In Association With Puma

Whether it calls to mind Picasso’s Blue Period or the melancholic blues genre, we often fail to appreciate the colour’s introspective connotations, qualities both symbolic and literal.. For Zimbabwe-born, Leicester-raised rapper Sainté, blue is special.

As well as being the colour of fellow hometown heroes Leicester FC, blue inspires “freedom, imagination, inspiration, stability, wisdom, and confidence,” as he wrote (and translated to Mandarin) for the opening of his single ‘Summer Is Blue’. Indeed, Sainté’s rapid rise has been anything but ‘out of the blue’, rather a combination of hard work, self-belief, and a close-knit circle of friends and family he trusts to help execute his vision.

Bursting onto the scene with standout single ‘Champagne Shots’ in late 2020, the gap-year student has maintained momentum with eclectic production choices (with help from producers Parker Jazz and Brad Baker) as well as tailored visuals from “close friend and go-to visual guy” Arran Ashan. “All of my working relationships, especially, have been natural because I feel like forcing things is not only uncomfortable but will never get the best result”.

Indeed, the dynamic collaborations on sophomore EP ‘Out Of The Blue’ - from scene veterans A2 and Knucks to alté crooners Odeal and Tay Iwar - were all initiated by Sainté’s genuine admiration. “It’s all happened so fast! I’ve been a fan of A2 and Knucks for years, I literally grew up listening to their music - for them to be featuring on my track is surreal”.

Growing up listening to everything from Sade to MF Doom and G-Unit at home, as well as a brief foray into poetry in his mid-teens, his influences all come together to form the jazz-infused, mellow flow we’ve heard of Sainté thus far.

The rapper’s academic and sports successes before the success of ‘Champagne Shots’ have taught “the importance of consistency and drive in honing your craft and getting the right kind of attention and winning people over”. More importantly, he’s carried the self-confidence to “back yourself and your own talent enough to carve out a lane of your own and focus on it”, pointing to Little Simz as an example of somebody who has done so and flourished.

It’s this unwavering confidence that made a career as a rapper from outside the insular bubble of London realistic. “I want people to look at me and realise they can do it too - everything I’ve done so far or I’m doing currently - I’ve manifested it!”

WHAT: UK rap with deeply honest penmanship
WHERE: Leicester
3 SONGS: ‘Champagne Shots’, ‘Summer Is Blue’, ‘Old Times’

FACT: Sainté is a sports addict and previously played basketball to a semi-professional level.

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Words: Rahel Aklilu
Photography: Sophie Mayanne

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