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Korede Bello: The Upper Interview

Since exiting Mavin Records in 2021, Korede Bello has taken the mantle of handling his music career, gracefully assuming the position of a lone wolf in a fast-evolving music industry while simultaneously catering to the sonic needs of his devoted fan base.

His last project ‘Table for Two‘ was released in 2020. Table for Two had hit ballads such as ‘Sun Mo Mi’ and ‘Mi Casa Su Casa’. At the time, the project’s theme had defined his headspace. Three years down the line, and the superstar has fundamentally grown.

Even though Korede Bello still explores romantic love in his music, his sound is however fine-tuned and more relatable to a vast audience.

The superstar’s latest and sophomore album ‘Beauty & Bliss‘ attests to his sonic maturity and in this interview, Korede Bello sheds light into the body of work’s nitty gritty.

Congratulations on the release of ‘Beauty and Bliss’! We’re eager to understand the personal resonance the title ‘Beauty and Bliss’ holds for you. Could you delve into any particular life experiences or
moments that compelled you to choose this title? How does the concept of beauty and bliss connect with your own journey as an artist, and what growth and transformation do you feel this project signifies for you?

The title Beauty and Bliss is the season I’m currently in in my life. It’s the state of mind and state of heart that I’m resonating with and resonating on. Beauty because I’ve realized that all things are beautiful already. I don’t need to try to make life any more
beautiful than it already is. And knowing that is bliss.
So that’s why Beauty and Bliss. Because if you see that life is beautiful, it’s not because life is beautiful. It’s because your eyes are beautiful. And if you think life is not beautiful, it’s not because life is not beautiful. It’s because your eyes are not beautiful. The perception and lens with which you see life is what makes you see life differently. It all started just knowing who I am.

Understanding who I am not just as a being. Not just as a human but as a being. Which is my connection, my connectedness with every other being. And with the ultimate being which is God. So I know that because I am connected to the creator, I am a creation of the creator. And because I know for certain that the creator is beautiful, I am beautiful. So my life is beautiful. Things that I do are beautiful. The words that come out of my mouth are beautiful. The thoughts that come out of my mind are beautiful.

The actions that I make are beautiful. The music that I make, the arts that I make or that I open myself to create is beautiful. So beauty is a way of seeing and a way of being. And bliss. Because knowing this is knowing bliss. Knowing that it’s okay to just be. And from there just take the steps that you can control. Don’t focus on anything that you can’t control. So that’s where beauty and bliss comes from. It’s a state of mind for me. It’s been a state of mind for me for a long time. And also it’s a figure of speech because beauty also touches on the concept of beauty and the beast. It’s a play on words of beauty and the beast. But it’s beauty and bliss. Because when the beast met with true love, it was transformed from beast to prince charm back.
So it’s the transformation from conflict to ease, from chaos to order. So that’s beauty and bliss. Beauty or identity is the antidote for crisis. Beauty is who you are.

You’ve mentioned that ‘Beauty and Bliss’ is a reflection of your growth as an artist. We’d love to hear about any specific instances or turning points within the project that you feel showcase this growth.
Can you take us through a particular song or moment that stands out to you as a testament to your artistic evolution? Were there any challenges you encountered during the project that ultimately contributed to your growth?

I think two songs in particular on the project stand as an attestation to what I was describing. Jejely, which is Peace of mind and Way Life Goes. In the songs I described how ultimately for me, I found the
treasure in having a tranquil state of mind above all else and that is a reflection of my evolution as a human being, not just as an artist because I recognize the ebbs and flows of life and how nothing is permanent. The transient nature of life. So I understand how seasons work. One of the wisest men, according to the Bible, the ever lived King Solomon, speaks of time and chance, seasons. So, that’s what bliss means. That’s the bliss section of the project. You know, knowing this is knowing bliss.

The track ‘Maria’ has garnered a lot of attention due to its captivating sound. Let’s explore the narrative of ‘Maria’ on a personal level. Were there any personal experiences, real or imagined, that
influenced the creation of this track? How does ‘Maria’ tie into the overall thematic arc of ‘Beauty and Bliss,’ and what emotions did you aim to convey through this song?

