I always ask artists when I interviewed them. The pandemic has been... A lot for everyone. How would you say that it's affected how you go about creating music and recording music?
Honestly speaking, I felt like if you have a passion or shall I say a purpose, you kind of stand strong in any season. And that's why I even liked that first question you asked. Cause it just links to my new single. Where it's not about being a bad person but about the spirit you carry and being ruthless enough to get the job done. So I won't say the pandemic has slowed me down, but realistically I've seen some of my biggest blessings but that's just stemmed from me being hungry, the team being hungry, knowing that we can't stop the train. Yeah, It's been sweet [laughs]
[Laughs] That's good to hear. Because its affected people differently. Some people are actively trying not to acknowledge it within their art. So, it's good to hear that you've embraced it.
Yeah. But it should never change your hunger. No external factor should change the hunger from within. You have to deal with the reality of what's on your plate, but you have the power to control what stays on the plate and how you organise it.
Definitely. Following on from that, what would you say is the main factor that drives your hunger?
Can I keep it real? No word of lie- it's God. I feel like my faith is built in a way that it can't shake, right? There's nothing that can shake the will of God. If there's anything that ever goes wrong, I go back to Him.
Growing up in the church, I know that you have a strong attachment to music from a young age, as a lot of black artists do. So how would you say that has influenced your sound?
Anything I know, I feel like really started in church. My musical understanding of harmonies or creating songs. And it's funny because talking to my brother ATG, I realised that if we see music as our calling or the days we're young and just in church and they had us every day in rehearsal, every day practice and just being surrounded by music is what's moulded us into who we are today. Back then we just thought, oh yeah, this was the thing to do. Like all of that church really moulded me. That's why I could be in a studio for hours to create. And why? Because that was my reality. Everyday rehearsal. Overnight practice. All of this is what births talent.
So, I really want to talk about how you see your music. It's been a journey to get to where you are, but I'd say it's been a pivotal year for you. From Reload It to Issa Vibe. What would you say is the highlight of that year for you?
There are a number of reasons very special for me. I thought it was a point where me and my team sat down. I feel like until then I was trying to chase to be number one. And I feel like I just slowed down to handle what's on my plate. So I remember the year before I had three friends that passed away and life didn't feel real. So this last year, I said if all I have is 2 fans, I'm going to cater to those two fans. And I believe God will just multiply my bag on the people that listen to me. So I stopped trying to chase for that number one spot and just tried to create for those who truly rock with my sound. And I just need from the expansion and growth happens.
It's such a hard thing to, to focus on your own lane and not the one you want to be in.
Exactly, because you've been busy this year. Good Luv with Oxlade and of course, Owner. One thing that I've noticed is even from like your EP day, you've always worked with people that you're familiar with in the industry, like ATG, so is that kind of the same vibe with Owner? And tell me a little bit about like how the song actually came about.
Going back to just dealing with what's in front of you, I had a phase where I was reaching out to so many different types of producers but getting aired, but I believe it’s part of the journey so there's no bad blood with it. OluwaJBeats I've been working with him for a couple of years now and even from working with him, I remember he hit me up about the beat saying I've got a tune that he wants me and Keys (The Prince) to just jump on. Long story short, it happened by accident, how the song was constructed, we can't claim the glory for it is crazy! I really happened by accident. And we went to Charlie Mase's video shoot and afterwards we said, let's just go to the studio and it was created mostly as a joke. I had a producer that wanted to work. So instead of pushing it into the side, we ended up getting busy, bro. And it turned out to be something. Charlie and Keys have been my bros from early. It was funny because I've never worked with Keys but for years, we've been saying it needs to happen. Charlie got onto me about not inviting him to the studio so that day, it just fell into place.
You can definitely hear the chemistry both in the track itself and with the music video, I think the music video definitely brought the track to life and the way that people hear it. Was that something that you had a part in?
I don't want to say the studio session was tense, but it was more like... I remember coming up with the melody of the hook and at first it was just me and Keys and a few mandem in the studio and to be honest, I wasn't feeling the hook at first. Right. It's so funny, working on music in the studio because when I record, I go off the energies around me. So I've made the hook thinking, 'okay, I kind of like this', but no one was really saying, 'this is a madting' [laughs], but I think it's because there was pressure on Keys, like 'I need to come correct'. When Mase came through, he was thinking the same. So I'm not saying there was pressure in the room, but everyone knew they had to deliver. And I was the first one to record. So people just kind of met the bar, if that makes sense. It wasn't until the end that we realized we actually have something that's mad. The first Triller that we recorded was that around 5:00 AM in the morning, and the rest is history man.
That's the cool thing about it. I remember it blew up from the Triller itself and it just felt so authentic from that Triller to when the music video now came out - which brings me onto the remix. So what can you tell me about how the remix happened? How did it come about?
Obviously we have the big up No Signal for the push of the original but from there I remember Ramz was tweeting about the song, saying it was a madness and even Ivorian Doll would do her little hints here and there. And it was more 2-Tone that put the features and they just naturally liked the song so the remix was recorded in the space of a week. It was a blessing and at the video shoot, I remember Ramz was telling me that he's been banging the song in his car [laughs]. It's funny, because I'm thinking rah, little old me and even how the song started. You never know how far music can travel.
Definitely, but coming back to the pandemic and how it's changed a lot of plans for everyone. Do you still think that you're going in the direction you intended for 2020? Do you reckon you still have that same end goal?
I believe our job is to go and just take each step as it comes. I won't say I'm off track. I'm very grateful for everything that's happened this year. I would say if I did have plans, well, I did have plans for this year and that was to flood the game with music, the archives run deep. However, I feel like everything just happens for a reason. Nothing happens by coincidence or by accident. So I won't say I'm behind track. I'll say I'm on track for next year. Even with my latest track (Bandits). It's featuring my brother, Adz: up and coming talent at the age of 17 if I'm correct. I'm very picky with my features but he's coming with storm, a very talented guy. We're just pressing the gas all the way down. We're going - taking steps and each step is going to be bigger than the last.
What's the idea behind Bandits?
I even recorded the song in 2017 at home. Most of my songs start from small freestyles, created from energy. Bandits was created from a situation I fixed with someone. You know when people think they can step all over you? And then they move funny? That's why there's a line:
Don't come with no funny antics, 'cause me and my mandem are bloody bandits.
And it's like people move funny when they think they can. So the idea of the song is that, when you realise your worth from within, you start chasing what you want and you could be portrayed as a bad person or a bandit in their eyes. Some people hate when you put yourself first. It's all about passion but it has to be directed passion. So it's less being a bad person and closer to someone who won't give up on what they want. So it's going to take the wave.