sir Was: The Breakthrough Artist of 2017

sir Was is the project of Swedish musician Joel Wästberg, which blends a range of musical influences from the artist’s diverse experiences.

Wästberg began playing numerous instruments from an early age, settling on the saxophone at age 10. By 18, he had moved out of home and started studying jazz saxophone and soon after was travelling worldwide to perform in a number of ensembles.

Playing with ensembles took Wästberg from Sweden to places like New York and Mali. Wästberg ended up spending a lot of time in Africa, as he studied at the University of Kwasulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, where he developed an interest in pan-African rhythms. This interest was further enriched by travelling through Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Following Wästberg’s experiences around the world, particularly Africa, he was inspired to leave behind the saxophone and pursue his solo music career as sir Was.

The first single from sir Was, ‘A Minor Life‘, dropped on March 10 last year and it was immediately obvious that the track was not produced by a novice. Beginning with the sound of bagpipes, the song transcends into a gloomy electronic beat under the soft falsetto of Wästberg.

Since sharing ‘A Minor Life’, sir Was has released two more singles, ‘Falcon‘ and ‘In The Midst‘, which has received a remixed by fellow Swedish act Little Dragon that was made available for listening today. These three singles will feature on sir Was’ forthcoming debut album Digging A Tunnel, which is set to be released on March 10 via City Slang.

On the album, Wästberg played every instrument “except the bagpipe and harmonica”, which were recorded on his iPhone.

After hearing the genre-meshing tracks that sir Was has already produced on Digging A Tunnel, there’s no doubt the debut record will be something special in a year that looks unpromising for music compared to 2016.

Tracklist for Digging A Tunnel:

  1. In The Midst
  2. A Minor Life
  3. Digging a Tunnel
  4. Bomping
  5. Revoke
  6. Falcon
  7. Heaven is Here
  8. Interconnected
  9. Leave It Here
  10. Sunsets Sunrises

Watch the video for ‘In The Midst’, directed by Fredrik Egerstrand.

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