Sean Focus: 'The stage is my playground – you'll not come to one of my shows and walk out unentertained'

Sean Focus: 'The stage is my playground – you'll not come to one of my shows and walk out unentertained'

credit: @grahamglvr

Edinburgh-based hip hop and dancehall artist tells us more about his sound and upcoming EP

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe and now based in Edinburgh, Sean Focus' music connects the dots between his heritage and his new home. The music is rooted in afro-pop, dancehall and hip hop but Sean used his experience as a sound engineer to delve into an expansive sonic palette with each song. We talk to Sean ahead of the release of his new Part of the Plan EP on 20 September.

According to your bio online, you were born and raised in Zimbabwe, and came to the UK to pursue your career. Can you tell us about what drew you to the UK?
Growing up in Zimbabwe, living in an era where opportunities were very limited there, my move to the UK was in search of greener pastures. I haven't looked back since; Zim will always be my home however I'd never be able to do music for a living which I'm so grateful for in terms of my move.

More specifically, what drew you to Edinburgh?
I moved into the madness of London and then I visited my sister who lived up here. The city had such a vibe, the people, the calmness and here I am seven years later with my family.

How do you find the hip hop/dancehall scene in Edinburgh?
You'd never think at first glance of the hip hop/dancehall scene in Edinburgh as buzzin' but wow, no lie I think we have some of the most poppin' parties in the country. Sundays at Lulu is my spot, 4042 too. I love performing in Edinburgh, the energy from the crowds is the best. And as for artists, there is some serious talent here; there's something in the water I tell you.

You have worked as a sound engineer alongside your solo artist work I believe, how do you feel this has benefited your work?
At first, I got frustrated waiting on things to go from recording to release. Only way to speed it all up was to learn it all myself. I have artists I release music for through my Imvaize label, things gotta move fast so as much as I'm an artist, I engineer my music, produce, write and I'm right at the forefront of every bit of content that goes out. I guess it keeps everything within my vision. Anything sound and visually changes so fast, it's the way to stay ahead of the game I think.

I can hear quite a lot of adventurous work sonically.
Haha I appreciate you calling it adventurous, that's exactly what I wanna hear!

You have a number of music videos under your belt, how important do you feel visuals are to your music?
I think videos complete the singles. This year especially I've really focused on portraying the singles vibe in the videos. Videos really add to my journey. When I look back at me five years ago, as much as I facepalm at them now, to my latest video, it shows me growing up in my music too. Wait till you see my video to the new single, 'Dashin', that's my favourite one yet!

You had your first headline show in Glasgow recently, how did it go?
We just wrapped up two headline shows to round up the year and launch the new EP. Every year on the same date I do Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh, it's a tradition I share with my fans. And this time round we added SWG3 in, it was DOPE! It's crazy seeing my sound pulling people in in different cities. We're already planning a bigger headline tour for early next year.

How important are live shows to your music?
THE most important part for me. When I'm locked up recording for months, planning releases with my manager, the happiness performing brings me when my records click with fans at a show, makes all the hard work worth it. It's my opportunity to test new material, see how my singles have connected and a chance to push my boundaries again.

What can people expect from a Sean Focus show?
Energy. Energy. Energy. And Sweat haha. The stage is my playground. You'll not come to one of my shows and walk out unentertained. I'm dropping my tour recap in the coming days which gives you a taste.

Are there any UK artists you are keen to work with?
Loads. I'd love to work with Octavian, his sound is my vibe for sure. Kojey Radical too. I'd love to produce for a couple too, Burna Boy is on my hit list.

What is next for you?
I'm dropping the new EP Part of the Plan on 20 September which leads with the new single, 'Dashin'. Then I'm taking the show on the road. We've got some big shows up our sleeve. Lots of cool visuals, releases and our notorious Imvaize parties to wrap up an incredible year for us. Going into 2020 with energy.

Part of the Plan is out Fri 20 Sep.

Sean Focus

Edinburgh based artist, sound engineer and producer, Sean Focus connects the dots from Zimbabwe to the UK and throws his natural talents in the mix.

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