Interviews Work

Maz Meets Luke Bingham

I’ve met many upcoming UK acts this year, but Luke Bingham was one of the few artists that really got me excited for the future of UK music.

Hey Luke. What have you been up to?

I just came off tour with Loick Essien which went well; we did all the student shows. I’ve just been in the studio writing new music and travelling.

Well, travelling is always a pro!

[laughs] Yeah it’s good but it gets boring after a while, I’ve seen too much of the motorway…

You’re supported by the BBC. How did that come about?

They do a thing called ‘BBC Introducing’ and they were visiting Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, places like that.  I submitted some tracks to them and they asked me to come and do an acoustic set in Nottingham. I did that and it led to Radio 1 playing my single… and it went off from there.

The BBC described you as “all of the members of JLS moulded into one man” pressure much?

[laughs] Well, they all play their own role in the group. Being a solo artist, you have to do it all yourself. I think the comparison was made because we are all young, urban and I’m a mixed race guy! Apart from that I don’t know… But I’m not complaining!

What has the journey been like for you since you got signed?

I got signed in April after I was on Radio 1, which was a big movement for me; that’s when Universal heard me. It’s been all ‘go go go’ since that moment. I went to LA with Radio 1 to do a performance on Sunset Boulevard and then I went on tour with Trey Songz in the UK.

Trey Songz is a big look. How was it?

It was perfect, I had my target audience. It went down well; it was one of the best performances I’ve done.

And how did LA treat you?

It was my first time in America so there was a lot of expectations.  As a British artist, they liked me, especially my accent. [Starts mimicking the American accent] I switched it up on stage and they seemed to appreciate that.

When it comes to song writing and recording, who inspires you?

I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, but currently I listen to a lot of Drake, Trey Songz, Bruno Mars and Tinie Tempah, people like that.

You’re from Leicester, right? I can’t tell by your accent… Do you live in London now or somethin’? 

[Sniggers] That is correct, I am from there. Leicester is a small place, but we aren’t out of touch, we are up to date with music. The problem is there isn’t a lot of opportunity for you to promote yourself. There are lots of opportunities in London; musically there is a lot more going on where you can get involved. But I don’t live here. I stay in Leicester a lot but mainly I’ve just been travelling up and down, on the roads. I live wherever I lay my hat at the moment…

Sorry to ask you this, but I guess you know you can’t escape it. You were in X Factor a few years ago (2006 to be exact) what do you think of the show now and what did you learn from your experience?

I was young and I didn’t know which direction to go in. Everyone said ‘you should go on X Factor’ so I tried it out – it wasn’t really my kind of thing. I’m happy that I did do it and I didn’t succeed at it – although I wanted to back then. People should realise it is a TV show not a talent show; it’s for entertainment purposes. I think right now, it has played a better role than it ever has, because it gives people a platform. You don’t have to go on it to win. Having the chance to perform on that stage will increase your fan base and give you media attention, whether you go through or you don’t.

What tips would you give singers trying to catch a break?

Its dedication that got me here. All I can say is stay dedicated, know what you want to achieve, believe in yourself and put yourself in the right place at the right time.

So what is next for Luke?

You can look out for my single which will be out real soon, in the next month or so. My promo ‘Nothing To Lose’ is currently circulating, check it out. My album is virtually completed, that will be out late next year… look out for it.

For all things Luke, holla at him on Twitter:!/Luke_Bingham

Music Work

Review: Wireless Festival 2011

On the tube down to Hyde Park Corner, the excitement mounted as I thought of the acts I was yet to see. This year was different. For once, there was a strong presence of British artists and not just ones who were ‘fillers’ for the ‘real acts’ i.e – the American artists. British music has had an amazing time over the past few years, which has led to our own sound being spread and eventually accepted across the globe. Although the festivals first headliner was The Black Eyed Peas, I was more pumped to see Example and Plan B.

Fellow NXG team member Emma Knock and I arrived fashionably late, only picking up pace after my sister called me screeching “The queues here are ABSURD, Maz! Hurry.”

Arriving in somewhat of a fluster, the queue had completely vanished, so we walked straight in. Phew. It was my first time at Wireless and I was surprised to see how relaxed it was. Its location told me to expect pure mayhem, constant barging and other typically London mannerisms.

I was massively disappointed to see that we although we had dodged the queues, we had arrived towards the end of Example’s set. I managed to glimpse a regrettably small portion of his performance of Changed the Way You Kissed Me, which was electric. We also managed to have a little groove to Far East Movement’s performance of Like a G6, which was undoubtedly one of the best high energy performances of the Friday. Although I previously doubted their longevity as artists, I could not doubt their stage presence. We then went to explore the park, which was filled with food stalls and bars of extortionate prices. I instantly regretted not smuggling a bottle in my bag as I reluctantly purchased a plastic glass half filled with rosé for £4.

Emma and I then tottered along to the main stage to check out Tinie Tempah’s highly anticipated performance. This was our second time seeing the Plumstead born rapper, after initially seeing him at the Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year. I had expected that the Pass Out star would have perfected his performances with the amount of practise he’s been having. I was disappointed to say this was not the case.  I was taken aback when Tinie freestyled over several current pop chart instrumentals and the DJ set was exactly the same as when he has performed at the Apollo, several months ago. Was he playing it safe or was he simply lazy?  Who knows, but it did not impress me. The rest of the set lacked charisma and confidence, but was overall acceptable. First time Tinie Tempah attenders would have been more than satisfied with the set; perhaps I expected too much.

Dressed all in black, I was boiling. Emma had a spare white t-shirt, so after a change of clothes right in the middle of the park (“Rock n Roll behaviour – thus totally acceptable at a festival” Emma promised) we went to find some munch before the next set, David Guetta. We grabbed a tiny portion of chips for £3 to share and sat down on the eroded grass for supper. David’s set began earlier than I realised, so we hastily finished our humble meal and tried to get a good spot in the ‘rave tent’ which was dazzling with lights, confetti, occasional fireworks and unbearable body heat. We were unlucky in this pursuit (which suited me, I was hot and my new pink shoes had been trampled on enough) so we watched from a distance. With his large audience, I was surprised that he was not on the main stage, but the rave tent was perfectly suited for him; it was almost made for his vibe of music. Mass amounts of bodies grinded, swayed and jumped about to When Love Takes Over, Sexy Chick, I Gotta Feeling and many of his other dance floor fillers.

Restless, we moved along to witness the remainder of Plan B’s set on the main stage. Dressed in his signature black suit and tie, he looked, sounded and acted the part. His song choices had a slight alternative music/rock edge, which prompted me to question which genre his future album will reflect. Although I prefer Plan B’s urban sounds, it was clear that he knows what he can get away with in terms of diverse music and he also knows what he is comfortable with and it works for him. Witnessing his set was to see a true artist perform, one with as many layers as an onion.

Next up was the headliners, what most people were here to see. The Black Eyed Peas.

For the rest of my review, please go to the NXG website where the original article can be found: