The New Release Giving Lockdown a Party Vibe: An Interview with Misunderstood

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As the days get shorter and cooler, there’s nothing like a banging music release to keep the winter blues away. And Misunderstood have definitely delivered.

The duo’s September release, Red Wine & Caviar, brings those house party vibes to a 2020 dominated by quarantines and lockdowns. Featuring Atlanta rapper Londynn B, Misunderstood’s self-directed, produced and filmed music video has already hit over 160,000 views on YouTube in it’s first two weeks.

But this new hit single is the culmination of over a decade of work by these two London lads.

Stephan Benson

Stephan Benson and Jeffrey Okyere’s performance relationship began long before they formed Misunderstood. They were both students at The BRIT School, a prestigious performing arts high school in London, before entering The X Factor UK as the Pop/R’n’B duo they are today, and becoming hot favourites to win the competition.

Despite their shock exit from the show (many speculate that the absence of their mentor, Robbie Williams, affected the results), Jeff and Stephan have used their success on The X Factor as a springboard. They’ve toured with legendary guitarist Nile Rogers, performed with Little Mix and will.i.am, and written hits for K-Pop and Chinese superstars.

Jeffrey Okyere

Now, ten years after they first formed, Red Wine & Caviar adds a maturity to the duo’s discography that veers away from commercial Pop. Whilst all of Misunderstood’s tracks make your body move, their latest release indicates a pair of artists pushing their musical boundaries and finding their unique voice.

And with the single featuring on multiple playlists across Spotify, Napster and Tidal, the shift has definitely paid off.

With the success of their latest single, we spoke to Misunderstood about their time on The X Factor, writing for different musical genres and the artists they’d love to perform with.

‘Red Wine and Caviar’ is out now

Firstly, congrats on the success of “Red Wine & Caviar”! What was it like collaborating with Londynn B?

Jeff: Thank you, it’s such a great feeling knowing it’s out there for the world to see/hear, especially that we were able to get it done during these crazy times.

Stephan: This is our first collaboration, so it’s a very special one for us. Londynn B came with the heat, placing her vocals down the day after our team had contacted her ha which we loved.

Can you tell us a bit about your time at The BRIT School and how you both met?

Stephan: Yesss Brit!!! Some of our best days were spent in that school, the teachers, the atmosphere, the competition, the lessons, all of it was just amazing and the best push into the entertainment industry that we could have ever asked for.

Jeff: 100% agree. I knew Seven before we officially met lol! He was always that little kid doing flips around our community. We officially met in 2008 being a part of the same dance group when both our older sisters forced us to be friends ha! And it worked.

Robbie Williams was your mentor during your time on The X Factor. What was it like being mentored by an artist whose music is so different from yours?

Stephan: Firstly Robbie is a legend period!!! Ha, and it was the easiest thing ever. Although our music is different our passion/hearts and drive were the same and that’s what made it so easy to work together. He allowed us to be our authentic selves and always had our backs when fighting for what we believed in through the show.

Performing your own original song on the show must have been nerve wracking!?

Jeff: It’s always nerve-wracking performing our songs that people don’t know yet. It’s basically giving a piece of yourself away without knowing if people would like it or not BUT for some reason it wasn’t that bad, probably because we had a lot to prove. Having had a lot of doors closed on us throughout the years and people saying we weren’t good enough it was a chance to showcase our talent and prove those people wrong.

You guys have also written for other artists including K-Pop stars Super M and Omi – what are the challenges of writing for a different genre with a different audience?

Stephan: For us, there really isn’t any challenges, we love jumping into different characters and stories that we have yet to experience and writing for other artist allows us to step into another person’s shoes and be creative from their perspective.

Jeff: Also as writers, we write a lot of different things that don’t always fit to ‘Misunderstood’ so sometimes it was just something that came unexpectedly and it just worked for someone else.

You’ve already performed with some great artists during your career, but which dream artist would you love to share the stage with?

Both: BEYONCE! PERIOD!!! She is the greatest performer of all time!

Jeff: Next to Micheal Jackson of course ha!

Stephan: I think she’s better but let’s not get into that argument haha!

Now that “Red Wine & Caviar” is out, what are you working on next?

Jeff: We have a few things in the pipeline to finish off the year, so make sure to keep a close eye on our social media.

Stephan: A lot of negativity has been placed on this year so we’re going to try and put a little positivity back into the earth before the year is out.

Red Wine & Caviar is out now.

Follow @mdsofficial on Instagram for the latest updates from Misunderstood.

 

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