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You might not know Tinie Tempah by name, but you know his hit single “Written In The Stars” cause it’s one of AMP’s Top Songs.
The London MC recently stopped by the Bud Light Lime Lounge at the AMP Radio studios. Since his visit he’s made his debut performance in the U.S. at Cinespace in Hollywood, CA and most recently at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX.
Tinie has also picked up two Brit Awards for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Single for “Pass Out.” The UK sensation has made his way across the pond and it seems his ultimate success is obviously written in the stars.
Before his debut album Disc-Overy make’s it’s U.S. release on May 17th you can see the 22 year-old MC on April 17th at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA.
This is Tinie Tempah. Oh and he’s never used a George Foreman Grill.
McCabe: So how did you get your start? And what were you doing in London to kind of build your way up?
Tinie T: Just working away like anybody who wants to pursue a career would. I’ve been pursuing music seriously now for about four years.
So three years up until this incredible year, I’ve been just working on an independent level. I set up my own record label. We’re called Disturbing London, with my manager.
We’re kind of just doing things to record label standards. We were shooting our own music videos, trying to get our tracks on the radio, and then, um, everything was kind of bubbling over. We brought up a lot of little bars.
I was doing shows to a certain level, but we kind of hit like a glass ceiling. So, I kind of took it to the internet in 2009 and I set up this really really cool blog called Milk and Two Sugars. Obviously because I’m English and I love tea.
Tinie’s blog that consisted of exclusive interviews with AMP artists like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jay Sean[/lastfm] created a huge buzz and it only took about seven months to garnish about 2 millions hits.
As the blog gained more and more attention it wasn’t long before the record labels started to take notice. Tinie signed his deal in 2009, immediately started recording and “the rest was history.”
McCabe: I mean 2009, that’s two years ago, and now 2010, you’re on stage with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Snoop Dogg[/lastfm] at Glastonbury?
Tinie T: Yes. Glasto- Glastonbury.
Tinie T: No, Glastonbury but we just say Glasto.
McCabe: Yo, Glasto! On stage with Snoop. But I mean, that was crazy. I mean, how was that? Are you a fan of Snoop Dogg out here?
Tinie T: Of course I am. He is one of the reasons why I am doing what I am doing now, you know? And that’s why it was such a major moment for me.
That was my first time at Glasto and the weather was incredible. I was standing beside one of the biggest musicians in the world–in front of 100,000 people. Can it get any better than that?
And you know, I kind of think now’s a new day and age where we all know the major historical musical moments. Like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Beatles[/lastfm] in Abbey Road. You know, things like that.
And I just think that was like modern-day musical moment for me and definitely for a few other people. So I was really happy with that.
[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tinie Tempah[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Snoop Dogg[/lastfm] perform “Pass Out” on stage at Glastonbury 2010 (Parental Advisory):
McCabe: So what were some influences for you? Did you have artists in the UK or were there rappers in America?
Tinie T: I really liked [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]DMX[/lastfm] back in the day. He was one of the rappers that kind of got me into hip-hop. He had those party anthems.
McCabe: You just gotta watch out for the road he went down.
Tinie T: Exactly…We are trying to stay away from that. Staying away from prison is the kind of overall aim… that I think I’m doing now, definitely.
But other than that, I was a big fan of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Eminem[/lastfm]. Eminem is incredible. Big fan of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nas[/lastfm]. Nas is incredible with what he does.
Obviously nowadays it’s more like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jay-Z [/lastfm]and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Drake[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lil Wayne[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Kanye[/lastfm]. But yeah, I’ve always been a fan of listening to American rap.
But obviously for a long time, it kind of felt impossible, ’cause it felt so far away from where I was, you know? I would hear Eminem rap about Detroit and I was like, “Well, I don’t live anywhere near there. I don’t know where 8 Mile is, I don’t know how to get to 8 Mile. How am I going to get there?”
I basically heard this UK crew. They were kind of like our equivalent to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Wu Tang Clan[/lastfm] and at the time called the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]So Solid Crew[/lastfm] and obviously after that [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Dizzee Rascal[/lastfm], who I’m sure you’re familiar with.
With influences comes the possible future collaborations. Tinie was very excited to express who he’d like to work with in the future.
Tinie T: I really want to collaborate with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Adele[/lastfm]. I think she is incredible. I really want to collaborate with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Robyn[/lastfm]. I think she is incredible. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lykke Li[/lastfm] is incredible. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Kanye West[/lastfm] is a genius.
There’s so many different people. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Muse[/lastfm], I really want to work with. I think that’d be awesome. So many people. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Darwin Deez.[/lastfm] Do you know Darwin Deez?
McCabe: I don’t know Darwin Deez.
Tinie T: Darwin Deez is good. He’s from here. He’s got one song called “Radar Detector.” You should Google him when you get a minute.
