Throwback Interview: Skepta on Kanye West and ‘Konnichiwa’

Interviews, Music, Work

skepta

Watching the artists you root for on the road to achieving their aspirations is an inspiring thing. The 2015 BRIT Awards were aired last week (February 25) and Kanye West’s performance was certainly a highlight.

Albeit largely muted live, ‘All Day’ saw ‘Ye rap surrounded by around 50 dudes in all black everything – including the likes of Skepta, Stormzy, Novelist, Krept & Konan, Jammer and other notable faces from the grime / UK rap scene.

It took me back to when I caught up with Skepta in the autumn of 2013 for MTV. “If there was one person I could work with it would probably be Kanye West,” he told me.

Interview: Chris Webby Talks UK Rap & Tatts

Interviews, Music, Work

chris webby

I had a quick chat with Connecticut rapper Chris Webby recently, who touched on the UK scene, imaginary dinner invites and his favourite tattoos…

Interview: Neelam Gill Talks Burberry, Staying Fit… & Tupac

Interviews, Work

Neelam G

A little while back I did a Q&A with the beaut Neelam Gill, which was pretty exciting – this girl be killing it. The Coventry-born 19-year-old has already made an epic move in her career when she became Burberry’s first ever Indian model, joining names such as Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss. We talk about her most  memorable runway show thus far, favourite Tupac lyrics and not being afraid of dancing for a dare. 

‘Refugee’ Artist Nadya Talks “Fighting The Fucking Power”

Interviews, Work

nayda artwork

Anyone who knows me well knows it’s been a long-time ambition of mine to wife M.I.A – there aren’t enough artists, in my opinion, who are comfortable acting out the true definition of living outside of the box. That’s fine because Lord knows I can get down to some Justin Bieber if the mood strikes, but a breath of fresh air, especially when it’s delivered by a woman (girl power!) is always exciting.

Enter Nadya. The Swedish-born artist who originates from Iran recently released her debut solo single ‘Refugee’ and as you can tell by the title, it’s a pleasantly blunt burst to the eardrums.

I asked her a few questions for MTV’s The Wrap Up and thought I’d post some of the interview – you can peep here alongside the lyric video for ‘Refugee’. Let me know what you think of her!

5 Minutes With The Lovely Shystie

Interviews, Music, Work

Shy main

I’ve been a fan of Shystie since she catapulted herself onto the scene with her remake of Dizzee Rascal‘s ‘I Luv U’, subsequently releasing heartfelt and hard hitting tracks that are unlikely to be forgotten, from ‘One Wish’ to ‘Make It Easy’. Around 10 years later, I got to have a real quick chat with the rapper, actress and sometimes model about her latest track ‘Stop’ featuring Jalissa for MTV‘s The Wrap Up.

Peep an excerpt here…

The Time I Met Lauryn Hill

Interviews, Music

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I went to the Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 in London on Sunday (September 28) to see the one and only Lauryn Hill perform – obviously, I had heard people moaning about how it was sub par – the sound wasn’t right, she performed her songs in a weird manner – i.e not the way we hear it on the album – which made them unrecognizable… she was also late. However, I walked into the venue with none of that in mind – can I also just say that the venue is pretty awesome; I will definitely be getting my wave on and bowling there in the near future (picture me rollin’). 

Throwback Interview: IISuperwomanII

Interviews, Work

superwoman

So I interviewed YouTube star IISuperwomanII earlier this year and it was one of the most interesting chats I’ve had in a while – I genuinely feel like I share something with this woman, I can relate to her in many respects. We spoke about her rap career before #LEH, her role in Dr. Cabbie which got her juices going for acting and eating ice cream with M.I.A BECAUSE SOMETIMES LIFE GETS REAL.

I’ve re-posted it from MTV right below – enjoy and that!

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Maz Chats to Amy Childs

Interviews, Work

Amy Childs is only 21, yet after her rise to fame in The Only Way Is Essex, she became a highly-powered business woman in her own right.

Juggling a beauty salon, clothing line, TV shows and her new fitness DVD among other projects, Amy manages to stay down-to-earth, telling Flavour that she is still “a normal girl” – although she still maintains her crown as the ‘Vajazzling’ queen. Flavour’s Maz Khan speaks to the reality star-turned-entrepreneur to find out about her latest ventures…

Hey Amy! So, tell us about your new fitness DVD ?