Maria is an expression of Beauty on the project. My expression of the way she moves, the way she does what she does is beautiful. So Maria is on the spectrum of beauty and how beauty makes you feel alive. And I’m in love with Maria because of the things that Maria does. So yeah, that was what that was about. Maria is the beauty in Beauty and the Beast. Maria is the one that the beast found and made him transform into a prince in that sense. But yeah, Maria
is just an expression of part of the beautiful things in life. And that’s what the track stands out to represent.

Collaborations often bring fresh perspectives and dynamics to a project. Could you share what motivated your choice of collaborators for this EP? On a personal note, did any of these collaborations lead to unexpected creative directions or insights? How did these collaborations help you communicate the themes of ‘Beauty and Bliss’ more effectively?

So there are two collaborators that I have on the project: Mr. Eazi and Yemi Alade. Yemi Alade is on the track For Me, and Mr. Eazi is on the track, Jejely. These two friends of mine are artists that also express the theme of Bliss and Beauty in their personal lives, and they were very apt to be collaborators on the theme of the project.

For instance, on the track For Me, track four, I think, on Beauty and Bliss, For Me, when you listen to the song, it speaks of conflict, third-party opinions, and it speaks about reassurance in a relationship. It’s like, you’re the only one that matters to me. I don’t care what other people say. That is beauty and bliss already explained in that song alone. It’s like, how do I express this? They’re talking, they’re talking, “woni woni , woni won so o”. They’re talking, let them talk. That’s not what matters to me. I don’t care about what they’re talking about. I only care about you. You’re the one for me.

That is beauty and bliss. Assurance in a relationship is what contributes to the blissful nature of healthy relationships or successful relationships. So that’s for me. And for Jejely, his name is literally Mr. Eazi and you can tell from his way of life too, he’s not about that stress life. And it was very apt to have him, it was an
honor to have him as well on the track, Jejely, because if you hear his own verse, you hear how he speaks about, you know, just catching flights and not catching feelings. And you just never know, because life comes and life goes. So those two collaborations were very, very, very helpful to contribute to the overall message and theme of beauty and bliss. Yemi is Beauty, and Mr. Eazi is Bliss.

Digging deeper into ‘YOGA’ and ‘WAITING,’ can you share whether these themes stem from personal experiences or observations? How did you channel these emotions into the creative process, both in terms of songwriting and recording? Were there any challenges in translating these complex emotions into music, and how did you overcome them?

It’s always easy for me to translate love themes, I mean love a man, Mr. Romantic, so it comes easy to me when I’m recording love songs, love things that have to do with love. Yoga and waiting, I didn’t want to say the usual and just the regular things.

Yoga is very interesting because it’s a word that is used in wellness circles, it’s literally a word that means to join, union, and it was very apt to start a song called Yoga on a project that’s called Beauty and Bliss. It was easy for me to write it, but the technicalities of how I wanted the music to sound was what was a little bit
challenging because I wanted to do something that I’ve not done before and I’ve not heard before.

So yes, yoga definitely ties into the theme of beauty and bliss and when you listen to yoga, towards the end you hear bits of waiting, so waiting is a continuation of yoga. Yoga’s hook is when are you coming over, come do your yoga, and waiting is like I’ll be waiting for you. So the theme is still continuing, it’s a continuation of what we started. I met this beauty and I’m waiting for her, to be joined to her, like yoga means it’s a longing, a desire that human beings have for anything beautiful. So that’s where the theme of beauty and bliss plays in both songs, like Yoga and Waiting. So Yoga is where you see beauty and Waiting is the longing to see this beauty and you’re not going to be blissful or at peace until you see her. And her
could mean different things, her could be whatever the object of your beauty is. So yeah, when we see beauty, desire builds up in us and until we join with this beauty or whatever our longing is for, whether it’s a better life or a beautiful house, beautiful wife, whatever, we wouldn’t feel blissful until we have what we
long for. So that’s the connection between yoga and waiting.

