Watch Beharie at the Paste Magazine East Austin Block Party Presented by Ilegal Mezcal

Music Features Beharie
Watch Beharie at the Paste Magazine East Austin Block Party Presented by Ilegal Mezcal

Coral Snake Austin was treated to an experience on the second day of our East Austin Block Party. This year, we set up our indoor stage as a recording session; capturing a more intimate experience with studio quality audio, making it the perfect vehicle to introduce our readers to the carefully constructed ethereal sounds of Christian Beharie, who dropped in on Thursday to give us a taste of his debut record, Are You There Boy?

Full Session

Even though this is his SXSW debut, Beharie came fully prepared. He was laid back and open, cracking jokes with the Paste crew. He introduced his first song “I Wish I Was You”, a favorite from his previous EP Beharie // Beharie.

“I Wish I Was You”

Creating a deeply personal look into Behaire’s inner world, this album mixes genres, blurring the boundaries between folk, R&B, and jazz-infused soul. Not one to be pigeon holed, Behaire crafts a balance of wistful and delicate music with raw emotion. “I Wish I Was You” started off our session strong, blending his angelic singing with electronic synth and relaxing folk melodies. Featuring Beharie on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Bård Kristian Kylland on keys and Hans Olav Settem (who also produced Beharie’s previous record) providing backup vocals and electric guitar in harmony.

Despite the overwhelming six-show schedule, Beharie shared feeling excited playing shows all over, and that the experience has been extremely positive.

For his next song, Beharie played “Oh My God” off the new album. With Settem switching out his electric guitar for a banjo, “Oh My God” evokes a warm sunset—comforting but also marking the end. With lyrics like “I know it’s not enough / but there’s a view / that’s good enough for two” and “I’ve spoken many times / but I can’t find a way to end my lines / believe you me, I’ve tried” Behaire proves his ability to weave metaphors of heartbreak to insert the listener as an onlooker into scenes from a love that has passed.

“Oh My God”

Throughout the performance, Beharie’s gentle melodies don’t betray the intensity of his subject matter. He expresses his songs with clear conviction, feelings of tenacious love that perseveres. Before playing his last song, Beharie discussed touring in the U.S. for the first time and returning to Norway for a European tour, as well as working on new music (produced by Settem as well.) “This album is about my personal experiences of just being a human being, a normal person who thinks a lot, feels a lot and dwells a lot.” he said. “Just about my identity crises, thoughts, meeting people and the relationships between us”

For his last song, he played “Heaven”, which is the last song on Are You There Boy?. “Heaven” is a fitting name, as it embodies the ethereal sounds Beharie is noted for.


“Heaven” showcases Beharie’s vocal range expertly, with both vocal runs and varying dynamics that make the listener almost feel like they’re floating off the ground, and a contrasting insistent tone as the song ramps up. “I’m on the outside looking in” sings Beharie, first quietly, sadly, then louder, insistent, almost frustrated as the song progresses—mirroring the mentality of the character in the song. A perfect track to end both the album and our session, it was clear that Are You There Boy? would remain in our heads for long after the final note was played.

Thank you to Beharie, Coral Snake and our friends at Ilegal Mezcal for putting together these amazing sessions with us. Stay tuned for the following weeks as we have more Paste Recording Sessions in store.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin