Vocalist and Songwriter Inkra Debelle’s Exclusive Interview with Blacpire
The One To Watch: Vocalist and Songwriter Inkra Debelle’s Exclusive Interview with Blacpire Magazine on her Life, Aspirations and Debut Single
London-born singer songwriter Inkra DeBelle sat down with Blacpire to talk all things life, aspirations and her debut single “NAH”. DeBelle has caught the ears of music lovers globally with her tremendous written & vocal talent.
Inkra began to embrace her voice only a few years ago… a sound she had ignored for 10 years after a confidence knock about her singing at age 9. She could no longer deny her God given talent, so she began to create catchy melodies with savvy penmanship and stopped ignoring her desire to sing. Instead of attending lectures during university, she would bunk class and head to the studio where she began pursuing her love of music, yet still achieving a degree she had lost interest in. Unlike like her Martial Art fighting parents and siblings, Inkra decided to take on a different fight and enter the entertainment business.
Scratching the surface in 2016, Inkra featured in a YouTube viral video alongside Dainá Murel & Martika LA covering Destiny’s Child's “No, No, No” which captured the attention of Snoop Dogg, followed by a comment from Teddy Riley on Inkra’s self-released song “Over & Over”. Inkra has shared the stage with Justin Timberlake and The 1975 at London’s O2 Arena as a backing vocalist, and has recently supported popular Nigerian Artist ‘Kizz Daniel’ on his UK Tour.
Now, Inkra Debelle is ready to welcome her gift into the world, as she drops her long-awaited Debut Single “NAH” - an R&B/Dancehall anthem for females encouraging Sass and Self-Worth through her delivery of a part-London-part-Jamaican twang and melodic vocals. Written by Inkra herself and producer of the track ‘Delirious’ (Big Tobz, Ms. Banks) is out today, followed by an EP to be released later on this year.
As I was so inspired by her journey, I wanted to dive in deeper interviewing her. Before we even started the interview, I sensed her level of humbleness and sweet persona from when she was getting ready for her shoot and was doing her own makeup. Whilst she was getting ready, she had the ability to freestyle and make songs on the spot effortlessly, as well as remember them for potential future projects.
I sat down with Inkra DeBelle and found out a lot about her. It is clear that Inkra is inspired by all genres of music, entertainment, fashion and popular culture.
What is your craft and what do you do?
I am a creative. I hear and create melodies in my head, which I then convert to my vocals and add words too. I take these visionary moments, sew them together, and create a song. Daily I review and create new ideas, and work on them until a complete product unfolds, that I can share with people globally, bringing them on my journey of being able to write songs for every mood a person may experience.
Who is your inspiration?
I have so many! Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jazmine Sullivan Shania Twain, Pink, Amy Winehouse, Sisqo, Beenie Man,… My dad!
Why your dad?
Because he believes he can do anything, literally anything. When I was little, whenever we watched something on TV he would say “I can do that!”. The self-belief he has is immense… So whenever I don’t feel confident, I remember that I am his daughter, so I have to remember to adopt his mentality of “I can do anything”.
What makes you do what you do?
My family, and God, and then just the raw and powerful feeling of passion that music gives me. I get excited by music, I express anger through music, it makes me laugh, cry, gives me hope, and healing. And on top of what music does to me, God has given me a gift so I can give back to music and to others, including myself. My dad was the one that told me I had a gift from young, but I didn’t believe him, and for years, I didn’t think that I was good enough. I just never believed in myself. But now I know what I am capable of and I accept that God gave me these gifts for a reason. Gotta use them, especially if it’s what makes me happiest.
What sort of artists do you see yourself working with in the future?
The greats! And just… talented people that at some point have given me chills or got me gassed and I feel I connect with. If I can't stop listening to you, or if you continually inspire me and make me feel I need to better myself then I probably want to work with you! Unless I feel their personality sucks, then I’d skip em!
There are so many I could name that I would love to work with from a songwriting aspect too, not even just singing, but to name a few…I’d love to work with Missy Elliott, Beyonce, J Cole, Jazmine Sulivan, Stormzy, Wretch32, Angel, SIA… I see myself as a female Chris Brown so definitely him.
It really depends where my music head is, because if I am thinking about singing ballads, pop, RnB, soul - I will obviously choose someone that caters to that genre. I breathe versatility, so I like exploring my talent and avenues within myself, so we will be here all day if I named everyone!
The GirlsIRate Gala for International Women’s Day last year, how was that for you? And what is the importance of networking?
That event had a huge impact on me actually. I didn’t know what to expect and it turned out to be a room full of amazing women that share a common goal. I gave a speech about the GirlsIRate Arts Academy, after being previously selected for their Songwriting Weekender in 2016 - which I had a dope time at. When I came off stage after my speech I received so much praise. I was really surprised but found it so reassuring having industry professionals, WOMEN at the top of the game, walk up to me with advice and encouragement. There were women from BBC Radio, VEVO, Spotify and other parts of the creative industry - designers, presenters etc. Their comments to me were so encouraging.
I had a wonderful conversation with Alexandra Burke. She shared a few of her experiences with me. Her words felt so valuable. The advice that stuck with me was to stick to your guns. People will criticise all the time, but If you can see it and have a vision, you can make it happen. That is what NAO said to me too. It was all so special.
The industry is very competitive, the hustling and the big breaks can be restricted. What keeps you going?
Because I am me, I am not anybody else, I don’t need to worry about competition. Everybody has their own path and everything has its own time course. You need to focus on yourself. There really is room for everyone, as long as you have the right attitude and mindset you will get where you need to in your own time.
It was an absolute pleasure interviewing Inkra and having an insight into her life and potential future plans. She has the tenacity, style and persona to succeed in such a tough, yet exciting industry.
To hear about her life further, do follow @InkraDebelle on all social media & music streaming platforms.