Twelve years after dropping his debut EP 'Big Man', Idris Elba has finally launched a record label of his very own. And not only that, but he's also announced the label's first ever signing: James BKS. He's a musician and producer who's been making music as long as Idris himself.
James BKS - real name James Edjouma - is a French-Cameroonian musician who has previously worked alongside Diddy, Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli as a producer. He's been producing and composing since around 2006 and while he has been involved with labels before, he's enjoyed a good few years as an independent artist.
He's certainly not clueless when it comes to the music business, so his collaboration with Idris Elba's small indie imprint, 7Wallace Music, is likely to prove fortuitous to both parties.
'James is a rare find', Idris told Billboard. 'His hip-hop sensibilities transfer to the other music he makes, he's a nice person to work with and is gonna be a strong artist for the future. It's a huge move for 7Wallace, a small indie label.'
James is about to drop his debut single 'Kwele', featuring his father Manu Dibango on saxophone, as well as Mai Lan and Allan Kingdom. We're imagining a kind of 'world music' theme, as it largely pays tribute to the people of Gabon, the Congo and Cameroon.
'I want people to get to know my journey', James said in a statement. 'The song is the musical answer to my inner questions. Finally I can be proud of my roots and say this music is fully me.'
He was previously signed to Akon's Konvikt Muzik and has his own Paris-based creative house called Grown Kid, which provides services in sound design, music composition and music editing among other things. Through a variety of agencies, they've worked on adverts for YSL, Citroen, Prada, Chanel and Armani among others.
It's obviously not a rare thing for musicians to launch their own labels; with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, Jack White's Third Man Records and Ed Sheeran's Gingerbread to name but a few; but few people still realise that Idris Elba is also a musician as well as an actor.
Of course, he's most recognisable from 'Luther' and the 'Thor' franchise, but there are some lucky people out there who have seen him DJing for NBA All Star parties. He also DJed BET's 'Rising Icons' and has previously collaborated with Pharoahe Monch, Mumford & Sons, K. Michelle and Mr Hudson.
As well as releasing four EPs, a Christmas mixtape and his 2015 debut studio album 'Murdah Loves John (The John Luther Character Album)', Idris Elba has been featured rapping on the second album of Noel Fielding and Sergio Pizzorno's band the Loose Tapestries, not to mention a remix of Skepta's 'Shutdown' and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' 2016 album 'This Unruly Mess I've Made'. He also memorably opened for Madonna in Berlin during her Rebel Heart Tour back in 2015.
James BKS' 'Kwele' will be released on July 13th 2018.