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Context, local MC and singer who's worked with Mike


Skinner amongst others was blown away to hear he's the first act (apart from some unknown singer called Taylor


Swift) to play at Norwich's Radio One Big Weekend 2015.He left Norwich to pursue his music career in London and has been busy making huge tunes like Drowning and 1.4 at 12. I grabbed a chat with him to find out just how excited he is to be playing such a huge gig in his own city.


How excited are you to be playing at the Big Weekend in Norwich in May? It's class! Not just for me but for the whole area. Norwich gets overlooked so often, so for Radio 1 to support the area in this way is quality. You moved from Norwich to London a few years back. What prompted the move? It’s a mixture of things really. But the fact is, as much as I love Norwich, London is where 'the music industry' is. I needed to get involved in that world. I don't think I would have been signed to EMI last year unless I had moved to London. You also did Economics at UEA. Did you learn anything on the course that’s been of use to you in the music industry? Weirdly it was actually the other way round! My dissertation at university was a case study of the economics of my life as a musician, so really my experience of the music industry taught me how to approach economics at Uni. What support did you get in Norwich whilst you were developing your style? When I was first starting out I'll always remember local promoters like Chrome from Def Tex giving me my first ever gig and really giving me the chance to learn. Tey also used to do rap battles at Sonic


on Prince of Wales (it's not called that anymore) and I remember that was the first bit of rapping I ever did. I was pretty naff, but I think I won like £200 or something. It was a great learning experience. How would you describe your music? Does it fit into any specific genre? I guess it is rap music, but you know I haven't really thought of myself as a rapper for a long time. Te next few singles I've got coming out are a whole range of musical styles but I guess 'rap' is the thread that links them all together. What or who are your influences as an MC and a singer? I like anyone who is unashamedly themselves, who just "is", and has their own approach. Musically I sound nothing like Giggs, but I love how he just does his own thing. Drake is like that too. Mike Skinner was. Tat's the vibe I like. You give your music away for free digitally and aren’t currently signed to a label; is this an eventual aim or would you rather stay independent even though it’s harder work in some ways? I want a major label situation if I'm honest. Being independent is a relentless struggle and you are endlessly getting kicked in


the teeth. I've got the publishing deal with EMI, and the label time will come. For now I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing. How do you go about writing a track? It depends really. For 1.4 at 12, which came out last year, I wrote the lyrics first based on things I'd seen; the words just fed into the beat. Small Town Lad Sentiments was the same. But like, the most recent one, Dreams Don't Live Here Anymore, I got sent the beat and closed my eyes and wrote it in one go. It literally took me less than 5 minutes; It was the same with the track Drowning, I actually sang that chorus in one go, melodically. I heard the track, and sang the first thing that came into my head. No words, just humming the melody. Te words came later. So it really depends. Mike Skinner remixed your track Small Town Lad Sentiments; I thought he did a great job. How did that come about? He heard the original track on Mista Jam’s show on 1Xtra. He started following me on Twitter straight away, DM'd me saying he wanted to remix the track and one week later it was done. Ten he hit me up saying he wanted to do a video, and I agreed on the condition we could film it in Norwich. It was a mental few weeks actually! Your music tends to be pretty dark, looking at the underside of life in London. Do you think that if you’d stayed in Norwich you would have wanted to rap about different subjects? It’s hard to say. Te thing is, London exposes you to a harsh world of extremes. I live a weird mixture of lavish indulgence and turmoil. I kind of like it that way though! You sing on some of your tracks, like Drowning. Was that a big step for you, to move from MC’ing to singing? It was. But it was one of the best things I've ever done musically. It feels completely natural to me now, and I find it's a whole different approach to expressing yourself. You’ve just released a new video for the track Dreams Don’t Live Here Anymore that you made with Great Skies. Might there be an album out in 2015? Maybe. We'll have to see how the hype builds over the next few months!


Lizz Page


Context will be playing at Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Earlham Park on 23rd and 24th May. You can enter the free ticket ballot via R1's website in the next coming months.


outlineonline.co.uk / February 2015 / 37


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