Getting to truly know artists is what feeds our passion at Keakie. Recently, we got to know London artist Weyland McKenzie and learn about his latest album, ‘Violets are Blue’.
After releasing his first official track in ‘Flowers’, Weyland McKenzie experienced a growth as an artist that took him to his next project, 'Violets are Blue'. After exploring the world of Weyland's music, we asked him some questions that we personally felt were relevant to his career and the creation of his music. Weyland has some wonderful responses and reveals his true character as an artist.
What's more, he has an exclusive drop called Fourty4. Listen to it below and enjoy the interview.
What inspired the title of the project ‘Violets are Blue’, as well as the wordplay between the two songs ‘Blue Light’ and ‘Light Blue’?
The titles all fell into place on their own really. The project is named Violets Are Blue because it expands on a story I told in an early song of mine called Roses so I wanted to play with the “Roses are red, violets are blue” poem and make it my own. There’s also a Picasso connection for those who wanna look deeper into it. The wordplay in the song titles is to highlight the difference in vibe of the songs and also the perspectives they are speaking from. ‘Light Blue’ is the story of how I met this girl told while seeing her and ‘Blue Lights’ is kind of me lamenting on the relationship after it ended.
How have you developed as an artist between your first official track ‘Flowers’, and your latest project?
Since Flowers, which was the first song I ever produced, I’ve just been trying to understand who I am as an artist and trying to develop my own sound. I’ve also been working a lot on songwriting skills, especially story telling which VAB is heavily focused on, as well as writing hooks that flow naturally into the song and don’t feel too predictable or structured. I’m also a huge fan of bars and I want to continue to push myself to be the best. To me there’s nothing better when someone tells me they finally understand a double entendre in one of my songs.
What is your musical background? Did you grow up in a musical environment?
I think music is a big part of the black community and everyone has those memories of their parents banging out music in the house and going to hall parties. So growing up I definitely had that but I also got to listen to a lot of hip-hop when I was too young to be listening to it though my older brothers. I have this vivid memory of listening to Kim by Eminem for the first time and being completely freaked out and scared. I knew all the lyrics off that album by time i was like 7 or 8 and started to write my own at around 10, it’s been a wrap from then.
It seems that you have a really great connection with nature. It is a running theme throughout your music. What led to this?
A lot of people ask me about the whole flower theme and I say that it’s a big metaphor. I don’t wanna give it all away because I’m still building on it, but think about it as a lens that I’m looking at the world through in my songs. I might wake up tomorrow and be done with it, but for now i want to see where i can take it. As for the whole connection with nature, I kinda spoke it into existence - the more I wrote about different things, connecting them to nature and flowers, the more connected I felt to and a part of it.
Who are your biggest musical and cultural inspirations? Why?
Musically, I put myself between Childish Gambino, Lupe Fiasco, J.Cole and Joe Budden, which is a weird mix but it makes sense to me. Culturally, Donald Glover, Paulo Coelho (who wrote The Alchemist) and David Choe (the artist). They’ve all had huge impacts on my worldview and how I approach my life in general. I’d be a completely different person had I not come across them.
Tell us a little bit about the ABOE project?
The ABOE project is an exploration of the relationship between sound and visuals. Normally, you have a song and then have art made to fit the song. For the ABOE project EP, we flipped it and have the producers and songwriters making pieces to fit the visual art we commissioned. I have a song on there with Careless produced by Ruben Joy which is mad, and I also did production on a song by Rachel Chinouriri who is an amazing singer. We’re having a live event on the 3rd of January at Buster Mantis where we’ll be displaying the art, listening to the project and having live performances from the artists involved.
Great! So what’s next for you in 2017?
For 2017 I want to be more consistent with the music I release, but I also want to get deeper in defining my sound. At the moment I’m hoping to drop a smaller project similar to VAB around February, but we’ll see. We’re also taking ABOE to the next level, which is definitely something people should be looking out for.