasy, but I like my first verse in ‘Suzanna’, I like that vibe and it remind me of just old school high life music from Ghana which I really, really love and am influenced by as well.
From releasing TRANSITION to now releasing AFFIRMATION, what’s that biggest lesson that you learnt?
Don’t take so long. Just put it out. Put the music out.
Do you think you’re prone to over-criticising?
Yeah! And that’s the hardest thing because you sit down, you wait, you’re thinking, you’re planning.. na, just put the music out.
Do you hold onto music because you want to have the biggest audience for a particular song?
Yeah, I was doing that a lot, I think it’s only now that I’m always pushing to just get it out, you know? I’m ready to release the next one. That’s it. Let’s make music and just create as many memories as we can in the time that we have now with the sounds we have and the music we’ve got. So, you know, that’s what’s really important. I really want to do that more because I’ve held back a lot on the music and now I’m not going to.
Good! You’ve toured with a lot of big people, who was your favourite?
Personally, Wyclef. Just his energy on stage and the way we connected, the way he just gave me his phone to put his number in and ran off somewhere and I’m like ‘rah I’ve got Wyclef’s phone’ he was such a cool person. As a youngster people always used to compare me to him so to see him and do a show with him, was fantastic.
What has been the biggest moment so far for you? Writing music for Tyler Perry’s movie and then that film going to number one in America was big. Being in England and seeing a countdown of the ten most popular films right now that that being number one, and I’m thinking ‘hold on that’s a film I’ve done the music for’, that was good.
Do you feel that being busy and making music all the time holds you back from anything in your life?
Yeah, loads, you don’t get out as much. I did a show last night and right now I am so tired but I’ve got another event to go to socialise that I’ve been invited to but I feel so tired and am thinking that I’m just not going to go.
Can you bring us in on any of you next movements after this?
I want to go to Ghana, that’s really core. Shooting more videos, and then new music! Like I’m thinking I wasn’t going to release new music for the rest of the year because I I was thinking to just let people enjoy this EP but na, I might just release new music.