Aug 4, 2022
5 min read
As a multi-hyphenate DJ, producer, and vocalist, Bklava seamlessly mixes impassioned toplines into a signature blend of house and UKG. Her proclivity for cross-pollinating sounds traces back to a childhood where her mother listened to commercial dance and Arabic pop while her father was a guitar player and singer-songwriter. Growing up with belly dancing and songwriting as part of her everyday environment, she affirms that her “roots are definitely tied in with dance and music,” a notion that followed her into her teenage years as she attended the BRIT School in London to study musical theater.
Performing Arts School exposed her to a breadth of music, including the electronic sounds that would come to influence her as a creative. It also imbued Bklava with a sense of discipline that would eventually inform her artistic approach.
“I was so passionate about what I was doing that I was willing to work hard and put the extra hours in. I would voluntarily stay at school hours after everyone had gone home to rehearse and catch up on anything I knew I could improve,” she recalls. Her studies were essential as they “proved to me that I could be an artist and creative as part of my career … I’ve kept the discipline through until now, and I’m always putting in more hours than I probably need to.”
Bklava’s deep-seated dedication to the craft shines through her rich, soulful vocals and intensely versatile production. She shapeshifts through genres with ease. One of her catalog highlights is “Leave,” an intense cut with brooding instrumental flourishes underscoring a fiery topline while the synthwave-infused “Sober” snaps into an anthemic, upbeat bounce. Her music is incisive and intricately crafted as it moves through stirring emotional beats with maximum impact.
In her creative process, Bklava explains, ”I think lyrics, melody ideas, and toplines come more naturally to me than producing. I still say I’m a beginner in production, but I’m excited to see what I’ll sound like in 10 years. However, I’ve had ten plus years of practice with my vocals and writing, so I’m more confident in the outcome. Even if I know, I’m having a bit of a block with one area. I can always focus on another.”
Another crucial aspect of Bklava’s music is her visceral lyricism, whether it’s romantic contemplation or club-oriented catharsis. The tension is thick when she finally walks away on “Leave,” and the scorching passion is palpable on “Only For Tonight” as she proclaims, “I just want this to be real.”
Constantly seeking new perspectives as a lyricist, Bklava explains, “My lyrics are inspired by my own experiences whilst also looking through the lens of others on issues that affect the world. I feel like I think a lot and ruminate, which may not always be a good thing, but it helps my songwriting in the long run.” Undoubtedly, it helps her songwriting as it’s tailor-made for vicarious listening with every lens she peers through.
Bklava has also proven to be a brilliant remixer with standout cuts like her flip of Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity.” Whether it’s a longstanding classic or a modern essential like James Vincent McMorrow’s “Gone,” she brings fresh and invigorating energy to each new take. Behind her process, she explains, “If I want to keep more elements from the original, then I will! But, for me, it’s mainly the vocals and drums as I like to create a remix as if it’s a whole new song I can mold.” The creative risks she takes while reimagining songs create thrilling results as she breathes new life into tracks, making them an unmistakable part of her artistic milieu.
As a performer, Bklava maintains her streak of versatility as she walks a tightrope between DJing and live singing. It inspires captivating performances like her 2022 Boiler Room set, where seamless mixes make way for raw toplines that highlight her staggering vocal range.
Bklava recalls, “When I started combining the two, I was fumbling around a lot, and the transitions were not as smooth as they might be now, but I enjoy it so much!” She takes the format as an opportunity for experimentation, using her gigs to debut fresh material and singing covers to unfamiliar instrumentals as she infuses the art of DJing with a fresh artistic outlook. As the roles of the DJ and the vocalist blend, a thrilling experience through Bklava’s sets unfolds.
On the live circuit, Bklava recently wrapped up her debut United States tour with Femme House mastermind LP Giobbi, a match made in heaven as both artists use their platforms grounded in brilliant art to emphasize the need for equal representation in dance music.
Continuing her journey through the States, Bklava is slated to perform at CRSSD DAY.MVS XL. With two sets in store for the festival, she looks forward to bringing a “lighter, more summery set for the daytime show” and “a darker, more underground set for the evening.” As an artist who flows between a range of modalities with consistent clarity, it’s only fitting that she’s bringing multiple sides of her style and sound to San Diego this weekend. As for what comes next, Bklava keeps it simple: “More singles, lots of shows, and world domination!”