What a fortnight- I need a break- and you know what that means….I’m taking one!


estelle mondrian

It started off really good! I caught up with my west London home girl Estelle for diner at the brand new Mondrian hotel on the south bank. We created a brand new cocktail at the very swish bar. Well, actually it was named yellow and green fizz but we re-named it the ‘’Stella jazz’’. Much more appropriate for the champagne based sip.

The Mango Tree invitation

The next day it was an all-female sojourn at the exotic mango tree restaurant in Belgravia, where The Circle with Oxfam were presenting an evening of cocktails and canapés. The Circle is an organisation founded by Annie Lennox, which champion’s women’s rights and equality by working with women who are passionate about change.


Delicious food, drinks, music by Laura Mvula, comedy by Iranian comedienne Shaparak “Shappi” Khorsandi and great conversation all hosted by Meera Syal. The evening’s aim was to raise awareness and funds for the organisations Circle projects in India, Uganda and the Middle East.


The theme was ‘Asian fusion’ so I located my most exotic flowery dress (don’t ask), and sashayed on up to the bar to meet my fellow table guests; Adidas leading ladies Paola Lucktung and Akua Agyemfra, Olympic athlete Jeanette Kwakye, Channel 4’s talent specialist Priscilla Barfour, Natalia Georgiou (wardrobe services), Inspirational YOU’s Sonia Meggie and Vanessa Emilien – Richkit International and Armand De Brignac’s Yvonne Lardner. Seriously, can you just imagine the conversation at our table? Both empowering, crazy and hilarious!


The evening concluded with a stunning performance by triple Brit Award nominee Laura Mvula. Meera Syal told us “It’s fantastic to see so many successful and empowered women coming together to raise awareness and fight the scourge of domestic violence that exists across the world. We are all incredibly lucky to have been given a voice, an education and an opportunity to stand up for what we believe in. The women that we are trying to help have no voice, no education and live a life of constant fear. The work of projects we are raising funds for are a lifeline for women in the most impoverished areas of the world to escape to.”


Laura Mvula added “It’s a privilege to perform for The Circle. When women come together we are a powerful force – we can achieve anything. The Circle is a great example of this. It’s about women using the resources and skills that they have to help those who need our support.”

The Circle Presents @ The Mango Tree - Gemma Cairney, Laura Mvula and Livia Firth

Guests included Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright, chef and food writer Thomasina Miers, TV presenters Nick Ross, Sonali Shah and Seema Pathan, Eco-Age founder Livia Firth, Whistles’ Chief Executive Jane Shepherdson and Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls. The fashion world was well represented with shoe designer Jimmy Choo, Luella Bartley – design director of Marc By Marc Jacobs, Vogue blogger and i-D fashion editor Julia Sarr-Jamois, and fashion designer Ashley Williams in attendance.

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi was hilarious and said “It’s great to be a part of this evening which has brought together some amazing and inspirational women who are passionate about transforming people’s lives for the better. From supporting grass-roots projects to lobbying policy-makers, Circle members are taking on the big issues faced by some of the world’s vulnerable women and bringing about real change.”

This event raised funds for two Oxfam projects in Uganda and India, which are supported by The Circle, both of which are tackling violence against women. Domestic violence is the most widespread form of human rights violation in India, and in Uganda it affects 60% of women. These projects will help by providing support for victims, tackling social acceptance of violence against women, raising awareness of women’s rights and influencing laws to promote these rights.
To find out more about The Circle go to: https://www.facebook.com/thecircleofwomen

rum world record 2

Next, my friend Ian Burrell, who I know from way back from running Cottons Caribbean restaurant in Camden, invited me to his Guinness book of records challenge to fit as many people in one room and break the record for cocktail rum tasting.


We were sat on round tables with 6 fancy rum shots lined up for each participant. We were given a brief lesson on each rum by its creator or brand ambassador and then knocked them. I was driving so stuck my tongue in them and passed the rest on to my peeps to finish off. (Oops am I meant to say that?) anyhoo, David Haye was there too. As he was called out, the ladies in the room suddenly seemed to sit a little straighter and laugh a little girlier, whilst all the men simply kissed their teeth en masse lol.


90 minutes later we were all record breakers! Yeay! Congrats to the Rum Experience team, great job!


Finished the weekend at Kevin Harts comedy night at Wembley arena where most of London, every urban tastemaker, brand leader and celeb were present and correct. The arena was packed solid. Kevin did his intro and welcome set, followed by our very own Kojo, followed by three American comedians. All hilariously funny, with themes that seemed to be popular and on repeat. Racial divide jokes, jokes about good sex vs bad sex, a lot of porn and of course Kevin added a good few new animal jokes juxtaposed with his family. I have to say that once upon a time British comedians may have stood in the American urban comedians shadows, but today, its an equal playing field. Great night!


This week I’ve worked extensively with George the poet, an incredibly articulate, gifted word smith. His live show at scala was first class!
Hi says things like….

‘’I wrote it because I feel like popular culture should align more closely with issues that are more relevant with people’s lives because then you get more informed citizens. With more informed citizens, you get more people making better contributions’’
‘’Why is there a category called conscious rap? You tell me what that implies about the rest of rap? Unconscious rap? Do you think I came out here to be unconscious?’’
‘’I think culture, pop culture, let’s stop saying we are gonna swear, let’s stop f*****g around, let’s stop messing around with the pop culture thing, let’s start giving people information that will actually affect their life’’
‘’What do I think could be a solution to making young Hip Hop artists more clued up? We’ve got all these Hip Hop artists out here holding microphones, start saying something that matters’

How can you not love this dude? Wanna see what he’s all about and some live action? Watch Channel 4 News tomorrow night!

Jasmine’s Juice- George the Poet – his new EP, tax and benefit cuts, rap being hijacked, homosexuality, religion and politics in hip hop.

George the Poet – his new EP, tax and benefit cuts, rap being hijacked, homosexuality, region and politics in hip hop.


Here is the recent George interview that the LONDON360 young reporting team did at Universal Music. George is an extremely articulate young man who has alot of strong,informed opinions on things that affect us all. Take a read. Also, take a listen to his new EP here;

Your EP The Chicken and the Egg is set to drop on 20th October, can you tell us a bit more about the record?

The Chicken and the Egg is about the cycle of premature parenthood and particularly in this edition, fatherlessness. I wrote it because I feel like popular culture should align more closely with issues that are more relevant with people’s lives because then you get more informed citizens. With more informed citizens you get more people making better contributions. Firstly, better contributions to society, secondly you’ll get people making better-informed decisions based on their leaders and what they ask of their leaders. So this is a project for me, and I talk about this a lot, so I want to show people how you turn a relevant contemporary issue into a piece of art that people have no choice but to discuss.

Are there any collaborations on there, or is this more of a personal project for you?

There are collaborations on my EP, I’ve picked them personally so it is still a personal project but everyone that I’ve spoken with, I made sure we understood what we’re working towards and they all made great contributions. Big up Mega, an amazing vocalist, my brother Jacob Banks, my brother Knox Brown, JoJo, The Confectionary. Those people, all, 100% bought into what I was doing and went above and beyond to deliver for this project.

What are your expectations for the EP?

I want the EP, like I said, to be a debut of this project, I don’t know what to call the project but the project is getting information, like, stimulating actual discussion. We’re all artists, out here and we’re content with being expected to jump around on stage getting people to clap, like our pictures and buy our products. But, to me that’s BORING, I could have done that any which way I wanted, I could have been pushing another product out here so why would I use this opportunity to use my words for a popularity contest when I can use this whole EP to actually discuss something which is not only relevant, but is ongoing, its perpetual and its great in my community. It’s wearing us down. That’s what I want the EP to do, address that.

egg ep

So this EP is part of a bigger project, do you have any other details on that project?

2.56 – There’s no bounds to it. I have a view to move towards collating information and the next step is to gain information and engage people on a very literal level man, there’s no game here. Don’t worry about me making money, how I make my money, I’ll take care of myself but as far as I’m concerned my career is a public service to an extent, so the EP is a strand of that. Also I want to pioneer a new way of doing this poetry thing, I got signed as a poet and there has been a lot of pressure on me to conform to standardised music formulas. I’ve experiment when I’ve felt free but at the same time I feel like ‘yo I’m a poet but let me show you how I can do this thing with music’.

What are your thoughts on the recent debates regarding tax cuts and the benefit system currently in place?

Yeah, I do have thoughts on tax cuts and changes to the benefits system. I feel like, there are 2 sides to the discussion. On the one hand, it’s like let’s get people out of dependency, we need a country that is about people who want to work, contribute and that is all well and good. Do that proportionately to the people that can contribute and are able to stand on their own 2 feet. Don’t take advantage of people that can’t fight for themselves, and furthermore, you’re making a mess for yourself further on because if those people don’t get the requisite report, they’re only going to be more of a strain on the economy, on society, you’re setting yourself up for another riot so I do think the situation as it stands is dangerous and we need more informed citizens.

We need more people making important decisions, we need people engaging with the powers. I see a lot of people my age, why am I censoring myself, the conservatives take them under their wing and say OK here is an example of someone from an estate who has done something positive with their lives. This is the only story that you need to know, the fact is that is not the be all and end all. The be all end all is structure and structure really, poverty generates and perpetuates crime. If you’re doing nothing to pull people out of poverty but also help people cope with poverty, reductions to child benefits and tax credits, changes to the welfare system, increasing the cost of education, making the experience of education more exclusive and difficult for different learning types.

Not accommodating for the fact there is difference first of all, secondly there are different levels of difficulty, theres inequality of opportunity. Now if you’re not doing anything about that, you’re completely doing a disservice to the people that you’re supposed to be governing, you’re supposed to be leading. Again, there’s no talk about this,

I go on the radio and people cut it out when I mention the word riots (furthermore, don’t ever do that again) people cut me off when I say riots, like I’m trying to talk. I tweeted the other day, for some reason it’s like the whole country is on the payroll of somebody who employs us to just pretend that everything is fine. Everything’s not fine, everything’s not fine and when the government is ready they talk about the things they think is not fine, ‘Oh benefits, lets talk about this benefits thing’. No, lets talk about what you’re doing to tax the rich, lets talk about the allowance of tax avoidance, lets talk about the fact tax avoidance cost the country £70 billion whereas benefits cost £70 million. Now, is a billion a thousand million, right? OK cool, no one is talking about that and I’m an artist, I’m here holding a microphone, I’m supposed to stand here and hope that you lot clap for me and buy my product and that’s it.

Do you place responsibility on yourself, coming from an area where you do, to tell the story of others that government don’t want to?

I do think there is a bit of responsibility on me, I take on more than I have to take on only because no one else is taking it on, I don’t think I can do it on my own. I don’t want to bash people over the head with a message and make them feel bad about their lives but I’m just saying we could do exactly what we do now, a little bit different and have a better impact on the world. That’s all, I’m not asking you to change your whole life tomorrow, I’m just saying, know the game and play it a little differently because we’re getting mugged off!


You tackle very serious issues in your music, for example your recent EP The Chicken and the Egg takes a look at the cycle of fatherlessness and how that affects the whole community. Mainstream wise however, we hear content which to a lot of people, is not that important or helpful in dealing with their everyday lives so how do you try to overcome the challenge of making conscious rap commercially successful and why do you think that challenge exists in the first place?

Do you know what the problem is? I don’t fit this world. Why is there a category called conscious rap? You tell me what that implies about the rest of rap.(Clip 0050 0.00) Unconscious rap. Do you think I came out here to be unconscious? Do you think I came out here to be unconscious? Do you think that’s in any way acceptable? Like, what? I’m not even on a mission to try and make conscious rap cool. I know people call my stuff conscious and I think that’s the coup, I think that’s what we’ve been tricked into. We’ve been tricked and sleepwalked into thinking this is an acceptable situation, that the radio is full of air. I don’t know what the use of that is, sometimes I think ‘maybe that helps keep the peace.’ If you nullify the people, if you pacify them, maybe they won’t be aware of all the things that are really crazy, maybe people ain’t built for the real world. But then I think to myself, no, people are stronger than that. I believe in people, I’m someone who believes in people so where am I going with that trail of thought? So my mission isn’t even to try and make conscious rap cool, my mission is to talk.

Do you have any thoughts on why the tag conscious rap was created?

I do have thoughts. Rap was hijacked; first thing you need to understand is that rap came from a poor community and as I told you there is a direct correlation between poverty and crime. So, a lot of the narration is conscious! I told my friend the other day, one of my favourite rappers who I’m listening to at the moment is Rich Homie Quan and he kinda laughed at me, ‘why you listening to Rich Homie Quan?’ I’m inspired by Rich Homie Quan, I like his story, I like what he’s saying, he’s talking about being self employed, he’s talking about making responsible investments and he’s young so he comes with all of that gas as well. I feel exactly what your saying, but you’re doing it in real time and on a bigger scale because there’s bigger markets in America. If I could, I would do what you’re doing in my own style. It might come out different, it might sound bad and like pure gas but we’re young men and a lot of gas goes through my mind on the daily.

