Claudia Crovato

23 Apr
Music

Interview: N8N Talks New Ep, Meeting Michael Jackson and Future Plans

N8N isn’t a new kid on the block. Starting from a young age he gave his life to honing his craft. Those sacrifices gave him the opportunity to travel the world and perform alongside iconic artists like Macy Gray, Simply Red, Kool and the Gang and Seal. This year he was even part of the Cape Town Jazz festival line-up.

Over the years we’ve watched N8N be a soulful beast on stage and work the crowd like no other. Now that his new music is out for the world to hear, we sat down with the international performing and recording Antwerp-based artist. For his 4th official release, N8N teamed up with Grammy award-winning producer Andre Harris, to deliver this authentic body of work.  Your Enfnts Terribles reporter had exclusive access to N8N’s safe space which is also his home studio, dubbed Studio 220. We had a long talk about his new EP, the time when he met the King of Pop and his future plans.

Congrats on your new album, it sounds amazing! So tell us, how does Second 2 None differ from your previous projects?

Soundwise, I’d say the production is much more international and R&B-ish than I’m used to. I’ve had the chance to be teaming up with a big inspiration of mine, Andre Harris. He’s the one who produced “Butterflies” on Michael Jackson’s Invincible album and many other of my favorite 90’s tracks. When I found out, I just knew I wanted to work with him at some point in my career.

Speaking of which, we’ve read you sang in one of Michael Jackson’s shows when you were young. That’s quite impressive!

It was all really insane and very last-minute. My father, who was organizing the concert at that time, called me in. Before I knew I was standing on stage in front of 60 000 people. I didn’t even go through a soundcheck or anything. But it was a great experience overall. I even remember taking a picture with MJ afterward. Unfortunately, until this day I still haven’t found that picture yet. Well, hopefully, it’ll pop up one day.

But let’s get back to your career now N8N… You’ve been playing a lot of international shows. Do you have a favorite destination so far?

Two actually: Tel Aviv and Cape Town. Simply because there the nightlife is really vibrant. Though what I might love most of all is that live music is still a thing in those cities. That’s something I’m definitely missing here in Antwerp, my hometown.

That’s why we can hear you singing “Take me back to Cape Town” on your latest single? What is it exactly that draws you back to that place?

Cape Town has the most beautiful nature I’ve ever seen. You’ve got the mountains, the Atlantic Ocean… Don’t get me wrong, New York and L.A. are great cities too but Cape Town really has something else. Life is more relaxed and slowed down over there. They rather focus on quality instead of quantity.

Life might be slowed down, but your success in Cape Town hasn’t. Your song became a major hit on local radio and you got invited to perform at the Cape Town Jazz Festival.

I know, the main stage, it’s insane! We’ve done some club performances too but that was nothing compared to the festival. This really took things to a higher level.

Starting from next summer, I’d also like to focus on Johannesburg. In Belgium, it’s way more difficult to get noticed. Radio stations would rather play Bruno Mars’ latest hit than support local artists. That’s one of the reasons for which I’ve launched my own label called The Love Below. Not only for myself but every artist in the genre who could use a little extra push.

If you had the chance to organize a festival yourself. Who’d be in the lineup?

That is actually a very good question. I’d definitely support a lot of independent, unknown artists. Maybe some of my own friends. When it comes to more famous people I’d go with Childish Gambino. Of course, Erykah Badu would fit in there too. I’m imagining us all playing together afterward, like some kind of major jam session. That would be amazing.

Let’s talk about your future now. We’ve heard you plan on making a documentary with your dad.

We want to go back to where it all started. The idea is to travel the blues route (Mississippi, New Orleans, Chicago, …) and look for interesting stories. My dad will be recording with some pioneers of the genre and I’ll be searching for new artists who are continuing to expand the soul genre. That way we keep it interesting for everyone.

You’ve got the old and the new, the traveling, the music, the stories, the family… There’s a bit of everything in there.

Seems like a strong concept to us, we can’t wait to see it on TV. So last question: If you could bring along any artist on this road trip, who would that be?

That would definitely be Ray Charles if he were still with us today. I’d say he’s the biggest inspiration to both my dad and me. Of course, he’d be sitting in the back, because a blind man in front of the wheel maybe isn’t the best idea *laughs*.

Seems like a strong concept to us, we can’t wait to see it on TV. So last question: If you could bring along any artist on this road trip, who would that be?

That would definitely be Ray Charles if he were still with us today. I’d say he’s the biggest inspiration to both my dad and me. Of course, he’d be sitting in the back, because a blind man in front of the wheel maybe isn’t the best idea *laughs*.

If you had the chance to organize a festival yourself. Who’d be in the lineup?

That is actually a very good question. I’d definitely support a lot of independent, unknown artists. Maybe some of my own friends. When it comes to more famous people I’d go with Childish Gambino. Of course, Erykah Badu would fit in there too. I’m imagining us all playing together afterward, like some kind of major jam session. That would be amazing.

Let’s talk about your future now. We’ve heard you plan on making a documentary with your dad.

We want to go back to where it all started. The idea is to travel the blues route (Mississippi, New Orleans, Chicago, …) and look for interesting stories. My dad will be recording with some pioneers of the genre and I’ll be searching for new artists who are continuing to expand the soul genre. That way we keep it interesting for everyone.

You’ve got the old and the new, the traveling, the music, the stories, the family… There’s a bit of everything in there.

 

Check out N8N’s musical updates on SpotifyiTunes, Instagram and SoundCloud.

Photo credits: Jonathan Zegbe for Enfnts Terribles

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