Ahead of her Instagram takeover on the 16th July, we caught up with Bow Promise to find out more about the meaning behind her music and what she has been working on during lockdown.
For those who don’t you know, can you introduce yourself?
I am Bow Promise a singer, songwriter and producer from sunny Dagenham.
Who are your musical influences?
Vocally, I’d definitely say Brandy, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson and Aaliyah. As a producer Timbaland and The Neptunes.
What does your songwriting process look like? Do you draw on personal experiences for inspiration?
I don’t have one method but it is most natural for me to write the lyrics before the music. One of my songs “Love of War” came from me deciding to give myself a writing challenge on the train from Mile End to Oxford Circus. I mostly write from personal experiences but (Wo)Man is the one project where I really looked outside of myself and telling other people’s stories. Songs like Lea’s Interlude or Solomon were about other people. I like concepts and banking titles for when the time’s right. I love looking at the world around me be it a train journey, an object or creation to reflect on my story, whichever chapter it resonates with. With the Ukulele or the bass, though, those songs are all about therapy, expression and healing.
Your EP ‘(Wo)Man’ explores manhood from a female perspective and the title was inspired by Pharrell William’s album ‘Girl’ after questioning why it wasn’t called ‘Woman’ – can you tell us more about that?
I loved that Pharrell would drop a “Girl” here or there throughout the album. That small detail made me take notice of what the record was all about. But I was thinking very black and white. The album was for women, not little girls. I love music that makes me feel valued as a woman but I don’t think enough women think about being strong for men in regards to their worth. Too many boys are raised to suppress their emotions or not understand that masculinity and femininity both reside in us all. Men are beautiful. In a world that is trying to divide us, I wanted men and women to both understand that we need each other.
Last summer you released an album called ‘Love Conquest’. A lot of the tracks touch on sensitive themes such as insecurity, broken relationships and female identity. What’s the overall story/message behind this piece of work?
Love Conquest is mostly songs taken from an EP trilogy I started at the beginning of my music career. I worked on them with my former producer Lostchild. I decided to start producing and he wanted to focus on being an artist and so I wanted to release our music to close that chapter. Many of those songs were about being in a couple of unhealthy situationships. I didn’t know how to articulate my feelings. I felt so muted and like I needed to scream. Those songs were a great release which brought me to understand that like sexual conquests, love is not something you conquer or take. There is no love and respect of self or the other person in those kind of relationships. Real love is patient and kind and forgiving and it starts with being those things for ourselves first.
You grew up with Brandy and Alicia Keys – classic 90’s/00’s R’n’B. Both artists had a sound you don’t hear that often in the mainstream any more. How do you think Soul/RnB has evolved over the years, and where do you see it going?
These artists definitely have had an influence on Soul/R&B today. Particularly Brandy. I hear her in so many singers from London like Angel and Nao. I do think R&B and Rap have merged quite a bit. I tend not to listen to that side of R&B. I really want to hear people sing from their soul. I want to feel it. I want my future children to be able to sing to it. Most importantly I want authenticity. What I do love is that with Soul/R&B today, there is literally something for everyone. Whether you like Neo Soul, funk, rare grooves, jazz, house or trap, we are so spoilt for choice, now.
We loved your home studio tour video on YouTube. Have you been working on any new music at home during lockdown?
Thank you, so much. I have a couple of projects that have come from being at home all this time. An EP of covers from Brandy, Kelis and Aaliyah will be up first as I tend to shy away from doing covers. The other is a 4 track EP called “B”. I’ve been working on that with David Asante who is an amazing songwriter and dear friend. The EP also features an incredible artist from Luton named Lavz.
Imagine you were playing the middle slot in the gig of your dreams next week, who would you be supporting and who would be opening for you? Where would you be playing?
Definitely KOKO. That’s been my dream ever since I visited for a uni field trip. The line up is a tough pick but I’d be sandwiched between the gorgeous Alina Baraz and Snoh Aalegra. Those women just ooze luxury and femininity to me.
What are you listening to at the moment? Have you got a playlist of your current favourites you can share with us?
I have a Spotify playlist called “You’re Welcome”. It’s got Bosco, DVSN, Masego, Cleo Sol, Dawn Richard and Bow Promise on it to name a few.
How do you see Bow Promise evolving over the next few years?
Stronger in my craft. Someone who has carved out a couple of full length projects, penned a few songs with established artists, travelled the world with my music and met some fantastic people. I intend to really enjoy the next chapter of my career and love being Bow Promise.
What can we expect from your Instagram takeover on the 16th July?
You can expect something fresh, smooth, atmospheric. Some old and some new material with a 90s R&B cover thrown in. I hope to leave everyone feeling good.
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