Belgian singer and songwriter Coely has returned with her brand new single, “Love High”. And this mesmerizing track puts you immediately in a good mood. It has everything that makes a perfect pop song – a catchy melody, powerful vocals, and a rhythm that makes your hips sway and making you feel high on love.
In our interview we delve into the inspiration behind her new single, her electrifying concerts, and her eagerly anticipated upcoming album.
Photography by Lukanie
Congratulations on the release of your new single “Love High.” Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the song and how it differs from your previous work?
Thank you so much, I’m very happy to finally share this song with the world. I’m not the type to write love songs that often, so it’s a special one to me. I always felt I wanted to make a love song, but I needed some extra special moment in life to trigger the actual idea for a song. In 2021 I gave birth to my firstborn son Jabari. Like every mom, I was looking forward to him coming into our lives very much. Me and my partner had been married for a couple of years, during corona we felt like the time was right. While I was in labour, I was really going through it. I had nurses and other staff working on my nerves, it never goes how you expect it to go and I was kind of losing my mind, I wasn’t able to be in the moment anymore. My husband really pulled me through and blocked out all the noise, so I could focus on one thing only, bringing our babyboy into this world. He was my rock and supported me, as he always does, but I realised that the way he was dealing with the situation gave me such a warm and safe feeling. We’ve been in love for ten years, had gotten married and we have so many incredible memories together, but in that moment I discovered a deeper connection to him. That’s why I wanted to write this song. ‘In a room full of people it’s you I see’, he’s the only one that really gets me and I’m so grateful to have him in my life. That’s basically what the song is about.
Can you tell us more about the importance of support systems in your life and how they influence your music?
It’s very important to be surrounded by people that genuinely care for you and not by people that are just in it for the ride. I guess you can say I’m pretty lucky. My whole team exists of people that are very close to me, we don’t only work together on music, we share a personal life together. I’m a family person, I grew up in a broken home and all I want is for everyone around me to feel good and supported, we got each other’s back, no matter what.
“It’s very important to be surrounded by people that genuinely care for you and not by people that are just in it for the ride.”
How important is the feedback you receive from your fans, and in what ways do you incorporate it into your creative process?
Oh it’s very important. Although I make music for myself, I make what I like to make, still it’s very nice to hear a fans perspective. It’s very humbling, whenever you get a message from someone you don’t personally know and this person shares a personal story with you because they resonate with a song I made. It did make me realise that I wanted to put more effort in choosing the right words to use on this album. It brings me a lot of joy when some of the words I write connect with someone on a deeper level, it’s a major compliment that they take the time to reach out and tell me about it. I really like being on stage, I prefer it over being in the studio, because you can interact with the fans, you can see the looks in their faces during the shows, it’s awesome.
Your live performances are known for their energy and exceptional vocals. How do you prepare for a live show, and what do you hope your audience takes away from your performances?
In the backstage, I tend to be the quiet type. I’m not super social and present, I hang back and do my vocal exercises, make-up, get dressed and I take some time to pray. It’s like the quiet moment right before the storm. At the start of my career, I got a chance to be the opening act for Kendrick Lamar, in a 2000cap venue. I was listening to the ‘Good Kid Mad City” album non stop. Before the concert I was introduced to the concert promotor and yeah, I was a 17 year old girl with no experience of talking to men in their 40’s so I was kind of shy and timide. He actually took my manager aside to ask him if it was a smart idea to put me on stage that night as he felt I wasn’t ready. Well, I proved him wrong. As soon as I got on stage I took control of the crowd. They didn’t know me, but I didn’t care, I wanted them to remember me forever. That’s me, relaxed and quiet in the backstage, getting ready to unleash it all on stage and give my fans an amazing experience. I want them to go home, feeling energised and with a smile on their face.
“I want my fans to go home, feeling energised and with a smile on their face.”
You’ve collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Kungs and Olly Murs. How do you approach collaborations and what do you look for in a potential collaborator?
It’s been a while since I did that one. I had met Kungs a couple of months before and we had a good vibe together. A couple of months later he asked me to jump on a track and I just did. On my new album I have a collaboration with Albi X, a German artist with Congolese roots (just like myself). He first drew my attention because of his looks, he’s albino and has an amazing energy. Not many people know that my grandmother on my mothers side also was albino. Anyways, I was drawn to his look, but I discovered he made music and had such a raw and interesting voice, plus he made songs combining English and Lingala. That really triggered me. I need to get triggered by something special in an artist, it’s not about how many numbers he or she’s doing.
You’ve won numerous awards and accolades throughout your career. Do winning awards and prizes, such as the ones you’ve received, hold any significance for you as an artist?
I don’t know, it’s double I guess. I don’t think artists make music to win awards, but still, the recognition feels nice in a way. This year, I’ve won ‘Best Hip Hop’ at the Belgian Music Industry Awards. The other nominees were all artists I respect a lot and I didn’t expect to win at all as I had just came back from a sabbatical. To me it was a confirmation that people still remembered me and were welcoming me with open arms. I wasn’t able to make it to awardshow unfortunately and I didn’t even post a picture with the awards afterwards. (smiles)
“I really took my time for this album. I’ve heard it many times, ‘your second album will be way harder to make than the first”, and it’s so true.”
You are about to release your upcoming album “Alive”. Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect?
I really took my time for this album. I’ve heard it many times, ‘your second album will be way harder to make than the first”, and it’s so true. I didn’t want to copy myself so I took time to experiment together with my team at Beatville. We wanted to redevelop the sound of the beats and the way I used my voice. I’m very proud of this album, even more than of my debut in 2017. I’ve grown, matured, diggeddeep and came back up with a pure and powerful record. One of my favourite tracks on the album is called ‘Fruit Of Bantu’ with a powerful feature by Shaka Shams, celebrating Black excellence. I’m looking forward to releasing it on March 17th, but I’ll be dropping sneak previews on socials to build up anticipation. I can’t wait to perform this entire album live, I want to look people in the eyes while I tell my story.
Thanks so much for your time!