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Azekel exists between genres.

Ostensibly an R&B singer and producer, Azekel’s sound incorporates much more than any one genre classification could cover. Last year he released his debut album Our Father, a sometimes solemn, but always gripping exploration of mental health, masculinity and race in modern Britain. Over the years the London-based artist has worked alongside some of the UK’s greatest genre-busters including Massive Attack and Gorillaz and this summer he’ll perform at Southbank’s Meltdown festival, curated by another icon, Chic’s Nile Rodgers.

Ahead of his show at Meltdown and with new music on the horizon we caught up with Azekel for Issue 102.

Describe your work in one sentence.

Archiving life experiences.

Who are your artistic icons?

Fela Kuti, Prince, & James Baldwin.

What inspires you to make music?

Life, my experiences and experiences of others around me, I’m just archiving via my music.

What’s your biggest passion outside of music?

Film and installation art, I was part of a film called Fathers based around the concepts of my album – Our Father.

What does summer have in store for you?

I’m releasing new music and visuals. I’ve got a song called Freeway coming out.

You’re playing Meltdown Festival later this year – do you have anything special planned for your performance?

Yeah, I’ll be performing new music, and having a different stage direction based around the theme of esoteric R&B.

You’ve worked with Massive Attack and Gorillaz in the past – who has been your favourite artist to collaborate with?

Gaika has been great to work with.

Photography & Art Direction: Ade & Michelle

Azekel performs at Meltdown Festival 7 August.