Coming to the end of festival season is always a downer and this year is no exception. For singer and producer, Silvastone, this summer marked one of the most exciting yet – but he isn’t slowing down for winter like the rest of us
I met Silvastone at Glastonbury earlier this year, I had the chance to watch his performance at the renowned festival (which was so successful he was asked to repeat his set) and experience the effect of the music first hand.
Glastonbury had been, unsurprisingly, pouring with rain all day – actually the heaviest that weekend. As I headed over to The Blues, a stage shared with the likes of Goldie, Newham Generals and Fatboy Slim, the rain finally stopped. People were dancing in thick mud, the sun emerging from its depressingly grey sky and hit single ‘Loving my Baby’ was instantly lifting the mood. When I ask about what inspires him, Silvastone tells me his biggest influence is actually Church, “the emotion that you get from worship music – I’ve always loved that. It’s something I’ve always wanted to have in my own music because I feel that that’s how you can touch people”. As somebody that hasn’t experienced this first hand, I can only think back to how great that set was amongst the dismal weather, how it made people dance despite the mud – I think I get it.
It was the highlight of his career so far, even more so because he got to share the experience with friends DJ Ace, Marvin B and also Kanja who came from the US to support him. “Having so many people dancing to my music and having that platform to be able to perform the same festival as Kanye West… I just thought there are so many other artists that could have done this – but I am. I always wanted to do a big festival and now I’ve done Glastonbury. I think that’s one of the most satisfying feelings, being able to achieve something that you really wanted.“
After watching the set, we head over to watch Fuse ODG together (who, incidentally Silvastone will be supporting next month), we discuss the rise of afrobeats in the UK. “[It’s] good, it’s healthy. Artists didn’t have a voice because maybe all they loved was African music and there was no platform for it, now they have a platform”. Though, Silvastone isn’t looking to firmly stay within these boundaries, he tells me his dream collaborator would be Coldplay, which took me by surprise. “There’s something about their music and what I’ve been creating lately that would be amazing. [They] would be crazy on something African!” Unfortunately Chris Martin announced back in 2011 Rihanna would be their final collaboration, but I’d love to have heard what Silvastone had in mind. I enjoy understanding an artist’s relationship with music, appreciation of genres outside their own is a good indicator. Silvastone grew up on a range of sounds from Boy George to classical, which really reflects in his creativity.
As he explains it, music picked Silvastone from a young age, but it wasn’t until he was 11, when he moved to Sierra Leone with his father, that he began to really understand African music specifically. “I never really had loads of toys as a child; I had a few Lego bricks, a few cars and a keyboard, the keyboard made the best noise so I stuck with it. When I went to Sierra Leone we didn’t have a TV but my dad had a piano, so I used to play that”. He would play back hymns he’d heard in Church or themes from TV shows, eventually after moving back to the UK he pursued music as a career.
Now we’re witnessing the fruition of 15 years producing and creating, and it’s not just festivals that have made this year peak. Silvastone travelled to Kenya over the summer to participate in Coke Studio Africa, been nominated for Best African Act at the MOBO Awards and recently released a video for Scatta (Remix) with Chaka Demus. He got involved with Chaka after a friend, DJ Seani B introduced them, he tells me working with Chaka was amazing. “When he flew over to shoot the video we really gelled, he has always shown a lot of interest and love for the record and showed me what he’s doing is more than just feature, he loves the song and wants it to be big”.
We can see Radio 1Xtra were right to name him one of the ‘Hot for 2015’ as he grows in popularity. In the coming month’s Silvastone will be playing in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda, filming a documentary, releasing his next single, “My Place” as well as another EP early next year. He understands the pressure to keep momentum going so is also shooting a lot of videos to keep his profile up, “I don’t want to lapse or have any dry periods, so I’ve got a lot of music that’s just waiting to come out”. Clearly we’ll be seeing a lot more of Silvastone, as he rises hand in hand with his genres growing popularity.
Stream the Transitions EP below now
Follow Silvastone on Twitter now @silvastonebeats