Welcome back friends to another exciting edition of Beneath the Surface. Today we are joined by singer songwriter, instrumentalist and vocalist Constantine. He talks us through his creative process, his musical journey so far and shares his upcoming show at The Bedford, ticket link below! So let’s get stuck in…
What would you say first sparked your interest in music/who inspired you to make music?
Since my early childhood, I was singing the songs I heard on radio or TV – songs by Whitney Houston, by Michael Jackson. I used to copy everything I heard, I was singing in bird’s English of course, well, I didn’t know English when I was a child, I just repeated syllables, and my grandmother said to me that I had a perfect pitch. She took me to the music school to study violin. I wanted to sing, but the violin class teacher noticed my tone precision, so I entered the music school in the violin class, graduated from the violin class, and even entered the conservatory to continue study violin but then I started to sing when I was 18, so I re-entered the conservatory as a vocal department student. Thanks to my grandmother, my gift was noticed when I was a child, and the violin helped me to develop my pitch and musicality. I think there is something unusual in this. The fact that I studied the violin developed a unique ear for music, my musicality, and thanks to this my melodies are not trivial.
How would you describe the music you are currently creating?
How can I describe what I am doing in music now? Well, the music that’s being written now, and the songs that I’m going to show at The Bedford in London, it’s something that’s been put away in a box, you could say, and had been locked up for many years. I grew up listening to Luther Vandross, George Benson, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson. When I was a student, Adele showed up, Sam Smith, Amy, of course, took the scene. I admire British musicians, they inspire my music. I planned for a long time to show my songs in London, as it was my cherished dream. However, since I got into the Ukrainian voice with my cover of Adele’s “Hello” in my early career, my path spun in a different direction, and it seemed to me that I can say a new word in Ukrainian music. Now my heart is calling me, and these songs that were locked up, the impulse to write these songs turned into the key that opened this box. Once the box was opened, my dream was set free, I’m very happy to share my new songs with my fans, and I want to show my songs on June 29th at The Bedford in London.
What does your creative process look like?
My creative process is diverse. Sometimes I’m down on the street, and all of a sudden I have a strong push to sit down at the instrument. I know that moment it’s a melody or harmony or even a song knocking on me. I find any way to get at the instrument. I feel that I no longer belong to myself, I feel as if I am connecting to the universal musical iTunes, let’s say, and I start to transcribe these melodies like a radio receiver. I’m truly happy when I’m in it, I really like this process. Sometimes it goes hard – I only hear, for example, one melody, one verse or one chorus, and then the next day comes the sequel. It’s not always the same. Sometimes I meet sound producers or musicians who show some of their melodies, harmonies, and at that moment a melody comes to me, so the collaborations are born. I like to give myself out to the flow completely, I don’t control it. If a melody comes as it is, I allow it to be just like that, this is it. I don’t correct melodies by overthinking or frame them as if I needed to write a particular tune or a catchy hit. I just let the higher power to give me these melodies, and that’s all. Yes, because when I force myself into writing, I personally can’t do anything, it doesn’t work out, and I don’t enjoy it. Therefore, I do not block creative process with my brains – melodies simply come and go out into the world through me. This is how it works for me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? (let’s send it out to the universe and make it happen!)
Ah, I can probably say that I’m quite a versatile artist, that’s exactly what you see at my show. I have a working title of my concert – “two sides of the coin”, right? That is “the two sides of my coin”: the first part of my concert is quite lyrical, intimate, calm, sincere, spiritual, and the second part is festive, fun, humorous and easy-listening. Both sides of me, of my character, to be shown to the audience.
That’s why I would like to make a song together, kind of a dance, fun, catchy gig with… Dua Lipa! She’s at the first place – my dream! At the same time, I would like to do something vocal, lyrical with Michael Kiwanuka or Celeste.
What is the one message you would like to send out to your fans?
I would advise my fans to appreciate every moment, every second of their lives, to thank their ear buds, so to speak, be grateful to music, as it’s a gift – to hear music, to see the beauty around you, to notice the little things, to enjoy these little things, not to forget about the moment here and now because exactly this moment, exactly here and now, shapes your emotions, your future and thoughts. That’s why it’s very important, and I often repeat it to myself.
What’s your top tip to rejuvenate your creativity/get over a writer’s block?
So to overcome writer’s block, you need to take a break! Walk in a forest or travel, if possible, to a warm country. In a forest or at a riverside try not to think about anything. Value the moment – here and now, ask yourself how do you feel physically? If you’re good, be thankful for that, if your legs don’t hurt, it’s great, it is happiness. If your arms don’t hurt, it’s happiness, too. If your tummy doesn’t hurt, it’s great. If your heart beats and everything is in order, that’s all good. Therefore, you should notice these little things, be thankful to this space and let go of all your thoughts and give yourself time to breathe out. Give yourself time not to think about work, switch and think about something else. You can also not to think about anything at all, keep your mind blank, either think about something easy, or read a smart book, or watch a silly movie, and then inspiration will come, surely something will come and be created. You need to realise it’s just a downtime, it’s temporary.
What’s next for you, what do we have to look forward to/ what are you currently working on?
What’s next for me? Ah, take time for myself, a peace of mind. I’m not in a rush, I’m not chasing someone to get me noticed. The most important thing for me now is to live happily, live with the flow that develops its own way, so let’s see. Letting go of all my dream plans, my ambitions, just live. Have an experience at a farm, at a stable? Why not? I love being connected, I love horses, the unity with nature is a perfection, that harmony draws me, too.
Get tickets to Constantine’s upcoming show at The Bedford here.
Watch Constantine’s latest release, the moving piano ballad rendition of ‘Home’ below:
Stay connected with Constantine: