In Conversation with: Bleu
For those who don’t know who Bleu?
Well I’m a 23-year-old Zimbabwean-British singer/songwriter based in Manchester. A real diaspora kid aha. I make music I love, and hope people can relate to. So yeah, take me in.
What/who do you treasure the most?
There’s so much I’m not sure I could pick just the one! I treasure my guitar Luna – she’s been a real crutch when I needed it the most. It’s such a crazy experience bonding with an instrument and being able to use it as an extension of yourself. I mean, I’ve written some of the most honest experiences with her and she allows me to truly be myself in a way that requires no explanations. It sounds crazy but it’s like she’s truly listening - and I think that’s what we all want – to be heard and listened to. She’s also the sickest guitar ever!
How would your family and friends describe you?
This really depends on who you ask – I’m honestly an oddball to describe. But it’s mostly good stuff, amen for that. I’m pretty sure they’d say the same thing too…. yeah… I’m pretty sure.
Where did your love for music come from and when did your music career start?
My love for music has always been embedded in me. It’s just one of those things that I can’t even describe how much I love being a part of me. My way of showing it is making more music. There’s are way too many origins to this love story. For one, my granddad was in a choir back in his schooling days – he has one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard and listening to him sing would literally make my heart thump out my chest in complete admiration. I mean even when he snores it’s always in key! We sang together a lot when I was younger, and he’d even try to learn to sing along to rubbish songs I wrote (one of which was about being a princess – and yes, I still know the words). Gatherings at my other grandparents’ house made me love music even more because they were always singing these amazing gospel songs, with all these beautiful harmonies being sung and I loved how we were all sharing this experience regardless of who could sing or not. I have a big family and I love them for letting me grow my love for music through such heartfelt experiences.
When my music career started is a bit debatable – I’ve always been singing – whether it was competing in choirs, winning talent shows, performing at various events, posting some original content on socials, it’s been a constant thing for me. But to really put time, effort, money, sweat into it? I’d say it’s been spanning over the past year or so.
What do you hope people will take away from listening to your music?
Whatever they can – at that point the song is their experience. I have a lot of things I want to put out to the world and so what they take away with them is a part of me and a part of my story. The good and the bad.
How would you describe your style of music and what inspired it?
You know this is genuinely a difficult question for me to answer. I vibe to so much stuff its like ‘well how can you put that into your music, how can it translate?’ – Musically I’m stuck in the old school RnB vibes from the 00’s but I’m also a pop kid, rock kid blah blah so it’s like, you’ll get a mix of things from me. I hope to work with some talented producers within different genres and see what we can rack up.
How have people reacted to your music so far?
Honestly better than I expected. I mean I’ve had artists like Kranium, DVSN and Ammara Brown react to some of my content so I guess I must be doing something right! I think for me it’s when people send me messages or come up to me after a performance and want to talk about my material and have this look in their eyes like ‘Yes I totally get what that’s like’ especially when I perform with Luna and I’m literally laying my feelings out for everyone to see. It’s such a raw and humbling experience. I can’t thank the people who’ve been supporting me enough.
What have been the best and worst memories of working on your debut single?
I was going through a lot of significant life changes during the time I first started working on Good Girl. It was difficult trying to keep myself motivated enough to keep pushing to get it done. I work, I study, and have other interests that constantly need my attention and energy. I went through a break up. I mean life can get pretty hectic and it’s not always easy keeping up. So, getting the song done was such a milestone for me. I have too many good memories to pick from – I think my favourite was on my train ride home back from London after shooting the visuals for the song – with a face plastered in makeup and a massive grin on my face. That whole day was a surreal experience for me – I met some really cool people who worked with me to get this project underway. I have so much love for them and the support they’ve given me throughout my music. I mean, sometimes life really does throw you some interesting curveballs which you sometimes have to sweat to overcome but coming out on the other side of it and seeing what I’ve created along with help from some talented people is just the most satisfying feeling ever. Like ‘yay me, look at the thing I did – I deserve to binge watch another Netflix original series!’ …. Which I did …
Apart from music, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love writing – poetry, short stories, all that good stuff – I mean I wish I had more time to really delve into because I enjoy it so much, but I’ve gotten a lot better at writing on the go and sharing my content whenever I can. I also love reading. I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm. I love a good time out, good laughs and a good drink. Preferably red wine.
Where in the world do you wish to perform one day?
The Brits would be a good start! Aha well I think performing back in Zimbabwe would be great, especially back in my hometown, Gweru – it’d be like coming full circle. That’s the beginning of my story and the birthplace of my passions so it’d be such a fulfilling event for me.
