Sekou on BRIT Awards, Fashion Week & letting go

Sekou on BRIT Awards, Fashion Week & letting go

by Ollie Cox
8 min

Nominated as the youngest BRIT Award nominee ever for the “Rising Star” category and a calendar packed with new music, Sekou’s 2024 got off to a flying start. The Leicester-born musician has been on our radar for a while, and we caught him just before the release of his latest single, “let go of me slowly,” an emotion-packed tale of heartbreak told in the musician’s typical ballad delivery, reflective of an earlier sound heard on his debut EP Out of Mind

Understandably, with such a powerful and distinct sound and an ability to fuse soul, pop, and R&B sounds with a creative mastery beyond his years, Sekou has garnered support from some of the biggest in the business, including Andersson .Paak, Cleo Soul, Fred Again, and Kamal, who have supported him online. He has worked on fashion show soundtracks and can be spotted on the front row of some of the hottest shows of the season, including KidSuper and Valentino, which has brought him even closer to the people he looks up to. 

Fresh off the back of touring with Renne Rap, we sat down with Sekou to talk letting go, fashion, and preshow rituals. See what we got up to below. 

Tell me about your new single, “Let Me Go Slowly.” What inspires you on this one?

The song is literally about having to let go of something, shrugging everything off your shoulders and moving on from a situation – which I think is important for everyone to do. In terms of my inspiration, I was going through a situation, and I didn’t really understand how to express my feelings about it. I needed to be honest with myself about it, and I happened to see some old messages that brought all the feelings back. That’s what really inspired this single: the memories and emotions surrounding it.

You’ve been touring with Renee Rapp recently. What has that experience been like? Has Renée given you any words of advice that have stuck with you?

Words of advice, honestly, she’s given me more actions. Just by watching her and talking to her, and seeing how she communicates with her fans, is amazing. She carries herself authentically and stays true to herself. She’s an incredible artist who creates music because she truly loves it, and she loves every single person that attends her shows every night. Touring with her was an incredible experience; the reception that I received after every show was overwhelming, and I’m so grateful. It’s been an incredible ride, and I’ve loved every moment – her fans are great and really made me feel at home on the stage.

You’re always dancing on stage. Where did you get your moves from?

Watching my favourite artists on YouTube mainly, and watching how they move. But it’s definitely in my genes, I’d say – I would always dance around and move when I was younger, and I feel like I’ve always had a natural sense of rhythm. But I think with practice, I’ve gotten better and more confident with it.

Do you have a pre-performance ritual? How do you get in the zone?

About 15 minutes before I go on stage, I need to be by myself. It doesn’t matter where. I just take myself away and take a breather because I get really nervous. Then, I head back in, do my vocal warmups (by listening to my vocal coach’s recordings and doing her exercises), and then I listen to some calming music to clear my mind. However, I mainly like to do this routine alone when I can – taking a moment is really important for me to not be surrounded by noise.

 Alistair McVeigh ©

During the last Men’s Paris Fashion Week, you were on the KidSuper show soundtrack. How is the approach different when making show music versus music for yourself?

I think when making show music, obviously, it can contain or may not contain written vocals or lyrics. And for this one, it wasn’t lyric-based – it was me providing ad-libs over the track, and they were supposed to be Arab inspired, and using those types of sounds, which was fun to do – I’d never done a sound like that before. When I heard the music and heard everyone’s parts, I kind of knew where I needed to place my voice and knew what I wanted to do with it, too. I just kind of got lost in the music and kind of made harmonies and athletes in all different places. And I think that’s how it came around. I didn’t do too much or do too little. I think everyone just liked what I did.

You’re usually out and about during Fashion Week. What’s been your favourite Fashion Week experience to date?

Having sat front row at Valentino’s Men’s Show in Milan last June and then meeting Jacob Elordi after the show and having a 10-minute conversation with him is definitely a standout memory – I think he’s great. What I love so much about Fashion Week is being around people who are really into their fashion and not afraid to express it. Also, connecting with people at shows who can be in a completely different industry to you – it’s just nice to get to know new people. It’s great to experience it as an artist who loves fashion and sees it as an extension of my art.

When you get stuck for creative inspiration, where do you go to?

Honestly, I’ll usually just forget about trying to do anything creative and go and eat some food or something [laughs]. I’ll listen to some calming music, try and write things down or journal just to get everything out of my head and onto paper. I think when you’re in a creative block, that’s the best thing to do: just get everything out and start fresh, and the creativity will come back to you. I think the world is so full on, so trying to take some time to just chill, and relax is important. Sometimes, the battery dies, and you’ve got to start it back up and recharge. So relaxing, journaling, and a big one is trying not to be on my mobile!

Based on your Instagram, you constantly interact with celebrities you look up to. Who’s your dream collaboration, and who’s your favourite person you’ve worked with?

My dream collab would, of course, have to be Beyoncé. I’d want to collaborate with her in all aspects, either by having a writing credit or by giving her new songs. However, a duet would be my ultimate dream. Regarding my favourite person I’ve worked with so far, I’d have to say Sounwave. We connected and got along so well even before we started working together musically. He’s incredibly talented and motivating. It’s wonderful to work with people at that level of their career and for them to be so welcoming.

What was it like being nominated for your first BRIT Award this year for Rising Star?

It actually didn’t feel real for a while. I remember watching the BRITs when I was growing up, and then one day you’re nominated, and are the youngest ever nominee of your category, and sitting in a room full of incredible artists, too. I was really grateful for the nomination, and it’s been a great starting point for me – in a year or two I’d love to be up for a category like Best New Artist, or Song of The Year – it gives me something to work towards and that feels great. I think also to be 19, and to be recognised by the BRITs was really mind-blowing, and yeah, a really incredible feeling.

Lastly, what do you have going on this year that you can tease?

There’ll be shows—lots of shows—and new music, too. I definitely want this to be the year that I do more performances and connect with my listeners. Last month, I was on a track with Potter Payper. My visuals were on his track ‘Longevity’, which was cool. I just want to collaborate more with others in the industry and keep creating.

“let go of me slowly” is available to stream now.

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