Following the glowing response to his much-loved EP 'TUNNA' earlier this year, emerging artist Babatell recently returned once again to deliver his eagerly-awaited debut album 'Selftalks'.
Featuring a string of immersive offerings from the last few months, this new twelve-track collection makes for a wonderfully warm and breezy listen. With its broad and tender textures, sweeping atmosphere, and his own captivating vocals at the helm, 'Selftalks' cements him as one of the more adventurous names doing the rounds right now.
So with the new album available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has bee inspiring him most lately.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
The first instrument was the saxophone. I started playing it around the age of 6 when I got in school and from this moment on I really realized what impact creating can have on yourself. Still, it took me a very long time to come to the conclusion I needed to write and produce songs and projects to fully express my ideas.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
Like most kids, I had phases as a young buck. Since my mom was listening to a lot of Souls like Marvin Gaye, Soulsisters, Cool & The Gang, Blackstreet, Brand New Davies, and stuff like that, I had an early interest in melodic arrangements and emotional music. This was accommodated by similar music that was popular in the 2000s music like Usher, Chris Brown, Ciara, Keri Hilson, and Mary J Blige. During this time a lot of HipHop got present for me too. I also had a rock as well as an electronic phase around the age of 11-14. So basically I liked a lot of different music when I was young which now gives me the opportunity to merge and be diverse.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
As a whole song, I would say Don’t Leave Me by Blackstreet, the musicality and the way the instruments do not even just complement the singing and vice versa, to me this is a perfect song. When we talking just the singing and lyrical performance and would go with Me and Your Mama by Childish Gambino for sure.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I honestly never really write music on the spot. Most of the time it just hits me with lyrics, I remember not too long ago I was at a bar in Berlin waiting in line for the toilet when words were coming to my head, I just sat down somewhere to put it in my phone. And when it comes to production, the best way to create is to go to my studio in the basement all alone and just play around until a 0ind a sound that feels right. From there on I just add and add and add, listen to it for like an hours, looking for toplines and mumble my way to a to pattern and then I start to arrange the beat.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Yves Tumor, Ojerime, Kelela, and Skin on Skin. They all do different Genres but that’s exactly what I need to tap into my own music. Music that is partly far away from what I do right now and music that has elements I already know of and want to implement, whether it is arrangements or their use of voices.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to open for Kid Cudi. He has been an inspiration for far longer than I realized at the time I started to listen to his music.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
I think it's making random stuff that turns into demos I have to listen to over and over again. I personally make music for myself. When I can create something that makes me feel good or just expresses something that I probably couldn’t have said in a conversation, that is the best moment. Most of the music I put out, I already had my fun with it if that makes sense. So I do like to see people enjoy what I do, but this is secondary for me.
And what is the most frustrating part?
To not be able to put into reality what your mind makes up sometimes.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Do not give a fuck when it comes to your own taste. Probably even the people you look up to will tell you that your music might not be to their liking, but at the end of the day everything trickles down to the fact, that everything is just an opinion. People can argue with facts and whatnot else, but I if you like what you do, it's the right thing. It takes time or the right moment to persuade someone with what you do because they don’t have as much insight into you as creative as you do. Or maybe you will never convince them, but in my eyes, that’s not your job. Your only job is to create what gravitates towards you.
Babatell's debut album 'Selftalks' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.