Blackfinn's music is nostalgic and familiar, transporting you back to simpler times. While music is something that’s been in his life for nearly a decade, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he decided it was something he wanted to pursue.
I think there’s beauty in the fact that no place, situation or feeling in time will be the same.
“I found the spark to make it a career after I had returned from studying abroad in Vietnam,” he says. “The only thing that I missed while I was away was playing music.”
It’s obvious his vast musical inspirations are an underlying presence in his music. He finds ways to incorporate the distinct sounds and intricacies of funk, jazz, RnB, soul, folk and pop into his music without it feeling overwhelming.
“I find my artistic inspiration from impermanence,” he says. “I often fixate on how I felt at a specific moment or experience and get inspired to create from that. I think there’s beauty in the fact that no place, situation or feeling in time will be the same.”
Blackfinn names James Blake and Frank Ocean as two artists that motivate him to push himself creatively.
“They capture nostalgia and temporary experiences in a way that I admire a lot,” he says. Like them, his lyrics are emotionally rich, melodic, beautifully melancholy, and obviously personal.
BlackFinn's musical process is inspired by his appreciation for past moments and snapshots of particular patterns that play in his mind. By fixating on these phrases and ideas and expanding off of them, he then asks himself what a piece makes him feel, and more importantly, what he wants it to make him feel. From there, a song begins to take shape and is born-sometimes in a matter of hours, and other times in a few weeks or months.
Though he is still finding his voice, BlackFinn has proven that he’s an old soul with a lot to say. Whether he’s sharing a clip of himself at home practicing a song, experimenting with new sounds (like on his song King/Queen), or releasing finished pieces, his music exudes a certain kind of warmth and intimacy that makes you feel as though you are the only person in the room.
“I honestly have no idea what my career is gonna look like moving forward and I'm okay with that! As long as I'm still creating I'll be happy.”
Favorite part about the Chicago creative community?
I love how expansive, yet tight-knit the creative community of Chicago is.
Favorite TV show?
My favorite show is The Expanse, I'm a big fan of sci-fi!
Right now my favorite cocktail would have to be the Vieux Carré. It's like a blend between a Manhattan and Sazerac! Its got Rye, Cognac, Benedictine, and Sweet vermouth with Peychauds and Angostura bitters. Those are some of my favorite cocktail ingredients so for me, it's nearly a perfect drink!
Favorite Chicago artist?
I love Chicago's current scene but my favorite of all time from Chicago is Curtis Mayfield!
Favorite spot in Chicago? (can be a neighborhood, restaurant, bar, etc.)
My favorite spot is a bar called Dorians! Its a Jazz and RnB bar in Wicker Park that's hidden behind a record shop.
"Spotlight On" is a bi-weekly series highlighting Chicago creatives with a twist. We share a slice of their stories and what they love, hoping to inspire and connect.
Words by Lolo Ramos