Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Ghostpoet, bringing a new style to urban UK

Ghostpoet Ghostpoet Ghostpoet Ghostpoet

“At the end of the day I am not trying to re-invent the world I am just trying to do me and be as true as I can to myself”

It is funny how life is life. I remember seeing Ghostpoet at Scala early last year where he supported the exquisite Nneka. I wanted an interview with him then and despite getting the details of his PR the interview never quite happened. He had the whole trilby with glasses look if I remember rightly and his baritone drawl that borders on off key but yet on key was engaging in that strange way.” I wanted to try and bend and change up my style and come with something that is slightly different. In any creative art there is no wrong really. I thought I would try something slightly of kilter and it seemed to work.”

Possibly because in this day and age we are used to someone dropping bars that are acutely structured, and delivered with all the frenetic energy of atoms buzzing around the Large Hadron Collider, Ghost takes some time getting used to. His style creeps up on you (ghost like) and before you know it Ghostpoet has immersed you in his world of “blues“ and “melancholy”.

Ghost poet is indeed bucking the trend and for me in some senses he is like some anti rap artist that defies all that we consider rap, (my words not his), “You are not the first person to say that so it is quite interesting.” He laughs, “At the end of the day I am not trying to re-invent the world I am just trying to do me and be as true as I can to myself”.

The half Nigerian and half Dominican Obare is a busy man. In our short interview he is distracted by two phone calls that he needs to attend. Indeed the Guardian and other big papers are all ready raving about him as one to watch and to heap even more pressure on the Coventry man, The Mercury Awards have already tipped his album 'Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholic Jam': “it bubbles with the innovative intelligence of urban Britain” that enthuse.

Indeed the album is one for those that want to go off kilter and immerse their minds in something different and something that does what good music and indeed rap should do and that is talk about what is real. “The idea for the title of the album came about through the music I was making. It was definitely of the Blues and it was melancholic and that was my state of mind at the moment.”
Comparisons with greats like Roots Manuva, The Streets and the king in many respects of that trip hop, rap Tricky have already started. But maybe we do him a dis-service to immediately draw comparisons with others. He answers the question: “are you a rapper, poet or none of the above forthrightly?”

“I would say none of the above really. I used to rap obviously but I was never a poet as such I never went around writing poet. I just want to embrace the different elements of stuff that I like. I am an artist however. I like a lot of different genres and I think it would be a dis- service to me to say that I was exclusively a rap artists. I like different elements of rap but I am not in-trenched or bound by rap.”
His observational look at his everyday life and life in the UK and all its nuances are poignantly evident in the album. Cash and Carry Me Home as his first single off the album is a hard bit of dub step kind of rap business that has some pounding bass bursting out Alien style. In direct contrast his next single Survive Me from a production perspective is a starkly stripped down track that still looks at the gloomier side of life in his irreverent style with a cool uplifting hook and chorus which is evidently incongruous.

While he is not keen on my whole idea that he like some Mad Max figure intent on rebellion with his style, “I do not think my music is rebellious” his resolute focus on trying to do something different is clear: “Obviously my heritage has had an effect on my musical direction but it would have been easy for me to delve into my African and Caribbean heritage and take from those places only. I have purposely decided to not go with what I grew up with and to experiment with other things. Once you incorporate different aspects then your core can be transformed.”

As the sole producer of his music Ghostpoet clearly relishes his autonomy “One of my missions with my music is to touch and influence as many different types of people as possible. Life in general has had an effect on me and that is what I want to put across.”

Ghostpoet has a feel of an artist that may well do big things for 2011 into 2012. There is a certain enigmatic feel to his style and approach to his music which is probably intensified by the fact that as he notes: “it is really important for me that people recognise that I am just trying to be me. Maybe I have come at a time where my music may come across as very different” I think he probably has a very valid point there. In the face of the popular music (that was once un-popular) he is feeding the appetites for those that maybe disillusioned with the current scene or indeed those that are just bored with the current scene. This however must not detract from the fact that he is producing and creating great music independently and he is doing with great lashings of refined swagger.
Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter