EXCLUSIVE: Interview with X Factor’s BEKLN

BEKLN are the five piece vocal harmony group made up of, Baison, Emmanuel, Kadeem, Lawrence and Nathanael. Who blew away The X Factor judges with their version of James Bay’s ‘Hold Back The River’.

Although the guys regularly performed together as part of the London community gospel choir, their audition was the first time they had ever sang together as a band.

After their stunning performance they sailed through to Boot Camp, where they performed ‘Proud Mary’ as part of the group challenge and once again sailed through.

I was lucky enough to interview BEKLN to find out how life has changed since their first X Factor audition, what they hope to achieve in the future and how they think Cheryl Fernandez-Versini can help them, should they make it to ‘Judges Houses’ and the ‘Live Shows’.


Tell us one fact each about yourself’s?

Baison: – I’m right handed and left footed.

Emmanuel: – I was Born in Belgium.
Kadeem: – I am 1 of 12
Lawrence: – I went to The BRIT School for performing arts and technology (The same school as previous X factor winner Leona Lewis, along with many other successful artists including, Jessie J, Amy Winehouse, Adele and more)
Nathanael: – I have 3 middle names.
You sing with the London Community Gospel Choir how has that influenced your style?
Gospel music contains so much soul and many of our favourite artists either started out in the church or have been very influenced by the genre of music. It’s allowed us to experiment with our harmony arrangements and how we overall vocal arrange our sound.
What are your earliest memories of music?
Baison: – I sang my first solo on prize giving day in primary school.
Emmanuel: – Singing n Dancing around the house and ripping my shirt after hours of watching a Michael Jackson documentary we had taped.
Kadeem: – My mum used to play vinyl’s of Patsy Cline, Frankie Lymon and make me watch The Temptations, The five heart beats and I would sing along to them religiously.
Lawrence: – Winning my first talent show aged 14. I sang ‘Ordinary People’ by John Legend, and received a standing ovation.
Nathanael – Church services is where it all started. I started piano theory when I could read. And I had my first drum kit at age 3.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
Our influences were:
Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, The Hawkins, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, Prince, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Commissioned, The Temptations, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, Brandy, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and many more.
You had a great reaction when you performed on The X Factor what was that like?
Amazing. The anticipation of the performance. The crowd standing and screaming for us was a movement to remember. The great feedback and the high of four yes’. We couldn’t have asked for a better reaction.
What made you decide to audition for The X Factor?
We thought we would give it a go, as we have nothing to lose. We’ve been hard working musicians for years, and we just felt this opportunity could help elevate us, especially as we launch to the world that we’re a band. We had been in hiding for months rehearsing daily and we were thinking of ways on how to tell everyone we’re coming together as band, and we thought what better way than to do it than via the biggest singing TV competition in the world. We wanted to start our journey as ‘BEKLN’ in a huge way, so that’s why we decided to audition for The X Factor.
How have your lives changed since your first audition on The X Factor? 
Our sound is out there for the world to see. The support and love we’ve received has been crazy. And being recognised is so weird but we’re thoroughly enjoying every moment of this journey.
What do you hope to get out of The X Factor?
We hope to bring back soul/RnB to the forefront. We wanna fly the flag for the UK and take it internationally.
Do you think you could be the UK’s answer to Boyz II Men?
Yes!!! (Simon Cowell has already said it)
If you make it any further on the X Factor, you will be mentored by Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, how do you think she will help you grow as artists?
She was in one of UK’s biggest girl bands ‘Girl’s Aloud’. She knows what it feels like to be in a group, and has loads of experience of group success. We strongly believe she will give us strong advice on how to make it as a band, and to gain worldwide domination.
She’s also been a judge on the show for a number of years, so she knows what she’s talking about.
You have a fresh sound do you think a band like you could change the charts?
Yes we believe we can.
Who would you like to be as big as?
1D and Boyz II Men combined.
Would you rather have a number 1 single or a BRIT Award?
Both!!! Hehe!!! But a number 1 single would be AMAZING!!!
Where would be your dream venue to perform?
Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Gardens, The O2 Arena and Royal Albert Hall.
Who are your celebrity crushes?
Baison – Jessica Alba, Freida Pinto, Scarlett Johansson
Kadeem – Cassie, Beyoncé and Rita Ora
Emmanuel – Gabrielle Union, Erica Campbell and Caroline Flack
Lawrence – Keke Palmer, Tori Kelly and JLO
Nathanael – Rochelle Humes, Eva Longoria and Sofia Vergara.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?
We all chose:
Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, John Legend, Chris Brown, Usher, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Boyz II Men and obviously Stevie Wonder.

X Factor continues this Sunday from 7pm. 

You can follow BEKLN on Twitter @BEKLNofficial

Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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