Introducing Cape Verdian artist Nelson Freitas and his highly anticipated seventh album, “Black Butterfly,” now available on digital platforms. Nelson unveils a revelation in music, showcasing a fusion of his style and experimental new sounds. With a career spanning decades, Nelson Freitas has gained global acclaim for his distinctive blend of Kizomba, Zouk, R&B, and hip-hop. “Black Butterfly” embraces the essence of contemporary Afrobeats while staying true to his roots, created alongside acclaimed producers like Blaisebeatz and Ozedikus. Accompanying the album’s release are lovely music videos, including the cinematic “Black Butterfly,” directed by André Caniços. Nelson’s artistic vision transcends boundaries, blending modern aesthetics with timeless Cape Verdean landscapes. In Nelson’s own words, “Black Butterfly” represents a culmination of a decade-long musical journey—a project where he found his true self. With an extensive track record of award-winning performances across the globe, Nelson Freitas continues to push boundaries, solidifying his status as a avant-garde artist.

Listen/buy/stream “Black Butterfly” here

Can you elaborate on the creative process behind your album “Black Butterfly”? How did you collaborate with producers like Blaisebeatz and Ozedikus to shape its sound?

I got their contact info through Kel-P Vibes’ manager (David Shay), who has been a tremendous help in linking me with producers that I wanted to work with from Nigeria. From that point on, we basically worked through the internet because, to be honest, we never met in person. They knew about my work, and the connection was made instantly. The sound they are bringing was exactly what I needed to complement my style, and the outcome is exactly what I was looking for.

The single “Hero” has garnered significant attention, with over 3 million views and airplay on BBC radio 1xtra. What moved you to create this song and how does it set the tone for the rest of the album?

I felt like it was a perfect first single to set off what was coming. Sound-wise, it’s happy, flowy, and has a good vibe, and that’s what I wanted to bring to the table as a first single. It fits perfectly with the rest of the album.

“Black Butterfly” was conceived during a writing camp with producer Teddy Riley and co-written with notable artists like Daecolm Holland and Arrow Benjamin. Could you share some insights and the themes explored in this track?

Black Butterfly” was actually the first song I did for this album. It helped shape all the other songs. The camp that we did in Cape Verde was very important and meeting Teddy Riley, whom I have been a fan of for years, helped a lot in the process. It was also at this camp where I met Daecolm & Arrow Benjamin, who I worked with closely and, besides that, became good friends with. The song speaks about a girl who is your Black Butterfly, who is fine as fine art, and you want to get high with her in Ebony heaven. Basically, the girl is all that.

Your music is known for blending Kizomba, Zouk, R&B & Hip-Hop elements with Afrobeats. How does the song showcase the evolution of your sound, while staying true to your roots?

The conversation I had with all producers and songwriters that co-wrote/produced this album with me was simple: listen to all my albums, listen to what I have done, and let me know how we can bring Nelson Freitas to a 2.0 level without losing my essence. That being said, we started talking a lot about sounds, vibes, moods, fashion, culture, and so many other things before we started making music, just to get on the same page… and it worked out perfectly.

As an artist of Cape Verdean heritage, how does your cultural background influence your music, especially in the context of the diverse Afrobeats scene?

Coming from Cape Verde, I will always blend our culture into my melodies, instruments, beat selection, or in the video language. I think it’s the only way to make a difference. I never want to sound like any other artist; it always needs to have that Island sauce.

How do you hope listeners connect with “Black Butterfly” on a personal or emotional level? What message or feeling do you aim toconvey through this album?

The feeling I want people to get when they hear this album is the love and dedication that was put into every song and their details. I want them to feel the beats, dance to it, listen to the lyrics and get into it. They need to make the songs their own because from the moment the songs are on all digital platforms, they are for the world; they cease to be just my songs… they’re yours.

Your statement about the album being a culmination of ten years of work is a deeply personal journey. Could you share some insights into the themes and emotions explored throughout the album, particularly about your growth and self-discovery as an artist?

If you go back and listen to my songs from my first, second, third album, you could already hear the Afrobeats wave in the sound of it. We just named it differently (GhettoZouk). It was bumpy, it was wavy. Fast forward to 2020 and in comes the big Afrobeats movement with artists like Wizkid and Burna Boy, where it was not that different from what I have been doing; they just came in with way more power because Nigeria has over two hundred million people, so the sound spreads in a different way. This made me see that I was already onto something when I started out, but the industry did not see it back then. Goes to show that I have been doing it for a long time, and now with this album, I just went all in (full circle). #BlackButterfly #TheAlbum

With your extensive experience performing on stages worldwide, how do you plan to incorporate the songs from” Black Butterfly” into energetic live performances, and what do you hope your audiences take away from these shows?

The song “Black Butterfly” will be incorporated very smoothly in the set, probably somewhere in the middle, because it’s got a very chill vibe and it fits with every song that I have so far. As for the audience experience, what I hope to deliver is that they’ll vibe to it, they’ll sing, probably dance – it just fits perfectly. 

Music editor/director: Joiah Luminosa