Interview: Tinchy Stryder

Having predicted his future with his first number one single, the aptly titled ‘Number One’, 26-year-old musician, music executive and CEO of Takeover Roc Nation, Tinchy Stryder is currently prepping the release of his fourth studio album ‘Full Tank.’ The Star in the Hood sat down with The Wrap Up’s Alya Mooro ahead of the release of the album to talk expectations, pressure and what the next step entails…

The Wrap Up: Your first studio album was released in 2007. How do you think your sound has evolved since you first began?

Tinchy Stryder: I was actually listening to my first album ‘Star In The Hood’ the other day… it feels more raw, you can hear some held back anger, you can hear the fire and the hunger in me. From that to the next album ‘Catch 22’ I had grown more as a person and as an artist; I’d been through different things in life and [was] working with different producers. That was the most successful album I’ve had and that’s where I got all my chart hits. People might have been like ‘woah he’s actually changed’ but that’s like telling someone, ‘I remember you when you was this year old’, and a few years later you’re exactly the same. It doesn’t make sense, you have to grow and evolve.

TWU: Can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from your next album?

Tinchy: I feel like I’m starting again. It feels fresh and I feel that how I’m delivering and what I’m speaking about… I’m more sure of myself now. I’ve learnt, I’m still learning. Every time I’ve been in the studio recently I feel it is something powerful, and sometimes it’s a good problem because we’ve got too much to pick from. But I’m going to be real harsh with myself this time.

TWU: Where did you draw inspiration for your tracks for the upcoming album?

Tinchy: I’m talking about things like when everything looked down in music… where people are doubting and thinking ‘well, he’s done, what’s he gonna do now?’ Or even relationships. I’m opening up because a lot of people might think, ‘oh, what’s happening with you and her, what’s happening with them, what’s happening with music?’ I’m just laying it out and letting people know that we can all relate to each other in one way or another.

TWU: Having already had quite a few number ones, do you feel a pressure with your upcoming offering?

Tinchy: I did on my third album. I feel like it is not just me personally, but a lot of people on the team. Say I had a track and my first single got to number 10, they’d be like, ‘okay that was cool but maybe we need to do something else’ and I’m thinking ‘whoa! Where I come from we don’t even dream of top 40’s…’ You learn more from failure than success, which I’ve been told and experienced.

TWU: Having already achieved so much, what’s your next goal?

Tinchy: One of my main goals in my music career is to have a world arena tour. Just going around the world and everyone knowing your music… That’s one of the biggest goals I’d love to one day hopefully achieve. I don’t know how long it will take but you never know. Hard work pays.

TWU: You’ve worked with many artists. Who has been your favourite artist to work with so far?

Tinchy: I’d have to say Dappy. My first number one was with him; we did another track, ‘Spaceship’ and that got to number 5… it’s just fun. We’re friends, we get along, we speak about things other than just music. The connection and the natural chemistry is there when we work together. People keep asking us ‘maybe you should do another track or do an album together…’ you never know. Maybe we should get in the studio again.

TWU: If you could work with anyone in the future, who would you want it to be?

Tinchy: I’d have to say Kanye West. I think he’s just a genius – everything he does. When I listen to his tracks I feel like I’m watching a movie. Not many people can do that.

TWU: Who’s your guilty pleasure, music wise?

Tinchy: Ooof! I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure, maybe some people wouldn’t expect me to like it but… Taylor Swifts’ latest song. I saw her performing it and I was like ‘oh! This is your song I’ve been singing along to on the radio.’

TWU: When’s the last time you were star struck?

Tinchy: I don’t really get star struck but when I saw Jermaine Jackson, I guess you could call it star struck… I was in a hotel in Dubai, everyone was talking normally but it felt like the place went silent. Everything felt like it was in slow motion then I just turned and I see him coming through. When he came and shook my hand I felt like ‘whoa!’ Some people just have that presence… I guess the only person who I’d have been star struck in front of would be Michael Jackson; rest in peace. When I was young I didn’t think he was human, everything seemed too perfect.

TWU: It’s pretty hard for urban artists to chart in the UK. What do you think makes you so different?

Tinchy: I think when I first came through I was doing something no one else was really doing. People love music but they have to like you and your whole character, your image. I was just being myself and people naturally connected; I’m just showing that it can be done; you can go from nothing to something. People can have great songs that might not chart, or songs that might not be as good that chart and it’s like ‘what’s happening?’ But it’s deeper than that. Everyone’s special in a way but not everyone’s chosen. I’m still trying to work out if I’m chosen or not.

TWU: What can we expect from your upcoming tour and what are you most excited by?

Tinchy: I want to keep it intimate. I like when it’s closer and they’re few venues. As the year is ending I was like, ‘you know what, there are a few shows I want to do but no more than a certain amount… and after that I’m not doing anymore.’ Next year everything’s fresh so I thought I might as well do a mini tour and just have fun with it. [I’m most looking forward to] being on stage. I actually love performing.

