What first got me into your music is everything sounded so genuine. What is your work process? What do you look for when you are putting your work together?
For me, when I’m making music everything is about conveying emotion .I want to tell the story of how I feel in that moment in time. I’m not really trying to force anything; I’m not trying to follow a sound. I may hear a beat or somebody might send something through and it triggers an emotion in me and I sit in that emotion for that period of time and write how I feel and wherever the track takes me. Sometimes people send me stuff and I can’t feel it. It may be the most banging beat that I have ever heard but if I don’t feel it in that moment and I’m not in that space, it’s not something that I am going to do.
The Bus Stop EP was your first body of work that was wholly yours. Tell us a little bit about that EP and what that did for you?
I wrote it at a very tough time in my life, I was suffering a lot of turmoil. Around this time I was writing the record, my mother passed away. I wrote the first verse of the Bus Stop (the actual song itself) when my mother passed away. I was in a space where I was thinking I don’t even want to make music anymore. I’d done “A Miracle in the Making” before and I felt like I had been trying to push this music thing for a very long time and it wasn’t really getting anywhere. Obviously, I had somewhat of a fan base but it wasn’t a sizeable fan base that I wanted to have. When my mum passed it made me question whether I should continue to do music and my family was in disarray at the time. I felt like they needed me more than the music did.
Then at that time, Cordless Show nominated me for the ‘People’s Vote’ and I was faced with a dilemma of whether I take this opportunity and try and run with it and see what happens or do I just let it dwindle. One of the last things I said to my mother, at the time, was that I was going to show her what the music is going to do because she had asked me what was going on with my music and that was the last conversation that we had. So it was important to me that I maintained that and off the back of that I wrote the Bus Stop (not in its entirety). I walked into a pretty good situation. I got a distribution deal pretty early on based on performances I was doing with the Cordless Show, having won that competition. It was a good position for me to be in as it went out to the audience and people loved it and I have just built on that to be honest. This all changed the perception that people had of me, I think when I did ‘A Miracle in the Making’, I was just trying to have a laugh with it. Whereas the Bust Stop EP was a lot more of a serious and a sombre record and in some ways I am still in that sombre place. The death of a family member isn’t something that you get over easily.
You developed a bigger fan base form the Bus Stop EP, and I think everyone wants to know this, why the wait?
It has been touching 5 years! Life has its ups and downs and I was faced with a painful situation. As any artist would tell you, when you put your life and soul into something, (especially if you’re an independent artist) other things in your life take a back seat. Like I said before, I felt like my family needed me so I took a step away from music. A similar situation, even though I’m married now is that I was in a relationship at the time when the Bus Stop EP came out.
I stayed in the relationship when the EP was doing its rounds and I felt like I was giving so much to the music and my Mrs was playing the back burner all the time. It got to a point where I thought I need to step away from this music thing and not take for granted all the things in my life (beyond music) that God has given me. Take some time away, grow, feel, live. I’m not an artist that wants to be on a conveyor belt of music and just be putting music out for the sake of it. I need to have life experiences and see what effect that has on me, just to live in general and what effect that has on me as a person to grow and then I can reflect that experience and the things that I have learnt over that period of time. So four to five years is a long hiatus and I really do not expect to be gone for that amount of time again but I’m not regretful for it, I’m a married man now and I’m happy for that and my Mrs had to take the first point in my life. God first, family second and music is always going to be there and it’s something that I do, it’s something that I breathe and live but I made it everything and I couldn’t make it everything anymore!
the Train of Thought has a lot more live sounds, even in the samples. Did that come from your experience with live music?
Yes! Having gone into the scenario performing the Bus Stop EP and having that influence of the live element and also just being influenced by other artists that are coming through and made themselves self-established e.g. Kendrick Lamar. Soul and Jazz have always been a massive influence on me, since the early ages, as I grew up in a household where my father played the saxophone and the piano. I learnt to play the piano at a younger age, I’m not that great at playing it but for me the live element was important in reflecting who it is that I am as a person. In terms of creating the Train of Thought EP it was more about building it organically. With the Bus Stop EP, one of the differences was that people would send me beats and I would run with the beat that they sent me and I didn’t have a massive input into the direction with the way things went – I had little input but not a massive input. This time around I had a much bigger input in terms of the direction that things went. Things came to me as basic ideas and I worked with the producers in hand – Dem Drumz, Self-Taught Beats, to take it to the place that it is now. It’s an amazing body of work!
In a world where we have different audio sounds in the music, how important was it for you to differentiate yourself from everything going on?
When you ask a question like that it makes it seem like it is something that is overtly conscious and it’s not, I just want to be me! I’m a fan of artists like Drake, they do what they do with their sound and I’m a fan of that. My experience in life in general has been soul, has been Jazz, R and B and that Hip Hop kind of feel, that’s what I fell in love originally and also the Grime influence as well. Those are the things that I want to reflect. I think the Train of Thought EP is very reflective and it is also has a feel good vibe to it, which is good.
As an artist what space were you in whilst creating this?
There were two things. There was a frustration that was there because I didn’t feel like I was able to make music and put it out to a ready audience. Because I had made that conscious decision to step away from it so that I could pursue other things, both on a financial level amongst other things (being an independent artist). But ultimately, I was a happier person in comparison to making the Bus Stop EP, the fact that I was about to get married, that was a happy situation, therefore my music will be reflective of that happier time.
In your absence, are there any artists that you have been watching?
People like YJ, Che Lingo, Adian Coker, Kai Jones. Obviously there has been a resurgence of Grime, which has been great with people like Stormzy and Little Simz. Little Simz is the person to talk about, she is amazing and if I’m going to state anybody that has made leaps and bounds and in terms of Hip Hop I will say Simz.
We are glad you’re back…finally!
I’m glad I’m back too!