The Caribbean-influenced, London-based act known as WSTRN released its latest singles, Wonder Woman and Be My Guest, which are beginning to build momentum throughout the region.
Formed by cousins Akelle Charles and Ras Haile Alexander, with their long-time friend, Louis-Rei Beadle, the West London trio, WSTRN, has developed a lifetime of musical camaraderie into their R&B/pop-centric rap sound, said a release from Overtime Media.
Produced by Afrobeats and Grime hitmaker, P2J (whose production credits include tracks for Beyoncé, Wizkid, Stormzy, Goldlink, Mark Ronson), Wonder Woman has been added to local playlists and is finding favour with music lovers, DJs and programme directors alike. Released on September 10, mere weeks after Be My Guest, (which features Fireboy DML and is already building steam across the UK, Africa and North America), Wonder Woman is a smooth and infectious Afropop track, specially dedicated to the women in the group's lives, the release said.
With is R&B/pop style of UK rap mixed with African and Caribbean influences, Wonder Woman is a crystallisation of that sound, armed with powerful sentiment of the empowerment of women. It features poignant and resonant lyrics like “every life you see comes from a woman.”
In the release WSTRN said, "We created Wonder Woman to publicly acknowledge, celebrate, and uplift all the significant women that have played a part in raising us – whether that be mothers, aunties, sisters, or daughters. It's a proper sentimental piece that we hope connects with audiences as much as it does for us."
The trio grew up in West London and connected through musical ties early on, through Charles' and Alexander's fathers playing together in a local reggae band. All three friends pursued music independently, but WSTRN was born out of the trio's first collaborative jam sessions in 2015. Fused together by influences that span R&B, hip-hop and soul, with a base of reggae, soca, calypso and dancehall, WSTRN's artistry reaches far beyond their Caribbean roots. The trio lends itself to experimenting with different soundscapes and their releases, so far, attest to their worldwide appeal.
Interviewed recently by Overtime Media, the group was asked about its relationship to and with the Caribbean soundscapes and its relevance to its sound, given its other influences:
"It's in us, init... it's in our blood, the Caribbean, so there's no way it couldn't NOT be a part of us, but the music is an amalgamation of all different influences, so that one part you might hear that African beat influence but with a Caribbean twist or slang or whatever on top of it and then you got the hip-hop influence there as well and then obviously with the London twang it's juts kinda like everything into one and we just want to be viewed as good music makers or tastemakers," Beadle said in the release.
"When I look at all of the greats that we aspire to be like," he continued, "they always had some kinda genre or some kinda sound or some kinda period where their music was considered something new and refreshing and something that had never really been heard before and I feel like to sit in that bracket and to fit in that realm you have to do something that's never really been done before... So yeah, we just wanna be seen as good music makers and just vibe bringers and we come to bring the good feels..."
The group made its mark in 2015 with the release IN2, amassing over 108 million streams, to date, with their debut album, WSTRN season 2, following on in August 2019. Ever since, the summer period has been dubbed as WSTRN Season by fans. Fast forward to the present day and over 400 million worldwide streams later, the trio is steadily crafting its second studio album.
"We were born into music; it has always found us," said Charles, who is of Grenadian heritage but loves to mimic the Trini accent. "We're ready to capture more ears and take this to the next level eh know..."
Alexander added: "As much as reggae, I feel like soca as been a part of my culture growing up as well – whether it's been Carnival, or at home or going back to our country."
"Yes me 'ave to big up me soca people and calypso an ting yuh know..." Added Charles with a hint of humour.
"If we talking about feel-good vibes," said Beadle, "well, that's the most feel-good vibes out there, definitely!"
For more info: Log on to @overtimett and follow WSTRN'S grind on IG/TW @wstrnmusic and WSTRN on YouTube