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Airplane Mode: A Flash Memoir


Five days ago, while sitting still, meditating, I heard a voice very calmly and clearly say to me, "Release the Airplane Mode album."

I recorded around 40 songs for this project from 2019 to 2020, mainly in apartments and hotel rooms across five different cities (Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and London) and had planned to release it in 2020... but it didn't see the light of day. Until now!

The honest truth is I used the arrival of a global pandemic to stop me from putting it out. I convinced myself that it was the wrong time and that releasing an album based on my experiences of leaving the UK and traveling solo, seeking connection, and grappling with resentment and disconnection would not resonate in a time where the whole world could no longer travel, had to find new ways to connect, and were reeling from the forced disconnection now present in everyday reality. How ironic...

The real pandemic most of us artists go through is in comparing ourselves and seeking validation from sales, views, followers, numbers, and statistics, thus allowing the joy of creating music to be crippled by the fear of putting it out. I call this 'Release Day Anxiety.'

I even filmed a music video in the UAE in the middle of a desert! which has just been sitting on my laptop for years (It’s coming though…). All this not because of any pandemic but because I was afraid! I was afraid that if I didn't hit big numbers that matched the love and effort I’d put into this project, I’d be some sort of a failure!

I let that feeling marinate for the best part of four years, as it ate away at me every single day that I was willingly letting my fear disconnect me from what I love doing the most and sharing that with the world. In hindsight, I see how the title of the album now holds even deeper significance.


So as one cycle ends and another begins, I choose to find joy in just creating and sharing music without any expectation, whether one person listens or a billion do.


Stay Connected,

Much Love,



P.S. I’ve always said in an ideal world I’d release five albums in a year, and who knows in 2024 I just might!



Airplane Mode: A True Story…

New Beginnings

It’s 11 pm CET, April 26, 2018, one hour before my 32nd birthday, and I find myself standing wide-eyed deep in the heart of bustling Barcelona city center. Tourists smiling ear to ear, non-stop traffic weaving in and out of every street, and rappers and dancers on the corner blasting music from their speakers while casually smoking joints in the streets... I think I’ve just entered paradise!

Here I am, on a one-way ticket stationed with an oversized packed suitcase in one hand, a matching smaller one in my other hand, rucksack on my back, and fedora on my head while profusely trying to make sense of the rather elaborate directions from my Airbnb host, a lovely British expat lady, who ended up being the person that took the album cover art photo.

Five years ago, in January, I decided to leave London. It wasn’t a difficult decision; it felt like the right time to do something incredibly drastic (some would say crazy) and put to the test all of the life advice I’d become known for giving every single person I came into contact with. I had just signed a publishing deal for ‘Champion Sound,’ an EP with EMI Production Music/Sony ATV thanks to some work I did with Simon Law from Soul II Soul, which caught the ear of an A&R at EMI. Once the album was completed, I had some funds coming in, so I promised myself that before my birthday I would leave the country. Obviously, being my father's son, I literally left it right up until the last minute… I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the last minute, I’d get nothing done!

A few years prior, I had been working in music studios in youth clubs, and when that abruptly came to an end, I had to find other ways to pay the bills. Financially, this was the lowest I'd ever been. I decided to advertise my recording engineering services at my home studio, alongside some other activities I can't either confirm or deny… I had been doing weekly recording sessions for a group of Black Italian rappers. I always looked forward to their sessions even though I couldn’t understand a word; I could somehow see the music… I think they call this Synesthesia. Anyway, it was something that one of the rappers, who was literally called ‘Black Italian,’ said to me that struck such a chord. He said, “Ason, you’re always encouraging and supporting everyone to be their best, but I think you have forgotten how powerful you actually are; you need to lead with a sense of entitlement!”

Those words woke me up to myself… and were the exact trigger I needed to change my life and situation.

I had become stuck in this mundane cycle of waiting, hoping, and what felt like endless disappointment. I felt unappreciated, unloved, and undervalued by my friends, family, girlfriend, and even the trees sometimes... All the spiritual practices in the world can't do anything for you if you don't do it for yourself first. I had to prove to myself that I can really create my own reality, so I announced to all my close ones that I'm leaving the country!

