Poté

On OUTLIER

BIOGRAPHY

Poté builds worlds that are raw and expansive. His music treads between the rhythmic sound of his heritage and his interest in exploratory, emotive songwriting; it’s an interplay that continues to evolve through each of the songs he writes. The network he’s built along the way speaks to the variety of his influences: with connections from Lisbon’s kuduro-fused Enchufada label, to Benji B and Damon Albarn, his approach is open and many-sided. Born in St L...

Poté builds worlds that are raw and expansive. His music treads between the rhythmic sound of his heritage and his interest in exploratory, emotive songwriting; it’s an interplay that continues to evolve through each of the songs he writes. The network he’s built along the way speaks to the variety of his influences: with connections from Lisbon’s kuduro-fused Enchufada label, to Benji B and Damon Albarn, his approach is open and many-sided. 

Born in St Lucia and later moving to the UK, his family moved to London when he was 12 to look for more opportunities. Spending his teenage years in the UK capital, it was there that he made his first steps into music. His earliest releases were for Scratch Perverts imprint Black Gold: they were up-tempo, club-focused productions – bedded in tight, sturdy drums – but with shades of emotion at the edges. “At that stage, I was entering a rediscovery of my culture, and my background,” he says. “I wanted to draw on that percussion of the Caribbean, and try to unite that with the reason I started writing music: as a valve for my emotions.”

Sending tracks out to DJs and radio hosts, he quickly struck a chord with the tastemakers he looked up to. Garnering support from the likes of Annie Mac, MistaJam, Phil Taggart and Nina Las Vegas, he also struck a connection with Branko, one fifth of Buraka Som Sistema, who signed Poté to release his 2015 debut EP, “Voyeurism”, for his Lisbon-based label Enchufada.

Around that time Poté made new connections between his heritage and the music he’d become interested in the years since. Exposed to the Angolan-influenced scene, he heard how it chimed with his own musical upbringing. “It was the first time where I heard parallels between what I was hearing as a kid in St Lucia and what other people were doing in dance music," he says.

He released “Spiral, My Love”, in 2018, after getting support from Benji B. Like many of Poté’s connections, they first linked up online. Poté sent over his music, which Benji then played on his BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra show, and they talked about working together. Benji, who was last year appointed Head of Music at Louis Voutton, signed Poté to his Deviation label, and he released a series of singles before that LP.

That record saw him work with new collaborators, and develop the gentler sides to his music. He became bolder in using his own vocals, and put greater emphasis on writing melodies. Working with Kojey Radical, Chelou and Alxndr London, they helped to develop his craft for writing. “I think it's just working with other people, and people who actually write songs and not just producers – that really shaped my ear for melodies and writing,” he says.

Around the same time, he made strides in establishing himself as a performer. After supporting his music on the radio (and, later, in his contribution to the legendary “fabric presents” mix series), Bonobo invited Poté to support on his European tour. Poté had just put the finishing touches to a live show to perform music from “Spiral, My Love”, and he debuted it on the tour. He played live for the first time in front of thousands-strong crowds, in venues from Spain to the Czech Republic, giving him the confidence to take a further step from making  club-oriented music. “It made me realise this could actually work,” he says.

He moved to Paris in 2019, where he’s still based now, a change which has widened his perspective on life. “It really shakes your reality up,” he says. He made the move while he was working on his latest album, and it gave him a new sense of freedom. From the way he dresses to his sense of self, it’s gone hand in hand with his growth as a musician –  it’s emboldened him to look inward and reflect upon himself, as well as to take more risks.

Another important connection has been Damon Albarn, who Poté met via Gorillaz producer Remi Kabaka Jr. He was asked to do a remix of Gorillaz track ‘Tranz’, released in 2018, and was also invited to feature on the Africa Express album, “EGOLI”, recorded in Johannesburg in 2018. Sharing the studio with the likes of grime stalwart Ghetts, and South African artists Moonchild Sanelly and Sho Madjoz, it opened up his eyes on how to collaborate. “It showed me the power of letting go of your ideas a little bit,” he says, “and just going for the best idea – the best thing to achieve that goal.”

In 2020, he took another step toward growing his own musical ecosystem. He launched the Versicolor label and club night, where he released the “Rose” and “Rose II” EPs, premiered on influential Youtube platform Colors Berlin. Describing the pair of EPs as “an open conversation on love,” they were supported by TEED, Pierre Kwenders, Jamz Supernova, Laurent Garnier, and Toddla T, amongst others, and came out around the same time as a remix for Little Dragon.

Now poised to release his new album “A Tenuous Tale of Her”, two of those influential connections have helped to shape the record. First, Bonobo, who signed the record to be the debut album on his new OUTLIER label. And second, Albarn, who features on album track ‘Young Lies’, adopting the character of a corrupt, cynical politician. Both are fitting figures to have a hand in the album’s release, with both playing a part in Poté’s route toward cementing the vision and musical process he’s brought to fruition.

An atmospheric, nuanced album, Poté wrote “A Tenuous Tale of Her” with a theatrical play in mind. “I wanted to write something that can live on stage without you present,” he says. It ranges from introspective reflections on anxiety and isolation, on ‘Open Up’, to the grand, conceptual bombast of ‘Valley’ and ‘Valley II’. Setting out his ambition to bring together those two worlds of his music together more dramatically than before, it’s the latest chapter in his journey to find new and bolder ways to express himself.


