Fresh new artist on the block, Arkuen, shares his musical firsts with Notion – from making music in the middle of the night to performing at the Royal Festival Hall.

Growing up in a Colombian-Jamaican home, Arkuen’s natural environment was a melting pot of sounds: salsa, cumbia, and bachata to dance hall, lovers rocks, soul, gospel, and reggae.

The south-west Londoner attended the well-known BRIT School, from whose gates have also emerged talents including Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J and Tom Holland. An interdisciplinary artist at his core, Arkuen combines jaw-dropping dance choreography and acting.

In 2019, Arkuen headlined at The Last Race; he choreographed Rachel Chinouriri’s showstopping 2021 video for “Plain Jain”; and he made an appearance in TS Graye’s video for “Take Notes”. Now, the young artist is gearing up for big things and releasing his debut solo music project.

We caught up with Arkuen to talk musical firsts – from Jessie J to Jessie Reyez and more. Dive in!

First song you ever made?

The first song I ever made that I can remember was a song on the piano called “River”. Close people around me still say that song expresses who I am the most.

First song you released officially?

The first song I released officially you could say was “While the World Sleeps” on Soundcloud. I use to make a lot of music in the middle of the night and thought it was funny that everyone was asleep.

First time you realised you wanted to be a musician?

When I was 9, I knew I was going to be an artist when I performed at the Royal Festival Hall.

First time you wanted to give up?

I can’t remember a time of wanting to give up! It’s probably there but I get up quickly and don’t let myself think like that. I guess it would have been in school – not a cute time.

First CD or record you owned?

The first CD I owned was Jessie J’s “Who You Are”.

First gig or festival you went to?

I believe my first proper concert was Jessie Reyez – I love her.

First time you were starstruck?

I haven’t been starstruck.

First instrument you owned?

The first instrument I owned was actually a guitar.

First time you fell in love with music?

When I realised everything else in the world can change in how it makes you feel but music is always there – same feelings as when I was a child, music is something that is sure in life.

First song that pops into your head right now?

“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Listen to Arkuen's new single "Wild" below: