by Ahriel Nari
September 23, 2022
Ballad is the answer to an R&B lover’s prayers. He captures listeners’ ears and hearts alike with his effortless falsetto. Born in Angola, Ballad was always surrounded by music. His Dad was a wildly successful DJ in Angola, so he was exposed to many different types of music starting at a young age. When Ballad was seven years old, he moved to Brockton, MA, a town right outside of Boston area.
As a follow-up to the hit song “Orange”, Ballad has released his latest single “Lemonade”. In this song, he smoothly coos about the sweetness of his lover over a vibrating bass and bouncy instrumental. I got the chance to chat with him ahead of the release of “Lemonade”. Check out the interview below:
Where did the name Ballad come from?
I’m pretty bad with coming up with names. I’m the person where if we’re playing a game and we have to make up a name, that will take a lot of my time. But I feel like whenever I do come up with something, it’s meant to be. So for my name, I had gone through so many iterations of very terrible names…
Wait! I want to hear some of them!
Ok so one of them – this was back in the J. Holiday days – so I had P. Harmony. I was really rocking with it even though I knew that wasn’t it. For me I wanted a name that had to do with music in some way. One night, I was looking in the mirror and I asked myself, “What do you like?” and I was like “Well I love ballads…Okay then: Love Ballad…no, that’s too long. Ballad…okay” and I just stuck with it.
Who are your musical influences?
Every time I’m asked this, there’s no way I can go without saying Michael Jackson. That was the first. I became a huge Prince fan, huge Sade fan, huge Marvin [Gaye] fan, huge Stevie [Wonder] fan, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Usher – like those names helped me find my voice. I could relate to so much of what they were sharing.
One thing I find cool about you and your music career is that you’ve seen a lot of success on social media. Congratulations on that first and foremost. I feel like every artist has their own feelings about it. How do you feel about the role social media plays in a music career nowadays?
I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to have to be on there. We wanna create, ya know? We wanna create and then we wanna give it to you. That’s where I was. One thing that switched for me is when I saw the community that you can really build around yourself by putting yourself out there. The misconception that I had was that I just had to sell who I am. For me now, it’s more of sharing who I am with people who want to listen to me. I’m an introvert and I have to say the community that you build is so supportive – they got your back. To be able to have that connection – it can move so much. I love it now but I had to learn who I was in it instead of trying to follow what the trends were and what everybody else did. I was just copying and pasting because that’s what I felt like I had to do to get out there but it switched. I’m kinda just doing me and I figured out how to do me in a way that works. If every artist can get that and stay true to that, I think they’ll feel the same way that social media is incredible.
My favorite song of yours is “Orange”. I’m currently obsessed with this song. I do have to ask why is it called “Orange”?
It’s one of my most vulnerable songs. I wanted to speak on a time in my life. I wanted to be as vulnerable as possible about what I was feeling in that moment. I wanted to peel back the layers. So, metaphorically, it’s me peeling back all the layers, me bringing myself to this person and letting them know how much they mean to me. The fact that I want to reconcile, the fact that I want to be held accountable, and I wanna work on something better – I’m peeling all the way down to that. On another note, I’m a Fall type of person. Orange just really gave me Fall vibes. Orange just resonated with me
How do you find the content matter for your songs?
I don’t. I’m starting to do that a little bit more because I’m starting to be more intentional when writing. For the most part, in the general sense, when I create it’s really on a subconscious level. Whatever needs to come out, comes out in the way it needs to. Whatever the music is calling me to do, whatever my spirit wants me to say in that moment, I let it come out. I’m very much a lover so I speak a lot on love so I’m being more intentional in the HOW I speak about love in ways that aren’t stereotypical.
Which of your songs mean the most to you?
“Wondering”. It’s kind of like in the same vein but not as dramatic [as “Orange”]. I call it one of the healthiest love songs I had. “Jasmine” as well. When I made “Jasmine”, it was such a feelgood moment for me. I was at a Thai restaurant earlier, got something to eat – everything just felt really good. We came back to the studio and my producer was playing some sounds. He happen to stop on one and the flow of it was so special to me. I’ll never forget that, especially what it became. It’ll always be one of my favorites.
Follow Ballad on Instagram (@mrloveballad). “Lemonade” is available on all streaming platforms. You can listen down below: