Silvastone Talks About His New Ep ‘LEVELS’, Headline Concert & His Mixed African Upbringing.
Silvastone’s sound is one that mixes traditional African sounds with Uk street vibez and in anticipation to the release of his ‘Extended EP; LEVELS, we thought; no better time to get all up in his business than now. He has been steady releasing single tracks off the EP to get everyone nicely warmed up for the full work.
Radio producer and Journalist Titilope Adesanya had a brief back and forth with the incredible multi-skilled and talented artist.
T: Before we get all professional and talk about your upcoming projects , let’s get to know Silvastone and I would like to start with the significance of your name?
S: Well, my name is of Biblical background, you know, being a man from the church. The name Silvastone means the underdog. Basically the person, people never expect much from but who always surpasses existing standards and sets new bench marks. This does reflect my journey so far so I think it’s befitting.
T: Oh beautiful. Now for a little bit of a historical background, you are a mix of Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean but with an English upbringing. Would I be right?
Ss: Yes I am a mixed African. That is correct. I was born in South London where I grew up initially. Then my father and I moved to live in Freetown where I went to school from the age of 11 till 16 at which point I had to leave because of the civil war at that time. I was basically a refugee running from the violence back home.
T: That must have been an experience that stays with you. Which background would you say you are more of?
Ss: I am right bang in the middle. I am no more Sierra Leonean than I am Ghanaian. Only difference is that having living and schooling in Freetown in my teenage years solidified my Sierra Leonean side. However, my mother is a proud Ghanaian woman in every way and that culture is very strong in our household and upbringing even to this very day.
Yes, I often fly and represent the Sierra Leonean flag but that’s mostly because its under-represented in the music scene.
T: How much of an influence would you say your origins (Ghana and Sierra Leone) have on your style of music?
Ss: I would say Ghana is reflected more in my music. I grew up listening to a lot of high-life and still do. However, I also listened to quite a lot of local acts from Sierra Leone who had international acclaim; the likes of Bunny Mack, Dr Oloh and King Masco, so we can say a little bit of both.
T: Silvastone; amazing talented African based in the United Kingdom’, how was the hustle in the early days in comparison to today?
Ss: It’s a continuous uphill struggle. I try not to compare back in the day to what it is right now because no matter what you think you’ve achieved there is always something more to attain and we keep reaching for it.
T: Now let’s talk LEVELS, you are calling it an ‘Extended Ep’ even though it’s got just over 13 tracks. Why this choice?
Ss: Haha. Well, being an independent artist, you can make the rules so why not? My next body of work might be an album…I do have quite a bit of content enough to put one together and I am looking forward to working on new stuff and sharing it.
I’m happy to really keep music running, fresh music coming and it’s a blessing to be able to do that. Right now though its all about sharing ‘LEVELS’.
T: ahh I see, so just because you can?
Ss: Yes to put it simply.
T: Okay good point. Describe LEVELS in one word.
Ss: Diverse! Yeah, its a very diverse collection of music styles on this project.
T: How long did it take to get the entire project ready to share with the world?
Ss: About 18 months. However, there are a few songs I began working on for my debut; ‘Transitions’ EP but they never got drafted in and I revisited them for LEVELS. If you count that, it would probably be up to 2years and then some, but we aren’t counting, it’s not a race, there can be no hurry.
I recorded it in between all the activities I was doing to promote ‘Transitions’. So some of the songs were written and even recorded whilst on the road – or in the air, doing shows in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, USA, etc.
T: This is arguably an unfair question to artists, but we want to know which is your favourite track from ‘LEVELS’
Ss: Hmm probably ‘Still’. with Vicky Sola It’s got this energy that is simply amazing; warm and fuzzy and so if I had to pick one, it would be ‘Still’.
T: Let’s talk specifically the video of ‘Incredible’ featuring Ike Chuks, we love the plus size models by the way, was this a conscious decision, are you trying to make a statement of sorts?
Ss: Yes. A very conscious decision at that. I am an African man and I don’t think we generally like ‘diet’ sized bodies but society has made the lot of us think differently, like we have to see things in one way. So yeah I thought it was about time we show some love to our women. We love big women and this was a definite conscious choice.
T: How much physical presence have you managed to retain with your home countries?
Ss: Decent I would say. I went to Ghana for the first time as an artist in 2016 and I mean an artist who now has his own repertoire and not songs I had produced for other acts and that was pretty amazing.
I was also back in Sierra Leone in 2015, shot some music videos there and it was crazy. I love Sierra Leone.
T: You’ve got big gigs coming up in the next few weeks, SXSW in March and O2 Academy Islington in April, which are you looking forward most?
Ss: Definitely O2 Academy Islington. My team and I have worked hard on this and it’s something that has my personal footprint on it. It’s mine. I mean I am looking forward to SXSW, it’s going to be amazing! but O2 Academy Islington is mine and as such there is an anticipation I feel which I don’t get when I think of SXSW.
T: Thank you for your time and the chat, looking forward to LEVELS going live!
Ss: The pleasure is all mine and I can’t wait to share it and see what the world thinks.
Silvastone has worked with a wide range of acts around the world including; Rita Ora, D’Banj, Damian Marley, Fuse ODG, Davido, Mark Morrison, Yemi Alade and Ace Hood among others.
Silvastone’s LEVELS is due for release world wide on the 10th of March. However he has made single tracks such as available with ‘Incredible‘ out on the 24th of Feb, ‘Do my Thing’ on the 3rd of March, ‘Still’ and ‘Kele Wele’ on the 6th and 8th of March respectively. And because he is super generous with his music, you can listen to a snippet of the entire album here.
And while we wait patiently for the 10th of March, you can go ahead and pre-order your copy of LEVELS here
Tickets to ‘O2 Academy Islington‘ are also available here