The themes of romance and commitment in ‘FULL TIME’ and ‘FOR ME’ are powerful threads within the tapestry of ‘Beauty and Bliss.’ Could you share a personal experience or emotion that catalyzed
the creation of these songs? How do they reflect your own beliefs about love, and how do they fit into the broader narrative of finding beauty and bliss in relationships?

Full time and for me are two songs that speak on conflict. Interestingly, conflict and conflict resolution. In full time, we established that I have the remedy. “Don’t want no drama. Bring it to papa. I got the remedy” then I’m saying “give it to me, give it to me, give it to me full time because I’ve been here for a long time” I’m
reassuring again that this is not a seasonal thing. I’m here for good. I’m here for life. I’m here for real. This is not a one time thing and everybody understands that in relationships.

There’s a need for knowing that we’re going a long way. Nobody has time to waste anymore. Are you down or you’re not down? It’s part of the beauty and bliss connection of conflict and resolution, doubt and reassurance and just recommitment to giving your partner Bliss because doubts arise from a place of stress. Something is not aligning. It’s like a tension of something that’s not clear. It’s not blissful. So we want things to be clear. And that’s how peace comes into play. When things are clear to us, we feel blissful.

So I’m assuring in Full time that all is well and I’m going to be here for a long time. And For Me, the track with Yemi Alade, I’m also assuring again that all is well. It doesn’t matter.

First of all, the first full time talks about assuring her about my commitment to be here full time. The second one assures Yemi Alade that I don’t care what other people are saying, You’re the one for me and she’s saying it back to me. Yeah, whatever they’re saying is not our business. So it’s about conflict resolution and that’s what plays out in regular or everyday relationships.

Mental health is a topic of increasing importance and ‘JEJELY’ beautifully addresses it. Could you delve into any personal experiences or observations that prompted you to create a song with this particular theme? How do you hope this track resonates with your audience, and how does it personally reflect your commitment to sharing healing messages through your music?

For me, its my personal resolve in life to make songs that bring healing and joy to the hearts of listeners. Jejely is a song I wrote for myself that this is the way I am. This is the way I want to be. This is the way it is. This is what matters. It’s like a song that I wrote for myself in a third person. So, Jejely is definitely a song
that addresses the importance of mental health. I’ve been an advocate for mental health for many years. Just a blissful state of mind is worth more than anything that we chase after or we long for.

Sometimes in our pursuit for beauty, we abandon bliss. So, you know, beauty could stand for beautiful things of life, fame, power, money, whatever, women. Anything that human beings crave for. But there is a possibility of both, of having beauty and bliss. That’s the message. It’s possible to achieve things and it’s possible to prioritize a healthy state of mind, emotions and spirit as long as you’re pursuing from a place of truth and authenticity. So, yes, Jejely is an expression of mental health and wellness or an attention to the
need to prioritize mental, emotional and spiritual wellness in all our pursuits of beauty.

Each artist’s journey is a unique tale of experiences. Could you share a specific turning point, challenge, or revelation that inspired the creation of ‘WAY LIFE GOES’? How did the process of creating this song help you express your evolving perspective on life and the pursuit of beauty and bliss?

Way Life Goes is very self-explanatory when you listen to the track. Everything is right there, it’s very open. The things that life will teach you, they don’t teach you in school and you wouldn’t necessarily read it in a book. A book can remind you or make sense of what you’re experiencing, but life is ultimately the teacher that will
teach everybody. For me, it’s just also an expression of my evolution. You know, when people ask “where is Korede Bello?” It happens and sometimes you see the sun, sometimes you don’t see it, it’s back the next day. It’s just the way life turns. As life turns, it doesn’t experience the sun every hour. There’s some moments that they wouldn’t see the sun, but it doesn’t mean the sun is not shining somewhere else.

It’s just the way life turns so that is a song that is very self-explanatory in the sense that it’s really just the way life goes. I don’t know what else to say about it. And unfortunately, life is not always what we see on Instagram. Life is not always 24 hours smiling and partying or whatever. Life doesn’t happen like that. There will be mornings, there will be noons, and there will be nights. And there will be mornings again, there will be noons again, there will be nights again. It’s just the way life goes. It’s not always morning, it’s not always noon, it’s not always night. But joy will come in the morning, that’s for certain. So it’s just the way life goes.

