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  • Entertainment

Rap duo in the house

Sunday, 1st October, 2017 6:00pm
Rap duo in the house

27 entz 1.jpg

Rap duo in the house

27 entz 1.jpg

OVER time, bonds strengthen through experience.

Since their emergence in 2010, the union of Nico & Vinz has evolved alongside the Norwegian duo’s music.

While 2014’s ‘Am I Wrong’ introduced the pair to the global stage, their full-length debut, ‘Black Star Elephant’ earned critical acclaim.

They picked up ‘Best New Artist’ at The Soul Train Awards and performed everywhere from Dancing with the Stars to the iHeartRadio Music Festival in addition to global tours with Bruno Mars and Usher, as well as a Vancouver one-off with Taylor Swift.

Meanwhile, the boys utilized their platform to promote change, gracing the stage of UNICEF’s Snowflake Ball, the UN AIDS Gala in Switzerland, South Africa’s World AIDS Day, and the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting at the behest of the First Family.

Then, in 2015, their Cornerstone EP garnered praise from Vice, Mashable, Vibe, Huffington Post, and more in between spawning the hit ‘That’s How You Know’, which amassed 105 million Spotify streams and counting. 

However, their friendship began to feel the pressures of a two-year personal and professional whirlwind…

“We were playing some of the biggest events in the world with one of the biggest songs in the world, but when we went backstage, we couldn’t even talk to each other or look one another in the eye,” admits Nico.

“There was so much going on that nobody would dare address. These problems suffocated us for too long.

“We finally got together alone and talked. It was about opening up that communication and fixing it. In the aftermath, we felt stronger and more comfortable than before.

“We’ve grown a lot in these past two years, and the music started growing and getting better with us.”

“After we got those conversations going, we wondered, ‘Where do we take this now?’,” recalls Vinz.

“Initially, we saw this hidden potential of Nico & Vinz being bigger than the both us individually. We got on the same page and asked, ‘How can we create something that people need to hear and they aren’t getting anywhere else?’”

During 2016, they quietly set about accomplishing that goal. Nico & Vinz became galvanised by shared Spotify playlists featuring everything from Phil Collins, Alpha Blondy, and Kings of Leon to Method Man, Kendrick Lamar, and Sam Smith.

They also made a decision to personally handle the bulk of the writing as Vinz hopped into the producer’s chair for the first time on a handful of tracks.

“On ‘Cornerstone’, we let a lot of people contribute and write for us,” Vinz continues.

“We were really experimental, and it worked for the EP. “With this project, we wanted to take control 100 per cent and just do what we felt like. It was about making something unpredictable and fun.”

That brings us to ‘Elephant in the Room’. Comprised of three four-song EPs, this collection proudly ushers in the next phase of Nico & Vinz. Brightening their signature sonic collage of pop, urban, rock, and African styles, the vision invariably pushes boundaries yet again.

The first single ‘Intrigued’ builds from a guitar lick and airy beat into an energetic verse punctuated by tribal flare and rap bounce.

Everything culminates on the soulful hook’s admission,  “It happened very organically and fast,” says Nico. “Sound-wise, it’s something that we haven’t touched on. There’s a hip-hop vibe in the verses and a classic, almost stadium rock element in the hook.”

“Lyrically, we’re approaching this record from two angles,” adds Vinz.

“We’re looking at it from beyond the surface.

“This record pushed us harder than ever,” he adds. “It’s handcrafted with a lot of good energy, and it represents who we are together.” Nico & Vinz are Live at The Academy Green Room on Saturday, November 25.

 

 

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