South East London’s KEYAH/BLU brings honesty and uncensored rawness to the capital’s music scene, while carefully juxtaposing lightness and darkness through her art.
By Majken Hansén
KEYAH/BLU grew up listening to a wide range of genres and started penning her own songs in 2015. Through experimenting with influences of jazz, neo-soul, funk and merging them into unexpected combinations, she found her unique expression and sound, marrying sultry song with unfiltered rapping.
Last year saw the release of KEYAH/BLU’s debut single, Sweet, in which she talks about a hook-up and morning after feelings, it captivates the listener with a vulnerable whisper over a mellow, rhythmic beat. “The song is about knowing what’s good for you while also indulging in things that might not be so good, and finding the balance. Light and dark,” explains the rapper and singer.
Set on the gloomy English seaside, KEYAH/BLU is surrounded by seven balaclava-clad ninjas and wanted the dystopian video to visualise the seven levels of her consciousness. “It’s inspired by human duality, ultimately,” she says. ”Women and men are hard and soft all at once. We fight this within us constantly, depending on the situation, leaving parts of ourselves feeling helpless while others thrive.”
The newcomer has also featured in collaborator and friend Denzel Himself’s Melty, and the duo’s Colours show has garnered over 700,000 viewers. Her last show at Four Quarters in Peckham was a successful sell-out, and now KEYAH/BLU is returning in May to play her first ever festival at the Great Escape in Brighton. Set to release new music this year and beyond, KEYAH/BLU continues to carve her own original musical lane and is certainly one to keep firmly on your radar.