Bellisa X Spotlights: Kehinde

fashion brand Bellisa x interviews acrobat artist kehinde music from Lagos, Nigeria living in Bristol

Bristol, a culturally rich city that captures the hearts of creatives from far and wide. A composition of emerging musical talent where you will get blissfully lost in the energetic fusion of the inner-city grunge and captivating melodies from all around the world. From every local pub, candle-lit bar or 3,000+ capacity rave venue experience, you are sure to take home a treasured piece of Bristol’s music culture to add to your own symphony of the city.

Last month, we were invited into a new creative corner of Bristol, Pirate studios. Hidden in a unsuspecting building off the high-street, we were welcomed by a maze of recording studios and the sensual sounds of… afrobeats. Queue the tropical beat and soulful vocals, these feel-good rhythms have you energized to chill and dance at the same time.

 Bringing the colourful vibrancy of Lagos, Nigeria to the studios of Bristol, we passed the microphone back to afrobeat artist Kehinde. From his latest release ‘Fine Wine’, to ‘Hennessy’ ft afrobeat artist Portable in 2022 and ‘Destiny’ in 2018 we pull a quick chat to learn more about his journey with music.


B: Hey Kehinde! How did you discover your passion to create?

K: As a kid, I remember telling my dad I wanted to be a painter because I had this inspiring art teacher. Growing up, I started drawing then moved onto designing clothes and at some point I started doing music which I’ve been doing for 7 years now.


B: What led you from practising art into creating music?

K: At university I was around people recording so I started recording my own tunes and putting out sounds. To this day, some of us still work together in different capacities: producing beats and the promotional side of music with videos and photography.


B: How soon after starting recording did you put the music out into the world?

afrobeat artist Kehinde from Lagos wearing Bellisa x streetwear fashion in Bristol Pirate Studios

K: 2 weeks. I didn’t over think it to start with, I just put it out.


B: I admire that you focused on the enjoyment of creating in this moment, because it’s so easy to get lost in the fear of failure at the start. Just putting out your art is a great way to build up momentum.  What sort of music did you get into?

K: As far as genres go Afrobeats. The way my voice is formed, from where I’m from (Nigeria) is called Fuji/Apala vocals. So all my music is centered around the vocal style as opposed to the type of beat I’m singing to.


B: Can you tell me more about Fuji/Apala vocals?

K: So the Fuji/Apala sound is a sound that’s native to the Yoruba people in western Nigeria, it’s a essentially a vocal style that’s usually followed by traditional instrumentation.

Overtime, with colonialism and the native Yoruba people being shipped to other parts of the world like Brazil, and Cuba; the Fuji/Apala sound has also now kind of become part of other cultures.


B: That’s really interesting to learn the influence of cultural heritage behind your art and now when I listen to your music, I can understand and feel this throughout. Why is music important to you?

K: It’s always been important to me, you know, music is the sound track of life. It carries you through every day and makes life fun- you use music to remember the good times and the tough times.

afrobeat artist Kehinde from Lagos wearing Bellisa x streetwear fashion recording music at  Bristol Pirate Studios

" Music is a spiritual thing, that you can’t take away from anyone." 


B: I know for sure that when a song comes on I used to listen to, it takes me straight me right back to all the feelings and memories of that time. How do you write lyrics?

K: I freestyle mostly and try to create iterations of the melodies I record until it’s somewhat perfect; it could take anywhere from 20 minutes to finish a song, or a couple months. There’s no formula as such, but now a days I’m big on quality control.


B: How do you know when a song is finished?

 K: It’s a feeling, and it’s always kind of similar to how I felt envisioning the record in the first place. I usually always know when it’s ready, or when there’s nothing else to do on the record.


B: On a more personal level, creating is an expression from ourselves and producing music is no exception to this. What does self-expression mean to you?

K: Authenticity. It’s trying new things so that you learn and grow. Stay true to yourself.

afrobeat artist Kehinde from Lagos wearing Bellisa x streetwear fashion  graffiti zed in the clouds Bristol street artist hoodie outside Bristol Pirate Studios

“Bellisa  X to me is crazy, free and new- I chose this hoodie because I love one of a kind pieces. The graffiti art collaboration with Zed In the Clouds is dope and it's really comfortable" 

B: In the pursuit of music, what challenges have you faced in staying true to yourself? 

K: Being an artist is very different from selling the art. Trying to differentiate the commercial aspect from the process of doing art and trying measure up to expectations.


B: That’s so true when trying to establish a creative career- it’s difficult to balance the tempo of enjoying creating output you love but also what your audience will resonate with. How do you overcome this?

K: Reflection and planning.

B: In tune with organisation, how do you find the time to create music alongside a full-time job?

 K: Working a full-time job sometimes can feel like a fuel for my logical thinking, which in turns contributes to my creative side; I believe it helps me process projects I’m working on, and also plan the execution of it from start to finish.

Then I like to take any free time available to work on creating music projects.

B: That’s such a unique perspective, but a great example of how you can make different life situations work for you. I feel like many people could benefit from this mindset! Is there anymore advice you’d give to someone wanting to pursue their love for music?

K: Be patient. Be ready to grow.

You can listen to the sounds of Kehinde, on Spotify here. 
Imagery by Bristol Photographer: Filiz Photos
Clothes by Bellisa X: Shop the look below


AfrobeatartistkehindewearingBellisaxZedinthecloudsGrafftiStreetwearhoodiefashion by Bristol graffiti artist zed in the clouds, graffiti streetwear style


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