Today, rising Dharug Country / Western Sydney Afro Swing vocalist Big Skeez returns with his last release of the year, ‘Up‘, released via NLV Records. LISTEN HERE.
Produced by frequent collaborator Swick (Tkay Maidza, Capo Lee, Big Zuu, Kamakaze, Merky Ace) and written with Tom Elliot (one half of Korky Buchek) in Naarm / Melbourne, the forward-thinking production floats between rap, afrobeat, UK garage, baile funk sounds, all tied together with Skeez‘s effortless vocal delivery and elevating hook. In between “kicking goals like Pogba” and references to his reign like “a lion in the jungle”, ‘Up‘ ruminates on its animated and motivating chorus, “All my people, all my people we up!” The artist explains “The song is about staying up when you fall from any situation, you get back up and keep it moving. It’s also about having fun and good vibes with close family and friends.”
‘Up‘ follows Big Skeez‘s formal solo debut on Nina Las Vegas‘ imprint NLV Records with ‘No Trace‘ and his most recent collaboration with Gold Fang on the anthemic ‘Where Yuh From‘. Each release has seen widespread success with playlisting and editorial support across triple j, Unearthed, FBi Radio, RAGE, MTV, NME, Acclaim, profiles in Vogue Australia‘s Sound of Now and GQ Magazine‘s recent Dior B30 sneaker campaign, a bombastic live show debut for Phoenix HALO and inclusion across Spotify‘s A1 Hip Hop, The Flavour, Hybrid and Local Hype, alongside Apple Music‘s Fresh Finds, The New Australia and The Dotty Show amongst others. Internationally Skeez has also seen support cross WYF, BBC6 and Reprezent FM.
With the release comes a dynamic music video, directed by long-time collaborator Murli (MAY-A, Ninajirachi and Kota Banks, Slim Set), shot on the rich tapestry of Dharug Land. On the process, Murli says “The track is so lovely and the lyrics are a lot about Skeez and the people he surrounds himself with. I wanted to make the video as true and as genuine to Skeez and his friends, showcasing a real, authentic and friendly side of him”. Skeez furthers this, explaining “I wanted the video to be about my close family and friends, coming together as one and just keep grinding to the top. Not worry about the past situations and stay Up! So it was so great to see what Murli and the team did to make the whole video come to life”.
Big Skeez‘s music is in constant conversation with his roots, whether they lay in Africa or in Western Sydney. This proud sense of being simultaneously from and for a community still pulses tangibly through every aspect of his music, offering a decidedly different light to the surfeit of music that is currently emanating from his hometown. With a childhood deeply immersed in the sounds of Africa, Afrobeat, Dancehall, Reggae and R&B, studied from his parents and “borrowed” from older siblings; the result is a wavy, melodically-driven Afro Swing iteration entirely his own, livelier, more vibrant and upbeat, standing alongside global stars J Hus, Pa Salieu, Burna Boy and others.
It’s this distinction that serves as both a unique point of difference and an outlook that colours everything Big Skeez hopes to accomplish as an artist: encouraging African-Australian kids just like himself to reach more into the rich histories and legacies of their cultures, shining a light on the triumphs of Western Sydney and showcasing the plethora of diversity on offer, uplifting those same kids through setting his own example. And so Big Skeez takes his place through roots of his own making.
‘Up‘ is out now via NLV Records, buy/stream it here.
Artist: Big Skeez
Written by: Kot Makur, Danny Omerhodic & Tom Elliot
Produced by: Swick
Mixed by: Swick
Mastered by: Prash ‘Engine-Earz’ Mistry
Release Date: 30/11/2021
Label: NLV Records
Catalogue Number: NLVR0080