You should have seen me on the way here, I’m in my gym clothes right now, I’m not promoting any kind of crazy lifestyle but like this is real life. So when I’m talking, I’m selective so in the Chicken and the Egg story there’s a lot of sex stories, I’ve accumulated sex stories over the years in my life but I always knew that I came out as George the Poet saying this is an issue, let me talk about the issue, no one knew anything about my life and still don’t, you only know what I give you. But I knew that if I do talk about sex, it’s gotta be in a constructive way, I can’t be out here like an idiot talking about ‘all these chicks on my line’. It’s not stimulating, its not a credit to my community and its not fair to my family, my parents raised me better than that. Yeah I might be gassed, I might be getting myself into certain things, I am autonomous, that means that I have authority over myself, that means everything that goes on over here is my jurisdiction.

So how am I gonna pick up a microphone and make a fool outta myself? I don’t understand this conscious rap concept, why is it OK to be unconscious? All of these artists, when I talk to them individually, they’re unhappy with the state of music. I’m talking real, ask any artist, if you had a conversation with George the Poet, did you or did you not talk about the state of music and how unhappy you were with it? Because no is happy, no one is cool with this, you have us out here tap dancing acting silly, we all feel things, we’re adults. We’re grown people, we’re human beings, we feel things, we see what happens in Gaza, we see what happens, we see kids with their heads open, an eye here and nothing there, you’ve seen these pictures, yet I’ve got to step in the booth and say some silly ish. I’m just tryna talk.


We recently spoke to Wretch 32 and he said that he sees you as a figure of mediation between everyday people on the streets and the government. How do you feel about that and can we expect you to go further down this political route in your music in future?

Wretch 32 said I’m a mediator between the streets and the government, that’s an honour, I didn’t know I would get that role so quickly. When I was younger I thought I was going to have to be an MP.

I was cool, I’ll play the political game, climb up that greasy pole and everything is going to fall into place eventually. But what I realised is that, in the political game there’s too much smoke and mirrors and I can’t deal with that. So, coming into this place where I’m just talking, it’s like real recognise real, I started of narrating experiences, the first poem of mine that ever got popular I was talking about how much I hated my area. I was talking about like, I don’t want to be here anymore, just before I went to Cambridge University I’d got my acceptance. There’s not a robust interface between my community and power, there’s not. You can get people who look like me, you might even get people who sound like me but there’s not the informed. There’s not the connected, community that we need in order to advance our agenda. That’s not a racial thing, it’s definitely a class thing, definitely.

So I just feel at this point, we need a healthy conversation, a fairer conversation right now , so I embrace that role. If I can be a mediator, in any way mitigate. It’s embarrassing man, you go on prison visits and the rooms full of, race is a sub heading under the issue that it is, it’s have and have not’s. You go prison on a visit and the room is full of black guys. What? You go anywhere else in the country, you can’t find that. What’s that about? You think genetically we’re incapable of getting it together? No, there’s no robust interface between my community and the powers that be and we need to star engineering that deliberately. It’s not about ‘hopefully I can get a good job at a bank’ ‘hopefully I can make it as a doctor’ because what happens is you get integrated into the existing order. That’s cool, that’s not necessarily a deliberate or a malicious thing, but it’s like when that happens, you’re not in a position to talk how you want to talk.

I went Cambridge, I was there, no one around me talked, looked, sounded, felt like me. That’s not their fault, in society we just need pluralism, we need a mix of experiences and opinions, we need that but we need that to matter. That’s the only way we can have actual democracy, live real time democracy and we’re so far off that now that we still have categories like conscious rap. A rapper being conscious is an anomaly.


From your own experience, or from the careers of other artists over here or in America, to what extent do you feel being a conscious rapper is a burden and do you feel you would be compromising yourself to create music solely for monetary gain or chart success?

Do I think I would be compromising myself to make music purely for monetary gain? I think I’ll start compromising myself when I stop pushing a message. Music is a funny thing because people receive it differently, and to me to be honest, my whole presence in this music game is a move, a strategic move. I love music, but I tell people all the time, this is not the job to get into if you want to be taken seriously.

I f you consider yourself to be a mover and a shaker, DON’T become a musician. Because all of a sudden you have to have silly conversations. The same conversations I was trying to avoid as a 19 year old when I made the decision to stop rapping and perform my raps as poetry, those same conversations I was trying to avoid, I’m now having. People talking to me like I’m simple, so the compromise will start when I stop pushing a record, when I stop being about something. Music for monetary gain, come on man, you’ve got people selling illegal arms to regime’s that they shouldn’t be doing, I think there’s a lot worst things in the world going on than making music for money.

You’ve quoted in the past that entertainers have a duty to educate young people. What is THE most important thing, do you think, rappers should be educating their young male listeners on?

I think the most important thing a rapper can educate a young man on is self-determination. Now, self-determination is existence on your own terms. Everyone out there needs that. Work on whoever you are, be that person deliberately, and take it to the world, take its fullest extent. Masculinity in rap has been hijacked. We’ve been fed this image of the big, hard black man with all of these women, and all of this money, and all of these cars. I was telling my breathren the other day- I don’t know what it is, but when someone makes eye contact with me, it’s a challenge. I have to teach myself into looking away. Why? Because, growing up where I was, on an estate, smiling and nodding wasn’t an option. But that’s a mental thing that I’m subscribing to. Why can’t I smile and nod it off? He’s probably going to look at me and think, soft! But how’s that affecting me? Girls tell me all the time I’m not who they think they was, because I come across in a certain way.

There’s all these perceptions flying around. All that actually matters is my reality. What’s more important than that? Rappers could be promoting that in young boys. In my community, we don’t have that robust structure of masculinity. It doesn’t work. That’s why I made the chicken and the egg. The cycle of fatherlessness. A young man, grows up without a dad, doesn’t know how to treat a woman- guess what, he has a son, his son grows up without a dad, and he doesn’t know how to treat a woman. We need to re-think this whole masculinity thing. Rap is one big conversation there at our disposal and if we just decide today to talk about it differently – to not walk into the label and be pressured to make stupid tunes, to stand our ground and say ‘you know what? I’m a qualified authority in what I’m speaking about. And I’ll speak about it from the perspective I care about. That I respect. That I’m proud of. That I want my mum to see. I don’t want to hide content from my family.


Snoop Dog has said that he doesn’t think homosexuality in rap will ever be accepted because “rap is so masculine”. T-Pain has concurred that rappers will not work with Frank Ocean “because he is gay”. Wretch 32, however, recently said that homosexuality is accepted in hip-hop, and that people just have a problem if rappers aren’t genuine. Where do you stand in this argument?

I do think Snoop has a point- the way people’s minds are- especially in Snoop’s generation- they’re not open to that idea of homosexuality in rap. But I think, in my generation, homosexuality in rap will find its place, because people are more open-minded now. Times change. As times change, especially with the direction of communication and globalization. Communities find voices. 40 years ago, rap couldn’t have existed. But it’s all out there now. The way people thought about black people back then, it’s similar to how some people may feel about gay people today. ‘Don’t wanna hear it!’ But yeah, times change.


Robert Alford, in ‘Constructing Race and Masculinity in Hip-Hop Culture’, has quoted: “Hip-hop shapes white perceptions of young, black men as objects of fear and fantasy, and it also limits and determines the possibilities of racial and masculine identity for those individuals themselves.” Tell me what you think about this quote. And, if you agree, is this why you pass off rap and grime as ‘poetry’?

That is someone’s truth. There are a lot of white people out there who look at black men and think ‘ooh’. There’s a long running discourse on the hyper-sexualisation and the fascination of the black man. All the myths they used to build for racist ideology. Like, ‘look, this guy’s biological makeup is different, he’s a bit more animal, he’s closer to the animal, he’s closer to the beast.’ Yeah, hip-hop is the modern may midistration show. We don’t have informed citizens entering this game. I tell people all the time- if you knew how smart your enemies were, you’d pick up a book. But that’s a big ask for a lot of people. So yeah, the other truth is that it’s down to your perception! If you actually opened your eyes and your ears and listened to what this ‘hyper-sexual’ and ‘hyper-masculine’ black man was saying- he’s giving you a whole ethnography of the other side. A live report. You have 2 options. You can ignore what he’s saying. Or you can study what he’s saying. And you’re not going to do the second one- until I, George the Poet, come knocking on your door and say ‘hey! Listen to what we’re saying. Take us seriously.’

What do you think about the relationship between Hip Hop and Politics and how do you think Hip Hop can better engage people with politics?

I think the relationship between hip-hop and politics is unsatisfactory it’s substandard right now, do you know why? because its uninformed, hip hop approaches politics from an uninformed perspective and I don’t like talking down on hip hop, I love hip hop in it but, really and truly it’s not good enough man, one minute you’ve got all these people talking about F the system yeah just out of, like that comes from a genuine place, the system hasn’t done anything for me and f the system right, 0 – 100 real quick let Obama invite you to the white house, you are there, you are not gonna grill him about Gaza or Bama aid you know what I’m saying, gas prices ,cost of living, welfare, all the promises he made you’re not gonna do that *dances with hands up* (turn up, turn up) that’s what they’re gonna do, so again it comes like there’s not a culture of information that’s relevant to your lives, like this whole time we’ve been playing around with this hip hop ting like don’t get it twisted we’ve changed the world, we’ve changed culture.

I was gonna say youth culture, but we wrapped up youth culture a long time ago, listen to billboard top ten and tell me if DJ Mustard is not running it, tell me if Adidas has not benefited from everyone promoting their stuff tell me if you can’t see hip hop everywhere you go, the way people wear the stuffs the things people say. We have built stuff but I think people are stuck in this , I think people subscribe to the glass ceiling like, know yourself you can try play with culture, you can make all the fashion you want, but first of all we sign the contract, but on the other hand know yourself,’ don’t start tweeting about Gaza, do you wanna work?’, so they put their foot on our neck and we just fumble and do whatever, but the whole thing is a game anyway but I just know there is not enough flowing freely.

What are your personal thoughts on politics?

I vote but like I go through phases of thinking, it’s like you just have to know the game, the problem is, a wise man once said to me, you get upset because of the set up in your head, you’ve entered the world thinking it should be a certain way you find out it’s not going the way you wanted and you think that’s a disappointment but you just didn’t have the reality you didn’t know what the world is, so now that I know everyone’s lying and everyone’s cheating what decisions am I gonna make, am I gonna sit in the corner of my room, cry and sulk for am I gonna be like ok re strategize back to the drawing board, so like with politics, it’s just a bit of a joke but the problem is the PM in this country has a lot of power, no way around that, UKIP are making gains in Europe no way around that, people feel a way about Scotland people feel a way about Europe, you can sit on the sidelines if you want but you just didn’t understand the game.

What do you think needs to be done to engage more people?

I think culture, pop culture, let’s stop saying we are gonna swear, let’s stop f*****g around, let’s stop messing around with the pop culture thing, let’s start giving people information that will actually affect their life because no one’s content, you talk to anyone and they are complaining about their job , do you know what that is that working class consciousness you feel what I’m saying that’s the proletariat saying yeah getting exploited and it doesn’t make me happy everyone feels that every single day but we’ve expected that that’s the game, why? I’m broadcasting live and direct ad artists with things to say, don’t give me a microphone, you didn’t know who u were letting into the room, did you well cool I’m here now,

Do you think that’s the reasons that lead to another riot?

It’s like they don’t feel like they have anything to lose, you guys just talking all the time, we are feeling it, we don’t even know what you’re talking about but we are feeling it why am I having to hustle, why am I entering , why am I working at this company for 10 years only to get superseded, surpassed, by younger people that don’t sound or look like me and I’m told I don’t quite meet the qualification what but you make me train these young people and then you promote them over me tell me to have a coke and smile and carry on and you wonder why I’m crazy, and that’s the mum, that’s the young rioters mum so yeah listen to the chick they aint gonna see what happens to that kid.

Who do you vote for and why?

I’m not gonna say who I vote for but it’s important that I vote according to my agenda, my agenda has to be catered for, do you know why because they got an agenda, whoever’s asking me for my vote, wants to do stuff so let me see how closely the stuff he wants to do aligns with what I wanna do, that why we need to inform citizens, because what do I want, do I want a better jobs, do I want tax credits do I want childcare, am I a young parent that’s trying to get in employment, do I want to have kids, what is my agenda, you figure out your agenda and then you make an informed decision from these leaders, if none of them are offering something that you want, you press them, stand on their neck ‘cos they want to do it to you, who do your taxes go to?

gtp pr
Hip-hop artists to some are like the modern day version of Shakespeare. Discuss

Hip-hop artists baring similarities to Shakespeare through their lyrics. Shakespeare was a man, he was a human being. I’m guessing he had haemoglobin in his blood cells making his blood red you feel me; I’m guessing he had all the working of the lungs meaning that he needed to build oxygen just like I did, you feel me. So Shakespeare’s genius mirrored in the rappers that we have today is the same thing, it’s genius. Them man, I’m not gonna lie the majority of these rappers didn’t get it from Shakespeare. I think there’s a lot of claiming going on, people like to say, ‘oh yea we had a lot of guys ages ago that did that’, yeah but we didn’t know that guy we just came up with this so credit by credit is due – Shakespeare is amazing, so are my brothers out here.

what are your thoughts on hip hop as an intellectual art form?

As an intellectual art form. As an intellectual art form hip-hop is so rich, untapped, un-stretched, hip-hop is genius man. I can’t tell you all the ways I’ve learnt from it. Ask me anything about my life right now and I’ll tell you what I learned from hip hop through that thing, ask me just anything, cars, just throw a word at me.

