Introducing Interview: Badliana

Having received acclaim from the likes of Clash magazine and BBC Radio 1XTRA’s Jamz Supernova for her 2021 debut EP Diary Of A Loner, and having wowed crowds at Glastonbury last year, Bristol based artist Badliana is a definite one to watch on the UK R&B and grime scene. Propelled by immersive trippy beats as glistening, soulful vocals soar, recent single ‘Mayday‘ showcases Badliana’s ability to create fierce soundscapes with a raw emotion.

We caught up with Badliana to find out more…

Hi Badliana! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Hey I’m Badliana, I’m a singer, songwriter & rapper based in Bristol. I also love dancing, playing cards and putting hot chocolate in my coffee…

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
It’s my way of expressing myself and I’ve always felt like it’s something I’ve needed to do. I was always singing and making up songs when I was younger, and I’ve just continued to do that and develop and grow into my sound.

We love your trippy electronic sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
My musical influences differ & my playlists are a complete mixture of genres to be honest, ranging from artists like Busta Rhymes to Beabadoobee. I’m currently really loving Audrey Nuna – she’s so cool. For more electronic vibes, I would definitely recommend checking out Tlya X An’s recent release with Yard Woman – ‘Steps’, it’s such a banger. 

You recently released your single ‘Mayday’. Are you able to tell us a bit about it?
‘Mayday’ is produced by Mussi, who I frequently work with. We’ve been sitting on it for quite a while and finally felt ready to release it. I love this track because I love the energy in it and it’s really fun to play live and dance around.

Being based in Bristol, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
Yeah there’s always stuff going on – Strange Brew is a really cool venue that I’ve been to a few times recently & I saw a sick DJ at The Jam Jar a few weeks back too, but sadly I don’t know what they were called & I’m gutted I didn’t find out! My friend is running a wicked event at the Love Inn on Friday too, so I’ll likely be heading to that! It’s good to see the city thriving again, that’s for sure.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?  
Lot’s of energy and sass, I love a bit of sass! I just want to enjoy myself and have fun, and I want people watching to do the same. Let loose and let go!

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists? 
I mean, it’s ever changing and there’s so many routes you can go down now to try and get heard, but as long as you’re doing it because you’re enjoying what you do, then you’re winning really. I love to see the inclusivity and I also think Bristol is a great city for that – it’s very welcoming and accepting. I did a show with FUZE back in June last year, where I debuted ‘Mayday’ and danced with my own backing dancers – proper Britney moment for me, it was lit. They’re a non-profit charity organisation who raise money for a lot of current issues within this generation – LGBTQ+ and Transgender issues included. They’re ALL about expressing yourself, whoever you are, and are such an amazing group of people, I’ll be playing with them again in June this year and I seriously can’t wait. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
You should check out Baby Pink, her new single ‘Unbothered’ is so smooth. Alamay is another amazing artist, she has the voice of an angel. Nat Oaks is absolutely popping off right now too, & I’m a big fan of LEMFRECK as well, the list goes on and on…

What does the rest of the year have in store for you? 
I’ve got a couple of videos on the way and you can catch me gigging, I’ll post all my updates on my socials and I’m working on my next few releases too!

Massive thanks to Badliana for answering our questions, watch her lyric video for ‘Mayday’ below:

LISTEN: Sophia – ‘Strong For Two’

Strong For Two‘, the latest offering from Rotterdam based singer songwriter Sophia, is a reflective track which popped just the right spring in my step as I took my first strides into 2022. 

With lyrics like “Please don’t be afraid / I get lonely too / there’s no need for shame / you can own your truth”, Sophia shows herself to be he a strong lyricist with an observational and bravely personal outlook. Frequently inviting us to embrace our vulnerability, line by line, Sophia cultivates such a bond with her listener that each verse comes to feel like the warming layers of a good hug.

Complementing the lyrics is a neat and upbeat sauntering rhythm which hints at the R’n’B influences on Sophia’s work. Her ability to vocally switch tempo and tone throughout the song also makes the track feel like a journey, like I’m being taken by the hand into the middle of the dance floor – or maybe just the middle of myself. The song closes with the appearance of several new voices speaking the reaffirming words “You know where to find me”. This surprising touch adds an exciting female flourish to the song which offers a genuine sense that we really are all in this together: a track for the New Year truly. 

Tutku Barbaros

LISTEN: Megzz – ‘Checkmate’

Following the release of her debut EP Feel My Love in 2019, and acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for last year’s ‘Tell Me Why‘, unsigned Northamptonshire artist Megzz has now shared her latest single ‘Checkmate’ – a truly soulful treat for the ears. Fans will know of her commitment to using her platform and creativity to speak on self love, mental health and racism. Throughout the last year, Megzz has raised funds for several charities tackling these areas and even created her own movement. It’s a wonder she’s had time to create new music at all, and yet here’s ‘Checkmate’ – a fresh, empowering tune for anyone frustrated after being left on read. She’s a wonder woman!

‘Checkmate’ opens with a tasty pop and R’n’B influenced beat from which Megzz launches her gymnastic ability to deliver bars of crystal clear lyricism while displaying broad vocal range. Soon, the charming, toe-tapping intro takes a satisfying drop into the meaty bite of a more electronic sound (think SBTRKT meets Lapsley) luring us from swaying shoulders to banging heads and back. Meanwhile Megzz’s songwriting is the stuff of Insta caption dreams – “a queen without her king is still a monarch” is my current favourite.

Megzz obviously has a huge amount to say and I can’t wait to hear what this innovative artist does next.

Tutku Barbaros

Track Of The Day: MEI – ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’

Following acclaim for previous singles ‘See Us’ and ‘Happy Man’ from the likes of The Independent and Gal-Dem, London-based artist MEI has just released her new EP, Hard Way Around The Sun. A poignant collection reflecting on the turmoil of the last year – from personal struggles such as recovering from Covid and the breakdown of a relationship, to more social issues like tackling racial injustices – it acknowledges the challenges we’ve been through whilst offering a cheering sense of hope and resilience.

Taken from the EP, latest single ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me‘ provides a welcome pool of tranquility. Interweaving a lilting jazz-infused groove and funk-fused beats, it ripples with the smooth allure of MEI’s lush, soulful vocals, oozing a swirling ethereal atmosphere with horn arrangements courtesy of Cassie Kinoshi. As the beautifully blissful soundscape flows, it calms the senses and uplifts the mood with its woozy, soothing energy and empowering spirit, building to a buoyant pop anthem; a ray of enriching sunlight at a time when many of us need it the most.

Of the track, MEI expands:

“‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’ is full of metaphors describing my experience surviving COVID 19 and specifically the first time I left home for a walk after believing that I might not survive. It was dusk, my favourite time of day and there was this incredible orange and pink light, the air was so fresh and raw in my lungs and it was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Watch the animated visuals for ‘Let Dusk Welcome Me’ here:

The Hard Way Around The Sun, the new EP from MEI, was created with an all-female team and is out now. Listen here.

Mari Lane