Patrick Okogwu, aka Tinie Tempah, songwriter, rapper I came from a London council estate that was relatively bad.
I was searching for black male role models when I was 12 and thinking how I could make real cash doing something that I enjoyed.
I wanted a name that would make me recognized on the street.
The word ‘Temper,’ I liked, but it sounded too aggressive, so I toned it down to Tinie Tempah.
I’ve been listening to 50 Cent rap about the Bronx’s mean streets and wondering if I could ever do that with Plumstead. So I joined Aftershock Hooligans, a grime band, claiming to come from the East End for a while to make friends. It was four years before my first mixtapes were found and seen at the 2009 Wireless Festival.
At the time, British rap was not considered lucrative, but I wanted to compete to get on the radio with white pop acts.
Right after I signed a record deal, I wrote Pass Out, Disc-first Overy’s single. The lyrics were not about what my life looked like, but about what I wanted it to be.
Since I didn’t have a ride, I didn’t pass the bus I used to run for,”-because I didn’t have a car-but I wanted to be a bigger star than my mom thought. “Stereophonics on Dakota makingRead moreMany working-class children never left their homes, so I started to relate to places I’d never been but had seen on highway signs, such as Scunthorpe.
And there were elements of self-deprecating wit, including the lines “I like the taste of alcohol,” in Clearly Unstoppable.
Disc-guest Overy’s singers were not yet the world stars that they are today.
At a gig in Dingwalls, I met Ellie Goulding. We did a track with Labrinth, but then he didn’t have any number one hits. It was a huge deal collaborating with Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland, and she didn’t send her vocals across the Atlantic – she came straight here and together we did Invincible. We used 14 producers and several co-writers because I wanted the album to sound like a jukebox playing the
I had the song structure that the developers used to bring together the songs, but no one ever wrote lyrics for me. The artwork shows me keeping the key monuments of London.
That was my way of saying, ‘This is where we are. Emeli Sandé, singer, songwriter My father introduced me to Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey, and I wanted to be like them ever since I was seven years old. I had no idea, growing up in Scotland, how I was going to break into the music industry.
I was listening on Radio 1 to Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation show and he was running a “budding artists.” competition.
It was my sister who picked me up on the piano and I won.
They began to open the gate. I performed with a band when I was about 17 and had my hair and makeup done for the first time.
It was exciting, really. This guy came over after I did a gig on Radio 1Xtra and said, “It felt like you were singing to me.” It turned out that he was the Naughty Boy [Shahid Khan] producer and asked if I was going to do music with him. We clicked and I instantly trusted him. In his studio, he had a messy kitchen and used to make shepherd’s pie for me. I went to the studio one day and he worked with Tinie, who complimented me on my voice.
It was really encouraging, as an inexperienced artist, to hear that from someone who was already popular. Naughty Boy played a beat and I just sang “If you could see me …” which developed into the song Let Go. The verses were written by Tinie and he imagined what it would be like to be tired of fame.
I wrote my hook about keeping people at a distance and not letting yourself be weak. Tinie is a gentleman, and so many doors have been opened by working with him. The new music has become hip-hop and urban, but what we were all doing at the time felt like being pioneering. Tinie Tempah’s latest single “More Life” and the new single “More of You” from Emeli Sandé have just been released.