We chat to BLEU about his year so far, one that's included award wins, a Wireless performance, new baby and fresh single with Nicki Minaj.
Formerly known as Yung Bleu, BLEU is an artist whose career is moving at a rapid rate. Very much booked and busy, after a debut album, ‘Moon Boy’ in 2021, the artist has dropped an EP alongside a steady stream of collaborative singles.
Born in Alabama, BLEU’s success is spoken for by his recent purchase of a private jet, about which he describes “Nobody knows where life can take you. It took me ten hard years to get here.” He describes daydreaming with his mother: “I used to tell people every day I’m going to be successful. Some people believed, some didn’t.” Demonstrating a commitment to helping others on the come up, BLEU also took to Instagram recently to announce the brand-new Moon Boy University, a “facility for all my Moon Boy University producers” from artists, video producers and more.
New track “Love In The Way” is a track about struggling to move on in the wake of relationship collapse, a collab with none other than Nicki Minaj herself. Recently having a baby with his girlfriend, as well as winning multiple BMI awards, BLEU is having a busy 2022. We caught up with him to rundown his new track, playing Wireless this summer and what else we can look forward to from the artist. Dive in!
I’ll start by saying congratulations on your new baby – seems like 2022 has been a big year for you so far! What have been some highlights?
I love being a dad and I love my family, that’s the highlight of my life everyday. I threw my annual birthday pool party, that was a vibe. I won 2 BMI Awards, that was definitely a proud moment for me. Also, Working with some artists and creating music has been a great highlight for me! It’s so dope seeing it all come together.
You’ve already dropped a fair few singles this year, what are you focussing on at the minute?
I’m just focusing on family, making sure they’re straight. And I’ve been working on my new album. I’ve really just been focusing on perfecting my sound and elevating – I want to give the fans something amazing. Can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
Taking it back to 2013 in the Southern Scene, before signing with Columbia; how do you reflect on your come-up almost 10 years later? How do you feel like you’ve evolved musically since then?
I feel like nobody changes to stay the same. If you don’t evolve then what are you really doing? With the support of my fans, my family, and my team, I’ve made it this far. Shoutout to you guys for all the love!
What’s your relationship like now to early tracks like “Miss It” and “Ice On My Baby”? Do they bring up any particular memories?
My relationship to those songs now would be even stronger because I’ve been able to see the fans that have been rocking with me since the earlier days when I play these songs. It just lets me know that even then, my craft and sound has always been special. It’s a different feeling to hear people sing songs you made when you were in grind mode with no hits under your belt yet, super inspiring. “Ice On My Baby” is arguably one of the more turnt up songs at shows where everyone is singing along with me like it was on the radio and that shit is just an unexplainable feeling. Makes me just want to work harder and put more music out.
2021’s ‘Moon Boy’ was technically your debut album, it’s racked up over 400 million streams and the collab roster is insane: with Drake, Big Sean, Kehlani, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, H.E.R., and Kodak Black to name a few. How did those collabs come about? Is it validating having all these artists want to get involved with your projects?
I mean, everyone showed nothing but love and I appreciate all of them for that and rocking with me. Fun fact, I actually bumped into Big Sean at studio. He’s a cool dude and we organically vibed that day which led to our song. Do I really need any validation? The music speaks for itself. But it’s inspiring to be able to work with people I saw while growing up, to now calling them my peers. Never give up on your talent and always bet on yourself is what ‘Moon Boy’ taught me.
The visuals for your tracks always have huge attention to detail and real storytelling, videos for tracks like “You’re Mines Still” and “Way More Close (Stuck In A Box)” feel like three-minute feature films. You’ve accumulated over a billion combined streams, so they’re clearly striking a chord with your listeners. Are the visuals and the process behind them important to you? Do you have a favourite that you’ve made?
I like to tell stories and bring my fans into my world. With the few minutes I get, I want fans to understand how I feel through music. I want to be known for my creativity in every aspect of my craft, from visuals to audio, so I take my videos very seriously. They are a direct reflection of the music I am making. I love all of them so it would be hard to pick a favourite because they each bring out a different emotion or memory.
I know you’re on the ‘One of Them Ones’ Tour with Chris Brown and Lil Baby currently, how’s that going? Any city you’re particularly pumped to perform in?
It’s great, it’s exciting, I love it! It’s a couple cities I haven’t been to. I’m always humbled when I discover new fans in new places. I appreciate all the love.
We have to mention the awards and nominations you’ve been stacking, this year you won ‘Best New Artist’ at iHeartRadio Awards and were nominated for three BET awards, how does it feel having all your hard work recognised? Is this somewhere you imagined you’d be a few years ago?
I always knew I was destined to be a star. This isn’t just a dream. I’ve worked hard for this. I’ve turned my dream into a reality. I’m here and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. My dreams keep getting bigger and my reality follows so I’m just working til I can’t no more.
You were in London recently for Wireless – did you enjoy the festival? Did you get a chance to see London at all?
It’s a beautiful place. Nice people. We ate good food. But we didn’t have a lot of time to be tourists. I’m on tour so the grind never stops. London showed me a lot of love and I can’t wait to go back on my own tour to really vibe with them and the city.
What’s next for BLEU? Is there anything left on your bucket list still left to achieve?
Anything is possible. I’m working on new music, very excited about that, but I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m just getting started. Definitely expect to see more BLEU and Moonboy university! We just getting started.