As written for MTV WrapUp

Tinchy Stryder x Alya Mooro


14-yr old Young Money R&B star Torion: How Huge Can This Get? | Interview

Young Money’s youngest signee Torion has been turning heads as of late with his mixtapes The Initiation Vol. 1 and 2: The Dream Sequence. The 14-year-old R&B newcomer, hailed by some as Hip Hop’s Justin Bieber, first emerged onto the scene in 2011 but as of yet not much is known about him bar some videos and an introduction from Lil Wayne.

Reporting for SoulCulture, Alya Mooro caught up with the rising star over Skype to learn more about his inner workings.

Click here to read the rest of the interview as written for SoulCulture. :

moorizZLA interviews Ed Sheeran | From the Vault

Rummaging around in my vault of written pieces the other day I stumbled across this interview I did with Ed Sheeran. Around this time last year (January 2011 – when the interview was conducted) the now household name who receives receptions of Justin Bieber proportions was relatively unknown. Crazy to imagine.

Check out my interview with him below.

Born in the winter of 1991, singer-songwriter and loope-pedal expert Ed Sheeran is as eclectic as it gets: the first record he bought (at the age of eight) was Bob Dylan, and he grew up listening to all manner of folk music, rock and roll and hip hop. This variety of influences is evident in his current music style, which blends acoustic guitar, folk and hip hop. I had a chat with Ed – over a rather crackly phone line- to find out more about his broad-ranging tastes and big name collaborations.

Ed has recently worked with many of the most prominent figures in UK hip hop and grime – the likes of Devlin, Wiley, Ghetts and Wretch 32 – but when asked about his role in the UK urban scene Ed doesn’t really think he has one: “I think I’ve just been collaborating with these guys because I’m a big fan of their music. My favourite music to listen to is hip hop,” he says, but he seems to believe that his role is more in the UK acoustic scene.

Originally wanting to be an artist and “sort of like paint and stuff”, Ed began writing songs aged eleven, and realised that music was his calling by the age of fourteen. The early starter writes his songs influenced by real life events, rather than simply a case of beauty over truth. ‘The A-Team’, for example, is a heart-wrenching song written about someone he met while doing some work at a homeless shelter. ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ on the other hand is a slightly more upbeat, tongue in cheek example of his work and was, Ed explains, “written in a state of sort of anger at the industry” – something that’s evident in lyrics such as “let me sing and do my thing and move to greener pastures”.

And it seems Ed has reached those greener pastures – he released multiple independent records before getting signed to Atlantic Records at the beginning of 2011. But is he worried about the fate of his eclectic music style at the hands of a major record label? In short, no. “Because all my previous work is independent,” he explains, “I’ve kind of proven myself in that respect. I’m now allowed to sort of make the album I want to make, in the way I want to make it.”

Despite his rising stardom Ed seems unchanged by his recent success. Apart from being a genuinely nice guy to have a chat with he says that nothings really changed: “I’m still friends with the same people I was friends with before,” he says, although he does admit that his success has definitely affected some of the people around him. “I can’t really do the same things any more, like it’s not got to the level where I can’t walk down the street and stuff, but I can’t go out to clubs and expect not to sort of be harassed… but I guess that kind of comes with the job.”

With a slew of shows in the coming months, the two at the Borderline in London already sold out, it look’s like big things are lined up for the humble protagonist. When asked what he hopes to have achieved by 2012, in case the world really does end then, he responds, “hopefully have a number one album.” Ed pauses, and then repeats the phrase. After his last EP ‘No. 5 Collaborations Project’ battled it out with Rihanna for the number one spot on iTunes this is a goal that seems more than likely. My advice to you? Quickly jump on the Ed Sheeran bandwagon before it gets full.

*note* Ed did have that number one album which recently went double platinum. He has also been nominated for 4 brit awards. That’s alot to achieve in just under a year!

Interview with Martyna Baker

Alya Mooro sits down with the talented Martyna Baker to talk influences, new projects and music in general for Streets on Demand. (As well as her love for Cher Lloyd… #NoComment.) Stay tuned ’till the end when Ms. Baker gives an acoustic performance of (my personal favourite) ‘Don’t take my eyes.’

Props to Chiba Productions for filming and editing. More of the sort will be coming your way soon.

Interview with Mz. Bratt

Cleopatra Humphrey, better known as Mz Bratt is an electro-grime emcee hailing from London. Currently working on her debut album, her name – an acronym for ‘be real and teach truth’ – is a familiar one. Her story, not so much.

Having grown up in a home which housed a recording artist, her father, (MC Scallywag from the 1990’s acid house sound system Spiral Tribe​), music was evidently a prominent part of her every day life. Thus describing herself as a “second generation MC,” she attributes much of her current sound to the influence her father had on her.

Click here to read the rest of the interview as written for SoulCulture

Interview with Sincere.

Debuting for Streets On Demand, I took to the streets of Hackney, (or rather its Premises studios) for an interview with up and comer Sincere. Currently on tour supporting Wretch 32 (and receiving an abundance of love on it) the North London based rapper is pegged for big things.

Check out our chat about tattoos, the direction hip hop is taking, his influences, and more.

Stay tuned for more of the sort coming your way soon.

Filmed and edited by Chiba Productions.