The magical quality of the music indigenous to the island of Jamaica, is experienced through the infectious effect it has on the world. This electricity is often witnessed when music lovers gather, rocking to thumping drums and heavy basslines. Over the past few months the “Bussweh” brand has energized the live music scene with productions that make you appreciate their alternative approach to the traditional Jamaican sound. Infusing a soulfulness to the Reggae sound is Blvk H3ro, an Important component of the “Bussweh” movement. He recently shared his insights about his journey through the industry to date.
13thStreetPromotions: Blvk H3ro the Weed Connoisseur, the poster child for “Bussweh”, thanks for making the time to connect with 13th Street Promotions! For the people who are still unaware, tell us a little about Blvk H3ro and how you got your start.
Blvk H3ro: Ahh, firstly blessed love the 13th Street Promotions family for this moment in time. You guys have been there from the start so a huge “Bussweh” to the team. “Poster child of “Bussweh””? (Haha) I don’t know about that, but I guess you could say that because for many, I was the first face they saw on a stage representing the “Bussweh” movement. Honestly I’m just a youthful energy from Portmore, Jamaica that grew up around music and arts from Church to School, to just being in the streets and surfing the Web finding sounds. I connected with sound and its power and this connection turned into love, like mi legit love music like cooked food. I need it to survive (haha)! This love then turned into a musical career now spanning about 3 years.
13thSP: You already have had a ton of interaction with the Press recently, so it is apparent that you are making all the right musical moves in 2016. Describe the way your sound, termed “ReggaeSoul”, has been growing and expanding since you started pursuing music.
Blvk H3ro: 2016 has been a great year! A big shout out to all aspects of the Press from Radio, to Print, Television, and Blogs , your support is seriously appreciated. Well for those who don’t know, I call my sound “Reggaesoul” which is really a collage of sounds with our Jamaican musical dialect at its base as well as influence from all its offsprings (Hip Hop, EDM, Reggaeton, Dubstep, Tropical House, etc.). 2 years ago I released a playlist on Soundcloud called #Reggaesoul with 8 songs, one of which was officially featured on Major Lazer’s Remixes of the popular “Get Free” Riddim. Once they pushed the song, it immediately garnered over 500,000 plays and to me this was the moment where my sound was truly born. Fast forward a year later, and the sound has grown even more now with the addition of the Reggae Soul Band to add the crucial live element which helps me to convey the the right energy to the audience during performances.
13thSP: Your sound has been made to touch the lives of many, both regionally and Internationally. Through the expansion of this sound you have been granted access to being scouted by the likes of Protojé. Is there anyone else that you would personally love to work with and what are you doing to make those dreams a reality?
Blvk H3ro: Yo big up Diggy Don every time! He has helped to propel the thing to a next level not just for me but the entire New Wave (REM, Bussweh, TheOnes, etc.) and for that I’m forever grateful. To be honest, a lot of Industry players have approached me, loving the sound, wanting to sign and to help push it even further so we see the love is real but the team and I are taking it slow, learning as much as we can about the industry before putting any pen to paper. The two Musicians I wanna work with right now are Kirk Franklin and Junior Gong, oh and Kanye, can’t forget Kanye (Haha). I just want to get there so I have to stay working and keeping the sound interesting so it can continue reaching the right ears.
13thSP: In a young Artist’s life, there are always certain setbacks and highlights. What have been the challenges you’ve experienced, and your favourite moment in your career?
Blvk H3ro: Music is not for the weak, I can tell you that. While people had roofs over their heads, those rooftops used to be our beds! Everything you can think of, I’ve experienced during my journey with music from hunger to disrespect, being homeless, no support and so much Fam but it was necessary because one of my favorite moments in my career was meeting the entire Major Lazer Crew! This happened on a day where all those things happened all at once, sh** I even got fired from a job I got a day before and had to walk from Crossroads to Constant Spring to meet them, it was crazy yo.
13thSP: Since the release of your THC project (a.k.a. “The H3rb Connoisseur WeedP”), you have been actively working at staying relevant through live music. I believe this is extremely beautiful and helps to colour how your fans see you. Tell us about some of the feedback you have been receiving about THC from both fans and Industry insiders.
Blvk H3ro: When it comes to live music that’s when I come alive. It’s a totally different performance from recording because with live music, I get to interact with the audience and have a real conversation with my fans and supporters. Plus to be honest, right now I don’t have access to a Recording Studio in the way I would want so performing keeps me active so I don’t get frustrated about not always being able to create in the way I would want. THC (The H3rb Connoisseur) was my first EP to the world and it has surpassed my expectations. Personal feedback as well as sales, the real feedback, have been more than awesome. People totally understood that this EP was for the culture and for the users of Cannabis. “H3rb” is everyone’s favourite track and also “M.A.R.Y” is like the theme song for all the Daughter dem that love the herb, so I feel proud and it’s a really good look.
13thSP: “Sky Dive” is actually one of my favorite tracks on the compilation and boasts the production of Boomdraw and Kone; it is refreshing to hear how you have tapped into a network of sound that gives you the creative control and overall originality. What exactly gave Blvk H3ro the inspiration for THC, the “WeedP” project?
Blvk H3ro: I like the way you described this “network of sounds” because that’s exactly what this new generation, this “New Wave” is all about; so all I did was reach out to that network to create something nostalgically fresh. The inspiration behind the THC project came from my musical team (The Grei Show and Dennis “Greatest”) as well as my people, my tribe, because they all wanted a project they could enjoy while “Skydiving” (Haha). I decided to just do it but it wouldn’t have been possible without (Producers and Artists) JLL, BoomDraw (Yared Lee), Kone (Karlon), Leno Banton, Equiknoxx (Gavsborg), BP Welsh and the rest of the team because we made this without any resources, just bright dreams, strong intentions, and of course Twitter and Facebook. So I hope this will inspire more collaborations among others in my generation.
13thSP: It is essential to take your craft as seriously as possible, but it seems to me that “Bussweh” takes a more charismatic and care-free approach to the business of making music. To be a fully Indie creative in 2016 is next to impossible when factoring in things like Global Financial Crises etc. How do you mentally prepare yourself for a day to day adventure, and are you prepared for the future; what good things does 2017 hold in store for H3ro?
Blvk H3ro: For sure, when creating music we take a more charismatic approach or as we would say a more free/creative approach because that’s how u get the right blend of feeling, melody, and lyrics. I just try my best to remain centered and balanced even while going through the daily challenges and triumphs of being an Independent Musician, or just a Musician in times like these. 2017 is going to be a “Bussweh” year. Dem ago tired fi see mi face!