Phone. Hip hop yea, is about communication like, like you have to understand, if I didn’t have my phone, if I didn’t have my phone I wouldn’t be here making money of what I’m making right now. The way the phone developed, yea all of a sudden we could listen to music on our phones do you know what that did? It gave me a very personal relationship with hip hop because I was listening to it all the time. It didn’t start when I got the phone but it just went crazy when I got all this Walkman phones and stuff I always used to try and absorb hip hop through that yea but the intimate relationship I was now able to have with these rappers through having a phone with me all the time with all of these songs, yea that’s what made me realize it’s a case study no matter what he’s saying. Even if he’s lying, yea he’s telling my about himself. Do you see what I’m saying through this intimate relationship that I’ve got right now? Yea this access that’s with me all the time, I’m building up this whole, as a young man as well I’m building up all these impressions and because these lyrics are always at the back of my mind, I’m cross referencing with them with what I see in the real world do you see what I’m saying hip hop, and that’s hip hop, hip hop that’s why I love hip hop because its built on the statement of truth this is the only musical community that is like, well country as well is based on stories and that’s great yea, but we place so much precedence on the statement of truth that’s why rubbish rappers can get through, because if you believe him it’s like yea statement of truth.

What role, if any, does God and religion play on your personal life and how does that influence your work?

God and religion played a very important role on my personal life growing up because it gave me parameters of which against to access the world. So, I could just decide where I stand because religion gives you very straight forward answers, you have something to navigate with, something to work with. As I grew older, I started paying more attention to the grey areas and the stuff that didn’t quite make sense. I don’t think my religion, Christianity, deals with inequality much, it just says ‘trust me, work hard and you will be alright’ and that’s worked for me so I can’t really say it’s not the way. But these new answers really started to bug me, but erm, growing up where It grew up was very important because I needed the guidance. I needed something to say: “trust me, this is what’s working and that’s not what’s going to work for you”.

Do you find there to be any contradictions between hip-hop and religion?

Hmm contradictions between hip hop and religion? Nah, again hip-hop is built on a statement of truth so all of these rappers tend to exhibit ambivalence about religion and that’s real. Most of us don’t know. We don’t have the answers. You probably know someone that is not from a particular faith but they’re a nice person you don’t expect them to burn in hell. We all feel these things and hip-hop has narrated them clearly, for decades now. So yeah, it’s a rich academic resource and religion is all real life, a statement of truth.

Hip hop acts talk about their wealth and acquisition of assets as well as having a reputation for building business brands, so why are most of them broke or experience tax issues?….MC Hammer, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill and Ja Rule and, the initiators/innovators like Master Flash. Hip Hop as an art is often really blingy and flashy…

Again information! We need informed citizens; so many artists from the Hip Hop genre go broke because we do not have informed citizens. We’re from the working class; we don’t have a culture of money management and networks. Why don’t people talk about that? Why don’t I hear songs on the radio about that?
What is about the hip-hop genre that makes artist think they have to brag about materialistic wealth? Would it still be Hip-hop if it wasn’t so flashy?
First of all, it’s not that simple. Again, we are from poor communities, its celebratory, and half the time they can’t believe it themselves. So there’s a celebration aspect, there’s also the symbolism as a community- and you’ve got to remember that colonialism happened- no one likes to acknowledge that. We are living the results of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade so it’s like- we don’t have symbolism that matters in this world, you don’t see our flag and think ‘wooft’, half of these African American’s don’t have a flag! They have to bow, have t pledge allegiance to the same people that enslaved their granddad, do you see what I mean? So yeah if they shine their bling a little bit … I just don’t like it when the conversation gets one sided.

What do I think could be a solution to making young Hip Hop artists more clued up? We’ve got all these Hip Hop artists out here holding microphones, start saying something that matters.

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wretch 2014

Tottenham breeds creativity – Soul singers Adele, Lemar and Keisha White hail from the area. But its grimy roots really are showcased by its hip-hop acts like Wretch32 and Chip.According to Wretch, he was once his schoolteachers worst nightmare but now he’s called the UK rappers rapper and metaphor man.

Jermaine Scott Sinclair -Wretch 32 (three-two), is the son of a local reggae DJ in the Tiverton Estate- which explains the clear dancehall beats juxtaposed with his north London lyrics that are full of metaphors and soulful hooks and melodies, that will keep you humming for hours after hearing one of his hits. It’s this partnering of dancehall vibes and his soulful melodies that are cool yet classy that have become his signature trademark sound.

Wretch was a member of the grime collective “Combination Chain Gang”, before forming The Movement with Scorcher, Ghetts, Mercston. He initially found underground fame by selling over 15,000 copies of his mix tapes in and around Tottenham ‘’the mix tape scene is like artist development’’.
He’s cut from the cloth of the original rap legends that rhyme about their personal lives. All Wretch’s tracks are like his personal diary in music form as opposed to just another materialistic hip-hop ego trip.

The word ‘Wretch’ might be associated with unfortunate or unhappy people but Jermaine couldn’t be further than that with one of his Adidas shod feet stuck firmly in his glamtastic showbiz life, and the other still grounded back in ‘’Totty’’. (Incidentally re his name; – His mother was from Jamaica, where “wretch” meant slim or skinny. She called him “Wretch” as a child, and the name stuck. 32 is his lucky number and he thought it would be fun to have a number as a surname, so he added 32 to the end of Wretch)

Wretch 32 Birthday Party at Holborn House, London

A fully royal member of the #TeamUK family, a look at his twitter timeline shows that he regularly highlights and shows support to his fellow music peers and is as loved by the scene as well as his die hard loyal fans.Now he’s the kingpin act at the centre of a very talented collective called Renowned, which is also home to his peers George The Poet, Jacob Banks, Knox Brown and more as well as sports and media arms. Like Jigga said he’s a ‘business man’’.

He’s a humble, understated character that has reason to trumpet about his successes. His first single Traktor in January 2011 was a huge hit. In 2010, the BBC nominated him for the BBC’s Sound of 2011 and MTV named him as a nominee for MTV Brand New for 2011. The same year he had three top-five charting songs from debut album Black and White and amassed over a million record sales. The following year he was used by both Adidas and coca cola as one of the main faces of their London 2012 Olympics campaigns and on 1 July 2012 he won ‘Best International Act’ at the 2012 BET Awards. His single ‘’Don’t Go’’ featuring Josh Kumra flew to number one in the UK charts. If I were he, the temptation to brag would be just a lil bit tempting.

The end of this year will see him release his third studio album Growing Over Life. We sat down with him this week, for an update on how that albums coming along …‘’I’ve been working hard in the studio on the album, I’ve had it finished for a while now. I was just touching up everything, doing my finishing touches. It’s sounding like a great body of work, its exactly where I want it to be, and its where I exactly what I want it to be. So I’m happy. It’s called Growing Over Life because I think it’s something we all do without even realising. I always remember on my birthdays I would always jump out of my bed and run to my wall and see if I’d got taller. Sometimes I’d say to my mum ‘mum I never got taller this year’ and she said ‘you don’t grow overnight, you grow over life’ and it’s something that just stuck with me, so I thought I’d just incorporate that with the record. My brand new single 6 words is definitely the most heartfelt piece of music on the record, sonically nothing sounds like it on the album, but it still fits through the whole journey because it’s like a journey of my life. It’s just that moment where I wore my heart on my sleeve, kind of stepped out of my comfort zone, to just show a bit of vulnerability if you can call it that. So yeah, I think it’s incredible. I wouldn’t say it’s my most vulnerable album yet, I’m like a cry baby, well sort of, so it’s not my most vulnerable album, but this record is definitely one of my most vulnerable singles. I’ve had like a million ideas as to what the video can be like and it’s just narrowing it down. I’ve spoken to loads of different directors; I’m actually in the process of trying to get 2 directors to work together. I dunno how that’s going to go, I’ll find out by the end of today!’’


wretch vids

Testament to Wretch’s talent and brand, is the fact that all his videos are well thought out pieces of visual narrative, that don’t ever rely on the old worn out stereotype of sexy dancing girls or materialistic wealth. Neither do they look like they’ve had thousands spent on them. They are slick, powerful and effective, complimentary to his vulnerable heartfelt lyrics. This often means he’s referred to as a more conscious, backpack, positive vined rapper. If he is a conscious rapper he has succeeded where many other edutainment MC’s have not in this age where record labels only aspire to sign quick win corny, lazy buffoon like acts. He would say

‘’I think conscious rap is overlooked slightly because, when you think of conscious rappers you might think of Akala, Common, both who maybe should have accumulated more sales, but they both do exceptionally well in each of their lanes. But I think the majority of people just want to have fun. I think when you listen to something that’s very serious, you take it in, you sit down and take it in, and you’re thinking ‘man that’s deep, I get it now, I get it.’ But when you listen to a club tune, you’re just like ‘I want to go to the club’. It’s just 2 completely different moods. I think the majority of people would prefer stuff that’s just, I wouldn’t say uplifting because a lot of conscious stuff is still uplifting, just want to turn up to be fair’’.

Wretch isn’t blind to the challenges that he has had to face when being described as a conscious rapper. ‘Being quite a conscious rapper means you definitely face the challenge that people say or think you are boring. I’ve noticed that when I’ve made certain records, even my own friends will say it to me. My mate will say to me ‘ah bro stop preaching man, if people want to hear that they’ll buy a book’ and I’m like ‘OK, I get it’ I get that that’s just some peoples philosophy on the whole thing, it’s just important to understand. Even me, some days I’ll wake up and I might see something pop on my twitter and I’m going to wanna challenge this lyrically, I’m gonna wanna speak about this. Some days I’ve been in a club, gone home and haven’t slept, gone to a studio session and all I can think about is how sick last night was, I’m gonna make a record that reflects that. With me, my art is just a reflection of my life’’.

When describing the state of hip hop at the moment, how its been perpetuated by the mainstream and the direction he see’s it heading in, Wretch ponders ‘’I think hip-hop right now is very diverse, a lot of it I like, a bit of it I don’t like. It’s interesting how to come through you used to have to go through a series of things. You used to have to be mad credible, have a background check, freestyle you’re head of, like rapping for time. Now, its like, you might have a rapper who has popped up, he’s got one tune and he’s come through and he’s as big as the guy who has done like 25 mixtapes, put in hundreds of thousands of hours of his time or whatever and its not weighing up sometimes. But I always say to people, and there is a lot of frustration with artists ‘how come this, how come that?’ but I say look ‘If it comes in quick, it might go (out) quicker’. The longer it takes to get in, the longer who are going to appreciate staying in and the longer you’re gonna be there in the long run. If something just lands in your lap, you might just push it off”.


I bear testament to Wretch’s grind that he’s put in over the years. Back when I was at MTV Base, Wretch used to come in and hang out as a friend of the brand and also our then intern (now super director) JakFrsh. Their friendship meant I was in the know about Wretch long before he hit the big time He is still today exactly the same well mannered, friendly, articulate young man he was back then many years ago whe he used to come in and chill out at my desk updating me on his latest mixtape and putting down verses for MTV’s Black History Month.



Wretch is aware that people expect all rap acts to branch out into other businesses but he’s making his moves slowly, deliberately and surely unlike many other acts that sign checks for any and every offer that comes up. ‘’There’s many ways nowadays for Hip Hops artists to be entrepreneurial. Of courses you have clothing which goes hand in hand like merchandise which a lot of people do, then you have some artists that open up modelling agencies, because they have a direct link with all the rappers that want to use of all the models for different video’s, then you have some people open up record labels, some people want to sell books. There’s so many things people can do, people like Jay Z have shown that its limitless. Even Pharrell – what they do with clothing and how far they take it- Kanye with the Yeezy’s, even someone like Lethal B with his clothing in the UK – Dench. I think its endless and there is a lot you can do. Probably merchandise is a common area because it goes hand in hand- you wear something, people like what you wear, it happens to be made by you, it happens to be sold on your site and at your tour and that’s also the most obvious direct way of income. I think it’s just how well you manage your brand. If you’re that person that always dresses well, one day I’m going to ask you “raah where did you get your jacket from” and then an artist might reply “naah this is actually one of mine I made it, I manufactured it you can buy it for £69.99 ” and they might reply “incredible I’m going to go an buy one” It kind of just goes hand in hand’’.



When listening to Wretch’s songs or watching his videos, we are never under any impression that he’s attempting to follow the blueprint for of the hyper masculine American hip hop that came before the UK acts blew up. Hyper-masculinity in hip-hop and the different stereotypes and pressures male hip-hop artists can face are heavy. There seems to be a lot of focus on how women are being stereotyped and objectified in hip-hop videos and lyrics, but this focus doesn’t really extend to the men. Wretch doesn’t think that the females or males have to stay in a box. ’’I think you’ve got to look at the rapper that’s at the forefront- there’s the guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, Drake, and there’s always people criticising him, but he’s the man of the moment. I think it was a beautiful thing that he even came through to get to the position he’s in now. He’s not typical- he’s not street, he’s not hood, he’s not from New York, he’s from Toronto. So I definitely think him coming through and him being so successful broke down a lot of boundaries. I think there’s a lot of other rappers coming through- it’s cool because it did used to be strict and tough and people had to speak about a certain thing and project themselves in a certain way. But now people are allowed to be more themselves, there’s a new wave of people coming through like the J Cole’s who’s not really ‘hood’, but what they do is make the everyday guy feel like it’s possible and I think it’s incredible to have the balance. Then there’s the 50 cent story, which is a story that many people are attached to, there are people who feel like something like that has happened to them in their life, and they just want to rap about it, because that’s the opportunity for them to get out of that situation- and I think it’s great that there is an art which allows that kind of platform. Of course, in everything, it’s right that there is a balance. I think the Drakes and the J Coles balance it out with the 50 Cents and the Young Jeezy’s’’.

