The up and coming artist talks to Khadisha Thomas about his religious influence, migrating from Congo, musicians he looks up to and his tracks.
CLAVIS7EVEN is a 21-year-old Wolverhampton based singer and rapper. He attends Birmingham City University, where he studies a degree in computing. When he’s not staring at a computer CLAVIS7EVEN is in the studio working on music. In 2019 he decided to make the conscious effort to produce and release music onto platforms such as apple music, YouTube and Spotify. Two years on, he has slowly accumulated listeners in 36 countries and has been played on BBC West Midlands Radio Introducing. As CLAVIS7EVEN strives to grow bigger as a new artist he recognizes his Christian faith as the foundation of his musical being.
His name for starters has a religious meaning.
“Clavis means key in Latin… so I was like yep I’m taking that and seven is my favourite number, and it just has a lot of symbolic meaning. I have a lot of affiliations with my religious aspect of life and in the bible seven is the number of completion and perfection,” CLAVIS7EVEN says.
Before settling on his name, like a lot of budding artists he did go through the online name generator phase.
“I went through a plethora of names and some of them were absolutely atrocious. We’re not doing that, that’s what we’re not doing,” he says with a cheeky laugh.
He has always felt a connection to God. Going to church was something he grew up with as he comes from a close-knit family that are heavily involved in the church choir. All members of his family sing play instruments and produce.
In the church choir, CLAVIS7EVEN is the bassist and his younger brother plays the piano.
“We pretty much dedicated and developed all of those gifts in church. Essentially my family and church first got me into music, that’s where it all stemmed from,” he says.
His music is an amalgamation of genres, namely gospel, hip hop and RnB, but the word CLAVIS7EVEN would use to describe the music he desires to make is ‘truth’, and this is supported by his belief in God.
“All of the music I make I like to make sure there’s a meaning behind it. I need to make sure someone will listen to it and gain a truth that can hopefully set them free. I like to make introspective music, so the one word I’m trying to say is ‘truth’. And I get a lot of that from my faith and my faith does a lot in terms of being able to line me up and the moral of where I do my music.”
His strongest childhood memory is from when he moved to England at the age of 3 to reunite with his family who were building a new life in the UK. He came to the UK with his uncle, as his parents and older siblings were already settled in the UK. CLAVIS7EVEN was the last of his family to come to the UK, so whilst he was separated from his immediate family he lived with relatives and spent a year in Zambia.
“I remember the day that in Congo my dad was leaving because of a few complications that he had to sort out, so he left me with my aunties. I hadn’t seen my family in a while. I remember landing in Heathrow, and I remembered exactly who my mum was and I ran to her and gave her a big hug.”
CLAVIS7EVEN smiles as he reminisces about how impatient he was on the long journey from the airport to his home in Wolverhampton, and the first time he ever ate skittles.
“Listen, I’m fresh from Africa, fresh off the boat, I’ve never seen these snacks in my life.”
He recalls bothering his mother the entire ride home and the moment when he knocked on his new front door and everyone welcomed him.
“I was reunited with my whole family and I was just looking for my big brother and although obviously in Africa your with your family, this was the family I knew of.”
There are many artists the young musician looks up. One of his ultimate inspirations and someone he would love to collaborate with if he ever got the chance is Kanye West. His eyes light up and a massive grin spreads across his face just at the possibility of it.
“At that point I’d quit music if I can’t even go Tesco anymore,” he says.
His other influences include Wretch32 and Stormzy.
The reason he’s attracted to these artists is that he believes they push boundaries and are not afraid to do break the mould and be individual.
“Being a writer is a different skill entirely and the concept of being able to weave words together to convey a certain narrative and emotion is such a skill. And I’m in awe of these people’s writing abilities. Wretch 32 is an incredible writer,” he says.
In April 2020 CLAVIS7EVEN released his debut EP ‘A Master’s Piece’ which includes songs such as ‘Wisesman Smartman’, a track that starts off slow but catches you off guard rapping kicks in and becomes more powerful. Is showcases his incredible lyricism, ability to rhyme and use of symbolism.
CLAVIS7EVEN says: “Wiseman Smartman shows the different aspects of me. I’m rapping for five minutes so I’m just going, going, going.”
His second EP dropped later that year and features songs such as ‘Safe To Say (Love Sick)’, which was written and recorded at a time when he was ill. The track is a stripped down almost acoustic song with a soulful melody.
“I haven’t got the strongest immune system- shout out to corona.
“I literally heard the guitar, and I was like ‘wow, I like that and I wrote my raps’. That’s a really special one because I was able to make it even in these conditions, I’m not doing it again tho. Really hurt my throat.”
His song ‘Le, Le, Le’ features a smooth afro beat. It is the type of song you can dance to and the riffs in it are so tantalizing.
“Le, le, le shows my more commercial side, making tunes for parties, clubs. You’re not just gonna be taking me in introspectively, sometimes you’re gonna have a vibe and I can make that.”
This year CLAVIS7EVEN has put out the EP ‘Care Package’ which landed him a spot on BBC Radio West Midlands Introducing.
“I’ve really challenged myself and experimented. I’ve taken time with regards to the artwork, the songs themselves and you need to listen to it in chronological order to get the point. I’d say with this project it’s a story,” he says.
However, the journey is just beginning for CLAVIS7EVEN. He is determined to continue putting out projects and has got the charisma, talent and positive mindset to make it all happen.
He hopes this year he can do gigs and reach more people, making music that sends out a vital message or plain and simply energizes you.
“I don’t have control of which person sees me, or which person notices me, but what I have control of is making good music,” CLAVIS7EVEN says.
We will be eagerly listening.