Some people thought I was crazy, some thought I was brave, and others just wanted to see how long it would take for me to fail and come back. I think the fear of that happening pretty much pushed me on harder than anything else. I had a small leaving party, gave most my clothes to charity, put my room up for rent and broke up with my then-girlfriend of four years (although most of it was long distance, usually culminating with her leaving me behind). Sometimes I do wonder what that must have felt like for her. I knew it would have been selfish to ask her to wait for me as I didn't know if I was ever coming back… and to be honest, I just didn’t want to return to my old life.


I wanted, for the first time, to live entirely for me, just trusting in my own internal guidance system. Ever since my mum passed away in 2006, I’ve always felt like I was just surviving and getting through life, living through everyone else and making it my responsibility to heal and be there for anyone that needed me, and in truth, this made me very resentful and disconnected when I realized I didn't have the same coming back in return. I heard her voice telling me, “Son, go and be free.”

So five days before my birthday, I booked a one-way ticket to Barcelona with no plans but to follow the clouds and do music.




I hit up DJ Koldun and MR P a few weeks before I was leaving London and told them I was coming out to Barca… Koldun I met in 2014. He was the first person to fly me abroad for a gig, In Estonia, Incredible experience. MR P, DJ/Producer and all-around top G, I met in Barcelona in 2016 after a show my brother and stayed in contact. Upon touching down at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport less than 24 hours later on my 32nd birthday, I find myself with DJ Koldun in a small village outside of Barcelona performing in a Weed association club to a really stoned but warmly pleasant and appreciative audience. After back-to-back Airbnb stays, sleeping on couches (special thanks to Lady Ems and Furney), and hostels, two weeks later I was renting a small room from a lovely Argentinian lady and her daughter, enjoying having the entire atico terrace to myself that overlooked the whole city, thanks to a connect from my bro Tuffist, a DJ/Producer who I met while performing at another weed association gig with Koldun. Tuffist and I also performed at a festival together that same week, and he brought me to various different studios in the city. Between days at the beach and nights with Mr P enjoying the finest Spanish vegetation on offer, I was meeting loads of new interesting people. I felt so much love. I wanna big up the homie Irene aka Gynoid.36c. Still the only person that speaks to me in Spanish and somehow I understand… I’ll never forget the time when we hit the vapor and could hear each other's thoughts! Mad!


Barcelona was very healing for me; it was a stark contrast to how I felt only a few weeks ago. It felt like everything was going better than I could have imagined. I felt aligned, but my goal was always to make it to Berlin, Germany, and see what music and life opportunities awaited me there. After three months, I felt it was time for me to leave.





I landed in Berlin in Summer 2018, in Fashion week, it was beautiful! Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has something for everyone and anyone, but you have to be very careful because once it has you, that’s it, you may never leave. My bro from London, Picnic, was there for a week as he was doing some events with Shut down Berlin, who I had performed for on my first visit to Berlin in 2015. After that trip, I promised myself I’d live in Berlin one day. I stayed with a friend for one week and then looked after her friend's apartment for three weeks while she traveled. In that week, I was recording in Redbull studios, performing multiple gigs, had inherited a whole new crew but had this feeling that something was still missing. I remember after attending an Anderson .paak concert some friends of friends said to me, “So you’re freestyling, going with the flow here in Germany, wow, that’s brave but it's so hard!” at that moment I felt massive doubt kick in. I remember telling my brother, and he said, ‘Yeah, it's hard for some, but not for you.’ My brother has a way of saying things that remind me exactly who I am, kind of like my mother used to. A few weeks later, my brother and my cousin came to visit me, and at this point, I was living in Kreuzberg, which is the ‘cool trendy district in Berlin,’ where I was renting a room from a well-known Berlin-based DJ. It was so comforting to be around family again, but when they left, I knew that the deep internal work and healing were about to begin.

