ETHNIC EMPOWERMENT, NAMING THE “AFROWAVE” & MUCH MORE: IN CONVERSATION W/ MISTA SILVA

Widly regarded as a pioneer in the realms UK Afrobeats and a veteran in his own right. 28 year old Artist a and Blue Borough Bod – Kwame AKA Mista Silva has been championing the sound for the best part of this decade and has been consistently churning out tunes and maintaining his relevance in the scene.

I caught up with Mista Silva early last year for an interview with Hyponik which you can check HERE. We discussed his early Grime days, being sent back to Ghana, discovering Afrobeats, bringin’ it home and the journey so far. Last night we caught up for a candid conversation and follow up “interview” about the journey since our last encounter, naming the UK “Afrowave”, Black empowerment, A&R’s, UK Drill and it’s influence on gang culture and much more.

Here’s how the conversation progressed:

mista silva
T: How do you feel about A&R’s when it comes to making Music? Are you th type of person where I’m gunna take the beat, work with it and vibes? Work in studio with the producer? And/or are you open to an A&R coming in an saying “Yo, I think this producer is right for you. So let’s get in the studio together and work on something?

M: To be honest, I like it to be organic. I’m gunna reach to producers, I’m gunna reach out to people I feel I need to work with. And that’s how I’ve been doing it from day dot. I take action to do something; rather than waiting on an A&R to come along…

T: Not so much waiting… But, I mean if ah’man stepped to you and said “Yo, Silva…”

M: Nah nah nah definitely if it makes sense. IF someone comes to me and their talking the way as me. Someone who actually wants to do work, and brings work to the table – and it’s work that makes sense – then there’s not way that I’m gunna turn it down…

T: I suppose ah’man wouldn’t be in the game as young as you if they weren’t open to new idea’s, still. But moving on… We’re on 2018 now. When I wrote an article for Noisey on the J Hus and the “Afrowave” time ago, and then I did that interview with you last year there was bare different questions being thrown up about this sound.

M: Yeah yeah, go on…

T: Now, you represent UK Afrobeats whatever “they” wanna call it. But, how do you feel about the amount of different names potentially on the table right now. You had ‘Afrohop’ originally coined by Timbo. Traprobeats by Blairy Hendrix and Joshua beats when they produced ‘Dem Boy Paigon’. There’s ‘UK Afrobeats’ from you – which Tim Westwood agree’s with, as he says in an interview with Kojo Funds. You’ve got ‘Afroswing’ coined by Kojo, Afro-Bashment which came from Spotify. And now there’s ‘Afrowave’ which Donaeo mentioned in an interview with Chuckie Online on the #HALFCAST Podcast. It’s an up in the air situation for this sound. So, how do you feel where we’re at with the name?

M: You know what everyones just in it for their own business. That’s what I think. They give it a name and it’s benefitial to them. It’s just a way to market it. For me, I’m confident to a point where I don’t even care about what they call it. I know what I call it and how I came about doing it. You give it a name it’s a deflection from being about to enjoy it for what it is…

T: You’re a pure artist Kwame. But from a journalism perspective. When we try and promote music, and try and explain what’s going on you always have to kinda go down that route. But, we don’t even dictate the names cuz it’s the youngers. It’s the kids in school that decide what it’s called. So, whatever name is said the most is the name, if you know what I mean. But, we’re reaching a point where the name has kinda gotta be finalised..

M: Mm mmm. To me it’s just politics. It’s going on since I started making the sound. “Ah, whats it called?! What’s it called???” There’s idea’s now, but no one can put a name on it… The sames songs on different platforms under different names…

KojoFunds.jpg

T: But that’s phenomenon bruv! That’s an amazing thing because when it happened with Grime. It wasn’t like there was bare next platforms calling it stuff, people were literally just calling it stuff – on like RWD and MSN. But with different platforms calling it different things, but you have to address the fact that no one knows what to call this ting… yet. And it’ll be interesting to see what people settle on because none of the names really fit… But, the “Afro” is a strong part of the name…

M: Like I said before it’s really simple. It’s the UK, and we’re making Afrobeats. Easy; it’s not hard *laughs*.

T: I feel like we should start the campaign for UK Afrobeats, because on a culturally level it would have positive effect for the Black community.

M: Exactly!

T: (second generation) Jamaican’s are making UK Afrobeats same way…

M: And, they’re African anyway…

T: Yeah, they just got taken away a long time ago…

slavery

M: We come from African. We’re making this sound. But we were born in the UK. Mixing all the cultures we have and grew up one. In the one sound.

T: You’re right. You made an argument which is difficult to stand against. Which is that, the most powerful – irrespective of whichever sounds best or whichevers the most popular – is UK Afrobeats because of the cultural impact…

M: Yeah, it’s deeper than just a name.

T: Real talk. But keeping it moving. How do you feel about Donaeo’s new project ‘Party Harder’ and the return to Funky and the potential for Funky to be a more of a popular thing again? It’s about time really….

M: It’s amazing really. And, to honest it’s part of the story.

T: Exactly!

M: It’s a cousin to UK Afrobeats. At the end of the day when Funky House started coming in, it had elements of African sounds encorporated into it. ‘African Warrior’, ‘Party Hard’ – these songs have African movement in them…

T: Donaeo even references his African heritage as an influence directly in his NFTR interview. So, you and Donaeo have validated African influence as a part of Funky. It’s great that it’s coming back.

M: Yeah man it’s amazing and hopefully I can bring out some Funky sounds.

T: Yeah man! This is like going back to school for you: you know what I mean? That’s why I booked you and Funkz to do the Afrobeats and Funky set!

M: C’mon c’mon *laughs*.

T: How we looking for the rest of this year?

M: I got the mixtape coming. Strongbow’s actually one of the first singles. Gunna drop the mixtape in march let it do it’s thing. Drop two-two visuals and just continue to make good music.

You can listen back to the full audio of our conversation covering all the above, plus UK Drill, the inner city violence “epidemic”, art reflecting life and more below:

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

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