Berhana’s introspective soul is what the world needs right now. Low key with a drop-top drive vibe, his sound is one part California road trip, one part personal diary entry. After the breakout success of his debut self-titled EP, which included the underground hit jams “Janet” and “Grey Luh”, Berhana is returning with new music this summer.
First up is “Wildin'” a song about the dangers of excess and the pitfalls of success, which the video captures with a highlights reel of cash stacks, strip clubs, Lamborghinis and one brutal act of violence. But there’s no danger of Berhana disappearing into the darkness – he just wants to buy his mama clothes.
Check it out below.
Hey Berhana, talk us through Wildin’
It really comes down to just not wanting to waste the opportunities you are presented with in life just because you get distracted by the world. I think that’s what the heart of it is about. And it can be really hard to keep track of what’s important, especially if you don’t have a strong sense of self.
It’s especially well presented in the video. There’s gold, money, the dangers of excess. Were the dangers of success on your mind?
Yeah exactly. And just how easy it is to kept swept up in those distractions.
How do those bad htings come about in your life? Is it people coming out and trying to entice you that way? Or is it just the emotional and physical exhaustion of being an artist?
I think it’s once I had some things going for me, a lot of opportunities for the things I wanted opened up. And then a lot more different opportunities came along too. There’s so many people and things that just wanna latch onto you once you get going. And that’s something I used to think about all the time. IT’s something you weren’t even ready for and before you know it you’ve got all these things you didn’t expec to come with what you were trying to attain.
As music fans, we don’t see it from the outside. There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that we don’t know about that make an artists life difficult.
Of course. And for me I try to keep to myself. I stay inside for the most part! But when I wrote that song that was something that was heavy on my mind.
Does it ever cross your mind how different things could have been if music hadn’t worked out?
All the time. I picture myself in different scenarios daily. What could’ve been. What I would be doing if it wasn’t for this. Would I still be in America? Would I be a chef in Europe? Who knows. But it’s something I think about.
Do you enjoy thinking about it?
I do. But you can only do it so much. It’s not great to be jealous of those lives. Even if I picture myself in that scenario, I’m only picturing the good things. The same with people who picture me in my scenario. They’re like “he probably has money, he makes music all the time” but they don’t see all the things that come with it.
There’s an intense moment of violence in the video. Why is that scene there?
For me, it’s the lowest low. It doesn’t have to be physical violence, necessarily. But when you’re at the lowest low, it’s like “alright, it’s time to start over” and that’s what that moment represents. By the end of the video we’re at a new beginning.
You’ve said you wanted your music to feel like a documentary…
I think when I was saying that, I was specifically referring to the Berhana EP I put out. I wanted people to feel like they were in my house. I think that seeps in to all my music – I want people to feel like they’re there with me, in the moment, while I’m thinking the things that I’m singing about..
Whether it’s a live show, a track or a video I want it to be as much of an experience as I can.
Is that a concept that is carrying on into the new music that’s coming up?
How is that world different to the regular world?
I think it’s just bringing people into a world that they’re not used to. I don’t think it’s necessarily the same every time. What I’m making now is totally different to what I’ve made in the past. But I’m trying to help people understand me through the textures and perspectives that I’m showing.
You took some time out after the EP. What were you up to?
I wanted to grow. I wanted to be better at what I’m doing. But I also wanted to be able to come back and tell that story in a real way. I wanted to focus, to hone in.
Do you think artists are reluctant to really put themselves and their own lives onto record. Especially in the mainstream?
I think you can find it. Maybe not right in front of you. It might not be on the radio. But it’s there. It’s in the world. And there are a lot of artists who have done it in the past. I think it’s just not in the forefront right now.
Why do you think it’s disappeared?
I think it comes in waves. And sometimes people just want to feel good. People don’t wanna listen to things that are that deep all the time. Something that is that real. I don’t even wanna listen to something that is that serious all the time.
Back to the video, it feels like a parody of music videos full or cash and cars. Do you have a take on that side of the industry right now?
For me those are all the different ways you can lose yourself. Music is a young man’s game. You’re not always going to be relevant. You’re not always going to be making the hottest thing out. And eventually things start to fade. It’s so easy to lose yourself. We’ve seen that with so many artists. One minute they’re here and then they’re gone.
19 July 2018