The closing track often holds a special place in an album or EP. Could you take us through your creative journey while crafting ‘COMPLETE’? Were there moments of uncertainty or challenges that you faced during its creation, and how did you overcome them? Conversely, were there moments of inspiration or breakthroughs that stand out as pivotal in capturing the essence of beauty and bliss within this song?

It’s a mouthful. Complete is really special to me. It’s a special song and it’s the last song intentionally. It’s like a food in the story of beauty and bliss when the artist or the author just puts a full stop and like this is the final chapter and this book is complete.
So complete is a very special song to me because it captures everything about beauty and bliss as a theme because in the song I’m speaking of like it’s only you that makes me feel complete. It’s only you that brings my life so much peace. Right there, I’m talking about beauty and bliss and the “You” is very plural in nature
because it could be anything. It could be God, it could be father, it could be child, it could be whatever gives you essence. You know, it’s what makes me feel complete, it makes me feel peace and ease.

So complete is just the right song to complete it. How it came about is very interesting because Jaysynths, the producer, it was the first time I met him. He just knew that I was working with Ozedikus and he messaged Ozedikus that he would like to work with me. Ozedikus asked him to come to the studio, which he did. I was like oh hey what’s up man so he said he had some beats to play to me and stuff. So we started and as I heard that beat, just the instrumentals I already saw the song.

It’s like how Michelangelo saw the statue of David in the rock without carving it out and I felt that this song is already complete. this song I just need to trace it I just need to hear what it’s saying but it’s not something that I’m gonna have to try too hard to interpret I could already see the song in my mind and I just got on the mic started to chant you know started to chant whatever was coming out of me and some of it you would hear in the song like the intro and the second verse the chants are still there because I couldn’t find words to replace them. And the others that I could find words to is what you can hear but everything I need in my life and my speech and I know I’m a definite demon all that was what naturally came is like these are the emotions that I should try to find words to so it was a very beautiful song and it’s been a song that has been beautiful from the first day of release and that’s that’s what’s special about all the songs on this project is that their life their shelf value or the the the the authenticity in them will make them last so long because I’m not trying to replicate the trend or anything that’s happening right now I just this is how I feel and this is what I captured in in a sonic form like I’m I’m trapping this eternal emotions in a music form and whenever people press play I want them to experience beauty and bliss and feel complete.

Working with diverse producers is a fascinating aspect of your creative process. Could you recount a specific collaboration where you found yourself venturing into new sonic territories while
preserving your own artistic essence? How did this experience influence the outcome of the track and contribute to the overall rich quality of ‘Beauty and Bliss’

That’s a good question. I worked with different producers on all the tracks. Yoga for example, I started it with Ozedikus, but I finished it with Altims and trust me those were two different producers. When I
started with Ozedikus I just started the idea like you know when something is very African in roots, but very global in presentation. So I needed like different type of taste on the song and Altims did a good job with the finishing product because we kept going back and forth we had many mixes up to 20 times even like different ideas like you know let’s try this let’s try that but it’s the mixing actually that takes the most work in the creation process just making sure that the right sound fits the right song.

But I’ve been working with different producers from the beginning of my career so I know how to be receptive to other people’s opinion and just creative imputes while still maintaining my true essence and
what makes me me without losing that.

It’s been a very challenging and very enlightening process because I will accept to create something that I’ve never created before something familiar but surprising to my audience and I think we actually achieved that because almost everybody has different favorites on the track so it’s not like the type of project where
everybody says that “oh this is the hit of the project or whatever” it’s like people connect differently to different songs and that was the intention to put every song on the pedestal and just give it all the energy and love that it deserves from the creation to the mixing and to the writing everything it’s like every song is intentional and equally as valuable on the project.

Creating a project with the theme beauty and bliss has to be a beautiful and blissful experience, not necessarily all through but eventually I want all everybody that I work with you know on the project to feel at ease and I want the process to be a fruit of something that it didn’t come from bad energy you get what I
mean there’s not a lot of you know this is wrong or something. It’s just the fruit of beauty and bliss comes from the roots of love, attention and hard work.

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