Hey hun! Well, so many girls tweet me asking ‘Amy, how do you stay in shape?’

I’ve always been into fitness, going to the gym and for runs, and I eat sensibly. I won’t lie to you, I do eat sh*t food, but I balance it out. But I had so many women asking me what my routine was; I just thought I had to bring out a DVD.

What makes it stand out from the others?

I wanted to make it very different, not the same as the normal fitness DVD’s. It is really hard, but once you get into it, you really enjoy it. It gets you working hard. I’ve tried other DVD’s and I thought they were too easy. Mine is easy, but it gets harder. That’s what I wanted; something where you are actually working the body and you actually see the difference.

I’ve also put a bit of Essex in there as well, all the catch phrases, I’ve made it entertaining! What I like about the DVD is that even I struggle to do it. I watched it the other day, and yes it is hard, but you feel really good after you’ve completed it. I noticed a difference in my arms after a week.

Out of all of the cast members on TOWIE, you gained the most success. Why do you think that is?

I hate saying this because I don’t want to be horrible, but in TOWIE I was totally myself, I never put on an act, the banter was real. I never bitched about anyone, that’s not me. You know, it’s also about who is managing you.

I left TOWIE in season 2 and everyone was like ‘Amy, it’s the worst thing you can do’ but when I went on Big Brother I got loads of endorsements. My manager Claire told me that once I left, I was offered so much more work than what I did when I was in TOWIE. I’ve always been normal and I’m still a normal girl now. But all of the other cast members have done so well, not just me. It is probably because I left first… who knows.

Do you ever think of returning to TOWIE?

I would maybe like to return to TOWIE in 5 years’ time, the best thing I ever did was leaving. There was a lot of things they stopped us from doing, like I was asked to present ‘This Morning’, but I wasn’t allowed. But the show made me and I will never forget what it did for me, I still love TOWIE and I still watch it. I just think that it was my time to go.

Your new fashion line is amazing. Have you always been so glamorous?

You can ask all my friends, before TOWIE I was a beautician. Even if I have a hangover, I would always put my make up on! I’ve always, always, always been glam. I just do it to feel good about myself. Every morning, I can’t wait to get up and glam myself up. It might sound weird, but I love the eyelashes, the lipstick… it’s just about feeling good about yourself. Even if I am sitting indoors on my own, I have to put my make up on. People say to me ‘OMG Amy, you’ve lost the plot!’

Who or what inspired your fashion line?

I’ve always loved fashion and I’ve always liked to look different. I’m girly, sometimes sophisticated, I like to try a bit of everything.  I love Victoria Beckham, her dresses are amazing and she inspired my long, fitted dresses. I would love to send her one of my dresses. I think she would like them because they are very her. There are some really fun, girly bits, like sparkly playsuits. There are items you could wear to Ascot, a wedding, a festival… so there is variety.

I heard you are in talks about a new TV show, is that true?

It is true, yeah, there is a lot going on. I can’t mention a lot, but me and Harry [her cousin] have got a project coming soon which we are so excited about and there may be another show with me and Harry. There is a lot happening with me and Harry because they see the banter – when we were in TOWIE, everyone loved me and Harrys’ energy, it was entertaining. So we are in talks about what kind of show we want to do, but we are not sure which channel to pick as yet.

So we should look out for you on our screens around summertime?

Definitely! Maybe a bit later, as I launch my perfume in September, so there is quite a lot coming up!

How do you cope with your personal life being splashed in the papers?

[Laughs] I’m still a normal girl. Even though the paparazzi are always waiting for me, in London, outside my house, I still do normal things. I still go out for dinner with my family, you know? Sometimes I want to go to the cinema on a Saturday night but you can’t… but look, I’ve got some lovely fans and I have a lovely life, I’m still really close to my family. They say you change when your life is under the public eye but I haven’t changed one bit.

Do you read what is written about you?

When I first came under the spotlight, things I read really made me laugh, like ‘Amy is going out with Peter Andre’ – I was associated with everybody! You just gotta laugh. I was constantly reading ‘Amy was caught with blah blah’ and it’s like ‘what?’ I was indoors last night! In this life, you just gotta get on with it. If you can’t laugh about it, it will just tear you apart.

