INTERVIEW: Huntar | Debut Album 'The Ride' Out Now
Following a sold out headline show at London’s Hoxton Bar & Kitchen last month, Huntar’s much anticipated debut album ‘The Ride’ was released this weekend. Featuring a collection of songs that he has written over the course of the last five years, he quite literally takes us through “the ride” of finding his sonic identity in his artistic journey.
Huntar joins the wave of artists breaking down the unsophisticated segmentation of genre. Merging a range of influences, he delivers ten tracks on ‘The Ride’ of R&B influenced pop music, citing the likes of Prince, Justin Timberlake, and Drake as his top influences, to create a truly innovative new blend of sounds.
“You know when you’re at school, and you have all your exams, and you revise for everything and you are just cramming in all the knowledge you can… That’s what this album is like for me. I wrote 700 songs for this album and there's 10 on it. That’s why it’s called the ride. It’s a massive journey that goes up and down and all around.”
Huntar’s live show sees a prominent R&B influence. The musician described song ‘Echo’ to be as “if men in black was made by Drake,” followed by a mash-up of Drake’s infamous Hotline Bling in ‘808 Heartbeat,’ another track from the album. Huntar describes: “I think with Drake, especially with this album, and with me as I was learning to write songs, he is just so honest. He is brutally honest in his lyrics. And sometimes, the simplest thing is the right thing to say and the thing that gets people going. I felt that. To me, Drake is kind of a pop artist, but in that hip hop genre. He is a one of a kind breakthrough. And now everyone seems to break the barriers of genres. Whilst this album’s genre is more poppy, the next one will definitely be a more defined sound that sways towards that sort of R&B rocky top line with hip hop beats.”
The intertwining of electronic music arises from Huntar’s raw interest in sound itself, but never distracting from his priority over his vocals, using his own vocal samples to make the electronic parts.
Of course, it’s important to clarify that Huntar is a solo artist. Everything on the album is written and recorded by him, but plays with a band in the live set to create a special vibrant sound. “Growing up with Prince or Justin Timberlake, I’m always one for those moments in life where you go ‘Oh, that was cool, that wasn’t on the record!’”
Charmingly humble, Huntar describes the unexpected surprise in having a fan base, sharing the sentiment common amongst rising artists where seeing strangers in the crowd is always a pinch on the arm moment. Single releases ‘Blindspot’, ‘4am’, and ‘Anyway’ are the moments he felt he saw a big impact on his career, followed by the release of his mixtape in 2017. The loyalty of his fans are evident in his live show, with it becoming a “thing” when the audience put up their hands in the shape of his logo at the end, forming a community around his music.
His journey is more than just in his artistry, but in his personal development too. Huntar saw himself making the big move to London from Cambridge at the age of 18, seeing it to be one pivotal moment of his career. “I was like….what’s the worst that can happen. I think it’s good for any young artist to be in London because everyone is here. They are either in LA or here, so if you can live in LA that’s great. But I think it was quite vital in my development to be here.”
He has also made an impact on the US, the leaders of electronic R&B. “America is probably bigger than here, because of the sound that I make. They love people who are just raw and just singing about emotions, and they love electronic music there, they love their R&B. Here, they love their pop music and love their indie bands, but R&B is not really too much here. People like Ella Mai are smashing it, so a lot of people are trying to break that spell!”
Check out Huntar’s ‘The Ride’ on Spotify now and watch out for his tour announcement in the new year and be a part of the live magic!
New Artists Huntar Recommends: Tomston, TS Gray, Jack Vallier, Eden
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