Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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“It’s the support that we’ve been getting and the love, the genuine love that people have been showing. What do you think Louis?” Akelle from new UK hip hop sensation WSTRN explains his theory for the band’s massively successful debut single “IN2”. Having entered high on the chart, success has been something of a whirlwind for the west London trio made of Akele Charles, Haile and Louis Rei. “I just feel like the masses see how genuine we are” Louis continues. People always ask us “were you put together?” “How did it happen?” I think the cohesion between us is rare so I think that’s why the people are supporting us, that’s what you do with things that are rare, you take care for them”. While their unexpected top ten smash has music pundits declaring them an overnight success, the boys are clear that they have been making music for a lot longer than that.

“We’ve been doing music forever” Akelle begins, regarding the band’s origin story “We had been doing it in our spare time because it’s what we love to do. Me and Haile were working on a mixtape that I was putting together. I know Louis through my brothers, I knew he was talented and I thought he was a good rapper so I asked him to join us and got him on the mixtape. From then on we continued on to make music with three of us as a collective, the first tune we made was “IN2”. “We were in the studio and I got the beat, I was vibin’ and basically what I got off the beat is the vibe that I came up with the lyrics”. Haile recounts how the song itself actually came together. “Over time I came up with the hook and we were just bouncing off each other in the studio. After we got the hook, Akelle had just done his verse. It was pretty quick, everything happened so quick. Then Louis done his verse after that so we completed the song and it was like proper!”

But it was the power of radio and the support of the right DJ’s that got the tune to the ears of major label execs ultimately leading to them inking a deal with Atlantic Records. “When we made ‘IN2’, we didn’t really act on it straight away; we made that, put it aside and carried on making music together. Akelle continues. “Then I went back to it and I thought this tune’s so sick though I really feel like it needs to be heard. I sent it DJ Target on BBC 1XTRA. He said this is a sick tune I’m going to play it tomorrow. After he played it other DJ’s started clicking on and then our manager Morgan Keys personally emailed the song to each DJ. The response of it was just so crazy. It was on every radio station, we was getting quite good support so we said we have to do a video, so we invited people to a BBQ and shot the video, just normal fun vibes and the response was mad, it lead so many major labels being onto us so we had to make a decision and we just thought that it was right - the level that we got to, we thought that it only make sense that we team up and take it further”.

Having a family member in the business, Akelle is the brother of singer...

Find out about Akelle's hip hop kin and what advice he's been given as the group made a name for themselves... plus WSTRN talk about their latest collaborations, other hip hop artists, the ethos of the band and were / how it all began - all in our now issue.


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Words Karen Lawler

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