How did you get into the music industry?
I started singing probably about 11/12 when I was in play centre, I use write songs, poems and I won a few talent shows singing my own stuff and also Mariah Carey covers. I’d go on pirate radio and get on mix tapes with MCs and Rappers that were in my area. I think the industry properly noticed me when I decided that I was gonna record a mix tape which was ‘Split Endz Volume 1’ and I was the only female at that time and all of a sudden I had a mix tape with people like Wiley, Professor Green, Sway, Pirelli and all these artists. Me and my best friend we literally were selling the CD on Oxford Street in Central London for five pounds. I then had a track called ‘Fire’ which I then took to some of the DJs, they first played my stuff on Logan Sama on Kiss FM and DJ Cameo who was on 1xtra at the time and they really started supporting and it was really from there where I thought okay I need somewhere for my fan base to listen to me so I set up a MySpace and a YouTube and that was kind of how I got into it.
Did you see being one of the few females in such a male dominated scene as a disadvantage or advantage?
Yeah I think it was both I mean the negatives were that you know you had a lot of people saying that this is grime it’s for spitters, you can’t sing on it. You always get that kinda stuff and you get people that are really like purist of any kind of music. They know how to keep it how it is and they don’t want any new stuff coming but at the end of the day the flip side of that was great because there were all these guys and I was the only girl which means automatically I stood out and I bought something new to it which maybe some of the guys couldn’t, so yeah I loved being the only girl.
Some people would say artists such as Wiley and Tinchy have forgotten about grime. What’s your view on Grime artists going on to make ‘commercial’ music?
As an artist you’re constantly evolving and I mean you have to remember that the word ‘Pop’ just means ‘Popular music’ and when music’s commercial all it means that people are buying it. So if commercial means selling out then I think well everyone should do it [Laughs]. I think in regards to people like Tinchy, I think he found a niche and that’s really helped him, and he’s got to number one, twice. With Wiley he’s somebody that jumped in and out of genres but he always represents Grime I mean the newest album has got a lot of Grime on it. Even with myself I’ve done all sorts of different music, I’ve supported people like Donell Jones doing more R&B stuff and then I’ve supported Richie Spice doing more Reggae based.
Is there any other career path you’d like to go down?
I love music with all my heart; I breathe music so I’d always do stuff to do with music. I really love drama and I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of acting and you know just some extra work and just have a bit of fun with it really. I don’t think its something Id go into as a serious career but I wouldn’t rule it out either. Also, on the side I actually teach music.
Who do you teach?
College kids and a lot of young people that haven’t been able to go to college for whatever reason, whether its bullying, crime or just problems at home. They have different courses that they put on in teaching all over really and it’s been really good.
That’s wicked. There are a few people that think music leads to violence, on this occasion though you’re teaching music to keep kids out of trouble. Where do you stand on this subject?
I think music is a form of expression and I mean I’ve just been watching a documentary on Pink and she said she likes singing about controversial things because it became her therapy. Sometimes music’s your therapy, sometimes it’s just your fun, and people need it for different things. It’s the same way people need to drink coffee in the morning you know what I mean. I think that everything and anything in the whole world is an influence. Yeah, to a degree a lot of the most popular music is maybe geared towards negativity because of the media not because of the actual artists because if you actual listen to all different kinds of music, you’ll see that there’s millions of artists that are good, some sing about love, some sing about sex, money, family, so I just think that it’s not that there’s a lot of negative music, but more so its the media because this country loves drama. It’s why we all watch Eastenders you know what I mean. [Laughs] There’s good and bad in everything, from TV, books to video games.
Which artists inspire you?
Growing up I’d say Mariah Carey was like a huge inspiration cus I never really got taught to sing properly and it was really listening to her albums that encouraged me because I thought okay she’s from mixed heritage, she can sing and so that was sort of my role model when I was younger. Also, both my parents were like really big vinyl collectors and played a lot of music growing up. So, I listened to like a lot of old soul and also a lot of reggae as well like Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley so all sorts of singers really but I’d say I love individual songs more than individual artists as a whole.
Okay then what would be your Top 3 favourite songs of all time?
Oh my gosh! That’s really hard, because when you’re happy you’ve got some songs, when you’re sad you’ve got some songs. Erm I love, ‘Beres Hammond – They’re Gonna Talk’ because I think it’s about me. [Laughs] I also love ‘Aaliyah – Missing You’ I think that’s a gorgeous song and I’d say I love ‘Bob Marley – Natural Mystic’
I heard you were selling puppies, are you a really big animal lover?
Ahh like my three loves in the world are music, animals and travelling so I completely love animals. All of them, the only thing Im scared of is wasps but everything else like snakes, spiders, I love all of them. Yeah the puppies, they all went to good homes and I’ve got a dog at the moment called Rain. Im actually going on a Safari in Tanzania in December, Im so excited about that.
Aww you’re so lucky, make sure you take loads of pictures!
Yeah Ill be video recording it, like ‘Oh my god there’s a lion!’ [Laughs] I actually wanted to be a vet when I was younger as well and everyone used to take the mick, like ‘Oh you can be a singing vet, and sing them back to hell.’ [Laughs]
You’re also a committed vegetarian, what led that decision on, was it anything to do with your love for animals?
Yeah, I’ve never eaten meat before, other than fish so technically Im a pescetarian cus otherwise people argue and say Im not a vegetarian. When we were younger my mum just chose not to give us meat cus she just thought that a lot of the meat we get isn’t very clean you know you get like battery farmed chickens and all that stuff so she just kept it really basic and healthy, fruit and veg you know pastas and we eat food from all around the world like we eat couscous and we eat Indian, Mediterranean, African and all kinds of food so we didn’t really miss eating meat at all and even now I’ve got to an age where it was up to me whether I wanted to eat meat or not and I just decided that I don’t want to eat anything that im not prepared to kill.
You’ve performed at many clubs and festivals which environment do you prefer and why?
Well last year I did Glastonbury which was amazing, and really last year was like one whole year of touring. We did some amazing tours we did Belgium, Pukkelpop Festival, also Roskilde in Denmark and then we also went to Canada for one day which was my favourite day of the whole tour, the club was just huge and extravagant and the crowd was completely mental so that was good. I love performing in general thought so it doesn’t really matter where it is.
Where was your favourite performance to date?
Probably Belgium, that was really cool and I’d say Nottingham as well one called ‘Gatecrasher’ and somewhere I’d love to perform cus I haven’t performed there since I was like 14 years old, is ‘The Forum’ in Kentish town, cus Im originally from North West London.
You recently released your single ‘Dangerous.’ What other projects have you been working on?
Like you said ‘Dangerous’ is out, it’s in all good online stores so make sure you get that. I’ve got a new track out called ‘Sea Sick’ which is produced by the great Davinche. Its a really nice song, its about being sick of love and just trying to get out of something but just still holding on and just knowing that you need to let go, so I think a lot of people can relate to that. I just finished working on a track with Saint he’s a new artist so watch out for him and I’ve done a tune with Ghettz.
Listen to a clip of ‘Ny – Sea Sick’ >
For more information on Ny, visit: http://www.myspace.com/nyofficial
Neelam Atique – August ’09