Baliva, the London rapper with over a decade of making music under his belt, is releasing his latest project today called Imperfect. This album is a bit of a departure from his previous body of work, though. Or rather,a progression. Imperfect is the album where he can be more sincere, bold and honest.
“The last album was in 2008, so this album has really been six years in the making,” he told the Sound Doctrine in an exclusive interview the day before the release of his album. “Artistically, I’m freer, I feel like I’ve found my voice, my way to express myself. Before, there was a lot of looking for approval and sticking with what worked but now it’s more like; this is what I am, this is what I like, I enjoy it. It’s been a real journey in my life as well as an artist.”
Baliva has challenged himself with this album. He is talking about the issues he wants to talk about in a way that shows what God is doing in his life. It’s a thirteen track personal testimony that is an enjoyable and fun listen but also isn’t afraid to talk about taboo subjects. It reflects where he is personally as a Christian in a bid to help someone else along and thank God for what he’s currently doing.
Got to Go
The lead single is Got To Go – a track chosen as the lead single because of how well it was received when it was performed over the summer. Baliva has spent much of the last few months road testing the album tracks and getting a feel for which tracks are the favourites. Got To Go is a favourite of mine and so it’s good to see I’m not in a minority for having the song as one of my most played. It begins with a sample from a radio weather forecast and talks about how the cold and rain (physical or metaphorical) shouldn’t deter us from getting stuff done, whether that’s life goals or ministry.
He said, “Got to Go is inspired by Ecclesiastes 11, where it says ‘Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.’ I spent a lot of time looking at options and situations and it’s similar to the weather. If you look at the weather, you can never judge the right time to do something, especially living in England. I wanted to write a song that was relevant to London and so that scripture really helped me. And then I thought about it in terms of my life. I spent a long time deciding on whether I was going to do music or not and I finally took the plunge to do it full time in August 2011. I spent a lot of time thinking: shall I do it? I’ve learnt that in life, if you really believe in something, you should do it and not be afraid of failure.”
Elsewhere, Baliva isn’t afraid of sharing his own personal struggle on Broken Home, a track he describes as one of his favourites on the album. He talks about his own story of being separated from his son that he fathered when he was a teenager. It’s clearly a time that still affects him today. He talks about it on Imperfect, not to air his dirty laundry, but to encourage other fathers in similar situations.
The whole record Baliva is releasing today is the recognition of the fact that none of us are perfect and a bunch of things we do, or pretend to do can’t buy of salvation. Hiding our flaws to appear holy doesn’t really help anyone.
“What I wanted to say with the album was that we’re all searching for perfection and we all think that if we can find something perfect then our lives will be complete. The truth is we’re all imperfect and we all need God because he’s the perfect one. I think the biggest change for me over the last few years is understanding God’s grace – understanding what it really means and the implications on my life.”
For Baliva, the recorded music is a gateway to what he really loves doing, which is performing live. Whether his stage is on the street or a huge concert venue, it’s a main focus for him.
“I want to be able to travel and put on live events as far afield as possible. It’s something I’ve already been doing on a weekly basis. Even when I’m doing stuff on the streets, I think you can relate to people more when you’re live,” he said. “You give a unique performance that you can’t get on a CD that’s really personal. That’s what I think music is created for. There’s no pretence, there’s no celebrity or the need to put on a façade. It’s just fun.”
Imperfect by Baliva is out now at www.balivamusic.com and will be available on digital download sites soon.