Just watching Wretch walk down any part of London’s streets is incredible. He gets mad love. Wretch is looked up to by thousands of younger British music acts and is happy to play an older mentor role ‘’ It feels good knowing that artists are looking up to me. I feel like I’m quite a sensible character and it’s not like I’m going to lead anyone astray. There were many artists that I looked up to and they were very sensible and it helped to guide me and helped keep me on the straight and narrow. I think it’s important because I’m very interactive also, It’s not like I’m mad out of touch or out of reach, you can find me somewhere or contact someone that knows me and I can give you advice’’.

Not only is he a mentor to others but also looks up to acts that inspired him. Jay Z is his favourite artist but he doesn’t feel the need to emulate his style and knows he’s created his own, very unique lane. ‘’Jay is a rap hero, one of my idols, because lyrically, I think he’s the person who pushed me into the position I’m in. I think the consistency; the level of dedication to his craft, his professionalism, his mannerism is something that I admire. You don’t have to be similar to people you admire. The world doesn’t need another Jay Z or another Wretch32- and it definitely doesn’t need another Kanye!’’


wretch thoughtful

Snoop Dog has quoted that he doesn’t think homosexuality will ever be accepted in the rap music because, “rap is so masculine”. Wretch isn’t sure how this ignorance can be fixed. ‘’That’s a question that I couldn’t directly give you an answer for, I can only answer on stuff close to me, so like if I have a mate that was.. you know.. and he was working in music and wanted advice, I would say ‘be you, rap about you, rap about what you want to rap about’ and I think that’s the problem- I think people have a problem with others not being genuine. So, I’m a guy who’s into girls, and if I was rapping about boys, it would sound weird, it would sound wrong, because it’s not genuine to me. So if there was a rapper that was into something else, you just have to be genuine and be about hat you’re about and rap about it, and whoever is into that, would take to it. But if you think you’re too short, too tall, too dark, or whatever, it doesn’t make sense you just sit in your house and do nothing about it, because nothing is going to happen that way and there won’t be any changes. So it takes for you to come out and make that step’’.

Wretch does also acknowledge that fear of coming out can play a big role in a gay rappers career. ‘’There’s always going to be a fear in coming out… but if you’re in fear, you’re feeling like you’re doing something wrong. If you’re feeling like you’re doing something right, you’re in full right to behave and continue in whatever you’re doing in life. If you feel like you’re doing something wrong, then it’s going to restrict you and that’s a problem on yourself and something you have to deal with. You have to be comfortable in your own skin everywhere and I’m comfortable everywhere. There’s times where, with me being this tall and this dark, sometimes there’s an issue- but guess what, I’m going to walk in that door and I’m going to be Wretch 32. I’m not going to let anything limit me and I’m going to do what I’m here to do. So I’ll just advise ANYBODY in ANY circumstance- to be them and go for what you want to achieve. It’s up to you, I’m not going to pull you out your house, and nobody’s going to pull me out’’.


wretch politics

Hip hop and UK politics has never had a warm glowing friendly relationship. Nothings changed since Lethal B called David Cameron a donut in the broadsheets. Wretch thinks that Hip Hop can better engage people with politics. “I think in order for hip hop artists to help people engage into politics they have to understand it better, if I’m honest it isn’t something that I dwell in too much because I almost look at that like a separate world that I have no control over and it’s like, I find it quite interesting that someone like myself couldn’t tell Gordon Brown or Tony Blair, any of these people how to run the House of Commons but they can tell me how its gonna go in Seven Sisters and how its gonna run in Tottenham and how its gonna run in London, because I haven’t been in your world and you haven’t been in mine. So it should be you something you’re coming to me, or you’re coming to us and asking us what do we need’’.

Wretch 32 Birthday Party at Holborn House, London

Now talking about an area he feels passionately about he adds ‘’How do you get in contact with these people? You go through a million things but, this is when you need someone who can translate and this is something we see in a guy called George the Poet, where for me, he is the direct mediator because he can speak their language and he speaks our language and he understands so if we can all support him and get him where he needs to be, where he can communicate with them, nobody else will have to. Cos we are two different people walking two separate walks of life they look down on us, and we look down on them, so automatically it’s a conflict of interest, and it’s a lack of knowledge, a lack of knowledge on our front and a lack of knowledge on their front, and understanding, so if you have one person in the middle they can walk the tight rope.”


Last week the controversial Exhibit B show at The Barbican was cancelled on its London dates due to protests. Of course Wretch had an opinion “I was trying to read the pluses and the minuses on either side but I couldn’t quite understand why people would want to see black people in a cubicle in a museum, I couldn’t understand the attraction, I just couldn’t get my head around it, so I don’t think I’m with it to be fair, I don’t think I’m with it, I’m not that person that’s going to scream out with the lack of education, because there’s been many times where I’ve seen someone scream out about something like that and it’s a black person that created it so now it’s like you’re screaming at yourself like, why you screaming, you should have just understood the education and maybe it was something positive in the end but, I couldn’t see the positive in it, I couldn’t understand it, people arguing that it was art, technically if I walk past you in the street is that art then, why don’t I just walk past you in the street why don’t we appreciate that as art why do we have to dig up this history and just have people standing still in cubicles.”

Hip-hop and Shakespeare

I’ve often heard rappers verbal dexterity described as modern day Shakespeare. Wretch agrees that the ability to form phrases and clever wordplay isn’t just something that belongs to the golden olden ages ‘’I definitely think there are some similarities to some hip hop artists and people like Shakespeare. I think when I listen to some rappers and I hear some of their play on words some of the stories, some of the metaphors and similes and double entendre there’s some things that some of the rappers are doing that I doubt have been named yet”.

America isn’t the only place where hip-hop stars have university modules named after them and students study rappers lyrics. ‘‘There’s many times where I’ve gone to school and given English lessons and we’ve broken down some of my songs and It’s like I’ve explained some of the metaphors are and what the similes are and what the similarities are and etc. and I think like it was cool to do that and I think the kids are really engaged and at that point that where I realize that what I’m actually writing. It’s a bit more than just rap I’m not stringing words together I’m giving a lesson to kids here so it’s quite interesting’’

Trying to envisage hip hop for the future, Wretch predicts ‘’I think in years to come there might even be rap shows in the theatre, I might do a tour in theatres instead of normal venues and just stage it different and light it different and perform different, and maybe not even hold the mic, maybe just you know how it goes in the theatre you never know it’s just going to take one person to make that step and everyone’s just going to follow suit’’

Reflecting back to his own school days and how great it would’ve been if he had been able to study acts like grandmaster flash or Eric B and Rakim , Wretch smiles ‘’I think they should definitely pick some songs to be a part of the English module because I just remember being a kid, and I remember my teacher sitting me down saying, look you’re like one of the worst behaved kids I’ve ever tried to teach in my life, and my problem I have with you is like when you write stories, anything you write is incredible but why are you like this?, why are you so disruptive/ and I’m like, I don’t particularly care about what I’m learning about, and had I of had a lesson where I had a rapper that I respected, or a song I knew back to front was the actual lesson I would have paid a lot more attention, because they might have been telling me things that I didn’t even realise. Even like that might have been an easier way to describe what a metaphor is for me, do you know what I mean, or what a simile is for me at that age. I think that there are probably a million kids in this country that would benefit from them, so sometimes it’s just about trying. Because that lesson that I took part in for the kids, it was incredible, they learnt so much and even I learnt something, because sometimes the teacher would say ‘what you done In that last line that was onomatopoeia’

Hip Hop and Religion


One thing that doesn’t cross over from American hip hoppers to the UK as much as other hip-hop ingredients, are the constant references to God and religion. How much of a role does religion play in Wretch’s life and work? ’’ I was christened, all my siblings were christened and my mum was someone who went to church, my grandparents went to church. But my mum used to take us sometimes, and then she stopped, so it didn’t become part of my life. It became part of a tiny piece of my childhood. But at the same time, I understand the importance. For me, I’ve always believed that there is a God, always believed in God. It’s funny, because you turn to God when things are going wrong and expect him to make everything alright, which isn’t right, it’s just the reality of it.”

Wretch is able to understand hip-hop acts reverence to religion though “Because Hip-Hop is mainly for a set of people that have come from nothing. And when you’re coming from nothing, you look for hope. God is hope. Rap is an opportunity, opportunity and hope go together. So in your path of opportunity, you’d love there to be some hope that your fruition comes true. So it kind of goes hand in hand and I don’t think, it’s like a religious thing, like yeah it’s Monday and I am going to make a religious song and say god and then Tuesday. It’s just when you feel the need. Your gonna say a pray and that’s just part of our culture. You might pray before you eat, you might pray at Christmas dinner- you know the Americans might pray thanksgiving- its part of your culture. It may not be every day, every week or every month, but you do always have a moment where our thankful and you reflect. I don’t think there is a contradiction between rap and religion, because rap is art. You can rap about whatever, because at the end of the day, you’re telling a story, you’re just a communicator or the person who the art is coming to. I’m in control of what I am writing and at the same time I am not in control, because it’s coming to me from somewhere and its just for me to get it out from somewhere. I don’t think it’s a contradiction, but what would be a mad contradiction is if you were rapping some kind of devil thing, that’s an obvious contradiction’’.

Will Wretch’s new music hit the top of the charts? Will he continue to inspire younger music acts across the UK? Will he continue to be a great musical role model in the #TeamUK movement? As he himself is known for saying…I’m certain the answer is ‘’AH YEAH!’’

Wretch released his new single 6 WORDS on November 16th with his album GROWING OVER LIFE following soon after.




Last night I politely declined an invitation to see Mary J Blige perform at the I Tunes Festival, and a dinner invitation from a huge American music mogul because I received a better offer.
#blasphemy. I know. I am wrong.

But if you get an invite from one of the coolest men in the world, to attend one of the most iconic music venues in the world, to hang out and sing karaoke with a very A List line up- for an incredibly important cause, what would you do?

I arrived at Abbey Road Studios in the swanky postcode of NW8 in St Johns Wood, to find the infamous studio two, full of fabulosity. Samuel L Jackson was greeting a very small group of guests and encouraging us all to pop our names down to sing later in the evening. I assured him my cheering skills were much stronger than my tone-deaf vocals, but he insisted the worse we were as vocalists the better. He wasn’t joking. Later when he sang, he proved that he really IS a face for movies, not the music charts.

One For The Boys #SingOne4TheBoys Karaoke Night

A minimal list of songs from the past few decades was passed around. Myself and Adidas head honcho, Paola Lucktung fancied ourselves singing either Irene Cara’s Fame or Cameo’s Word Up, but Sadie Frost nicked our song before we could get up there and frankly the Primrose Hill set were all priority on the list. *NOSE MAJORLY OUT OF JOINT* SMILE*

One For The Boys #SingOne4TheBoys Karaoke Night

Radio One’s breakfast king Nick Grimshaw and his pal Daisy Lowe hosted the stage, and were really entertaining with their encouraging yet sly slights on peoples singing talents. It was hard to be really bad though, as we were accompanied by a full live band and amazing backing vocalists, so even the worst singers- ahem- sounded pretty good, and most certainly no worse than your average Spice Girl.

Waiters also offered a Michelin-star menu which included goats cheese bakes, artichoke canapés and a selection from the Great British Bake-off inspired dessert bar, personally created by leading chef Jason Atherton, as well as a champagne reception by Moët & Chandon.

Nicole Scherzinger sang ‘’the only song she knows at karaoke’’, Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will survive’’, Game Of Thrones actress Maisy Williams sang Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel sang a duet with Samuel, as did party co-host GQ Editor Dylan Jones and Tinie Tempeh and Jessie J’s manager Dumi made up a trio to sing ‘’Blame it on the boogie’’.

One For The Boys #SingOne4TheBoys Karaoke Night

All this fun was in aid of One For The Boys, the charity founded by Sofia Davis and chaired by Samuel L. Jackson, to raise awareness and funds, educating men on male cancer and the night saw the start of the recording for the charity single Say Something.

One For The Boys #SingOne4TheBoys Karaoke Night

The star studded evening saw stars from the worlds of fashion, film, music, sport and TV, unite to continue the One For The Boys ‘Man Movement’ launched earlier this year. Other stars in the house included, Toni Collette and Dominic Cooper, as well as Beth Ditto and Cara Delavigne.

The evening announced the launch of the single, Say Something – featuring artists including Sir Paul McCartney, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it has to have been the greatest karaoke event of all time. Paul McCartney’s in good company. Sam’s other mates who have volunteered to be ambassadors for the project include fellow legends Michael Douglas, Simon Pegg, Colin Firth and John Bishop.

One For The Boys #SingOne4TheBoys Karaoke Night

Creating a musical platform encouraging men to not be afraid to actually say something when it comes to cancer, we were informed that the One For The Boys single will arm men with the facts, the risks and tools they need to tackle cancer head on and be the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one – a doubly feel good gift of life.