He is really good at what he does. There are a few really cool new musicians at the minute and those are a few I’d love to work with.
Kanye West is a hopeful collaboration with Tinie Tempah as they’re both playing Coachella the same April 17th.
Tinie and I continued by going over the benefits of playing festivals like SXSW and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which is just around the corner.
We both agreed they’re great places to catch new artists right when they are beginning to rise to fame. And for the artists, it’s a great place for them to make the sort of connections with established artists so they can work on future collaborations.
In fact, we celebrated Tinie’s new album Disc-Overy by cheersin’ our Bud Light Lime‘s. I’m pretty sure this is the first time Tinie has even tasted a Bud Light Lime.
McCabe: Tell us about this album, (Disc-Overy).
Tinie T: Well basically, Disc-Overy is just a perspective at the time. Obviously, I’m 22 now, but it’s the perspective of a 21-year-old kid like from an inner city just growing up in the 21st century. Just with a dream and a mission.
Just trying to fulfill that mission and discover the world and discover his life. Its almost like…it’s almost like Christopher Columbus on a voyage; What are the things that he would have stumbled across before he got to America? Its weird isn’t it?
McCabe: It is weird…
Tinie T: But that’s basically what it is and it’s just a very real and honest album, you know?
It kind of captures what life is like. To kind of be me and all the things I kind of have to go through on this journey.
I made a lot of sacrifices and at the same time, I’m having a lot of fun and I’ve had to work real hard…I’ve definitely learned a lot, definitely seen a lot of the world.
And I definitely think that there’s something in that, that everyone can relate to, you know? So it’s a real fun album and I can’t wait for people to hear it.
McCabe: Yeah I respect that, especially at your age too, like being able to do it all yourself. You are sacrificing a lot…
Tinie T: Definitely.
McCabe: …but its going to be well worth it.
Tinie T: I hope so.
McCabe: And “Written in the Stars” is the first single?
Tinie T: Yeah. That’s the one I chose.
McCabe: And that one is sort of like a struggle type song…You kind of sing about coming up…Tell us about the first single and how you got that.
Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner “Written In The Stars”:
Tinie T: Yeah, yeah “Written In The Stars” is more like a self-affirmation and struggle. It’s kind of like talking about how things have gone recently and how the stars have aligned and how fate has taken its course.
At the end of every verse I’m kind of like, “But before all of this happened I was just that kid that’s just trying to be heard.”
That’s why you just got to keep on shouting, keep on making sure that you know people hear you out because you never know what’s waiting around the corner.
So “Written In The Stars” is a real special song. I wrote it after I got my first UK number 1 which was a song called “Pass Out.” Me and my manager and my team…we’d just sit down and we’d have conversations, “Man its written, like this is fate taking its course,” and I was like “for real like I need to document this. I need to write this down.”
That’s why it’s such a nice personal track to me and I think there’s something in that for everybody, you know?
Whether you want to be a lawyer or a doctor or an art director or someone who works in radio, or someone who wants to work at AMP. Do you get what I mean?
You just got to keep focused and you just got to believe in who you are and what you’re about you know.
McCabe: Dude, well said, well said. Well, congratulations on all the success in the UK: Best New
Artist for 2010–4 nominations! I hope you win all of them.
Tinie ended up taking home Best Breakthrough Act and Best Single for “Pass Out.”
McCabe: I wanted to get you a gift since you’re now visiting America so I tried to think of an American gift for you. Yeah, I’m sorry that’s the only wrapping paper I had.
Tinie T: Yeah the wrapping paper is a nice touch. I used to fancy all of these girls back in the day so it’s a good…
McCabe: They’re good girls (referring to the Disney Princess wrapping paper).
Tinie T: Yeah they’re good girls.
McCabe: Yeah they’re good girls, they’re attractive. Oh Yeah.
Tinie T: I’m gonna try and have my surprised face because I know its going to be something that’s a bit surprising. HAHA
Tinie T: George Forman you know…
McCabe: That’s going to come in handy; it’s going to come in handy.
Tinie T: Well I’m going to be very honest with you; this is a really thoughtful present.
McCabe: Thank you!
Tinie T: Wait, let me just show everybody.
McCabe: I figure if you’re hungry…
Tinie T: Like it actually doesn’t get more American than this.
McCabe: You can knock, you can knock out the fat, you’re going to stay in shape while you’re…
Tinie T: Ahh you know what I’m going on tour as well, the minute I get back in England I’m doing my second nationwide tour which is going to be really cool. This is coming on the tour bus.
Tinie Tempah Vs. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Swedish House Mafia[/lastfm] “Miami 2 Ibiza”
Tinie Tempah was super cool to hang with in the Bud Light Lime Lounge. Be sure to see him April 17th at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and pick up his debut album Disc-Overy on May 17th.
Next time I see him I promise to introduce him to the Shake Weight.