There’s a new wave of alternative artists who shy away from the cameras. From SIA to H.E.R. and at one point SZA, we’ve been here for it. It allows for an undistracted music experience. Alxndr London, the artist is famed for resurfacing and repurposing our love for classic soul, funk , R&B and electronica. As if his futuristic sound wasn’t enough, Alxndr partners his music with his avant garde and eccentric fashion sense. I wanted to get to the bottom of the perfectly symphonised, mash-up of vibes from the man himself.
Alxndr London has consistently cooked up soul food in the studio. Recently he blessed us with his new track ‘Circus of Mermaids’. One listen, and you’ll easily understand why his sound is incomparable to the music in circuit right now and is very necessary. It’ll definitely meet your hidden desire to time-travel to another era – past and future. However, what struck me most (and 150k other viewers), was the look for his debut performance of ‘April’, on the pace-setting channel COLORS BERLIN. Against a purple backdrop, Alxndr draped in an all-black cloaked ensemble with his signature wide-brimmed weaved hat, brought flashbacks of the legendary Samurai movies. An elusive figure serenading over a fresh beat… something you could skank to.
With the immediate critical acclaim he’s already gained from Annie Mac, Jamz Supernova, Radar and NTS radio, it feels like it’s time to get behind the hat and get into his full story. As Alxndr says “the same hat that hides me from cameras, attracts the cameras”.
Alxndr, how would YOU describe your style, What do you aim to express?
I have no ceiling or full stop. I struggled to keep up with fashion a long time ago, so I stopped trying. Trends come and go with each new season.. nothing is new under the sun. I understand that I am not here for mass consumption. Pushing boundaries is good. It keeps life spicy.
I can see your musical upbringing surely inspired your outlook and dress sense. What did you grow up listening to?
If I wasn’t singing those good ol’ English hymnals on Sunday morning at the top of my lungs with the choir, I was humming under my breath when the mandem were spraying bars in someone’s bedroom studio. Mix in some Shina Peters, Sunny Ade, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Ray Kaddy, Ray Charles, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Elvis, Lauryn Hill, Pavarotti, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves and Kirk Franklin…. and The Nutcracker (on repeat).
What is your country of origin/background? What are your cultural references?
My parents are from Yorubaland. I was born and raised in North London and grew up in South, West and East London. Those were dark times, a time when it simply wasn’t cool to be African. I wanted so badly to create my own fantastic, futurist world, where I could be me. That’s when I found Janelle Monae, George Clinton and Sun-Ra. I defined who I am against a religious, political and cultural canvas where soul, Afrobeat, reggae, disco, jazz, pop, country, hip hop, gospel and classical collided in unison. London doesn’t just represent my physical roots and my name, it also serves as an out of this world dystopian backdrop, where anything is imaginable. The mountains I speak of in my songs are merely a reflection of the lofty tower blocks of a working class, poverty-wracked London, the institutionalised glass ceilings with their blood stained red tape. Those mountains must come down and we will dance on the rubble.
What are some of your favourite brands (bespoke, luxury, everyday, unknown)?
Mmm…I remember getting dragged across all four corners of London by my mother when I was a little kid. One minute we were waltzing through House of Fraser, the next thing you know we’re at Marie Curie or The Salvation Army, navigating unknown treasures. I would go to a house party or a gathering and see “the olders” rocking big names like Moschino, Valentino, Versace etc. I just wanted to be them like sooo badly, but my mum taught me “just because you have fashion it doesn’t mean you have style.”
Don’t get me wrong, money helps… but a little creativity makes the impossible possible *sprinkles self love dust*. Some of these second-hand bits have survived decades, their untold stories possessing wayyy more craftsmanship than most of these online stores or high street fronts. Disposable cups, phones, clothes, relationships, lives.
I’m this lone African time traveller geezer whose hat is his ancient crown
Do you see the similarities between your sound and style?
I’m like always wearing a hat of some sort (on and off stage)…I am infatuated with mystery. I have this elusive romance with my sad eyed soul. My eyes are the window to my soul. My soul is precious. The distorted echoes and soulful whispers that form my art are an introspective recollection of my thoughts, memories, emotions and desires. My art is precious. There’s no complex simplicity to it at all. My music is my art. Original style. I am precious. I love anime and in my universe, . My crown is the armour of choice and the perfect travel buddy for my weary soul. My crown shields me from the merciless sun yet offers shelter when the heavens break open and weep.