Native Sun is a London based Afro Soul Duo duo consisting of bilingual rapper Mohammed Yahya and singer-song writer Sarina Leah. Their unique sound consists of a fusion of hip hop undertones and African rhythms. We caught up with them to learn more about their music, message and inspirations.
Who are Native Sun as a duo, and what are some of your individual differences?
Mohammed Yahya– Native Sun is a London based Hip Hop/ Afro Soul Duo who aim to create positive uplifting music that will unite people from different backgrounds, there are many individual differences that we have from our personal journeys in life, to our gender, to our personalities, I feel that those differences are really beneficial when channeled in the correct manner.
We’ve learned to appreciate our individual strengths, embrace our creative and business differences and learn from the personal lessons we’ve gained in life.
Mohammed Yahya– I think it is inevitable for two people to work together and at times not be in sync, or disagree with each other, the lesson is to really be open with one another, discuss our views and ideas amicably and in an ego free way in order to move forward.
I personally don’t see it as a negative thing because when we have differences we can both learn a completely new perspective about a situation.
How did Native Sun Come about? How did you two meet?
Sarina Leah– Native Sun came about from Mohammed approaching me to collab on one track and fuse it with an African meets hip-hop roots sound with no expectations other than making good music. We both liked the sound and decided to keep building.
We have been friends for a long while and knew of each others music but never worked on music together. We met through my home-girl Sukina who was Mohammed’s girlfriend at the time whom is now his wife roughly 12 years ago and so as a collective of friends and artists it was an organic journey which formed creatively in a Community building process.
Does being a London-based group have any impact on your creativity and your lyrics
Sarina Leah– Being from this part of the world – The capital city of London has surely impacted who we are & our path into music and writing. How we dress, speak, think and view life are captured in our writing too.
There are opportunities in the UK to be diverse and open to inspiring ideas, its an economic / music & fashion center with buzzing creative communities and lots of, events, exhibitions, visuals, tools, technology and support for new concepts, so we have the freedom to be ourselves, share music & teach workshops which are unique to us. We write from our experience and also recognize we are the children of the Diaspora and so we embrace the impact of our culture just as much as the impact from the UK.
Mohammed Yahya– Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it, the message is really about living in the moment and appreciating the countless blessings we often take for granted such as our breath, our heartbeat, true friendships and love manifested in different ways.
You are currently touring and promoting your album ‘Indigenous Soundwaves’, how has your music been received. Is the reception different depending on the location.
Mohammed Yahya– We are always surprised by the feedback we receive, each show definitely has its own energy and usually different communities express themselves differently some being more vocal and interactive than others but we often find that even in places where people may be more shy and less vocal during our performance, they always approach us after the show to let us know how much they enjoyed and appreciated our performance.
Do you write your own music? And if so, how often do you write and where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?
Sarina Leah-Yes we write our own music – separately in our own time and also together in writing sessions bouncing ideas. We write to the mood of the music, research our content, from melodies or an article / event or conversation might trigger lyrics also. We write in gaps from shows and when the inspirations strikes us. Much of our inspiration is centered around people, injustices, the struggle, our environment and the dramatic shifts and changes taking place on our climate, humanity , culture & history. Music which spreads a news or message inspires how we write as we feel music can live beyond our time and should have content or weight & substance to it, for it is our voice and sound vibration when we are gone.
Your music promotes positive messages such as Universal Peace, Love, Equality, Social Justice and Environmental Change. How important is it to market your music as such.
Sarina Leah– For us i feel it’s really less about a how to market what we do and more importantly about walking our talk.
Its about the real conscious improvement of our lives as awakened individuals and a global collective. We aim to better our lifestyles, how we live, how we think, how we feel, how we can prepare a better world for the future generations to come. Our music is a piece of a Massive shift in humanity’s desire for us to be rid of war, greed and power control, corruption, complete ignorance and dismissal of the value of peoples lives, animal, sea, plant life…and so forth.
Balance is key….negative things live side by side with positive but if positivity had more visibility on our TV screens, conversations, positive life in general would far out weight the negative and be more effective in all our lives. Music is a powerful tool for change in the minds and hearts of people this is important to us to share. It can heal and bring hope. All the things we speak of musically are applied to ourselves first and only hoped others may feel too.
Mohammed Yahya– I have many music influences, I grew up listening to a lot of Afro- Portuguese music from Mozambique, Angola and Cape Verde, people like Bonga had a big impact in my life without me being aware of it.
I’ve always loved music from West Africa especially from Mali,
I was also heavily inspired by Michael Jackson as a child as well as old School Hip acts such as Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Wu Tang Clan, Big Pun and of course great female artists such as Lauryn Hill and India Irie.
Whats next for Native Sun? Are you working on any live performances, any new CD’s or are you writing new material?
Mohammed Yahya– We regularly perform around UK and we are currently working on a few European Tours. In terms of new music we are working on a new project called Mother Tongue which explores this global movement that we are a part of in much more depth through International collaborations with amazing artists.
Sarina Leah– Our website is the home of Native Sun www.nativesunmuzik.com and we have many things that can be checked out from there – such as our music, videos, up & coming events and shop with our merchandise. We have a twitter, instagram & facebook like page which is (Nativesunmuzik) also our YouTube page can also be subscribed to for new video updates and documentary’s (nativesuntv).