Poté

On OUTLIER

Popular Tracks

  1. Stare
  2. Young Lies
  3. Play All (2)

Latest News

BIOGRAPHY

Poté builds worlds that are raw and expansive. His music treads between the rhythmic sound of his heritage and his interest in exploratory, emotive songwriting; it’s an interplay that continues to evolve through each of the songs he writes. The network he’s built along the way speaks to the variety of his influences: with connections from Lisbon’s kuduro-fused Enchufada label, to Benji B and Damon Albarn, his approach is open and many-sided. Born in St Lucia and later movin...

Poté builds worlds that are raw and expansive. His music treads between the rhythmic sound of his heritage and his interest in exploratory, emotive songwriting; it’s an interplay that continues to evolve through each of the songs he writes. The network he’s built along the way speaks to the variety of his influences: with connections from Lisbon’s kuduro-fused Enchufada label, to Benji B and Damon Albarn, his approach is open and many-sided. 

Born in St Lucia and later moving to the UK, his family moved to London when he was 12 to look for more opportunities. Spending his teenage years in the UK capital, it was there that he made his first steps into music. His earliest releases were for Scratch Perverts imprint Black Gold: they were up-tempo, club-focused productions – bedded in tight, sturdy drums – but with shades of emotion at the edges. “At that stage, I was entering a rediscovery of my culture, and my background,” he says. “I wanted to draw on that percussion of the Caribbean, and try to unite that with the reason I started writing music: as a valve for my emotions.”

Sending tracks out to DJs and radio hosts, he quickly struck a chord with the tastemakers he looked up to. Garnering support from the likes of Annie Mac, MistaJam, Phil Taggart and Nina Las Vegas, he also struck a connection with Branko, one fifth of Buraka Som Sistema, who signed Poté to release his 2015 debut EP, “Voyeurism”, for his Lisbon-based label Enchufada.

Around that time Poté made new connections between his heritage and the music he’d become interested in the years since. Exposed to the Angolan-influenced scene, he heard how it chimed with his own musical upbringing. “It was the first time where I heard parallels between what I was hearing as a kid in St Lucia and what other people were doing in dance music," he says.

He released “Spiral, My Love”, in 2018, after getting support from Benji B. Like many of Poté’s connections, they first linked up online. Poté sent over his music, which Benji then played on his BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra show, and they talked about working together. Benji, who was last year appointed Head of Music at Louis Voutton, signed Poté to his Deviation label, and he released a series of singles before that LP.

That record saw him work with new collaborators, and develop the gentler sides to his music. He became bolder in using his own vocals, and put greater emphasis on writing melodies. Working with Kojey Radical, Chelou and Alxndr London, they helped to develop his craft for writing. “I think it's just working with other people, and people who actually write songs and not just producers – that really shaped my ear for melodies and writing,” he says.

Around the same time, he made strides in establishing himself as a performer. After supporting his music on the radio (and, later, in his contribution to the legendary “fabric presents” mix series), Bonobo invited Poté to support on his European tour. Poté had just put the finishing touches to a live show to perform music from “Spiral, My Love”, and he debuted it on the tour. He played live for the first time in front of thousands-strong crowds, in venues from Spain to the Czech Republic, giving him the confidence to take a further step from making  club-oriented music. “It made me realise this could actually work,” he says.

He moved to Paris in 2019, where he’s still based now, a change which has widened his perspective on life. “It really shakes your reality up,” he says. He made the move while he was working on his latest album, and it gave him a new sense of freedom. From the way he dresses to his sense of self, it’s gone hand in hand with his growth as a musician –  it’s emboldened him to look inward and reflect upon himself, as well as to take more risks.

Another important connection has been Damon Albarn, who Poté met via Gorillaz producer Remi Kabaka Jr. He was asked to do a remix of Gorillaz track ‘Tranz’, released in 2018, and was also invited to feature on the Africa Express album, “EGOLI”, recorded in Johannesburg in 2018. Sharing the studio with the likes of grime stalwart Ghetts, and South African artists Moonchild Sanelly and Sho Madjoz, it opened up his eyes on how to collaborate. “It showed me the power of letting go of your ideas a little bit,” he says, “and just going for the best idea – the best thing to achieve that goal.”

In 2020, he took another step toward growing his own musical ecosystem. He launched the Versicolor label and club night, where he released the “Rose” and “Rose II” EPs, premiered on influential Youtube platform Colors Berlin. Describing the pair of EPs as “an open conversation on love,” they were supported by TEED, Pierre Kwenders, Jamz Supernova, Laurent Garnier, and Toddla T, amongst others, and came out around the same time as a remix for Little Dragon.

Now poised to release his new album “A Tenuous Tale of Her”, two of those influential connections have helped to shape the record. First, Bonobo, who signed the record to be the debut album on his new OUTLIER label. And second, Albarn, who features on album track ‘Young Lies’, adopting the character of a corrupt, cynical politician. Both are fitting figures to have a hand in the album’s release, with both playing a part in Poté’s route toward cementing the vision and musical process he’s brought to fruition.

An atmospheric, nuanced album, Poté wrote “A Tenuous Tale of Her” with a theatrical play in mind. “I wanted to write something that can live on stage without you present,” he says. It ranges from introspective reflections on anxiety and isolation, on ‘Open Up’, to the grand, conceptual bombast of ‘Valley’ and ‘Valley II’. Setting out his ambition to bring together those two worlds of his music together more dramatically than before, it’s the latest chapter in his journey to find new and bolder ways to express himself.