Tinie Tempah – Just a Kid from South London, Interview
by Anna Denejkina
Tinie Tempah – Just a Kid from South London
Written for Future Entertainment
Originally published on February 23, 2012
“I still consider myself as just that kid fromSouth London, that’s trying to make something happen with my music.” With nominations spanning from the Urban Music Awards to the coveted The Mercury Prize, and wins at the Ivor Novello Awards, the BET Awards and the Brit Awards, these are Tinie Tempah’s frank words, and the epitome of him trying not to lose his head in the course of his out-breaking success.
His breakthrough record, the aptly titled ‘Disc-Overy’, was also his inaugural full-length release – and still riding the wave of what the current musical climate rarely allows: success from the first album, Tinie Tempah is returning to Australia for The Future Music Festival and his never ending summers.
“The fact that people on the other side of the world have been able to hear it [my music] and have been able to react in the way that they have, and receive it so well, it’s been a blessing and it’s been so incredible for me!” exclaimed Tinie.
“To be able to come out there and showcase my music, and even hear people sing it and rap it back, has been just as awesome,” he continued. “So I’m very, very flattered and honored.”
Since the 2010 release of Tempah’s aforementioned debut, ‘Disc-Overy’, and through the hysteria and pandemonium of the last eighteen months, the English rapper has been writing and recording his as-yet-untitled sophomore album, which is currently, and very tentatively, scheduled for an August release, with the first single ready to drop around May.
“I feel like I needed this amount of time to get it right and get it ready… it’s definitely going to be worth the wait,” began Tinie. “I just really wanted to take my time with it and get it right. I’m currently in the middle of it trying to wrap it up – just after I get back from Australia.”
Describing the excitement he feels for the forthcoming release and its sound, Tinie continued to unfurl more about his new work. “There is so much new music for people to enjoy and go crazy to, get emotional about, and really listen to how much I’ve grown as a person.”
With rumors of album delays circulating via the world-wide-web, Tinie clarified that the timing of the new release was completely in his own predilection, following his frantic promotional schedule of ‘Disc-Overy’, and the blurred and unclear vision that this life-style can bring.
“If I’m being quite honest with you, there wasn’t actually any delay, it was a personal preference,” he began. “I always thought that after I released my first album, I would love to release another one near an exact year after it. But after the entire promo schedule we did, I just felt like it wouldn’t be the right thing to do, like it would be at a detriment to myself,” he expressed.
“I didn’t have the clearest head in the world because I was so overwhelmed with everything that was going on,” Tinie continued. “I thought it would be an injustice to make an album where I really wasn’t explaining everything in the greatest detail that I could at the time.”
Tinie’s candid descriptions and his allusions to the personal tension that this existence can bring were unified in his explanation of the lyrical concepts behind his new record; notions dealing with his reality since the release of the first album. Calling it music in “real time” and “relative” to his current state-of-mind, experiences and the pathway to getting into his present position, what the audience sees, hears and reads about the artist, is what he confers through his lyrics.
“Whatever you see on the T.V. and whatever you see people spin in the papers, and whatever you see when you read my interviews or see me in the viral, on the YouTube videos, more or less, what I’m talking about over some pretty amazing music – in some pretty fine detail – is letting people know that I got here and you can get here too. Or “I got here and it fucking fucked up”, or “I got here and it’s amazing and I’ve done this, and I’ve seen this thing, and I’ve met these people…” So as you can imagine, over the past eighteen months, so many thing have happened. Oh god so many things!” he laughed, with his smile being felt through the telephone conversation. “More than you’d ever imagine, more so than it happened through a life time before it took me to write the first album.
“It should be pretty fun to see how people react to it,” Tinie said. “Because it definitely has advanced and I’m really excited about it.”
Tempah’s well publicized friendship with Adele has lead to more hearsay regarding their collaboration, which, to this date, has not thrived, and yet, hasty commentators have supposed otherwise. Remarking that he has not worked with Adele, “we’ve just become really good friends,” Tinie’s musical ambitions became clear in that of his want to create a personal bequest, and never use another’s success in order to push his own title.
“I’ve mentioned it [collaboration] to her,” he commented, “but she is in a crazy position and I totally respect that. She has been able to do the unthinkable with ‘21’ and it is really a colossal feat. God knows where my headspace was after the success of my album…
“If the right song does come about and we’re both in the right place at the right time, then why not… but I want to create my legacy,” Tinie explained. “More than anything that’s inspired me: it is to know that if you put your head down you can make a consistently great record that you know the whole world can connect with and wants to go out there and support. So I reckon you can do that on your own, you don’t have to have any other eyes – not saying that I won’t, but it’s definitely inspired me to start thinking a bit more like that. So, if it happens it would be great, but either way it will be alright.”
Feeling overwhelmed through his life changes following his debut release, Tinie expressed how fortunate he was in the recording of his forthcoming studio album. Giving descriptions of an anxiety when faced with the prospect of recoding in New York, his team did not allow for more pressure, sending him to his home, to London, and to the first studio he has recorded in, allowing him the space and trust of the people he knows, and for himself to be completely honest and open with his creativity and his writing of some of the most personal work to date.
“I was supposed to record the album in New York and I was like: “Shit I can’t record this album in New York! I can’t be away from London and what’s going on in London; away from my family and away from the person who usually records my music – or all the producers I know and love and I can get really personal with – to be in some flaky studio in New York with a sound engineer I’ve never met, recording an album that is supposed to be about some of the most personal experiences over the past eighteen months!” That’s not going to work.”
Despite the wear-and-tear of the beloved studio, humorously describing it as “a little shoddy”, Tinie was home, he was finally grounded, and his head was in the right space. “It’s nice, it’s a little bit of a juxtaposition, but more importantly, it makes me feel really comfortable,” he expressed.
“For that reason alone, it’s been amazing. I can literally go to the studio and go to my Mom’s house, or go to the studio and hang out with Dizzee [Rascal] or Tinchy [Stryder] or Chris Martin, because everyone is in London, and I didn’t have all these things before…. So I think it’s nothing but a good thing. I’m feeling really good about it.”