How would you say your musical sound differs from other singers currently in the music scene?
I’d say it was different because I’m trying to use different sounds like I’m not scared to jump on a folky sound or bluesy sound and mix that up with contemporary beats and I think that’s the major difference. It’s just not being afraid of using music that may be frowned upon by the urban scene.
You recently completed your album, what can we expect from it?
Erm wow okay… From my album basically it’s going to be like a mix and blend, it’s bluesy influenced, the lyrics are very contemporary, its got a bit of folky, a bit of rocky but it all has an urban tint on it. I like to keep it fresh, I’m not saying every lines a punch line but you know it’s an entertaining album.
Sounds like it’ll be interesting =)
Yeah, I just wanted to make a record that I would’ve liked to listen to, letting people into my brain for a bit [Laughs].
Your music consists of a variety of genres, which do you enjoy making most and why?
Ermmm I don’t really have a favourite to be honest with you, I dunno… I suppose I like different genres for different reasons. I like singing over old styled music cus I think vocally you can kind of let go a lot more, cus obviously like the greats your Etta James’ and your Aretha Franklin’s you know them kind of singers they were singing over old styled music but then lyrically I kind of like to write to quite up tempo tracks. Obviously doing the dancey stuff, doing the funky and the bassline I like writing to those sort of tracks cus they have a good energy.
Is there anything you find easier to write to?
Not particularly actually, it just comes out really. I don’t know where it comes from [Laughs].
Having performed in many foreign countries e.g. France and Beijing, do you believe there is a strong market abroad for UK artists?
Definitely, definitely, I mean particularly now so many great people have come out of the UK scene you know your Amy Winehouse’s, your Adele’s, and your Estelle’s. Especially female artists, I mean the UKs always been big in the music scene, obviously you got The Beatles, and so many great people have come out of the UK so we’ve always been recognised but now I think we’re starting to steal back the crown from the Americans and obviously staking our claim back.
How and when did you know that being a singer is what you wanted to do?
I suppose I’ve always enjoyed singing and have always wanted to sing but I first realised I could make money out of it when I did the Roll Deep album and then Wiley asked me to come down and sign up to a production contract with him and Danny Weed. Which then turned into a production contract with Target and Danny Weed, so basically just starting to earn money out of the scene, I started to think oh wait actually I can do this for a living. But I’ve always enjoyed singing and will always sing regardless of whether I’m making money from it [Laughs].
One of your tracks got signed to a film starring Bob Marley’s daughter. What was that experience like for you?
Yeahhh that was really really cool, that was uber cool really. We went to go watch the film a year a go now I think and it was just weird seeing my track with all these great people in this film, it was just bizarre.
Did you get to meet his daughter?
Errr no… I didn’t actually. I just went to one of the screenings, and so I didn’t go to the premiere or anything.
Was Bob Marley someone that you looked up to?
Ohhh standard, standard, Bob Marley is the root of my music making. I was brought up on Bob Marley; both of my parents were brought up on Bob Marley. I’ve got DVDs, Videos, CDs, everything.
Your parents must’ve been super proud of you then?
Yeah!! I mean I’ve definitely got a long way to go, I’m not at a place to be rejoicing just yet you know in the bank or anything [Laughs]. I’m just enjoying the process and I’m lucky to be even making music that I enjoy and to have had the opportunities I’ve had so far. I think they’re proud of me that I’m going for my dreams and at least trying.
Everyone always speaks about the fact that the music is a tough industry. Would you agree?
I’d say that was probably the biggest underestimation in the history of underestimations [Laughs]. It is a grind and it’s very difficult, I don’t think you can rest on your laurels for anyone or anytime. I think you’ve always gotta be on the grind, you always gotta be trying to think of 2009, 2010, you know what I mean. Instead of doing what’s already been done and everything’s being changed so quickly you gotta be able to adapt more so but also be true to what you wanna be and what you wanna do, whatever makes you happy. You got to move with whatever is happening, but also be able to make money, to learn and to evolve yourself.
What was the hardest part of the industry for you? Any experiences you’ve had?
I dunno… basically just keeping the momentum, knowing who the right people are to work with. You’ve got people who are working for you and with you but you’ve got to make sure you’re doing your own thing and knowing what things you should be doing yourself and what things you should allow other people to do for you and so on. I mean it’s just a learning process really and you sometimes you make the right decisions and sometimes you don’t, you just gotta jump off of the deep end and hope for the best really and learn from your mistakes.
You performed at the ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ gig. Do you consider music as an effective tool for getting messages across to the public?
One hundred percent, a million percent! I hate people who actually turn around and say that you know ‘’music doesn’t influence the youth’’ bollocks. As far as I’m concerned that’s such a bag of shit cus I know that I was influenced by music and every part of me. I totally think that if you’re given a platform, whatever industry you’re in, whether it’s to do with singing, acting or anything, if you’re given a platform you should say something and hopefully it’d be constructive. I don’t wanna be a preacher or nothing like that but if you’re gonna say something then SAY something.
Neelam Atique – July ’09