Every now and then an artist comes around who makes us think, ‘ffs, I wish I’d been that creative as a teen cos maybe I too would be releasing stunning music by the time I hit my mid-twenties.’ Enter Collard. Here’s everything we know about the rapper, singer and songwriter so far. He grew up just outside south London. Raised Mormon (he’s no longer practising), he’d become a member of the London collective Last Night In Paris, aged 17. His 2017 COLORS live session for track “Ode” drips with D’Angelo sweat while channeling Prince’s sensuality (and pulling that off – no easy feat). Now 24, he’s about to drop a debut album in April, which he’s teasing with brand-new, brooding single “Ground Control.”
The song, as Collard says in a statement, “is a confessional, centred around a dangerous time in my life where consequences and valuing my own safety were scarily low on my priority list. The writing is based around one particular night where all boundaries were rid of and all lines were crossed. it’s a dive into my own past and a birds-eye view of myself at my most reckless.” Sharing the mic with poet and rapper Kojey Radical, who features on the track, Collard tells a dark story about intoxication and pushing yourself to the limits of what might be safe. At one point, he sings “we some twentysomething with a death wish” using a gentle, papery tone that almost belies the weight of his words. “Ground Control” – produced by Zach Nohame and co-written by Zach, Collard and Kojey – honestly sounds like a retelling of a time someone got behind the wheel when they were way too drunk to do so, and potentially risked their own life in the process. But you can read so many other meanings into the track, too.
Collard’s shared about five songs so far, since 2017, and this latest one showcases more of his nimble songwriting ability. It follows the more stripped-back, falsetto-rich defiance of “Warrior Cry,” which dropped in February. If we're to assume this literally two-second video of Kojey in snakeskin and Collard suited up hints at the upcoming "Ground Control" visuals, we should be in for a treat there, too. In the meantime, we'll be revelling in our memories of being 17 and far less productive than Collard (but happy nonetheless :')).
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