Blakey, real name Harry Lee, is a singer-songwriter and producer based out of London. On Spotify alone, he has amassed over 15m streams, and currently sits at 350,000 monthly listeners.
Tell us about yourself...
I’ve always been obsessed with everything to do with music. I started playing piano as a small kid and I used to jam along to The Beatles' and even Jazz stuff like Bill Evans. Then, I became obsessed with wanting to get the girls so started singing (which probably actually ending up turning them all away!), but, then my love for writing music and songs grew and I just spent hours a day, even on Friday nights when everyone else was out getting p*ssed, locked in the studio.
I became really obsessed with the production side, and, in my early twenties, I got lost in Detroit House music, replicating it, and getting obsessed with the writing process of nineties R&B, and Classic Pop music. A few broken hearts along the way and the Blakey project spawned.
Why did you choose this song to cover?
I'm a massive fan of the songwriters and producers involved in this record, and generally, with Ariana. It's just such a brilliant Pop song. It's incredibly hard writing a really perfect song like this. So simple, but incredibly hard to get right. Thats what I strive to make. The perfect Pop song - like a little package all wrapped in in musical perfection.
Who are your biggest influences?
I hate when people say they like everything, but I literally do. Few of my currents are Nile Rodgers, through to J Hus, and Bryson Tiller. I’m really into Teeway too, and also Rap artists that are cross-pollinating styles, like Backroad Gee.
I've been getting back into some of the the Spice Girls album tracks because of the writers they had on those records.
Everyone says I sound like Chris Martin, which I don't really get, but, I guess we’re both baritone singers, so we can go super low and then pretty high, but find the mid range a bit hard. Plus, I tend to write soaring choruses, so maybe people see a similarity. I personally don't hear it that much!
How was it being an artist during the pandemic?
It's been bizarrely liberating for me because I tend to write and produce all the music myself - I've been quite self-sufficient in isolation. This year has also made me get back to basics and realise what's important to me musically, and just generally.
I have chucked out the rat-race for a full-hearted immersion in what makes me smile when writing music. I've also realised that music is a social thing at all levels. Getting in rooms with people, listening to music with people, seeing music live with people. It's best when not a solitary thing.
What's your plan for the remainder of this year?
I’m excited to be releasing so much music this year. Doing it the way I want. I've got an album coming out next month - then I'm gonna just keep dropping EP's and mix-tapes every month or so. Much-like how the Hip hop guys just bang out mixtapes every few months. Thats how you really build fans and build a story - plus its the only way to fulfill my creativity.
Who cares if it's not the way to do it in the industry? It feels right, and I'm itching to let the world hear it all. There are some huge anthemic songs that I can’t wait to get out which can be sung to the rafters, so I'm itching to play live again. I'm looking forward to hopefully doing that in July if I can get my ducks in a row. By august, the world will know about Blakey.
By Samuel Clucas & Ezra Folan
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