Meet Blush'ko (fka Blasko) and his latest single, Like A Heartbeat
New name, same energy. On his new single, the Melbourne musician continues to strive with a slick, R&B-infused sound.
Melbourne musician Blasko is a musician-on-the-rise we've featured a fair few times over the years, with his R&B-rooted electronica standing tall alongside names including Hayden James, with his late-2018 mixtape Blasko In Love Pt. 1 giving us some "baby-making music of the highest order" - as we put it on release. Although the EP is still pretty fresh, the rising name hasn't really slowed down at all, following the EP up straight away with Japanese Hotel in the dying weeks of 2018 before, last week, returning with another gem, Like A Heartbeat. It comes at a bit of a transitional time for the musician, arriving alongside news of a name change (he now goes by Blush'ko, which we'll let him talk about more in a moment) and plenty more to come, including Blush’ko In Love Pt. 2 sometime later this year.
Like A Heartbeat continues Blush'ko's run of creating consistently top-tier singles that shine with this sultry R&B goodness, teaming up with long-time collaborator and producer Tentendo for a single that unites his signature woozy R&B with subtle electronica that gives this funk-inspired groove, finding the meeting place of these two genres in very fine fashion. "This song was the easiest song I have ever written. Tentendo and I were away on a writing camp and I walked into the room he was working in and heard this beat. I immediately started writing and melodies were pouring out of me. I sat on the bed and started writing a concept - the natural summer feel of the song and my general feeling of being in paradise," he says on the single. "At the time, I was seeing somebody who was really special to me, and all I wanted to do was express my gratitude for her presence in my life. I couldn’t believe that she was with someone like me. This song is about growth with a partner, the image that I get in my head is like a dead field of nothingness and then two flowers growing side by side at the same pace. Like a Heartbeat."
Following on from a year where the Macedonia-born musician went from strength to strength (he supported names including Jhene Aiko and SG Lewis, and performed on triple j's Like A Version alongside Goldlink - just casually), 2019 is set to see him do the exact same thing - Like A Heartbeat is only the start. Listen to the track below.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a Macedonian-born, Melbourne-chilling singer-songwriter. I spent the first 4 years of my life living in Prilep, my hometown in Macedonia (I am super proud of my heritage) before moving to Melbourne with my family. My father Mile is a priest and was one of the only priests who could speak a little bit of English, so he was offered a Parish in Melbourne at St. Nikola Church in Preston (Northern Suburbs of Melbourne).
At the time in Macedonia and across the board of Eastern Europe the Balkan war had just ended (in 1991) so this was a great opportunity to escape the harsh living conditions in Europe and start something fresh. We are extremely family orientated, so you can imagine how hard it was to move across the ocean, especially for my mother Dusica (pronounced Doo-shi-tsa), we left our entire family and came to start a new life. My older brother Stefan was five at the time and I was one week shy of turning four before arriving in Melbourne. I grew up in church, our house was on the church property, so I spent my whole childhood in the church and playing in the car park with my brother and best mate Good Nik. People still ask me, “what is it like having a priest as a dad”, my response is always the same; “It is the best’ my dad knows everything about me and he’s always there when I get a little lost or just need someone to talk to.
When I was 12 my mother she was diagnosed with breast cancer (which she is clear of now, thank you God) but that really brought us closer together. This is when I first started writing. Not lyrics or melody, but just words, thoughts that weighed heavy on my mind and heart. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 when these words started developing as melodies, even as I was writing them. I still didn’t do anything about it, because I was scared of what everyone would think. I finally got over my fear of showing my rawest emotions to those closest to me and I built a shitty home studio (officially known as the Kick EET Studio and now the home of the Lazy House) and started making horrible beats, but good enough to try singing my words over them.
