Five questions with Blvk H3ro
Eccentric reggae/ska performer Blvk H3ro is using the first month of the year to familiarise the world with his upcoming debut album – The Immortal Steppa. The album is meant to introduce the world to the quirky, enigmatic reggae styling of the young artiste, and today we introduce him to you in this week’s Five Questions with ... .
Who is The Immortal Steppa? Tell us a bit about the album.
The concept behind The Immortal Steppa is to conjure the timeless and undying spirit we all have inside – that old soul, so to speak. I believe energy never dies, it just changes form. With that said, I feel like we’ve been trodding this Earth for a very long time, and have more wisdom inside than we realise. I’ve always had a strong connection to the past – the energy I bring, especially to my music and overall expression, is definitely an ancient futuristic vibe. So this album is a reflection of my ancient roots, as well as my vision for the future of Jamaican music.
The artwork for ‘The Immortal Steppa’ is graphic, which seems to be a trend among young recording artistes. What is the thinking behind animating yourself instead of using an actual picture?
The idea for using a graphic illustration came about because I’m a huge animé and manga fan. The story of a warrior spirit stepping from the past into the present to fulfil his mission sounds like the kind of epic tale I’d either read in a graphic novel or watch in an animated film.
Also, I’m part of a huge community of Jamaican creatives, so my manager, BP Welsh, and visual artist Richard Nattoo connected and worked together to bring this vision to life in a way that I don’t think anyone has ever seen before. Nattoo is a very gifted artist. It’s like he looked inside our minds and painted what he saw. The artwork really moved us and captured the concept perfectly.
Many artistes are emerging with their own dedicated band. Will you do the same?
Definitely. I am a strong believer in live, organic music. From the very beginning of my career, I worked with trusted young musicians to assemble a team we call the Reggae Soul Band. I link with various musicians from time to time, but Reggae Soul Band is my core unit and the team you’ll see me with consistently on stage. The full band consists of: Almando Douglas (guitar), Delano Gayle (guitar), Navar Lewin (keyboard), Oshane Lampart (keyboard), Phillip Burton (bass), Demechi Henry (drums), and Stephen ‘Shaquille’ Forbes (percussion).
You are signed to DubShot Records (New York). Is it better to be signed or to be an independent artiste?
The music industry today is in a place that gives a lot more opportunities for artistes to chart the course of their own careers. We can produce, publish and distribute our art to the market by ourselves. But at the same time, we can also decide who to partner with that can best position us to be noticed in a crowded marketplace.
DubShot Records brings years of experience and genuine passion for Jamaican music. Entering into a partnership with them for the release of this project made perfect sense. Our values aligned, and most of all, they believe in the vision for Blvk H3ro. Through combining our resources, we can achieve so much more for this project and my career in general, than maybe we’d be able to achieve alone, so it made sense to us for this partnership to be established.
Being signed or independent depends on each artiste’s particular circumstances and what’s best for them as an individual and a business. For me, I like the idea of having creative independence while sharing a piece of the pie with people or businesses that I trust. The vision for Blvk H3ro has always been global, so partnering with DubShot Records gives us access to a network we would have had a challenge tapping into for my first full-length project.
If you could speak it into being, who would you most want to collaborate with this year?
Wow! So many amazing artistes come to mind, but definitely working with Buju Banton would be a dream come true. Bunny Wailer, Garnet Silk and Michael Jackson are there, of course, and I’d definitely want to collaborate with Smino, SiR and Rapsody.
‘I’ve always had a strong connection to the past – the energy I bring, especially to my music and overall expression, is definitely an ancient futuristic vibe. So this album is a reflection of my ancient roots, as well as my vision for the future of Jamaican music.’