We spoke to up and coming Jamaican artist Royal Blu, off the back of his Toddla T Freshman Freestyle.
How are you?
I'm doing good! Thank you for asking. I've been busy these past days, but it's the good kind of busy haha.
How is life in Jamaica now?
Life in Jamaica right now is very... Expensive, honestly. The cost of living is kinda high here because the economy is not doing that great right now, but apart from that, this is a beautiful place. High in culture and morality. Also very high in talent.
What is the music scene like in Jamaica at the moment?
The music scene is nice right now. Ironically, I don't listen to much dancehall, but I hear a lot of it daily, and there's a lot of gems there. Reggae has been doing extremely well also. The underground scene in Jamaica is what really has my attention. There's so much uprising talent! It's so inspiring! You have artistes like myself, Blvk H3ro, The Grei Show, Sevana, Mortimer, Jane Macgizmo, Lila Ike and NOT Runkus. Yes, NOT Runkus hahaha! That artiste called NOT Runkus is very inspiring. (Make sure to put this in there. He'll get it. Haha)
You were previously known as ‘Blukid’, why did you change your name to ‘Royal Blu’?
I changed my name from 'Blukid' to 'Royal Blu' because Blukid was a high school alias that I felt like I grew out of. As I got more mature musically, and just in general, I wanted a mature name as well. Blue is my favorite colour. It is a very calming colour to me. Royal blue happens to be my favorite shade of blue also. So I just decided to drop the E and mold a legend.
What does ‘Royal Blu’ mean?
I mean... Royal Blu doesn't really have a meaning apart from it being my favorite shade of blue, as previously stated.
You recently starred on 1Xtra’s Jamaican Freshman Special, what is the story behind that?
The story behind me being on the 1xtra cypher is actually Runkus inviting me. So you already know I couldn't turn down such an opportunity. The night / morning before the cypher, we prepared intensely by playing a million games of FIFA and not doing anything musical at all. We went to bed extremely late and woke up extremely early. When we actually got to the venue, we met everyone, did an interview with Toddla T, then went to the stage. When hearing the beats that were selected, it was new for me. I went through a million bars in my mind that could possibly fit the tempo each time it wasn't my time to run lyrics. I loved it! I loved the challenge so much. Because apart from NOT Runkus, there's not much lyrical miracle competition. So it was definitely a blessing for me.
You spat over a Section Boyz instrumental, do you listen to a lot of Grime?
I honestly had no idea who the instrumentals were aligned with haha. I'm slowly listening to more music from the UK. Skepta is so very sick, of course! Stormzy is dope as well. Also, Krept & Konan! And I really like Little Simz. I hope to work with her someday. But yeah, I have my ear to the music scene over there. It's so refreshing because they use Jamaican slang! So I feel like we fit in so well over there.
What is the opinion of UK music in Jamaica, especially grime?
The UK music fans are rapidly growing in Jamaica. Because as I said, they use our slang and have a certain level of aggression in their delivery that resembles dancehall. As for now, Skepta is probably the household name for the UK scene in Jamaica.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a project called "The Broke & Royal" right now. Production credits to my friend and producer, J.L.L.. Also a dope producer called deDunamis. Features from Lila Ike, Jane MacGizmo and NOT Runkus.
Is there an idea or moment that changed your life?
Something that changed my life recently was working with a German producer/ videographer named Foresta and Thandi, who is a writer and also helped to direct some upcoming videos of ours. It changed my life because it was an honour to have people from one side of the world come to Jamaica FOR THE FIRST TIME just to work with me. I was working at a pace and a standard that I haven't been working at before. I'm talking early mornings to early mornings, precise planning and quick execution. I'm inspired to continue working at this pace and standard even after they've left. So big up to my team of engineers, Quik Keyz and Tilly. Big up to my producer J.L.L. Big up to D.L. Samuels dealing with photography and cinematography. And also big up to my photographer Amani Campbell. I'm bigging them all up because Foresta and Thandi has gotten me addicted to this momentum, and we're going to keep it going!
Define yourself in three words
Describe myself in three words... Broke and royal.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world... Hmm... I haven't seen what's out there as yet. So I'll just have to say studio. That's my happy place. Even if I'm not recording or doing anything. I just love being in studio, soaking up the air conditioning, the WiFi... And oh yeah! The good conversations!
If you could have created one song what would it have been?
If I could have created one song, what would it have been? I have no idea, but I do love trap music right now. Not the content, per say, but the groove of it. The content has a lot to do with why it's "trap music" though, and I don't live that kind of life haha. But in some alternate universe, I'd be a mixture of Tory Lanez and Future. I'd have the biggest club banger known to man. Even aliens would be in their spaceship things passing around the aux cord and playing straight flames.
Are there any ‘conspiracy theories’ that you believe in?
Conspiracy theories... Man, I believe so much of them. I believe a lot of what makes sense, but is hidden compared to the trash we always see in the media. I can't really go in depth, but I do believe there is a "they". And DJ Khaled is trying to protect us from "they". Major key.
If you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would it be?
If I could fill a swimming pool with anything... I'll go out on a limb here and say water. We all need more water in our life. Shout outs to Mick Jenkins.
What are you most excited for this year?
What I'm most excited for this year is the release of my project, growing as an artist, seeing my friends and musical peers grow more into the legends they already are. I'm just excited for music and life in general yo.
Your lyrics are highly conscious, what motivates you to make music on a spiritual level?
What inspires my music is my family. My mom, my brother Taj Francis, and my oldest brother Andre Francis. They are my inspiration and they will forever be my inspiration. Sometimes I'm not even doing this music thing for me as much as I'm doing it for them. My mom always tells me how proud she is of me, even when there's completely nothing going on for me. She always tells us that we're royalty. I believe that.