I was lucky enough to be able to talk with the man of the moment, emerging R&B artist, Rasharn Powell. Rasharn is breathing new life into the R&B scene, starting in the studio aged 9, while still staying true to himself within the music. With the recent release of his Mixtape, Dusk & Dawn, we sat down to talk about the inspirations and challenges behind the tape.
Hey Rasharn, how’s it going! How has your week been?
It’s been pretty great, back into my normal routine now the tape’s out. Training in the mornings and then venturing into my day with that extra “oomf” (laughs) but yeah, it’s been great.
Trust ending a big project feels like such a relief. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Redbridge, Ilford and then a few years later my mum moved us out to Romford, closer to my school in Brentwood. Travelling on trains from age 11, getting up at 6am trekking to school. It got tiring! (laughs), but yeah, I’m grateful for my upbringing. It just gave me that experience and independence from a young age and I feel blessed to have had a great family unit, predominantly women, that just aided me in navigating the world.
When did you start making music?
I’ve always been singing, performing and dancing from a young age. We used to have primary school recitals at the end of the year for 250+ people so that definitely helped build my confidence. I would always sing at home or wherever and my mum started noticing so she would take me to places like Sylvia Young or other music programmes that would be on in my area. That gave me more perspective on my voice and the ability to work on it a lot. I was always writing though, little poems or creative writing pieces which would just be more of a world I could escape to, then I started trying to turn them into songs. My uncle took me to the studio at the age of 9 and I was just wide-eyed. I was just in awe of the fact that this was the inception of the songs I’d hear, you know?
You were on it from early! Tell us about the new mixtape.
Dusk & Dawn, (sighs) it’s been a journey and it’s helped me grow into who I am now. We made the songs in brief spurts of time whenever Gianluca & I could get into the studio. I was always used to working fast and he was too, so our work style was pretty compatible but it was just important for me that we were brothers too. For me, this body of work is my first imprint on the world and a way for me to just venture on into whatever’s next. It’s a journey from new love, the feelings of disparity and the dawning of a new moment for oneself after all those stages of growth.
When it comes to creating new music, what’s your process like?
It varies, to be honest. Sometimes I need nothing to inspire me, in regards to sonics and sometimes it’s when someone will play something and then it just comes. I think it’s more the drive to create that inspires the song. As long as there’s that, I believe it’s pretty simple.
What’s been the most challenging part of doing music?
Doing it independently. Throughout this whole moment, I’ve been working my retail job. Taking that check and putting it into the release of these songs that have amassed this mixtape. I’ve been so close to quitting but then it’s just like “what am I doing this for?” you know? Because it’s a much greater reason than just for myself.
I hear that. Running everything independently is hard but you’re popping still. Who inspires you style wise when it comes to fashion?
No one really, it’s just about how I’m feeling on the day. Whether I wanna feel comfy or sexy. (laughs) It’s important to feel both and that’s to everyone.
Comfy or sexy, hahaha. Top three favourite brands at the minute?
At this moment… Maximilian, Bianca Saunders & Blerriot.
Dream project or future work?
Providing a space for kids to congregate and build together. That’s definitely a dream of mine.
Go stream Dusk & Dawn, you won’t be disappointed. Follow Rasharn @rasharnpowell on Instagram.
Photographer; Sam Pemberton
Stylist; Jermaine Robinson