Neo-Soul Duo Harleighblu & Bluestaeb Reveal 5 Reasons Why Their Upcoming Album Is Dope
Fresh-off releasing their empowerment anthem ‘Queen Dem’, Neo-Soul duo Harleighblu and Bluestaeb continue to impress with their seamless musical chemistry and mutual passion for classic R&B and hip hop which makes this project a stroke of pure, glossy genius. They drop by SYS to tell us 5 things we should know about their latest album/collaboration that is set for release in October.
1. Harleighblu - ‘Queeen Dem’ Is Inspired By A Poem
I wrote the lyrics to the track ‘Queeen Dem’ (pronounced like ManDem) after being inspired by the poem “this is for the women who don’t give a fuck” by Janne Robinson. The poem reads "this is for the women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it" - it really spoke to me. I tried to capture the strength of the poem, with a nod to the inspirational Janne. And elaborate on the empowering poem, with my own take on completely owning your own womanhood... Within writing the first few lines, I entitled the piece ‘Queeen Dem’ (with three e’s to highlight the highest level of royalty!). I feel we can often get encouraged by society to feel bad about ourselves as women. Too fat, too thin, too pretty, not pretty enough, too strong, not strong enough, too emotional, too opinionated, hard work, a diva, a slut, a bitch… the list is endless and so are the pressures that go along with it. So I decided in this song I was going to unapologetically big up women in every - single - sentence of the song instead. Shot in London Town (of course!), Queeen Dem is a celebration if women - empowered, unapologetic, unique and owning themselves.
2. Bluestaeb - ‘One Rule’ Is A Favourite Tune Off The Album
‘One Rule’ is one of my favorite tracks on the album, because I always wanted to produce a song with a strong guitar lead that has that Spanish and D’Angelo type vibe to it. For me creating this song was a pretty special moment for the whole process of the album coming together. We had Anthony Robinson and Benjamin James (Hareighblu’s bassist and keyboarder/guitarist at that time) at the session and were starting several songs a day from scratch. I was able to record some conga for the song as well (before I started to make beats I played percussion instruments in high school for a few years), so everything felt very natural and I was finally at the level of musicality I always aimed for. Now the Spanish guitar sound might sound a bit corny to some people, I remember Harleigh always thought I would edit it into smaller parts haha, but for me it’s either all or nothing, no compromises made on the guitar! This might be the song that some people skip when they listen to the whole album, but I also think it will be some people’s favorite song, especially adding the story that Harleigh is telling in the lyrics.
3. Harleighblu - Cake Is The Stand-Out Track From The Album
Our debut track Cake will always be a stand out track on the album to me… it signifies the beginning of myself and Blue’s journey. The track is about going for what you want in life, having your cake and eating it too… And it is very much how I discovered and approached Bluestaeb to work with. I heard his music for the first time in Jazz Cafe London a few years back and I remember going up to the DJ asking, who this incredible artist was… after I found out his name I tweeted him, and unfortunately got ignored ha ha! But I didn’t give up there, I knew we could cook up something special if given the opportunity to. Eventually I got through to him, after I persisted with my people, who eventually contacted his people and the rest as they say is history. London is referenced throughout the album, as I pinpoint this special city as the beginning of most of my creative ventures including this one!
4. Bluestaeb - The Album Was Recored In Berlin
Pretty much the whole album was recorded, arranged and mixed by my longtime collaborator S. Fidelity (Jakarta Records) and myself at our joint studio in Berlin-Neukölln. We have so many people from all over the world coming in for recording and mixing sessions (Ill Camille, K, Le Maestro, Pos (De La Soul) etc.) that we decided to really make that official and give the whole thing a name and create a creative platform around it. So this will be the first release where we officially write down „Manolo Purple Studio“ in the credits! I promise that you will definitely stumble across that name more often in the future and we already got plans to expand the whole story! Manolo Purple!
5. Harleighblu - We Threw Ourselves In The Deep End
In the early stages of the album, we threw ourselves in at the deep end and performed an entire set of demo’s we’d only written days previously at Melt Festival in Germany. Some of these demo’s were just initial skeleton beats and ideas, nothing even recorded and I hadn’t learnt any lyrics at all. I felt this impromptu set was standout to our album process in the end, due to a number of reasons. Melt Festival had given Bluestaeb such a huge slot and the stage was absolutely massive… yet he still entrusted me to represent him and perform alongside him impromptu and on the strength of my talent. He continued this trust in the studio, letting me write the lyrics I wanted to no matter how frank or how many swears. He gave me that creative freedom, just as he did on that stage… allowing raw energy, emotion and performance. It was refreshing to work with someone who was confident enough in his own artistic ability and entrusted you with yours, creating magic in the process. This translated into the studio, I felt and I learnt quite quickly that this is how Blue worked as an artist and that is why he is so good at what he does. When the biggest crowd showed, we smashed the set - full of half written song ideas which would then later turn in to our album “she”.