You are only 21, where would you like to be when you are 25?

I’d love to just be doing what I am doing. The clothing line… I love beauty so I’d love to have salons across the country. I’d also love to launch a beauty training academy, as I’m so into my beauty.

How is the salon going?

OMG the salon is lovely hun! I literally have an 8 week waiting list so it’s really mental!

Is vajazzling still popular?

OMG on a Saturday, no joke, we have a girl in and she is the vajazzle QUEEN! We open 9 – 6 and she vajazzles throughout the whole day. It’s a big thing still; people come down from everywhere to get it done. It’s still mental! I am the vajazzle queen, I am!

Since you have so much going on, where can we find out what you’re up to?

Check out Amy Childs Official to see what I’m up to, or say hello on twitter.

Amy’s DVD, ‘Fit In 30 Days’, is out now on Amazon.

 

 

Maz Chats to Charlie Sloth

Interviews, Work

Charlie Sloth is The Man when it comes to UK rap. With his new radio show and his fresh involvement with The Hub Entertainment, I speak to the “sexiest fat guy in the universe” about his plans for the future…

Hey Charlie! What you been up to?

Hey Maz! I’ve just been working hard, doing shows, in the studio, stuff for the BBC…

Let’s talk ‘Fire in the Booth’. Did you think it would ever be this popular?

Um… would it sound like I have a big head if I said I did?! I was very confident that by using the platform I had been given at 1xtra and the presence I already had on YouTube, that I could make a great success of it.

For sure! So that being said, can you tell us about the upcoming ‘Fire in the Booth’ tour?

I’m gonna be doing an 8-leg tour here in the UK. I will be inviting along previous guests who have been to the show. I haven’t actually nailed the name of the tour; obviously it will ‘Fire in the Booth…’ something! There will be artists like K Koke, English Frank, Black the Ripper, Political Peak, Lowkey… all the guys that have been successful on the show. They will get 20 minutes to do their thing, and at the end there will be a cypher with everyone who performed on the night, doing real freestyles.

You are giving underrated artists their chance to shine; but do you think they will ever get the success that they deserve?

I think we’re in that transition period now where it’s a lot more accessible; it’s more in demand than it has ever been. People are really paying attention to what is going on in the rap world over here. Even people in The States… like when Drake came over, he reached out to Sneakbo… People ARE paying attention.

You were independent before you joined The Hub entertainment. How have things changed since?

I’ve always had a team, but I like to do things myself – I’m very hands on. I like to make myself accessible where business is involved. It was a big step, me getting involved with The Hub, but I think it was a great move as they are a very young, fresh company.

They’re very hungry and it represents what I’m about. I feel like I’m in the same position as them; young hungry and with a point to prove. I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s hard to let go of the reins, but I know I’m never gonna get to the point that I wanna get to on my own, I need a team and people I can trust.

Your new rap show debuted this month. Tell us what we can expect from the show.

It is on BBC Radio 1 and will be similar to my show on BBC 1xtra, but I’m just taking it to a bigger audience. We will be travelling to a new city at least once a month and doing the show from there. My plan for the show is to make the scene a UK scene, rather than a London-centric one. I think in the UK we are so behind in terms of development…

10 years ago in the US, if you weren’t from New York, it weren’t happening for you. It is very much the same here, if you aren’t from London, you ain’t getting that airplay. But now in the states, everyone is united and that is how it became a global business – it was a big massive cake that everyone could eat from. I feel that over here we are very close to reaching that stage; I wanna help through that transition period and be the guy that takes it there.

As the music expert, which up and coming artists are you rating this year?

Black the Ripper is one of the most credible MC’s, Political Peak, Youngen, DVS, English Frank, Mic Righteous… I think they are names that will become a lot more popular this year.

Tinie Tempah broke a lot of boundaries. Who do you think will be the next artist to do that?

In my opinion personally it would be K Koke. He has the ability to be appreciated and respected by the American street audience. Tinie Tempah is accepted by the mainstream world and celebrated as an artist. But we are yet to have an artist who has really captivated the streets.

