From West Sydney, to London, to Ghana and back, BLESSED’s feet have been firmly planted in several places over the past few years. Having solidified himself as a captivating, and awe-inspiring artist in his home city of Sydney, BLESSED’s approach to music now showcases oneness with the body, soul, and nature, all made amongst the backdrop of his new home in London. His singles Heya and Inhale, Exhale, traverse details around the concept of ‘home’, and tap into his Ghanaian heritage and its roots in storytelling, as well as the process of healing and meditation through stillness and whole awareness of existing in the now. His music journey is therapizing, in that his approach to creating is rooted in remaining grounded, resilient and calm, as he shifts from being the mentor he was in Sydney, back to being a student of the craft in London, as he fulfils his overarching goal of creating the best music he can at his fullest potential.
To take us through the whirlwind journey of it all, we jumped on a call with BLESSED, to talk more on reconceptualizing ‘home’, connecting to his Ghanaian heritage, and the constant battle of remaining present.
Talk me through your move from Australia to the UK, and having to familiarise yourself with this new idea of home. Did you struggle with this shift? Or has it been a simple transition?
Moving from Australia to the UK has been a transition from being exposed to a small pool of creatives to an ocean of talent and ambition. There’s a few similarities between the UK and Australia, but the change of environment has been inspiring.
What have been some striking differences between navigating the streets of Western Sydney to that of London? What have you been able to discover or identify with?
London is a very cold, hard city. It’s fast-paced in nature and can be quite lonely as a result but at the same time, very united by the communal struggle of the everyday person. Which I find strikingly similar to Western Sydney. There’s such amazing depth to the diaspora of different cultures and walks of life, all in the same circumference.
And your home away from home is also that of your homeland, Ghana. Tell me about how you’ve been able to secure and maintain a fruitful and hearty relationship with that side of home and that side of yourself.
I grew up with a strong sense of my cultural community within Australia, so it has always been embedded in me to embrace where I’m from. Although travelling to Ghana to create art amongst my ancestors has really strengthened my relationship with my home and heritage.
I think what’s really special about your writing and artistry is the way you’re able to connect listeners to intimate details about yourself. That leads me to your track ‘Heya’, which pays homage to the ancestral love story between man and spirit, and explores your existing relationship with spirit and nature. What did writing this track reveal to you about yourself or confront you with?
‘Heya’ came from a place of intuition. Being able to mix modern music with mystic themes while coding it in pop sensibility is my new superpower. Music needs a message but also needs to be entertaining. It’s also very, very embedded in Ghanaian, West African culture and tradition, to uphold and uplift the feminine. And I’m really coming to a point in my life where, you know, we’re not just young and full of testosterone and seeing the world in the lens that they want us to see it in. They want men and women pinned against each other, boys and girls pinned against each other, and have this opposite view of what it is. But I think I’ve really come to this point where I’m appreciating not only the women in my life, but also the women that I come across in daily life; whether I know them or not, there’s this deeper appreciation for the feminine energy. And then that translated into the song. I’m talking about how I fell in love with a dancer, which is literal as well because my partner does contemporary ballet. And then it’s also like the tradition of dancing. Moving your body is ethereal, and we take it for granted; we see it as something that’s an everyday thing, but it’s not. It’s a healing process, a storytelling process. It’s just so otherworldly to think that the mind can make the body move in a certain way. And that’s what I really wanted to do, convey that message without being preachy, but then also being fun and carefree and entertaining.
Definitely, and I think what kind of brings it all together was the film clip, which was executed really, really beautifully in Ghana. How did it feel to kind of see the story of that song be told to the backdrop of the homeland?
It felt amazing. It was my first time working with a female director, it was my first time working with a whole Ghanaian crew, my first time working with any creative outside Australia to be honest. It was just amazing. It was an amazing experience to broaden my horizons, expand my vision by working with people who have a completely different perspective from mine, because I’ve grown up in a different part of the world. And though they’re similar to me because we’re from the same heritage, I spent most of my life in Australia. But it was amazing to really have this story being told in a visual way that showcases the beauty of Ghana in certain areas, but also, the symbolism in a lot of the shots, the spiral that represents an account of life but also represents feminine energy. I just think it really came together beautifully. The fact that I had a female director who had a tonne of virtue, I really got to tell the story that I wanted to tell with the people that I wanted to tell it with.