I spent a lot of that summer alone. It wasn’t that I didn't have friends; I did, but I felt deep down that I needed to spend time by myself learning to love and connect with myself in a more challenging environment. I once saw an advert on Vice TV by two comedians where one said, “People move to Berlin because they think they hate London, but then get to Berlin and realize they hate themselves.” That has never left my consciousness because it's actually true Lol. Shout out to my bro Dan from Australia who had moved to Berlin a year prior, whom I met randomly looking for a ‘Cafe’ and then ended up spending the whole night talking and drinking in Mother bar on a side street in Neukoln. It's amazing how you can meet someone from the other side of the world and instantly just click, feeling like you’ve known each other for years!


One day I randomly decided to go on Facebook and added a bunch of people based in Berlin. A few days later, I was messaged by a DJ who ran the biggest Afro Beats parties in Berlin called Freak de l’Afrique. He was looking for a British MC to host and perform at his parties. I was down for it! The day of the first performance was on a rooftop overlooking the city; it was magical. I performed two tracks, and the crowd was very intrigued. I remember just before, feeling a little down and had an unexpected call from my Dad. He told me to keep going and that he was proud of me; I never told him this, but that conversation kept me from giving up. That night the gig turned into a rave in the venue downstairs. That’s when I met Cara Muru and Pitota from German Brazilian collective La Byle. Pitota’s English was limited at that time, but he said to me very clearly, “You and us, we do studio next week!” That same night I met Ana Vega, a painter and artist with an intense and vibrant energy that echoed otherworldliness. After that day, I felt like I had met members of my soul tribe.


As summer turned to winter, I was recording weekly with La Byle, traveling and hanging out with them for shows, partying alone, meeting all types of people, dating, hitting open mics, attending all types of events, but something was still telling me to move on, don't get too comfortable here, and upon deciding I wanted to leave Berlin for Amsterdam, Ana offered me a space in her apartment for as long as I needed it. I appreciated that. Winter was COLD. People always warned me about Berlin winter, but I was naive and would say, “Ayyy I'm from London; I'm used to this!” But Berlin is energetically an entirely different city from summer to winter. That December, me and Dan, who is also an excellent and creative chef, decided to put on a music event in Kaduka, a bar we spent a lot of time in. We called it Bake and Wake. Dan baked space cookies, and I performed space music! My brother flew in and DJ’d the night. But for me musically, something just didn't feel right. And after the show, after a conversation with my brother, I realized that I needed new music to reflect this journey I was now on…  which then began the start of the Airplane Mode Recordings…


* In that same month I would go Ice skating for the first time and end up dislocating my shoulder! Yes that really happened... I remember the German doctor jokingly saying to me 'what's a back man doing Ice skating?' I thought that was  quite funny, although the German woman behind me did not... but what was even funnier than that was when I told my Dad, his response was precisely....'what's a back man doing Ice skating?' lol



I ended up staying in Berlin for over a year, dislocating my shoulder on an ice rink, performing with two different bands at the 80,000 capacity Fusion Festival (Thanks to my bro bro Elvis for borrowing me his tent and showing me how to pitch one up), recording close to 40 songs over Jflame’s and my own productions, and facing some challenging living arrangements before going back to Barcelona for a few months to continue recording, linking up with my bro and sick bassist dude Hal who was traveling to Basque for a surfing competition, then on to Paris where I ended up spontaneously DJ’ing a birthday party on a boat from my phone, it was lit! To then traveling solo to Amsterdam at the end of 2019 before landing back in the UK. A couple of months later, February 2020, I flew out to Dubai on the way to Thailand where I linked up with my longtime bro Chidi. We spontaneously filmed the ‘Airplane Mode’ video next to an abandoned plane in the middle of the desert, Before flying on to Thailand where I’d spend most my days on the beach and my nights in Thai bars drinking cocktails while writing and preparing songs for a European and potentially US Tour later in the yeah that I had been ask by  French Swing-hop producer Proleter to be the MC in his live project.


I arrived back in London on my Mum’s Earthday March 2nd 2020


And we all know what happens next.


....Airplane Mode 

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