One For The Boys Chairman, Samuel L. Jackson told us all,

“What better way is there to unite men than through music? Tonight see’s us mark the start of the recording of our charity single, Say Something, which we hope will make men realise that they can say something when it comes to cancer. Men don’t tend to talk about their health issues, thinking it reveals vulnerability. One For The Boys aims to shine a blue light into the world of campaigning, cutting through the noise to educate men, encouraging early detection and treatment. We believe this single featuring the world’s leading artists, can save lives.”

Uniting the world’s men through music, One For The Boys Say Something will be released in the run up to Christmas, but will it beat Simon Cowell’s X Factor offering?

To find out more about One For The Boys, the One For The Boys Charity single, Say Something and how to support the 2014 Men’s Movement, go to www.onefortheboys.com and follow @One4TheBoys #SingOFTB #SaySomething.

The One for the Boys charity single Say Something will be released in December 2014 creating the gift of life for Christmas 
About One for the Boys: 
One For The Boys was founded in by Sofia Davis as a tribute to a friend’s brother who lost the battle to cancer. Chaired by Samuel L. Jackson and supported by global ambassadors including Michael Douglas, Dylan Jones, Richard Roundtree and John Bishop, One For The Boys arms men with the facts, the risks and tools they need to tackle cancer head on.

Proceeds from the campaign go towards educating the nation reminding men how early detection is key, through campaigning, live clinics and removing the myths associated with cancer within men.


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So many young people and adults that I work with set up YouTube chanels and don’t really understand the basics of how it works and what the rules are to make it work well.
We live in a content driven era where you can make the greatest video in the universe, but if no-one knows where to find it, it may as well not even exist!.

Recently the LONDON360 reporters had a session with Sports Partnership Manager for EMEA at YouTube- Dan Pheysey who gave us these bullet points that you should be aware of when setting up and mantaining your YouTube channel…….

Understanding the platform

There are 3-5 billion people currently using YouTube

Only 3 sites in the world that have over 1 billion users: YouTube, Google and Facebook

6 billion hours per month watched on YouTube. Over 20% of the internet’s bandwidth.

4 days of content every minute is uploaded

Your core audience in Gen C which is 18-25 and these are viewers/ creators and curators. Make the content/view it and organise it.

40-50% of viewership is on mobile devices.

This means….

There is generally an audience for most types of content you create


Its very competitive.

One of your main challenges with this much content is your audience finding you.

Content strategy

Always think….is there a tweet that I can write that concisely explains what my video is about?
If there isn’t then you probably shouldn’t make/share it.

Most views come from people searching for content so creating a topic that people are searching for will automatically boost your views. This is why it is important to have a strategy when producing your content.

Tentpole programming. This means creating 3 different types of content to build your audience whilst retaining your core viewers and subscribers.

• Hero: Inspiring and emotional storytelling promoted through advertising. These are one off , or occasional , videos that make your brand stand out but are usually too much effort to produce continuously. They give the wow factor and get attention.
• Hub: This is regularly produced content that satisfies subscribers to the channel. Keeping your core audience.
• Hygiene: Videos that educate the audience by answering questions found through search.

Plan your audience around news events that are coming up, this is where you’ll see the spikes in viewership as its what people are searching for.

Ask yourself the 10 fundamental questions

1. Is it shareable?
2. Is it conversational? Are you talking to your audience?
3. Is it interactive? Is there any way you can involve your audience?
4. Is it consistent? Are there recurring elements? Are you delivering what your brand promises?
5. Is it targeted? Do you have a clearly defined audience?
6. Is it sustainable? Can you keep it up to standard?
7. Is it discoverable?
8. Is it accessible?
9. Can you collaborate? Is there any room to feature a guest who is doing something similar? That way you could steal/share each others’ audiences.
10. Is it inspirational? Is it coming from a place of true passion?

You can check what people are searching for using Google trends. https://www.google.com/trends/


Your page should have a cover photo explaining what your channel is about. An avatar and a logo is essential. They need to know what they are going to get when they land on your page so your photos and name should be clear.

The ABOUT section is very important for what the search algorithm takes into account so you need to have the KEY WORDS of what you do on your channel. Handy tip- You can update your about section regularly to optimise what is in your latest videos.
You can also add places you’ve filmed/performed/companies you’ve worked for to optimise if anyone is searching for content about these.

THUMBNAIL: Make it as interesting as possible. Expressive faces work best with bright, contrasting colours.

In your DESCRIPTIONS you should be linking to your channel and other videos.

TAGS are important so that your video appears in the recommended video section. You can custom baseline tags for each video and then add more specific ones depending on the video’s content. To do this you go to advance section- tags.

Your END CARD should have a clear call to action, subscribe button and ideally a link to another video to encourage people to continue watching.

It is a good idea to set up themed playlists as this is continuous and people will just carry on watching.

The biggest earners in terms of advertising are sport/beauty and food.

40% of viewed content on YouTube is long form – 15 mins or more so there is room for this.

Using music/third party content

YouTube have an audio library which you can use tracks from free. If you use other peoples music and they notice they can a) ask you to take it off b) take any money from the video if it is monetised c) let you use it with credit

YouTube has content ID which lets other users know when their content is being used by someone else and sends them a Copyright Notice and gives them options to take action. Therefore it is highly inadvisable to use others’ content without permission.


(Masterclass transcribed by London360 project manager Tayana Simons).



prof green

The MOBO Nominations party was reinvented this year. Usually an evening affair full of dressed up ladies, uber amounts of alcohol, silver platters full of canapés and a free for all party that runs for hours, this year the brand reinvented itself with a nominations reveal akin to the MTV and Brits brands, with an early morning champagne fest breakfast at world renowned jazz music venue Ronnie Scott’s on Tuesday morning. Paparazzi, print press, TV news crews, bloggers and music talent were lined up outside on the Soho pavement an hour ahead of doors opening, such was the buzz that the awards were returning this year to its London hometown roots.

Although it was a breakfast affair, there were no teas or coffees to keep our bleary media eyes alert, it was still black music glitz with hundreds of glasses of champagne lined up along the bar, with mini Danish pastries on hand too.


Music acts, tastemakers and media bigwigs in the house included Professor Green, Krept & Konan, Angel, Meridian Dan, Ella Eyre, Melvin Odoom, Michelle Matherson, Jonathan Shalit and more. After XTra Factors Sarah Jane Crawford welcomed us all and handed over to MOBO CEO Kanya King, we were fully awake as international actor and heartthrob Idris Elba bounded onto stage straight from the airport, to pick up his award- a new award invented just this year- for most inspirational person. Idris, dressed in a sharp suit had the paps frantically snapping away and suddenly the A List factor in the venue went sky high!


Lion-maned beauty Ella Eyre sang for us and proved why she’s a worthy nominee this year.

ela stage


Taking place at Wembey Arena on October 22nd this is the MOBO 19th year anniversary, and to celebrate the brand has spread its musical tentacles, and expanded to new areas. It’s moving its focus beyond just music and encouraging the next generation of creative talent, regardless of field. This will engage young people who aspire to work in film, TV, dance, theatre and visual arts. They’re calling this the MOBO Movement and will partner with established organisations to make youth dreams happen.


This years show moves from its previous BBC home, across to rival ITV, and this naturally means that with ad breaks that the televised part of the show will be much shorter, with certain categories having to be announced before transmission time, and not all categories being televised. ITV2 will transmit the live two-hour show with main channel ITV running hour-long highlights. It will be interesting to see which categories are dropped for TV.


Once upon a time many, many years ago, MOBO were criticised for awarding the American talent with too many awards. Today this has swung totally the other way and in 2014 the highest nominees are British acts singer Sam smith and hip-hop duo Krept & Konan. Both Sam and Krept & Konan have been nominated for four awards each, with Ghetts, Tinie Tempeh, Meridian Dan and FUSE ODG all receiving three awards each.


To the die-hard underground scenes delight, we have a new category this year for MOBO Best Grime, which included a host of popular names like Big Narstie, Ghetts, JME, Lethal Bizzle, Meridian Dan, Novelist, Skepta, Sox, Stormzy and Wiley. Within minutes of the launch announcement, MOBO Awards was trending on twitter with an eruption of tweets from the UK music industry on their delight at being recognised for their hard work. Even Ed Sheeran tweeted ‘‘if there’s one thing you do today you should vote for Big Narstie in the mobos coz him winning would make me happy’’. Wiley tweeted ‘’ I will support the mobo awards 4 life’’

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Best international act included the expected names like Beyonce, Drake, Iggy Azalea. J Cole, Nicki Minaj, Pharrell and more. The most important thing though is to realise that whether its nearly two decades old or not, there is still a real need for this brand that gives a voice and platform to British black music acts that would have no other mainstream music awards giving it a platform. Urban music has highs and lows in the British music charts. One year we’re taking over the whole chart placing’s, and the next we’re blanked like the proverbial black sheep of the music industry family. Kudos to all those that continue to fight for its existence and mainstream broadcasters like ITV that understand that the black music pound and audience demographic is not to be ignored.


So the living R&B singing legends that are the O Jays had the Indigo o2 dancing and singing their spats and socks off this week as they played London for the first time in years. All three gents are well past their boy band days but still managed to bring the fancy slides and shuffles dance routines in their crisp white suits and shoes. Accompanied by a full band of familiar musicians and part time London hires whom they teasingly referred to as their ‘’Justin beibers’’ they had the middle-aged ladies in the audience screaming. Lead vocalist Edde levert had the male audience members kicking back relieved that their ladies were going to be in the mood for some loving that night as he smooth talked them all with none of his lover man spiel diminished. A great show with plenty of holding hands and singing along to classic its like ‘’love train’’ and ‘’backstabbers’’.

hh food

Next I had a cook off in my kitchen after being sent RAPPERS DELIGHT- THE COOKBOOK, which had incredible recipes inspired by your favourite Hip Hop artists of today and yesteryear. Split into three categories of Starters, Mains and Desserts, the book includes a wide range of delights such as Wu-Tang Clam Chowder, Public Enemiso Soup, Run DM Sea Bass and Busta Key Lime Pie. Even legends like Public Enemeys Chuck D endorsed it saying ‘’ “There are all aspects of Hip Hop, but the best of it has unique blending of ingredients, detailed preparation as well as great taste.

hh food3

Rappers Delight connects like great food, makes too much sense. Each of the recipes is accompanied by a bespoke piece of artwork, created by one of thirty of the best upcoming illustrators. Rapper’s Delight celebrates the many humorous parallels between food and Hip Hop, making it a must-have for anyone with a love for cooking, music or illustration, or indeed all three. The book was put together by foodie, hip-ho and news lovers- Joseph Inniss, Palth Miller and Peter Stadden.

Asian Achievers Awards

The Asian achievers awards took place at the opulent Grosvenor house hotel in park lane. The Asian Achievers Awards celebrates individuals who have inspired communities and achieved outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields.
Fatboyz Dance Troupe Entertainment

Not to be confused with its slightly glitzier celeb packed awards of a similar name- the Asian awards. The Asian achievers awards is much more serious and business and entrepreneurial skewed.

This year the Rt Hon Phillip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made one of the first welcoming speeches (after he had been flower garlanded by the Asian organisers). He said

‘’There is much to celebrate in the contribution of British Asians made to our national life- be it in sports, in culture, in academia, in public service and in community life. But perhaps most strikingly and most dramatically in business and the professions where the British Asian community hunches well above its weight and produces some outstanding successes. Generating wealth is an essential prerequisite delivering all the means that we want in our society. Tonight we celebrate the entrepreneurship for which the British Asian community is rightly renowned. As the foreign secretary, I recognise promoting Britain’s prosperity for trade and investment as a core activity. So the British foreign office will be relentless in helping businesses, breaking through markets and pushing trade and investment. I invite all British businesses to make full use of all our services. Our services of trade and investment are at your disposal in our shared endeavour to create value for Britain. And as Asia continues to rise, I am confident that many of you will be leading the way using your unique networks to help Britain in just that. Specifically, we are planning expansion of our representation in India as we push through big difference in British trade as India’s vast market opens up for business and investment. We celebrate tonight in arts, sports, business and professions that were fulfilled by hard work, utter commitment and single minded determination. They will often be achieved in the face of setbacks, challenges and adversities. They are hard earned and well deserved. The awards that will be presented tonight are fitting recognition of these achievements. I congratulate the award winners and all the nominees. You are an example to your community and to the whole of our nation. Ladies and gentlemen, the PM has asked me specifically to add his congratulations to all of you. In fact, you, as a community with your great contribution add to our national life. So may you all go from strength to strength, building bigger and better achievements in the future. But before you do, before you go back to the hard work for which you rightly renowned, just take a few hours this evening to relax, to enjoy yourselves and celebrate the achievements that you already have under your belt’’.