At 24 I got my first ever gig at a local café ‘Urban Grooves’ in Greensborough. I was playing there with Lazy Boy member Matty Fadz, just doing covers, in the laziest way possible (we still don’t do bridges haha) and the rest just followed. I got way more comfortable in my voice and musicality (thank Matty for that). I started releasing my songs once a week on Soundcloud, just to establish myself as an original artist, as I wasn’t content with just being a covers guy. My first official release was Another Love in 2017, which was released via Yunizon Records.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
I have always been obsessed with Trance music; I grew up on it, lush vocals over a euphoric pad and beat. I was also obsessed with Boyz II Men, the harmonies and tones are to die for. So I figure, why not blend the two in a happy medium. Getting the soul from my R&B influence and mixing it with the heartbeat kick and pads of Trance music. Now thanks to these two, we have the Blush’ko experience haha.
I have always been infatuated with the idea of love, so everything I write has naturally been around the concept of loving someone. I always like to have continuity in my songs or reference another song in another song, kind of like a song inception. Love is the centre of my universe and always will be; even though I have only ever said it to one girl (I really mean it).
What are your production and writing processes like?
Before I met Tentendo, I would produce anything I was feeling, I didn’t really have any structure to what I was doing, it was more just a bed for my lyrics to lie on. Working with Tentendo made life so much easier. I would walk into the studio and he would either have a beat ready for me or I would tell him how I was feeling and he would just make something from scratch.
Lyrics are the most important thing for me. I just need one word or sentence to spark my brain and then it all just comes pouring out. Trust me, not all of them are good though - most of the time I read it back and am so disgusted in myself. Once I’m happy with a concept, I then start mucking around with melodies. My trick is simple - I hear the harmony in the chord and try to land on it. I am a firm believer that the chords speak, they tell you what they need on top of them; it is like the whisper of your partner. It gives you everything you need but also makes you kind of crazy.
I like to listen to my demos a lot after I have sung on them, because I listen for any little intricate changes that it may need, it is very easy to be super sensitive with what you write, but most times, the first idea isn’t the best it can be, but it should definitely grow from the initial idea, so I just continually listen until I hear that little change it needs.
Can you tell us about your latest single, Like A Heartbeat?
Like A Heartbeat was the easiest song I have ever written. I was madly (and still am) in love, and the lyric and melody just worked themselves. I swear it was like I was having an outer body experience when this song was being made.
The song is about growing together in every way and also belonging somewhere. She will always be my home; I know that to my very core. I just wanted to express that in my best way possible. Tentendo was working on the beat at a writing camp and I walked into his room and as soon as I heard the beat, I knew what it needed.
You recently just switched the name of your musical alias from Blasko to Blush’ko – can you tell us a bit about that change and the new name?
I was born in Macedonia. In Macedonia, we have 33 letters in the alphabet; one of them being an ‘SH’ sound, which translated in English would have a little ‘v’ accent on top of the ‘S’ giving it the ‘SH’ sound. So when I moved here, everyone was calling me Blasko without the ‘SH’ in it.
I let it slide for years and it didn’t really bother me but as the project developed, I wanted to connect to my Macedonian and Family roots. So we phonetically wrote it out so people could say it in the way it was meant. Blasko (Blush-Ko) I added the apostrophe because I just thought it looked cool and I also want to make a fragrance called Lush by Blush somewhere down the line (laughs).
My name stems from my grandfather Blagoja (Bla-go-yah), who I hold a strong connection to. I have always been proud to carry his name (or an inversion of it).
Any tour dates coming up?
I wanted to do something cool for my second mixtape and I am all about the intimate shows, so we’re working on a national record store tour, which I’m soooo down for.
We’re also aiming to head back to Europe later in the year for a few shows.
What does 2019 have in store for you?
In general, I try not to think about it and just go with how I am feeling.
Musically, I’ am so keen to release my Blush’ko in Love Part 2 mixtape in May. Followed by a few features with some local and international producers. I have been working on a little bonus 4-track EP release, just as a thank you. But we will have to see about this one.
Shows are where my heart is, so as long as I’m playing my songs live for you guys, the rest is easy.
Where can we find more of your music?
My debut mixtape Blush’ko in Love Pt.1 and previous single Japanese Hotel can be listened to on all good streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Follow Blush'ko: FACEBOOK