London is always evolving. Musically, the city has become synonymous with pioneering genres that infuse sonics deriving from our countries rich history of immigration. Afrobeats has undeniably been one of the most successful exports of this hybridisation. Blending funk, highlife and newer sounds like r&b and dancehall, the genre is has become a staple in British clubland, and it doesn’t look like budging anytime soon.
Gabzy is a fresher face in the scene, but he’s been grafting away at music for a while. After meeting Melvitto, following a trip to the US, the wordsmith released ‘Summers’ - a 4 track EP that propelled him to the forefront of Britain’s beloved afrobeats world. His latest project, titled Malone, presents a more contemporary take on the genre, unifying elements of soul and baille funk with an innate afroswing suave.
Off the back of his latest music video, for lead single ‘As Friends’, Gabzy spoke to us about the EP, working with Blanco and his plans for shows when all is back to normal.
Have a read up below.
YO GABZY! HOW ARE YOU, HOW’S THE START OF THIS YEAR BEEN FOR YOURSELF? LET THE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC.
I’m great thank you, it's been a great start to the year especially off the back of the new tape ‘Malone’. You know myself and melvitto we've been making great music, special music together for years! from ‘Stay’ right through to our recent collaboration tape 'Summers' - so Malone is just that little bit extra special for me because I have a project out that I can call my own. A formal introduction for those of you who don’t know who Gabzy is, I go by the name Gabzy aka Mr Malone. I’m an artist / songwriter & I make good music.
IT’S BEEN A COUPLE MONTHS NOW SINCE YOU BLESSED US WITH MALONE. HOW HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN?
The reception for the Malone EP for me has been great, like it's been everything I wanted out of the tape. I feel like I’ve established myself as an artist with this. And that’s with the help of all the people who've been supporting so a massive shout out to everyone who’s played the tape, shared it and just felt the music in general.
AS YOUR ALTER EGO, WHO IS MALONE? WHAT DID HE REPRESENT ABOUT YOU WHEN THIS EP WAS MADE?
Malone is my alter ego, I feel like everybody has another side to them & some people haven’t necessarily unlocked that other side yet, haha and you know what? ..maybe they shouldn’t you know because technically ‘Malone’ is that side that you don’t really want to meet. He can be cocky, he can be a heartbreaker & he is not someone who is going to tell you what you want to hear, he is going to tell you how he feels and deal with whatever the consequences are, later.
THE EP HAS ELEMENTS OF BAILE FUNK, AFROBEATS, R&B AND SO MANY OTHER GENRES. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR SOUND WORDS SO WELL OVER SUCH AN ARRAY OF MUSIC?
I would say my sound is what it is today because of where I’ve grown up. I’m from South London, Peckham which is super multicultural, I grew up in a Nigerian household as well as living in a America for two years. My sound is basically a fusion of all these experiences and it is present in the music.
OUR FAVOURITE TRACK ON MALONE IS BRAZIL, WITH BLANCO. THE WAY YOU TWO VIBE ON THAT IS WAVEY. WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND THIS ONE?
On Brazil I feel like the sound we came up with on this feature was very intentional, I brought my world, Blanco brought his world and who better to fuse the worlds than melvitto on the beat. Melvitto is also a fan of Blanco so he studied Blanco’s sound & brought our worlds together effortlessly.
YOU RECENTLY COLLABORATED WITH ABRA CADABRA, WHO’S ALSO POPPING AT THE MOMENT. HOW DID THAT ONE COME ABOUT? Yeah Abra’s cold! So when his camp reached out & we just got in a session and it was vibes, they’re good people man. I really enjoyed the session with them and it’s safe to say we got some more heat coming.
YOU’VE BEEN WRITING LYRICS DOWN SINCE YOU WERE A TEENAGER. WHAT MUSIC WERE YOU LISTENING TO BACK THEN?
During my teenage years I pretty much listened to almost everything, I had a lot of albums - I loved Frank Ocean, I was a BIG Neyo fan growing up as well. Drake was one of my favourite artists, the 'Take Care' album was a personal favourite & Meek Mill as a rapper used to motivate me everyday going to school. I used to listen to a lot of sounds.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS YOU WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH?
There are A LOT of artists I’d love to work with, to name a few Frank Ocean, Drake, Roddy Rich, Wizkid of course, Burna Boy, Summer Walker - these are all artists I’m genuinely fans of.
IF ALL GOES WELL, AND WE CAN FINALLY BE OUT IN VENUES AGAIN, WHERE WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PLACE TO PLAY A GIG? ARE THERE ANY FESTIVALS, CLUBS, VENUES OR CITIES THAT PARTICULARLY RESONATE WITH YOU?
I’d definitely love to perform at the 02 Arena, you know just having 20,000 people singing your songs I feel like that will be something special for me to achieve one day hopefully by God’s grace. Performing at festivals here at home like Wireless, Glastonbury and other festivals across the world like Coachella would be a dream too!
DO YOU HAVE ANY MESSAGES FOR YOUR FANS? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU THIS YEAR?
Yhhh! Thank you for rocking with me, keep supporting, keep running up ‘Malone’ and there's more music & more videos on the way! AND one last thing I know you've been asking for a concert, can't lie you've been patient - I appreciate it! Hang in there, Boris said he might let us out this year so hopefully, by God’s grace, fingers crossed I will be able to do a show for you - till then take care of yourselves! One Love.