One of Bulgaria’s finest R&B/soul vocalists Lina Nikol and producer Boyan have joined forces to create their first EP – A Mood Called “You”. In honour of the occasion, we had the chance to ask the artists about how the collaboration came to be, its inspiration, and more.
Who were some of your musical inspirations?
Lina: Some of my biggest inspirations are Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, Alicia Keys, D’Angelo, Babyface; the list goes on.
How did Boyan and yourself come together?
Lina: I guess it’s easy to start working with someone who you just connect with creatively and have the same vision about music. We met some time ago and talked about potentially working together. I think it was a year later when we sat down in a session and it was clear that this (was) the beginning of something special.
With the EP being inspired by personal experiences, how comfortable were you sharing this aspect of your life in your music?
Lina: The truth is it’s not easy, but when it’s more general and a lot of people can relate, you feel a bit incognito and you know that everyone goes through these emotions at some point in their lives. There have been many times when I write in detail and reveal very personal situations in my lyrics, but I just leave that on the side because I’m not ready to talk openly about that. Maybe the time hasn’t come yet.
Could we expect further collaborations with Boyan in the future?
Lina: For sure. We’ve been a great team for a while now and I love working with him.
If you could work with any producer in the world, who would it be?
Lina: Oh, that’s a tough one. I can immediately think of Rodney Jerkins, Babyface, D’Mile, Stargate, GRADES, Stint. I can’t just pick one, that’s crazy.
What are your goals for 2023?
Lina: The main big goal is to make some of the best songs for my next album because I have a feeling it’s gonna be something really special.
What drew you to work with Lina?
Boyan: I’ve already said this so many times that she hates me for saying it, but Lina is one of the hardest-working people in the scene I’ve had the chance to work with. Combine that with incredible talent and musicality and you have yourself a winning combination and it is truly an amazing experience whenever we work together. I can honestly say that rarely do I have this natural flow & inspiration when I work with other artists, and that says a lot.
Are there any other artists who you’d love to work with?
Boyan: There are so so so… many that I won’t even try to mention them. (This) is something new for me, because up until a couple of years ago I would much rather work alone on my art than collaborate, but this has really changed as I think my “career” matures and I find interest in working with other inspiring creators who have their own vision and approach to music, which in a way pushes me to think outside of the box and really experiment with my own craft.
Recently, you announced you would be performing all your local gigs as your true house music alter ego – CODE02. What made you come to this decision?
Boyan: (Exhales deeply) If only I could share with you the whole story behind this decision, but unfortunately It would take me like 30+ pages of deep thoughts and dissecting Bulgarian musical culture as a whole. To make a long story short – my decision to stop using my name Boyan on all local gigs was one that I’ve wanted to do for so long but didn’t have the guts to do it up until this year. Fundamentally this is because to this day my main way to survive as an artist is through gigs & shows (as how I think it is with 90% of independent artists around the world).
Unfortunately the music I want to play and ultimately present to people as Boyan is not the music people want to hear. Bulgarian nightlife and culture are at a really low point currently, where most people going out like to hear really popular and familiar music, and that is not something I want to support. Fortunately, there are some places where I can present a different side of my musical taste, and hence comes CODE02, my house music alter ego which I love to dabble with from time to time. For the time being, I’m focusing on “Boyan” in the studio and waiting for maybe better times & opportunities where I can truly represent my musical taste and feelings to a crowd that wants to hear them.
What can we expect from you in 2023?
Boyan: Another collaboration EP with an amazing singer & songwriter with whom I’ve been working for some time and I’m beyond impatient to present to the world what we have in store. Also some interesting projects in between as well and most importantly – this year may be the year I finally put out my debut album!
A Mood Called “You” will be available on March 30 on music streaming services.
Be sure to check out our previous interview with Rebecca Winter here.