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