Next Tony’s wifey Cherie Blair QC, CBE made a Speech thanking us all for making her charity the charity of the night. She said

‘’I am so delighted to be here, on this evening to such an important event for the UK and for the Asian community. I would like to congratulate all the nominees, and of course all the winners. I am particularly excited this year, as the charity you’re assisting is my own charity. Thank you in advance for supporting our work.Of course you all know that once upon a time, I lived in 10 downing street and while I was there I had the opportunity to travel, sometimes with and without my husband around the world, and I met some incredible women, from many different communities. So many of them struggled, they struggled with their status, struggled with their businesses, and I felt that with the right help they could contribute so much more. My foundation’s mission is to provide with entrepreneurs in developing and emerging market with the skills, the technology, the networks and access capital they need to become successful small and growing business owners, enabling them to contribute to their families, to their economy, and to have a stronger voice in the society. Since we began in 2008, we have already reached over a 100,000 women entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries. One of the very first countries that we started in was India. A country that I know very well. So much so that I often say that I qualify as an NRI. It’s in India that we have some of our most successful and award winning projects like in Gujarat, using our mobile phone project. Tonight we are raising funds for a new project that we want to start in Maharashtra, in collaboration with Mann Deshi foundation. We want to provide a 1000 rural woman entrepreneurs with business incubation, access to loans and business growth opportunities, that will have impact not only on the women themselves but also on their families and their communities. With our support these women owned businesses will be able to make enough profit to contribute to their family’s future. Please give generously because tonight we are supporting entrepreneurship, so let’s help these women entrepreneurs to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their great nation, India’’


. People did give generously and our actioneer for the night- that former criminal convict Jeffrey archer helped hustle £100,000 from diners. Pretty impressive!

Winners included Hanif Kureshi CBE for Media, Arts and Culture; Mahmud Kamani, co-founder of boohoo.com for Business Person of the Year; and Wasim Khan MBE, the first British-Pakistani to play professional cricket in England, for Achievement in Community Service. Picking up the Editor’s Award for Rising Star, was ground-breaking music producer, Naughty Boy, aka Shahid Khan, who shot to fame and critical acclaim last year with his hit single, ‘La La La’.


Naughty boy told the LONDON360 camera crew that he sells his talent first and then his identity- he doesn’t make a big deal about being Indian. He added

“To receive this level of recognition from my peers of fellow Asians is such a privilege. I’m proud of being a British Pakistani and I’m proud to represent the Asian community. I grew up immersed in Bollywood movies, where music, songs and extravagant dance sequences dominate, and that has really influenced the way I produce music today. “Although I’ve worked hard, I’ve been so lucky to have such amazing support from my incredible family and friends. Making music is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and if I can do that while being a positive influence in my community, then that is just the icing on the cake for me.” Shahid Khan was hand-selected by Founder and Chairman of The Asian Achievers Awards, CB Patel for his remarkable achievement in music. The self-made producer began his meteoric rise to fame in 2005 after he was awarded a grant of £5,000 from The Princes Trust. Later that year he also appeared on Channel 4’s hit game show Deal Or No Deal, presented by Noel Edmonds, winning £44,000, which enabled him to purchase equipment and begin recording music. The 29-year-old has since worked with internationally acclaimed artistes like Emeli Sandé, Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah, Katy Perry and most recently with Zayn Malik of One Direction. He now runs his own production company, Naughty Boy Recordings, and his 2013 smash hit, ‘La La La’, featuring Sam Smith was a global summer sensation, with over 386 million views on YouTube, to date. Mr. CB Patel, Publisher/Editor, ABPL Group says: “I am delighted to be awarding Shahid Khan with my Editor’s Award for Rising Star. He had a dream and worked hard to achieve that goal. Today, he is a respected star in the music industry, working with some of the biggest names of our generation, and he is an outstanding role model for every young person who has a dream.”



Also honoured was the late Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, whose parents collected the Editor’s Award for Bravery and Patriotism. Fl Lt Chauhan tragically lost his life in Afghanistan during a routine flight and was honoured for his service to his country. His father, 61-year old Kishor Chauhan, received the honour and said: “It’s with great pride that I accept this award. It’s a very difficult thing to accept and I’m proud of Rakesh and what he achieved in his short life. That is why I agreed to accept this recognition.” The young pilot died alongside fellow Intelligence Corps non-commissioned officer Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas, Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner and Corporal James Walters from the Army Air Corps. The funeral service for the 29-year old drew in more than 1000 mourners in Leicester, who lined the streets to pay their final respects.

Priya Lakhani OBE - Woman of the Year Interviewing

Priya Lakhani,told London360

”I think it’s incredibly important. It’s one of those community’s, I think, where we have generations of women before us, who have had a very typical role. That’s generally been in the house, you know, making sure everyone is fed and raising the children. I think that now that women are more equal, its important to celebrate that, so that the younger children and the younger generation can look up and say, hey I can do that, It’s already happening”.

Since launching 14 years ago, The Asian Achievers Awards has helped raise millions of pounds for charity


1. Business Person Of The Year – Mahmud Kamani
Co-Founder boo.hoo.com

2. Entrepreneur Of The Year – Dr. Richie Nanda
Executive Chairman, The Shield Group, the UK’s largest independent Total Security Solutions provider

3. Sports Personality Of The Year – Dilawer Singh MBE
Sports Council for Glasgow Elected Director

4. Uniformed And Civil Services – Nazir Afzal OBE
Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West

5. Media, Arts And Culture – Hanif Kureishi CBE
Playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and novelist. In 2008, The Times included Kureishi in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″

6. Woman Of The Year – Priya Lakhani OBE
Ethnic food entrepreneur, founder of Masala Masala, an Indian stir-in sauce

7. Achievement In Community Service – Wasim Gulzar Khan MBE
Chief Executive, The Cricket Foundation and CEO, Chance to Shine.

8. Professional Of The Year – Prof Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee, FRS
Experimental physicist and Professor of Physics at Imperial College London and one of the ‘founding fathers’ of CMS

9. Editor’s Award for Rising Star – Shahid Khan, aka Naughty Boy
Music producer, acclaimed for his global summertime hit single ‘La La La’, featuring Sam Smith and A-list collaborations

10. Editor’s Award for Bravery & Patriotism – The Late Fl Lt Rakesh Chauhan
29-year-old RAF Officer who died in Afghanistan when his helicopter (Lynx) crashed during a routine flight.



Liz Hurley at Three Mills Studios

The London360 team and I made the pilgrimage across London to the Three Mills Studios, to visit the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley, on the set of her new TV drama series ‘’The Royals’’.It was a secret mission so alas that’s all I can tell you about it lol.


Dinner House of Lords

21 guests were invited to a very intimate VIP dinner at the House Of Lords, where I was sat around a table of TV and medias biggest movers and leaders. Lode Michael grade hosted the dinner and in attendance were HOST: The Lord Grade of Yarmouth CBE, Media Trust CEO Caroline Diehl MBE, Peter Ainsworth – UK Chair, the Big Lottery Fund – MT’s largest Funder. Former Conservative politician 1992-2010.,James Caan – Dragons Den, Adam Crozier – ITV Chief Executive ,David Farnsworth – Chief Grants Officer at The City Bridge Trust, Charlene White – ITN news presenter , Eddie Nestor BBC Radio, Sophie Turner Laing – just departed Sky as Managing Director.


The food and service in the private dining room were- as you you’d expect- impeccable. We were treated to Pea & mint soup – served with pea shoots and sea salt croutons, Salmon – Oven-baked, served with grilled asparagus, tender stem broccoli, sautéed new potatoes and a tomato & caper beurre noisette (gluten free), Posset – Lime & blackberry posset, served with lemon & poppy seed shortbread biscuit.

Strictly Come Laughing at Hackney Empire

An annual comedy show, where all the comedians and entertainers give their services for the night for free to raise money for the village of Tafo in Ghana. This is the final year after having raised over £100,000 over years and changing the living conditions and quality of life for villagers in Tafo. Faces on the night came from Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, Stepken K Amos, Richard Blackwood, Kevin J, Eddie Kadi and my fave comic Slim amongst others! A night full of fun and raucous laughter.
RTS Conference
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The Royal Television Society’s London Conference 2014-Power, Politics and the Media is a day that always brings out the bona fide leaders and rules of the UK TV industry. The heads of every broadcaster as well as independent TV company directors and execs are fully tanned and glowing fresh off their one month of vacations on their yachts and in full suited swag mode. The gents in their crispest most expensive shirt suit getup and the ladies in their knee length business frocks or elegant feminine suits. (This crowd wouldn’t be seen dead in a pair of vulgar, tacky red-soled Louboutins.

After breakfast coffees, teas and mini croissants, the programme for the Conference (which was full of power players) was opened by president of the Royal Television Society Sir Peter Bazalgette, who hosted a conversation with media mogul- Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox. it was a rare chance to hear directly from one of the most powerful men in world media, Peter Bazalgette spoke to him about building his American business and bidding for more British companies.
Carey said he looks for ”unique content and brands that stand out, we’re investors in good content so that we can create more content, so yes, you can expect us to invest more in British content. The content created right here in the uk clearly appeals to a global marketplace. We aren’t just investing in the uk, we are an enormous investor in creating content in India too amongst other countries too’’.

Session Two had me gripped. It was titled The Future You Don’t Want To Face and chaired by Channel 4 news host Krishnan Guru-Murthy. On the panel were broadcasting’s futurists who spoke about how television on demand is challenging the industry’s incumbent leaders. These High profile disruptors were: Matt Brittin, President, Northern and Central Europe Operations, Google, Karla Geci, Head of International Media, Facebook and Kevin Sutcliffe, Head of News Programming EU, VICE News. They discussed whether television is losing power as a medium, if channels are becoming an unwarranted middleman between programmes and viewers, and who the financial winners and losers are in the world of video on demand.

Clearly the online world is affecting the ay we engage with media. A lot of us acquire news via twitter and brands like vice. Indeed, the BBC has just hired 10 YouTubers to get their radio listeners demographic to under 30. Winners will be those that embrace all the new technology, losers will be those that stick to one platform and channel.

The one thing all this panel agreed on was the difference their brands have with mainstream TV companies ‘’many organisatons are paying a lot of staff to not do very much, which successful digital brands have tiny teams delivering bigger and better’’. Vice’ Kevin Sutcliffe made me laugh when he noted

‘’the BBC mentioned they now had some Vice style programing’’- I said stick to what you do best’’. I.e. stay in your lane!

Amongst the other sessions was Tomorrow The World- After five years in the doldrums, deal-making is back in fashion. Are we, as it seems, on the verge of another re-shaping of the world media order? And, if so, what does this mean for the competitiveness of UK companies and the prospects of the next generation of creative entrepreneurs? ITV Studios Manging Drector Kevin Lygo was particularly hilarious with his legendary comedy timing.

Of course with the Scottish indy referendum debate raging ahead we had to have a debate titled ‘’Kingdom Not United’’. Scotland votes on the 18th of September whether to become an independent country or not. Although the debate has played out on TV as usual social media and digital engagement now loom much larger in the toolbox of political campaigning. The same will apply in the forthcoming 2015 UK general election. In a session looking at what really influences voters, Laura Kuenssberg is joined by three players who are the heart of this debate.

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Head Of Sky News John Ryley makes a dig at ITV News sometimes “ducking out of important news stories”

The next session that had me all fired up was ‘’Have I Got News For You?’’ Chaired by Stewart Purvis CBE, Professor of Television Journalism, City University. The topic covered was ‘The BBC believes it is going to be an extremely difficult undertaking cutting 400 jobs without affecting quality. Do its competitors feel the same kind of threat of cutbacks or are the BBC’s problems an opportunity for them? Leaders of the three main providers talk about the sustainability of TV news in the fully digital age. Speakers included the great John Hardie, Chief Executive, ITN, the equally legendary John Ryley, Head of Sky News, BSkyB and the incredible force that is Fran Unsworth, Deputy Director of News & Current Affairs, BBC. Apparently 25-34 year olds are the fastest group leaving on air news viewing.

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”Have I got news for you” panel.Chief Exec ITN John Hardie makes great points about sustaining TV news in a Digital age

Later in the afternoon there was a Keynote speech by Secretary of State – The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP,Department for Culture, Media & Sport, where In his first major appearance as Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP outlined the government’s plans for the television industry.

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Stylist ”LIFE LESSONS”evening.

Next it was off to stylist magazine’s regular evening gathering. Yet another women empowering women social gathering. After a quick glass of wine in the opulent bar of the Ham Yard Hotel, we were treated to three speakers giving us their life lesson about what every woman should know.

Up first was FGM victim, and survivor Leyla Hussein, now an FGM campaigner. She stated that she wanted to be just a mum that didn’t want her daughter to be ashamed of her virgina and be subjected to FGM. She’s ‎Had to have regular therapy to understand, deal with and repair the relationship with her mother who had to endure FGM twice. Leyla said

‘’I realised she was also a victim. We now celebrate the fact that her granddaughter – my daughter- isn’t cut’’.

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‎Next up was my old MTV compadre – presenter June Sarpong, who spoke about her early upbringing in Walthamstow e17. Wondering through the local Market as a young girl. Acknowledging her multicultural community ‘’my School was like looking at a poster of United Nations kids. We had Indian Jewish, Indian, Chinese, everything. It was a Good grounding for my media career being surrounded by different people and being able to talk to anybody’’. She expanded on her Ghanaian background. The fact that her Mother is 67 and on her 3rd marriage but revealed that her mum hadn’t wanted to have her 3rd one yet cos her daughter June still hasn’t had her first!

‎June ended with the well known quote by Marianne Williamson.

‘’ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.’’

