Gathered around at the Tea Building in Shoreditch, a crowd awaits the emerging renaissance R&B star Rasharn Powell to celebrate his debut mixtape ‘Dusk & Dawn’ launch.
Humbly carrying himself, Rasharn Powell sits down in front of the audience, introduces his debut EP, and lays down each track. Hearing ‘Dusk & Dawn’ live, with a great sound system in the company of the artist, made for an unforgettable experience.
After the concert hiatus, Powell decided to perform a few songs, including the current single ‘Demons’ and ‘Freedom’. Stunned by his talent, I watched the whole performance, hypnotized by Powell’s passion. Let me tell you; the energy was electric.
We got the chance to talk to the man of the hour, Rasharn Powell himself, and found out he was only nine years old when he walked into a studio. Besides talking about the new EP, Powell gave us an insight into the shooting of the ‘Demons’ music video.
How was it to perform a few songs after such a long time even though it was in such an intimate setting?
It felt pretty special to be honest as that’s where I’m most comfortable… on stage. It just felt like I was back home again you know?
What was your lockdown experience like?
A rollercoaster (laughs) which I can imagine was the same for most people but positively it felt like a rebirth. I just knew I wanted to come out on the other side of it better off than when I stepped into it. I just worked on myself and continued to push forward without using it as an excuse.
How was it working on music in isolation? What helped you stay creatively stimulated?
I’m not the type to always be in the studio, I only go in when I feel like I have something to say. I guess I took the beginning of it to gain clarity of everything in my head. Then it just felt like I was in the flow of things. My routine definitely helped, working out 5 days a week, riding my bmx or going for walks regularly, binging films, series and reading more.
How did you get into music in the first place?
It was pretty innate. My primary school used to have recitals at the end of the year where we’d perform for the parents and older kids so I was performing on stage from around 5. My sister, cousin & I used to put together little songs & dances for our parents and grandparents also. We used to stand in front of the TV and just perform for them (laughs). Then my mum started to realise it was something I was passionate about and she searched for ways to help me hone in on what it was she thought I had so shout out to mum. I was around 9 when my uncle took me to the studio for the first time and that’s when I just started to understand I wanted to write my own songs versus covering other artist’s songs. I would just write constantly from then, every single day. It was bad at the start but I just felt motivated regardless you know? 10,000 hours or whatever (laughs)
Were you surrounded by music when growing up?
Yeah, music was a constant in my family. It still is. My grandparents used to throw parties all the time so I was exposed their taste equally as much as my mum & dads.
How did you learn to write such visual lyrics?
Good question (laughs) I’ve always loved English from my school days and I just loved how authors would envelop the scenery. My teacher Miss Stoker used to push me the most out of the class because she could tell I cared, I guess, so from an analytical standpoint it allowed me to dissect and form my own understanding of how they did it. As to how it could work in song form, I had to figure that out myself. Constant practice of poetry & haikus helped along with just being aware of my surroundings you know? It’s the clarity of the moment that I try to capture.
For how long has ‘Dusk & Dawn’ been in the works?
Leading up to this moment it’s been around 2 & a half years but the inception of the individual songs, they were made in brief spurts of time between Gianluca & I’s schedule for the most part. I just like to take my time and when the moment I was searching for came, for it to feel right, I took it & evidently it was that time now.
Could you share what ‘Dusk & Dawn’ is about?
I’d rather allow for people to let their own interpretations come into play when they listen to the songs but if they really listen to the lyrics, they should know it’s all based on real points in my life. The tape starts with the thrill of new love, gliding into that’s demise and then the pain that inevitably follows. To the overcoming and the birth of a brand new self that ends up dawning into whatever is meant to be.
Could you also share how the shooting for ‘Demons’ and ‘Burning Up The Sky’ music video looked like?
The process was so f*cking fun but very demanding on my body. I definitely can say “I do my own stunts” with my head held high (laughs). There was this one scene that you didn’t see from “Demons” where I had to sing the song underwater, non-stop for around 30-35 seconds. It was so intense (laughs). I love working with The Reid’s and Crowns & Owls, they’re just as crazy as me. We just put our all into what we make and I just love them for their uncompromising dedication to the result.
What are you planning next?
A lot more growth, a lot more music & a lot more performing!