Being a diaspora based Zim artist, do you feel you are more likely to break through there than if you were based in Zim?
I have yet to see – I mean I’m assuming that there’d be a slightly different way of getting things done but I honestly feel that whatever life has planned for me, this dream is mine to live – I have to breakthrough. I think sometimes the music industry can get a bit too competitive especially when you’re starting up – sometimes it’s more about popularity or who you know rather than what you can bring to the table. I think if we make it more about the music and realise that there is space for everyone things can get easier to tolerate. We need to support each other more and push for better content. So yeah, support ya sis.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you so far?
I mean every lesson I’ve learnt is an important one to me. What you want isn’t always what you need. Sometimes you must wait longer for the things in life that are meant for you to be right for you. Also, it’s okay not to be okay and have your shit together 100% of time, we’re all trying to figure things out at the end of the day.
Describe a typical day in your life.
Let’s see. I get up - I argue with my siblings over who needs to clean up the mess from the night before. Spend a day laughing at a bunch of stuff on socials, read, write and meditate. Have a glass of wine with the family over dinner and a movie (yes Netflix and chill can be family friendly too). I love sticking my headphones in, music on full blast and go for walks at night to reflect. Otherwise I’m spending hours having breakdowns over my university assignments and my commute to work. It’s standard stuff.
Where is your favourite place to perform?
The shower – the acoustics in there are insane. Plus, the shower makes for a great prop. Cue 90’s RnB video throwback. It’s pretty great in there.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Beyoncé because let’s face it, she’s Beyoncé. Rihanna because she’s got that thing about her that’s so unique you can’t quite put your finger on it but you know she has it. H.E.R – her music is my life – I mean her lyrics just really dig deep into my experiences. Same goes for DVSN – the ‘Morning After’ and “5th Sept.” albums are such an experience – you well and truly engage with everything from the words to the beat. Post Malone, Bryson Tiller, Coldplay, Gym Class Heroes, No Doubt, Paramore, One Republic - I mean I have a ton of artists I look up to whose music I adore but honestly if I get into it, we’ll all be pensioners by the time I’m done.
Which artists would you like to work with and why?
In this time, I really want to work with artists who are in the music scene who aren’t necessarily well known. I’ve been around some insanely talented artists and I think we can all further ourselves collaborating more. I mean the black British music scene has really been doing popping up some gems and I’m glad we are getting out there unabashedly and fusing our cultures into our music. Its brilliant stuff. In the current mood I’m in, I really want to work with Stormzy – the guy is a force to be reckoned with. Plus, he seems like a really nice solid lad.
What are the top songs in your playlist right now?
Top Off - DJ Khaled, Jay-Z, Future, Beyoncé
Psycho – Post Malone, Ty Dolla Sign
Don’t Choose - DVSN
Think About Me – DVSN
Every Kind of Way – H.E.R
Changes – H.E.R
When are you happiest?
When I’ve eaten.
If you could give up anything for a year what would it be and why?
Chocolate – I don’t eat the stuff often enough to miss it.
What is your favourite thing about being from Zimbabwe?
Everything. Living here in the UK made me realise how even the smallest things I took for granted really made my life worth it – I don’t miss the mosquitos, but I cherish the memories of my grandma setting up the mosquito net for me and the smell of DOOM before I went to bed. Golden memories. I mean the country is so big and beautiful with so much colour and life to it. I miss gazing up at the stars, I miss the sunsets. I miss the feeling of being free. I’m fortunate to have had spent most of my childhood there. Most of my treasured memories are from when I was in Zimbabwe. Some things you just can’t imitate. I can’t sum it up but if there’s one thing I adore it’s our sense of humour. I think we really win there. We have this spirit of resilience and we take things with a pinch of salt and humour.
How would you like to be remembered?
For my music – for my truths – for myself – if you remember me at all. And to my parents – I love you all. Thank you for allowing your girl to manifest her rather crazy dreams. Thank you for making me Bleu.
Instagram - @bleuautumn
Twitter - @bleuautumn
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bleuautumn101
Youtube – Bleuautumn101 - https://www.youtube.com/user/BleuAutumn101
Soundcloud – Bleuautumn101 - https://soundcloud.com/bleuautumn101
My debut single ‘Good Girl’ available to stream and purchase on Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music
Champagne – DVSN Freestyle – available to stream on Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/bleuautumn101/bleu-champagne-dvsn-freestyle