Giggs came very close; he has a lot of heat out there in certain parts of the states. But I think K Koke has that appeal where he can tap into the street market over there. They are calling out for something new and fresh, they’ve heard it all before. He has the depth, substance and edge – for me, that is what is missing right now.

There is no real rebellion on the charts, someone who says “f*ck you and f*ck society” and I think it has got a bit boring because of that. I think people want that though and I think that is what is next, to be honest.

Fingers crossed! But what is next for Charlie Sloth?

I hope to be the guy that was known and is known for taking UK rap over the line. I’ve got a lot of things happening this year that I wish I could talk about, but I can’t yet. A lot of things are happening Stateside; I recently got my US work visa! I got a situation with one of the biggest film companies out there and we’ve been working on a project for the last year. The next few years are definitely going to be very exciting… And there is gonna be a lot more Charlie Sloth in everyone’s faces!

Catch Charlie Sloth on Radio 1 every Tuesday from 2 – 4am.

Don’t forget to follow the man himself on twitter for the latest.

Maz Chats to Jermaine Riley

Interviews, Work

He’s been compared to Omarion and Usher and his latest single, ‘Key To The City’, has been busy racking up YouTube views. He was in one of the UK’s most innovative R&B bands, Fun*dmental, and was signed to Ne-Yo’s label before deciding to fly solo. I chat to the singer on behalf of MTV…

The Wrap Up: Hi Jermaine! So, after being in Fun*dmental, how does it feel being a solo act?

Jermaine Riley: There is a lot more freedom. I was in a group for 10 years, so a huge part of who I thought I was as an artist is missing now. But I’ve replaced that with a different type of confidence. Once you find your own signature and you know what you wanna represent, it makes it a lot easier. I think the first stage of me being a solo artist was difficult, but I found myself when I put out ‘Key To The City’ – which is why it is so significant to me, in terms of the look, vibes and feel. I’m a lot more comfortable now and now I feel that I can do this. I feel like I’m ready.

TWU: The Fun*dmental sound was definitely ahead of its time, yet never really reached mainstream success. How do you feel about that?

Jermaine Riley: I feel that we were recognised by our peers and fans, our following was huge! But people lose sight of the business side of things. The business side of it was not taken care of the way it should have been and our team wasn’t right. I don’t think we had the right players representing us when they needed to. We bounced from being with independent labels to major labels to Ne-Yo and all that, but it didn’t work because the team wasn’t right, regardless of our situation. Our talent couldn’t over-shadow the business side, and that is ultimately why I left the group. Not because I had beef with the guys, but because I didn’t agree with the way we were moving forward. I had to do my own thing and find a new team.

TWU: So, what happened when you went to America?

Jermaine Riley: Before Ne-Yo came on board, it was pandemonium. We went on a school tour for four months around L.A and we really saw the potential of what we could be in America. When we joined Ne-Yo’s company and it was kinda their responsibility to take us to that next level and help us create an album that would blow up globally. We recorded an album in Atlanta with Ne-Yo and were going to start touring with him in Europe. But, again, it was the business stuff. The label didn’t pay the money to get us on the European and Japanese tour. It just didn’t work out.

TWU: Describe your sound in three words…

Jermaine Riley: Fun, distinctive and emotive.

TWU: What did you hope to achieve with your album, ‘Hello Earth’?

Jermaine Riley: I wanted to achieve respect as a songwriter and to build my fanbase so that people take note that I can do this by myself. That’s all I wanted to do with the album, which is why I didn’t mind releasing it for free. People were like, ‘Are you looking for a record label now then?’ I was like, ‘Not really!’ That wasn’t the purpose of the album, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, and that wasn’t to get signed. I think I’m achieving what I wanted now, my following is growing and the respect is growing. My video for ‘Key To The City’ debuted on MTV Base and that was without a label or a budget behind the project, it was just people who believed in me, so I’m really thankful.

TWU: And lastly, where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Jermaine Riley: Last year taught me that so much can happen in six months. Ideally, I’d like to be in the seventh row at the Grammy Awards – not necessarily for my stuff, but for something I’ve been involved in. But I don’t wanna put my dreams in a box, as anything can happen. Other than that, I’ll be continuing to write for other artists. I’d also like to sign and work with other artists and just generally stay creative. For now, though, I’m just going to carry on doing a bunch of shows, live my dream and provide for my family.