And that was the first installation of this musical journey you’re embarking on, which leads me to your latest track, Inhale, Exhale, which is a reminder to be still, live in the present and exist in the now. How have you been able to self preserve and recognise the importance of pacing yourself and being present?
To be honest, every day is a struggle to do that. I’m so set on this goal of the future and what I want to create for my life, my family, and the small part of the world that I’ll be able to help, but at the same time, if you’re always so focused on the future, you’re missing the present, you’re missing your whole life if you’re not breathing and consciously being in conversation, consciously doing anything. I feel like the only time when I’ve really ever been 100% there is when I’m making music, and that’s such a terrible way to live life. There’s no point living in the future if right now isn’t going the way you want it to go. You just have to see it in a different light; you gotta be appreciative of what you have, you gotta have gratitude for what is in front of you, not just what you want to achieve, or what you see is your objective in life. To be honest, it’s a battle, it’s a back and forth, that I’ve never really found. But I’m working on it every day, just trying to stay present, even just right now, having a conversation. That’s a form of meditation because we’re listening to each other, we’re giving our attention and our purpose right now is to communicate. So it’s a battle, but I’m working on it everyday.
And that track is paired with a music video that takes us into a completely different world than was shown in the Heya music video. So tell me about the connections that the song and the video share, and how the video represents the present ‘you’ and the chapter you’re existing in now.
Just based off the location of the video, being shot in London, it just has such a cold, gloomy, isolated feeling. There’s bleak moments, but there’s also bright moments. All of that came together, through the director Matt, who captured the essence of London, but then also mixing that with visual effects, with me floating above London. It’s like embracing that present moment of hardship or difficulty or adversity through the depth of being present. You’re ready to take on whatever is going on in your life. You’re not running from it or avoiding it, you’re floating, levitating above, becoming a higher version of yourself. That video portrays that perfectly. It’s not too detailed, I like to leave it to everyone else’s perspective and imagination. But it’s really just about my present life that is being in a different space, in a cold environment and finding a way to levitate and have a different perspective.
That’s beautiful. I guess that kind of leads me to your new single, which then takes us back home to Sydney. So tell me about that track and I guess the meaning it holds to this series of music.
It’s a fun, groovy tune that I made with Matt Corby, Alex Hendrickson, and Bella Amor, the feature. It’s just a funky, groovy, fun one to separate everything. It’s honestly just about like lust in a non-explicit way, it’s very clever in the way that it’s been approached. It’s a pub-type joint I guess, accessible to all different types of music lovers and age groups and all that. But yeah, it’s a bit of an ambiguous tune that will be a bit of a shock for people to hear.
Yeah, definitely. It feels like it’s a good balance between introspection and making music because it’s fun to make music, which is great. But also, you’ve been able to carve an interesting tale of home still through the journey of these three songs. Do you think that there is room for more places for you to plant your feet for a little while and call home?
Honestly, I just love travelling. I love learning more about the knowledge and history of a place, and I feel like I’m just here for a short amount of time. I mean, we all are. I don’t know exactly where I wanna go next, there’s so many places. I’m just going to continue to make the world my home. I’d love to go live in Japan but like we were talking about before, I’m just trying to stay present. Where I am, who I am, and what I’m doing is working on the best music I can. Whatever opportunities come it just comes down to intuition and making the right decisions for myself.
With that then being said, what can you reveal about what’s to come?
I’m working on so much that I can’t say at this point, but I’m really working on the best music I’ve ever worked on. I wake up excited every day, to continue to learn and to grow, and try to master the craft that I’ve been working on for 15 years. But I feel like I’m really just getting started now. opening my mind, opening my vessel to more influences. It’s not just me making music anymore. I’m being influenced by everyone, and I think at this time in my life, I’m really creating something special so that’s all I can say about it until I have it materialised.
Follow BLESSED here for more and stream the new single ‘Cut Too Deep’ here.