June advised us females to Google Anne Marie slaughter – an American who talks about fertility. June added that she feels the government needs to give young people emotional intelligence. ‘’I personally think that after 16 they should have tantric sex lessons. Boys in Kerala India have tantric sex lessons’’. Anyone fancy a trip to Kerala?

The 3rd and final speaker was presenter of location location location. The amazingly powerful and engaging Kirsty allsop who brought up the issue of women and fertility again after getting a lot of flack for it in the press in recent months. .

‘’What have I learnt that every woman should be aware of? Having the guts to tell men that you can’t have healthy babies for as long as them. “Be honest with each other…friends/partners/daughters*/sons….we can have careers at any age….but not make healthy babies. For now, we haven’t opened the fertility window wider. It’s easier and less of a heartache to have kids when our bodies allow us to when we’re younger. Nature is not a feminist! “Getting to the young girls is a very new thing for me. People tell me I don’t need to talk about it but clearly I do. I don’t want to make people feel judged. All young men and women should know. In the UK we are the oldest women to give birth in the world! Society has shifted massively in one generation. I set a date by which I’d have a baby and two male friends had even agreed to be my babydaddy. But luckily I then met my partner”

Kirsty also talked about women’s relationships with one another ‘’‎Women need to be much less tough on other women. In careers, A woman who has kids is a multi-tasker with better skills. They don’t come in to work going “I went to a great festival this weekend and am hung-over” Equality for all women is something we must always keep fighting for!

Now I’m excited about getting my two-step on, at the legends that are the O Jays gig, and then to end the week- the Asian Achievers Awards- LIFE! LIVE IT!



If you’re a music fan then you know the O’Jays. Part of the star studded Motown line up of yesteryear, a band that’s made numerous hits and are still standing. This week they play in London for the first time in over 20 years.

O'Jays Casa LucaMarco Las Vegas Nevada April 27 2012 Photos By Denise Truscello

Having recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary, The O’Jays are living legends…American treasures. The term “living legend” is often overused and abused, but with The O’Jays, well, there’s little argument that the honorable tag truly applies. With their place in modern music secure, The O’Jays could have cruise-controlled to that comfy hammock on a sandy beach, umbrella-decorated drinks in hand. Why?
(1) An ocean-wide body of work that spawned 24 US Top Ten smashes and 59 total charted songs.
(2) Incredibly energetic and dynamic live shows.
(3) Mad respect for their Olympian vocals. And …
(4) their social and political impact on generations and nations. But doing things slowly is not Eddie Levert, Sr., Walter Williams, Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant’s modus operandi. After 50+ years making such international hits as Back Stabbers, Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby, Love Train, I Love Music, Use Ta Be My Girl and Have You Had Your Love Today, The O’Jays are light years away from easing up on the gas. And like fine wine, The O’Jays just get better with time.

Through the years, they were blessed to have had the late great choreographer Cholly Adkins around. Adkins taught them the importance of showmanship and how to execute their steps while still delivering their songs. So if you think boy bands like Boyz To Men, Take That , Damage, and Westlife started the harmony R&B genre that juxtaposed smooth lyrics with unison choreography think again.

O'Jays Casa LucaMarco Las Vegas Nevada April 27 2012 Photos By Denise Truscello

When working at MTV for over a decade, I would accompany black music stars like Snoop Dogg, P Diddy, Jay Z, Beyonce, Mariah and more across global tours in buses, trains, planes and jets. The O’Jays were always a staple part of their I Pod playlists. I was lucky enough to sit down with O’Jays lead man Eddie Levert this weekend to talk about so much. Here are snippets of our chat where we go in on all things R&B, Beyonce, and Ferguson.

Singers from your generation still have an incredible strong live performing voice. Performing so many decades after you first began- what is that like? As many dance routines? What’s different?

EL: The energy level goes down a bit with age, but the fire never dies. We give the audience a performance that lives up to how it used to be back when we started out.

In one of my previous jobs, I often went on tour with music stars. Acts like Snoop and Puffy play your music all the time and even include it in part of their show- (LOVE TRAIN, to finish their joint tour)- are you aware and what are your thoughts on the younger generation representing black music today?

EL: I respect all music. I think these young guys are geniuses with how they take the old stuff and spin it to a modern audience. I think that the younger generation representing black music today is extremely talented.

R&B used to be such a big popular genre with numerous stars…in recent years – especially in the UK- the number of chart stars making great R&B music has really declined. What are your thoughts on this and who from the new generation do you like?


We all emulate someone to become who we are as an artist. When we emulate someone and do something unique with it to set ourselves apart, we become the candy of the day. Destiny’s Child became the candy of the day because that the “it” factor. The “it” factor for Destiny’s Child was Beyonce.

A decade ago, you co-starred in the movie The Fighting Temptations, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles. Beyonce is ruling the music world globally right now- what has she brought to the image of young black powerful women?

EL: Beyonce showed that she is creatively powerful. She doesn’t let the world dictate her personal life. She’s lasted in this business because she has morals and values.

A couple of decades ago, black music stars would unite speak up and protest about injustices in the black community. Not too long ago, Harry Belafonte called out Jay Z and his generation for letting the side down. Recently , not many black stars have spoken about #FERGUSON, what are your thoughts on that? If you were still in your 20’s would you have taken a stand? What’s the difference between the climate now and back then?


In this business, you have to be of sound mind and pick your battles. When you become the opinion and the messenger, they make you sound like the oppressor. I applaud all of the people who have stood up for what’s right with regards to the Ferguson incident. I myself stepped up during the Trayvon Martin incident.

What are your favourite memories of performing for British audiences in the UK?

EL: One of my favorite memories of performing in London was when we were doing “You Are My Sunshine” and an audience member yelled out to me, “Preach that song!’’

The O Jays are performing at the O2 Indigo this week- September 18 and 19th
Tickets available from: www.kililive.com


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After a number of shoots for various stories this week I made sure I made up for it on Thursday night with a triple whammy of fun. I started the night off at the RADA Theatre in central London with a huge group of friends (music managers, PR heads, marketing dons, photographers, film directors and TV presenters), who had gathered to view the final RADA graduates performance this year. Our homeboy Jarren Dalmeda, who has already had careers in youth work, tour DJ to A List celebrities (Kelly Rowland, Beyonce etc) and celebrity DJ in his own right, had finished his MA in drama and finally on the first rung of his acting career ladder.
He and his class has scripted a play called The Raft of the Madusa and the show was epic, gripping and so intense I was in despair at the storyline, so engrossed in the acting were we all. Jarren is proof that it’s never too late to start afresh in any field, and that hard work most certainly leads to future success. Congratulations Jarren!


PHOTO CREDIT *** OFFtheGRID – Dame Vivienne Westwood’s Trillion Fund is Finding Infinity ***

Straight after the RADA performance we raced over to SNAP Studios warehouse rooftop in Islington where design icon Vivienne Westwood had invited me to a solar music rooftop party called OFFtheGRID . Dame Vivienne Westwood arrived on her bicycle and hosted the party for her crowd-sourcing platform Trillion Fund in partnership with Ross Harding of Finding Infinity to support the “renewable energy revolution”. Headline support came from EcoPlanetBamboo.

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VIP guests at the solar powered party included Jamie Hince, Pam Hogg, Ella Eyre, Nicola Roberts, KT Tunstell, Lilah Parsons, Alexandra Burke and loads of very ultra fashionable design key influencers and celebs in pretty frocks, ankle boots, quiffs and skinny jeans.

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Guests were treated to DJ sets from Jamie Hince (the Kills), Viva L’Amour, Pandora’s Jukebox and Paula Goldstein De Principe while enjoying an organic food and cocktail menu curated by private chefs and cookbook authors HEMSLEY & HEMSLEY and sponsored by Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine and Absolut Elyx premium vodka the world’s most energy efficient distillery. The event was taken off the grid and the Snap Studios rooftop displayed a Giant Robot designed solar sculpture sponsored by EcoPlanetBamboo and Laax Resorts.

The ambition for Vivienne Westwood’s Trillion Fund is to accelerate the global switch from fossil fuels to clean energy by contributing towards the $1 trillion a year investment the UN says is necessary to keep the world below the 2 degrees warming threshold. Finding Infinity, found by renegade engineer Ross Harding, is on a mission to transition the world from the finite to infinite resources using fun, creativity and style.

You can always tell a bourgeois function readers. The food is always frightfully fancy. We were treated to mouth watering Canapés: Chicken tamarind almond butter lettuce wraps, Cucumber maki crab rolls, Stilton and mushroom quinoa arancini balls served with mint and parsley oil, Hansen & Lyderson smoked salmon. Individual bowls of food:Beef ragu with courgetti , Cauliflower tabbouleh with lamb meatballs, Red lentil squash coconut curry , Courgette and pea quinoa risotto, Puy lentil, and beetroot and apple salad. Sweet canapés included Mini BB Brownies, Fig and goats cheese trifle and Salted apricot caramels.We drank Hemsley Collins (honey, lemon and Absolut Elyx vodka fizz), Blueberry and English Lavender, Pomegranate and Ginger Fizz , Absolut Elyx Vodka Tonic with cucumber. Told you didn’t I? Fancy.

Trillion Fund – https://www.trillionfund.com
Finding Infinity – http://www.findinginfinity.com
Vivienne Westwood – https://www.viviennewestwood.com

Instagram: @trillionfund @finding_infinity @viviennewestwoodofficial

Twitter: @TrillionFund @FindingInfinity @FollowWestwood

Hashtags: #findingit #trillionfund #findinginfinity #OFFtheGRID



From east London we raced back across to west London to the old Subterania nightclub now called MODE for Rita Ora’s party to launch her adidas sportswear range #unstoppable. Rita was in the house dancing on the balcony to the tunes provided by DJ Manny Norte (the name you can trust). In the house were west London’s finest Bashy and East London’s finest Kano- who both gave me a double hug on arrival which summed up how cool the crowd and vibe were.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals

Last night saw the official after party of the hugely anticipated launch of this year’s most talked about collaboration; adidas Originals by Rita Ora. Friends, family and Rita-bots alike came together to help the global icon celebrate her partnership with adidas Originals at West London’s Mode. Marking the achievement of a childhood goal of collaborating with the brand with the three stripes, Rita and friends danced the night away to music provided by DJs Moxie, Manny Norte and Lee Rous.

Guests including Rita Ora, Daisy Lowe, Nick Grimshaw, Jessie Ware, Henry Holland, Professor Green, and Nicola Roberts came out to show their support for the unveiling of the superstar’s exciting new fashion venture earlier in the evening at the brand new adidas Originals London Flagship Store.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals

Known as much for her fearless take on fashion, as for her head turning musical collaborations, Rita Ora brings her energy and original spirit to every piece in the collection. The first collection, Black, is based on Rita’s London look – and each collection that follows take inspiration from very personal experiences and aspects of the global superstars life.

Rita says: “The collaboration came about through mutual love and appreciation. I have always been a fan of adidas Originals and respect what they stand for in their fearlessness and originality. I worked very closely with adidas Originals to put a personal touch in every piece with connections to my music, my career and my life. I’m really proud of the collection and beyond excited for my fans to get their hands on it!”

rita party

Super music producer Dready was dancing away in the middle of the dance floor, new artist to look out for Trishane was networking, singer song writer Roses Gabor looked uber fly, Island Music’s Benny Scarrs was having fun and we all danced up a storm onstage sipping rum and cokes. Rita’s new collection is as fly as you’d expect from this Ladbroke Grove chic and we were all attempting our best at swiping some off the display wall. Londoners hustling their graft hard all over town this week- got to love it!

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I finished my week as usual in the London Live hot seat talking to the lovely Claudia-Liza Armah where we discussed american comic legend Joan Rivers passing away, smuggling of illegal immigrants in Fiat Panda cars, Portobello Rd beefs between buskers and residents and the meanest sports fan ever!

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One young lady that I’ve been hearing about over and over again this past year is Charli XCX. My music industry mates both behind and in front of the radio would whisper in conspiratorial tones ‘’keep a look out for Chari XCX – she’s about to blow up!’’ this year she’s featured on both Icona Pops hit ‘’I love it’’- which she wrote. She also appeared on Iggy Izaea’s hit ‘’fancy’’ and this past month she performed her own hits boom clap and break the rules at the MTV Video Music Awards. A quick check on twitter confirms that she’s spent the past year flying across the globe daily for tours and promo, as well as having been nominated for loads of global ‘’ones to watch’’ and awards this year.
So, she’s a bona fide singer songwriter that’s flying that British flag globally. She’s much bigger in Australia and America than she is the in the UK. I had to meet her to catch up on her story so far.


Like so many of this digital generation, this mixed race, Hertfordshire girl the Internet to make it to the top in her chosen field. Every music star from Rita Ora, Britney and Christina Aguilera is vying to work with this straight talking chic who’s full of contradictions regards feminism, youth movements and more.

I caught up with Charli who was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison, at a shoot for BEAT Magazine in Shoreditch Studios where she’d flow in directly from new york to politely take her seat and follow the stylist and photographers instructions for their shoot.

Its crazy to think this Bishops Stortford girl is making teenage music anthems for today’s generation of girls across the world that, like her, grew up on a diverse mix of music from pop to hip-hop.

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She reveals that in her early days she had a fascination with London and city life. Her musical influences were Britney spice girls, shampoo, and typical girl pop. ‘‘At 14 i discovered Ed Banger and got into those acts’’.

