Words: Ethan Herlock
Photography: Stuart Nimmo

It’s a cloudy, drizzly November morning and Fredwave is sitting opposite me in Shoreditch House’s lobby area (on its infamous lush green sofa) dressed in a winter-ready North Face puffer, black Arte tracksuit, and red and black Drama beanie. Shoreditch House’s status as a bubbling members’ club aside, for the Wood Green born-and-raised talent, it’s just another street in the never-sleeping city he grew up in.

We sit and chat as we wait for his publicist to arrive and, for someone with a million things going on, he seems pretty chilled. Fredwave just got back from Venice after celebrating the release of V&A Museum’s Dancing Before The Moon, a short film he scored with fellow North Londoner Oscar #Worldpeace; he also went on tour recently with Jeshi—Walthamstow’s rap laureate—in Japan (“Bro, the toilets over there are different!”), and dropped the lead-up singles for his new project, GOODNIGHT June.

It was a week until the 29-year-old singer/songwriter/producer was set to release his sophomore EP via Other Projects, and he remembers the jitters he felt around his debut EP six years prior. Fredwave stepped onto the music scene in 2014 with the R&G-licked single “Home”; two years later, he had a breakout hit in “99” and delivered a gripping live rendition of the track for COLOURS. In 2017, he self-released his debut project, FAILURE, and later provided a hefty presence for Jeshi’s Universal Credit while offering his production and writing chops for the likes of KAM-BU and p-rallel. He’s also created cinematic soundscapes for brands such as Louis Vuitton, A-COLD-WALL*, and Corteiz.

Today, Fredwave finds himself in a unique position in the UK music scene, and wears his earned confidence on his chest. “I knew I wanted to be multi-disciplined,” Fredwave tells me with a vape in his hand. “I saw it happen before I saw it happen. I didn’t plan this, but I spoke it into existence.” Through the curt five songs of GOODNIGHT June, Fredwave takes us through the recesses of his mind; late nights staggering around London; episodes of heartbreak and mending one’s self; brutal states of reflection and repair. Consider the two-hit combo of “MIND”—a sober closer with plucking guitar strings and a helium-high voice on the verge of losing its mind—and its brighter counterpart, the self-care mantra “TEMPLE”, which tags close companions Jeshi and Elijah Waters to walk us through a hedonistic night out and all the reflections that come after it.

Coming in at just under 15 minutes, GOODNIGHT June is a stunning display of Fredwave’s talent. It drifts from eerie post-dubstep to smoldering alt-soul (with a Jai Paul-esque touch) in the click of a song. “With GOODNIGHT June, it’s there to say I’m at my best and it’s undeniable,” Fredwave says as his publicist arrives. Like most of us, he loves music and grew up being surrounded by it, but with all things that are loved, it came with knotty complications. “I had a tendency to overanalyze songs which took me two years to make because I wasn’t in the right environment,” he says. “Or didn’t have a particular mic. I wasn’t a perfectionist exactly, but I would procrastinate. Instead of fixating on 10 song ideas for ages, I can work on 40 ideas now.”

He’s come a long way, professionally and personally, for a kid who once walked from Wood Green to Broadwater Farm every Sunday for piano lessons under his Barbadian uncle, or when he was in a creative lull, broke and used his sister’s come-to-Jesus voicemail to spur the intro of his debut project in 2017. “When I was making FAILURE, I had no money,” he explains. “I was on Universal Credit. Back then, it wasn’t rated, like: ‘What are you doing? Go get some money!’ I didn’t fuck with school but I knew I wasn’t dumb, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today. My sister was getting on to me, but as soon as I heard her voicemail with the beat [for ‘Nightingale’], I knew it had to be the opener.”

Perhaps it was fate that family, connectivity with one’s self and London would be an intrinsic part of Fredwave and the stories he conveys through music. From watching his father play blues with his guitar to experiencing rambunctious nights out in the city, capturing the thunder-in-a-bottle nightlife as a young adult, Fredwave is now satisfied with where he’s at in his career because, after all, rising from hardships, you can only go upward.

His dreams of selling out stadiums and living abroad somewhere on an island haven’t manifested just yet, but it’s a fruitful journey from humble beginnings. “More music, more love, more money. I also want to start directing,” Fredwave says with a Birra Moretti in his hand, sitting on the beach chairs near the Shoreditch House pool. Looking at his career trajectory so far, those dreams might turn into realities sooner than he thinks.


Posted on November 22, 2023