By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based emo-rap/melodic trap musician BLVE recently surpassed 10,000 Spotify streams on his song “Duffle Bag” and has easily drawn comparisons to Jaden, Lil Mosey and the late Juice WRLD.
With a background and passion in filmmaking, the self-taught recording artist fully utilized the opportunity to use his bedroom studio. He found himself inspired by the “Soundcloud Rap” youth movement and its ability to blend genres and exhibit a raw, unconventional sound, as opposed to the more “commercial” mainstream hip-hop.
After his 2018 debut, BLVE released several mixtapes and performed in venues throughout New York City.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with BLVE about the success of “Duffle Bag” and more.
Music Bugle – How did you get the name BLVE and what does it signify?
BLVE- I actually got the name BLVE from my middle name, which is “Blue,” like the color. I was born in Germany where my parents had to actually call the U.S. Embassy to get approval for the name. Germany was giving them a hard time allowing it. I switched the “U” to a “V” as a nod to indie-pop band Chvrches, who I’m a big fan of. Some people have mispronounced it as “believe,” so I thought that was funny too.
Music Bugle – What inspired you to write “Duffle Bag”?
BLVE – My process for making music is often a mix of freestyling and writing. “Duffle Bag” was more so a freestyle. I was staying at my girl’s crib for a short time. I had my duffle bag full of clothes laid out and I think this imagery inspired me to lay out the concept, while making it relate to “baggage” and how this affects a relationship. I just remember her looking at me real funny when I was hitting those high notes. She liked it.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to chat one-on-one with one of your musical influences, who would you choose?
BLVE – I would choose The Weeknd. He’s been my favorite for a while – his music, his business decisions, how he carries himself publicly and in the media. He’s just a real professional that built something huge out of nothing, but with a real specific vision. I definitely would want to pick his brain, especially because he still carries that mystery around him.
Music Bugle – What excites you about your particular genre?
BLVE – The freedom in it. I like how I’m allotted, like, two-three minutes to create whatever my mind wants something to be. Whenever I feel like something is sounding generic or like I’ve heard it before, I switch it up or work on something different. I’m interested in creating a new sound within the hip-hop sphere, something that grabs your attention or even sounds inspired by non hip-hop genres at all. My ma was an 80s punk kid, so I grew up listening to a lot of different music – Psychedelic Furs, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and The Cranberries. Now, I listen to artists like Juice WRLD, Playboi Carti and Chromatics, so I try to morph all of these influences into my own original sound.
Music Bugle – What would you say is the biggest challenge ahead of you as far as getting your name out there?
BLVE – Probably choosing the right channels to invest my time and energy into, whether it be YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or Spotify playlists. As an independent artist, you’re spending all your time and money on opportunities to get heard, so there often isn’t a return on that investment. Learning how to brand myself and monetize my brand in an already oversaturated market is definitely a challenge.
Music Bugle – What are some advantages of being a self-taught recording artist?
BLVE – I think the fact that I’m creating from a very pure headspace. I try to create without confinements. For me, I test out everything. I trial-and-error everything out. I made my own home studio, so I don’t need to operate on anyone else’s time or dime. I can create when I feel inspired, so it feels less forced. Also, I’m able to test my full vocal range from my bedroom, rather than being in a studio with a bunch of friends, where that sense of self-consciousness or insecurity is there. I hate being self-conscious when I’m trying to create. Making music is a very personal experience I have to undergo to get the best possible version of the song made.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Brooklyn, N.Y. to someone who has never been there before?
BLVE – Brooklyn offers a lot and it’s so different from neighborhood to neighborhood. It’s a place that’s still understanding its identity. You definitely have your areas where the locals and their families have lived there forever and then other areas where people are very new to the neighborhood and looking for the new restaurants, coffee shops and all that. Like Manhattan, it’s so huge, you just have to find your pocket of Brooklyn that fits your vibe. I prefer the less populated, more desolate places. I can always ride the subway to get to the action if that’s the mood.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
BLVE – Weirdly, I’m someone that enjoys space and quiet, even being in New York, so I sometimes feel more at peace when the city isn’t in full attack mode, so lately, that hasn’t been bad. The pandemic hit and I was laid off as an art consultant working at a gallery that ended up closing. It’s super unfortunate, as it definitely was something career-wise I was passionate about and would help supplement my music endeavors. Thankfully, I’ve been able to stay afloat with the help of friends and family, as well as unemployment income to buy myself time and search for new work.
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
BLVE – Curate and release projects, market my music and make new music. It’s just given me a ton of time that I’m very grateful for. Without this time, I’d be having to get so much done from the time I get out of work until the time I go to sleep, which is just a few hours a night to make your dreams a reality. Also, having this time has forced me to slow down my thinking, slow down my lifestyle, reflect and make the right moves towards my goals.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to go back to this past New Year’s Eve, what would you tell yourself about 2020?
BLVE – Man – I would tell myself to make the best of whatever is to come in the time ahead, to see it as an opportunity rather than a roadblock and to continue to persevere. Got to stay consistent and motivated.