At the age of 14 in 2007, she began recording her debut album on a loan granted by her parents…it takes one persuasive teen to convince adults to invest in the fickle music industry. ‘‘I never saw those songs as a debut album I just did songs at 14 that I put onto the internet, I made a deal with my dad, who ran a small venue in Bishops Stortford, I wanted to record some demos so he lent me the money to do that, so as soon as I made some cash, I paid him back. I don’t want people to think I was a spoilt rich kid cos I really wasn’t’’.

Her mothers Indian, and her fathers Scottish. Being from a mixed race background, she’s representing the very current generation of young Brits but this didn’t really have a massive influence one way or another of her influences or her experience of growing up ‘’ my parents never really pushed any particular music onto me so I just listened to Britney all day. I always saw myself as very normal and felt very comfy, my friends never made a big deal about my background. My parents were just happy with me doing whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t really see myself as being different, there was never really a thing made about it., I was very unaware of it until very recently actually and coming from the generation I’m from I don’t see anything , I just listened to Britney spears all the time’’.

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In the same way that music reflects the society it comes from, celerity and tabloid faces should do the same. In recent years a lot of more diverse faces than before have sprung up with names like Jessica Ennis, Alexa Chung, Leona Lewis, Lewis Hamilton, and Charli, who all reflect the changing face of this generation. These declining cultural barriers must only be a good thing and Charli acknowledges that for her parent’s generation it was a lot different. ‘‘I think its great and amazing that any industry can be diverse, we can all just do what we want to do, coming from the generation that I come from its not shocking, but I recall my parents telling me when they were first a couple it was a shocking thing. I think its great to fly the flag for where you’re from’’. This reminds me of something that Olympian Jessica Ennis said when she described herself as more Sheffield than mixed race when asked where she identifies most strongly with.

Charli was signed at 15 and is still only 22 so no overnight success, it’s taken her years to get where she is. Being spotted so young and not going down the reality TV show route though, she says is a blessing in disguise. ‘‘When I was younger I was angry at that reality show world, cos I felt like I was working really hard and not getting the success that I deserved, but now I can see that it’s a good thing. My journey to where I am today has been long winded, with lots of twists and turns, and allowed me to become who I am. It didn’t happen for me sooner because I wasn’t ready, but the weird routes have helped me understand and given me more control’’.
This is demonstrated by her never getting lonely when on the road ‘’ I actually don’t get homesick- I love my family but I love touring. cos I’ve been doing this now for so long i have a lot of friends across the world. I stay grounded cos my mates don’t care about Charli XCX. That’s great cos i don’t wanna be a diva. If I am on the radio they turn it off lol!


She comes from a generation of artists where blogs and social media are paramount, and acknowledges the importance of online presence in her marketing…’’for me I wouldn’t be here without the internet, I like it, it’s a difficult thing to figure out and can cause stress for people but it keeps me accessing my fans that’s great’’.
She has nearly 200k twitter followers, engages with her fans regularly and is more than aware of the pro’s and con’s of being so available to her fans 24-7. ’’Just as easy you can access them, they can access you. but I see myself as a musician not a celeb. I see myself as an anti pop star, I think if you put out stuff about your personal life you become about that instead of your music.

When pressed on her definition of an ‘’anti pop star’’ she explains ‘’nowadays there seem to be a lot of rules about being a pop star, things you have to say the lies you have to tell, if u do something crazy it should be crazy weird and wild not walking out of a club drunk at 2am, I’m not into the tabloid crazy world. Also I’m just like a bit really weird. i don’t have time to play into the traditional pop star rules. I don’t like being rude I think it’s much harder to be rude, and much easier to be nice’’.

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Pop stars working the web, is the norm now. A few years ago Rihanna wrote on twitter that only she would run her twitter and that there would be no more ‘’corny label tweets’ Now that Charli’s established herself, she’s still sitting in the pilot seat of her social media. ‘‘I do all my own social media its not time consuming its better when its from my brain as opposed to someone 20 years older at the label’’.

So like Bieber, the web and online marketing has had a huge impact on her career- in early 2008, she began posting songs from her album, on her official myspace. I also love the fact that she seems to have a fascination and obsession with female alternative rappers like Iggy azalea and uffie (I use the word ‘rappers’ loosely). ’’At 14 I began to make my own music, I wanted to make cool rap, white girl rap and I completely failed cos it didn’t sound good at all’’.

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She continues to gush about her love of female rappers

‘’I just wish I was a rapper, I was obsessed with Uffie, I’ve always thought that rappers were really cool and so I wanted to work with them cos i don’t think I’m good enough to be one. They’re just so fierce strong and powerful and I love that in a woman like Iggy or Brooke candy. I always have fun with them’’.

…’’but this guy Chaz Cool found me online and invited me to come and play at a party. I’d been to London and hadn’t gone out there so I was like yeay I’m so excited. I told my parents. They freaked out ‘’you wanna go to an illegal rave in hackney wick, I said they could come so they did, and that’s how I got into that scene’’.
The idea of adult parents at an illegal rave doesn’t come without its awkward scenarios though. Charli recalls a story about when her father was offered the MDNA drug but thought the seller had said MDA- the flooring boards. Her father reassured the seller that he would if he had enough room in the car shocking the seller who wondered just how much he wanted to buy! LOL

So this Straight talking, dark pop princess, turned attending raves at 14 into an international pop career.


Like Timbaland, Kanye, Jessie J, Naughty Boy and more, CHARLI’S the latest in a long list of acts that started writing/producing hits for others. of course, record labels are now hip to the pie chart money split and if they can cut someone out to make more profit then that’s the strongest card to play. Signing charli means they keep all the writing, publishing and keep their golden egg -laying chicken close to home. She’s responsible for writing some of this years biggest pop hits from ‘’fancy’’ to ‘’I love it’’. The way the music industry talks about her, it sounds like she knocks out hits in minutes. Is it really that simple? She admits ‘’I love it was written in 30 mins in a hotel room, songs that come the fastest are the better ones as its your instinct that the 1st recorded thing is the best’’.

Her hit boom clap is on constant rotation on radio but Charli was hitting the big time early in her career with zero radio play. We debate whether one day mainstream radio and its monotonous playlists will all just die ‘’my 1st record didn’t get any radio play at all and I still managed to tour all across the states, but now my singles are on radio I see its good for it. Its not detrimental to your success, there are lots of different types of radio. It’s definitely helped me get a wider audience but the internets what’s really helped me and music thrives there. It’s hard to say about radio-it surely pushes pop acts to another level’’

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With break the rules there are young girls globally loving to embrace their rebellious side- but I’m a bit older than Charli and have seen many a strong rebellious female music star in my time push the envelope, I don’t think anything will in my mind top Madonna’s sex book, so I wonder if there can be such a thing as a rebel in pop any more? Or have all the rebellious stances been played out? ‘’ I think you can be a rebel still, it goes back to my earlier definition of pop star vs. anti-pop star. You can break the rules by even wearing what you want to wear and not playing by the rules of record labels. I dress how I dress for me. ’My new music album isn’t a straight up pop record in way so I am reveling by making exactly what I want and I hope to push boundaries with that. Other artists like Grimes, Lorde and Sky Ferreira are really pushing the envelope too.
‘’I’ve always been different; when I was younger I had media training and was told I was the worst person that she had ever media trained. Then there was a meeting just about my hair and what to do with it. I was like ‘ what is this about?! You guys don’t even have hair’.

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Most people are intrigued that Charli gave her hit song – I LOVE IT away. Like Ne-Yo many years ago who wrote ‘’you should let me love you’’ for Mario and then was plucked to be the front man, leaving fans to ask ‘where is Mario now?’’ its anyone’s guess as to whether we will see another huge hit for Icona Pop again or whether they will do a Psy and fall off the radar into one hit wonder world.

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Charli says there’s no way that ‘’I love it’’ would have ever made her own personal music catalogue ‘’that song was written 2011/12 i was in Stockholm and writing with this guy Patrick Berger, I was nervous, I asked him to send some beats, he did, one was for I love it, I wrote it quickly and took it to him the next day, he loved it and said it was cool. We were going to get a coffee and bumped into the girl from icona pop and she heard the song and her group recorded it. I didn’t want it cos I didn’t want to make a record like that. It was nothing like the record I’d already slaved away for five years and it didn’t fit on my album but fitted so well with them’’.

After “I love it” was released, Charli had said that she had her ‘’first real experience with the bad side of the music industry and how people can change and how it can become like more of a struggle. It wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. When it should be a time for celebration it’s never really been that nice’. Its funny when u see the whole music industry machine pump into action. Even though it was Icona Pops song I observed a lot from my position, when moneys involved some people go crazy, it became a bit weird and then thereafter I’d always be asked to keep recreating that song for lots of other artists. I started becoming jaded and annoying. It opened up a lot of weirdness to me’’.


Charli’s a fan of ladies like Kate bush, Britney and Bjork- she said that when she was 7 she really wanted to be a spice girl, and that girl power never dies! – She also comes across as a powerful, kick ass girl bringing a new round of girl power; something she see’s herself fitting into comfortably. ‘’ I feel like there’s a huge wave of girl power around now with feminism regularly being discussed by high profile artists, I knew what girl power was when I was younger bit wasn’t picking up on it when I was 7, but now there’s so much to talk about and that people are talking about it is great. I want to encourage my fans to be themselves and be strong females and never feel like they’re not adequate and that they have to fit into rules, I feel like my fans already believe that anyway’’.

She’s a fireball of contradictions; she delights and provokes, is passionate and pushes the boundaries of pop music with her stances on sexy outfits vs. empowered women. When it comes to sexuality and image she is strong about her position. ‘’I think u can be a feminist in the pop industry and I definitely see myself as a feminist. I think there are different perceptions on what a feminist is and how u should dress, but those boundaries are being broken down, people say how can u be a feminist when you dress like that and I don’t even understand that statement because I believe that men and women can wear whatever they like cos its about equality’’.

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Her views on the Miley Cyrus twerking storm are supportive. ‘‘I think she was just doing her and good for her, I think she’s punk and one of the only punk artists out there now. I’ve seen her live show and its genuinely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life and then I think good for her. I don’t think that performance was thought through and intended to cause as much offence as it did’’.

As well as girl power, she also mentioned that you’d noticed ‘’a decay in youth culture, stating, “I don’t feel like there’s anything for people to really grab onto these days. There’s no movement to speak of.” (Rolling stone mag)
With me she expands ‘’i feel like in the 60s there was a real feeling and identity in the air that everyone could be a part of and hold on to and now I feel that’s not the same anymore, it still lives a bit now, but more on the internet as opposed to being in reality. There’s nothing to be angry about that’s when all the best stuff in pop happens when people are angry, and that’s why feminism is exciting to me cos its something that’s important instead of just falling out of a nightclub going ‘’here I am, again, doing this, nothing really important again’’

Charli has toured with Coldplay and Ellie Goulding, and is building up quite a celeb following- Rita Ora and Britney want to work with her but she’s turned down working with some stars that have come calling- (She rejected a collaboration with Christina Aguilera). She shares with me her criteria for pressing red or green.


Americans have always had a healthy fascination with British pop stars from the Beatles to spice girls, but recently there’s been a really strong British movement taking over the USA,– from Adele to Ed Sheeran, Sam smith and naughty boy- everyone says Charli is next to blow. ‘’ I don’t feel any pressure cos I promised myself last year that I wouldn’t care about ‘’success and charts’’ anymore cos its really stressful, I made a promise to myself to make music that feels right and cool, and its worked, its not the forefront of my question anymore’’.


Art is a big influence in her work- she’s been inspired by musicians as well as artists and photographers. at 15 she was photographed by David bailey- that’s an incredible story! She name drops even more spectacularly ‘’David bailey was actually my 2nd photo shoot ever- my first was Rankin, David hated me, he was classic David bailey and i was like a right little bitch, but then we got in front of the camera we just clicked, he was incredible to work with and he invited me back a week later so I did something right’’

There’s certainly no Barbie doll TOWIE style fashion for this rock meets punk lady. Iggy azalea says its “badass that Charli can do a dance routine in a cheerleading outfit and still be punk rock’, she’s been referred to as the ‘dark pop princess’, calls her sound ‘’ magical, ethereal, gangsta pop.’’ and calls her look Disney grunge. i laugh at the contradictions ‘’I am all about contradictions actually yes, I like things that sit on the edge of bring slightly wrong, so wrong that its slightly right. i like contradiction a lot and think it produces good art!

Her look and brand are as distinctive as her music, and her image and attitude really match her sound – with her own font logo and fashion sense too, she smiles ‘’it is intentional’ ‘I’m behind everything i do, every video i create is my treatment or idea. It’s the same with everything I wear, I feel like as I’ve grown up and I’ve found my own style, i don’t follow fashion i have my own style – I’m not a slave to fashion man’’.

We finish with a couple of funny anecdotes that may surprise most people. Her 1st ever gig was in a disused peanut factory and she has a recording of a ghost on her phone after staying in a hotel, which was reputed to be haunted. The ghost apparently drowned in the frozen lake and likes to hang out in the hotels billiard room. Charli and pals recorded through the night and the next day when playing the sounds back heard this really low-pitched woman’s voice talking. I know what you’re wondering. No. The ghost didn’t make it onto any tracks.