Bktherula Manifests Her Dreams Through Mantra Music

The Atlanta native talked to Hypebeast about her career and her new acoustic project ‘Love Nirvana.’

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From psychedelically melodic tracks like “Right NOW” and “okok/depressing” to high-energy party starters like “Uh Huh,” Bktherula, is laying the groundwork for a career built on evolution. It’s been only three years since the Atlanta native officially hopped on the scene with 2020’s Love Santana, but in that short time, she’s already released four projects of what she calls “mantra music.”

Whether it be Love Santana, 2020 follow-up Nirvana, 2021’s Love Black or this year’s LVL5 P1, the attraction in Bktherula’s music is her dance between balanced melodies and harder rap elements – making for an irrefutably versatile sound. Now the artist is adding to the versatility of her catalog with her newly released EP, Love Nirvana (Acoustic).

“My sound is mantra music. I’m speaking to the world the same way I speak to myself.”

Hypebeast: How would you describe your journey thus far?

Bk: Living in Atlanta, in the hub of music, has really impacted my life because of the variety of artists and sounds here. Seeing how everyone developed their own sound helped me grow into the sound that I’ve created, which is still happening. There is no final form. I’ll just keep evolving as the years go on.

How has being from Atlanta influenced your career?

Bk: Starting off with the pros, it’s my home. A lot of my family is still in Atlanta, so it’s always good to have that stable mindset post-shows and tours. On the other side, I’ve been here for so long. I’m starting to get to that realization that maybe it’s time to stay somewhere else. My top pick would have to be New York because I get things done when I’m there.

How would you describe your sound or style?

Bk: My sound is mantra music. I’m speaking to the world the same way I speak to myself.

How did Love Nirvana come about? What influenced your decision to make this blended EP and one that was acoustic-focused a few years after the initial releases?

Bk: Nirvana and Love Santana are great favorites of mine, especially Love Santana because of the raw energy. I was very young and you could tell it was my first project. It had so much emotion in it and it was a different part of me. Nirvana, on the other hand, was when I stepped out and really started to show my evolution to the world.

A lot of people don’t want to hear artists evolve, so what inspired it was to show a mix of both worlds while also showing growth. I’ve never done an acoustic project, so it was an evolved version of three different parts of me. I wanted to show people it’s okay to evolve and you shouldn’t feel pressured to stay the same.

Creating an acoustic album is so different sonically. It has a different orientation. How did you approach that?

Bk: It actually came very easy to me, because I started off as a singer, which a lot of people don’t know. Finding melodies and hearing harmonies are very natural to me. I actually made those songs back to back to back in the studio and usually, I only make one song per session. I made “Tweakin’ Together,” “Uh Huh” and “Summer” all the same day.

How has having a singing background influenced your work thus far?

Bk: Honestly, I think that’s probably the reason I can rap. I change melodies to flows. Even with the beat, I feel it’s the same thing, just different tones. So me being a singer has helped me choose which beats will captivate people and what speaks to my soul. With a rap song, you can always find a melody.

Are we going to get some singing from you or will the next project be exclusively rap?

Bk: Definitely both. Every time I put out a body of work, it’s never just one thing because I feel different ways at different times.

How was making the forthcoming remix with NBA YoungBoy?

Bk: His team reached out to me on Instagram and I thought it wasn’t true. After I sent him my number he called me and the first thing he said was that he really liked the song. I sent it over to him and he sent it back the next day. That same day, he said “Let’s do a video.” We came It hasn’t even been a month since our first iteration. It wasn’t planned and honestly amazing. I would say it’s definitely a top three experience for me because it just felt genuine. I like artists who are down to Earth, humble and who don’t let the world fame get to their head. I’m sure a lot of people can draw assumptions about how he is, but people don’t know how down-to-Earth and humble he really is.

What was making the video like?

Bk: Honestly, it was insane. As soon as I pulled up it was a cool vibe and felt like I was about to walk into prom. As soon as I got in we just started listening to our unreleased music and meeting the team. By the end of the day, we were just chilling in matching fits, which was not planned and I was playing baseball with the kids.

So has this been your favorite collab thus far?

Bk: Definitely. Not because of who [NBA YoungBoy] is, because he really believed in me That’s really all I ever wanted was for someone to believe in me, in a non-business way. I didn’t want the fake love based on followers or fame that I have now.

So, the fact that he didn’t gatekeep me at all made me closer to him and respect him more. It wasn’t about the numbers. It was about the music and the message which is all I preach about. This one was honestly a blessing I’ve been praying for a long time.

What do you want to see next for yourself?

Bk: I just want to see everything that I’ve seen in my dreams. I know that I will because it’s slowly but surely happening. I feel like I’m in one of those corny Disney movies that has a super happy ending. I’m currently working on an album and planning another tour. I just pray I’m moving with love and God in whatever I do.

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