Jasmine’s Juice – #Sampled 2016 at Sadler’s Wells.

Like so many little girls I was sent to weekend and evening dance classes. Not cos my middle class parents thought it was the norm, but because as the 10-year-old latch-key, only-child of divorced parents, my mum needed to keep me occupied and out of trouble after school.
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BBC YOUNG DANCER 2015 CONNOR SCOTT PERFORMS ”GET UP”- PHOTO COURTESY Guy Levy / SADLERS WELLS.

Unlike todays lil ladies, some who aspire to perfect their Kardashian selfies, back then ballet, tap and modern were the fun thing to keep us fit, healthy and sociable.
Going to after school dance classes let me se how the other half lived and gave me my first self awareness that i was working class and ”coloured”.

I was one of only three BAME kids at ballet where my white peers parents would often innocently refer to us two as “the coloured girls”. But my ballet teacher Sara would always treat me totally equally to the other kids. Even when I felt like an elephant in a tutu, her coaching and support made me feel accepted and raised my confidence. Back then I used to dream about Sara adopting me. She made me blossom under her tutorials. I lived for her after school dance classes.

This was good, as my mum used to critique my technique and costumes constantly yet adore Lisa Hawkins and berate me for not being more like her. Lithe, skinny, tall, blonde Lisa. I aspired to win gold medals like her to show mum I could and eventually, after a lot of hard work, I did.

Later as a few of us went on to study dance at A Level and degree level we religiously bought the Dancing Times magazine, took classes at Pineapple and obsessed over any rare dance on TV or cinema.

It was the era where ethnic folk like us used to scream at the whole family to come watch if a black person was on telly. So naturally that reflected to our dance world too. If there were a new dance show at Sadlers Wells or the Royal Opera House and featured dancers of colour, that dancer name would be the byword on all the students lips with us running to buy tickets to see them in action and marvel at their success.

Back then it wasn’t even a thing to call for diversity in dance companies. We accepted corps de ballet couldn’t have a lone black dancer standing out but if we were lucky would see some in contemporary dance groups.

It was a huge deal if either the Alvin Ailey or Pheonix Dance Company’s were performing in London.
That’s the only way we were able to see people you looked like us, moved like us and came from backgrounds like us dancing onstage.

My next baptism of diverse dance companies was when I was invited to be a part of the lindy hop troupe the Jiving Lindy Hoppers. A west London based diverse group who toured the world teaching and showing fans how to lindy hop (an American thing!).

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The 7 Fingers perform Nocturnes – PHOTO COURTESY Alexandre-Galliez / SADLERS WELLS.

With those memories in mind, its wonderful to see nowadays dance is everywhere and bigger than ever. We have TV dance competitions which make names like Diversity and Flawless household names, shows like BBC young dancer of the year opens our eyes to various genres of dance, and SKY’s dance competition mixes diverse dance styles that see ballet competing with breakdancing and bhangra! We have dancers competing on Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing.

This month Sadlers Wells held their annual event titled #Sampled, which lets new and existing audiences the opportunity to see a wide range of dance at a specially reduced price. A wonderful sample, of short excerpts of dance shows, typical of those that will be performed there across the next year. This included ballet, circus, contemporary, tango, Indian kathak and hip-hop. And all were equally billed respected sets. What a treat.

It was an opportunity not just to see dance sets that I know I love, like ballet, contemporary and hip hop, but also – and more importantly to experience something new that I’d not seen live before like tango, south Indian and circus, which I didn’t know I’d love as much as I did.

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COMPANY WAYNE MCGREGOR PERFORM ”OUTLIERS. PHOTO COURTESY Andrew Lang / SADLERS WELLS.

Kicking off the show were Company Wayne McGregor who performed Outlier, a juxtaposition of a heavily layered violin concerto and choreography, that both showed elongated lines of extension from the ballet world, mashed with strong staccato jerks and contemporary flavour. It was graceful and mesmerising with technically challenging choreography, that had us holding our breath and gasping in admiration.

Next came an audience favourite , an exciting couple that made tango enchanting. Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez performed their Amor De Tango in part one, then returned in the second half to perform Decades Tangueras. Their choreography had us feeling emotional with empathy for the man who dreamt of dancing again with his dead wife and aroused by the highly sensual drama of the tango.

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Tango dancers, Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez. PHOTO COURTESY Ale Andrian / SADLERS WELLS.

Connor Scott- winner of BBC young dancer 2015 was dynamic and impressive with his performance. GET UP which he told us was to encourage people to abandon their tech gadgets for a while and just move. It explored the themes of anti social behaviour and how technology is brainwashing people. He did make us open our eyes with his intense, virtuoso choreography.

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Vidya Patel and Jaina Modasia.PHOTO COURTESY SADLERS WELLS.

South Asian dance duo, Vidya Patel and Jaina Modasia brought exotic vibes with both their dancing and live musicians onstage playing call and response with both bodies and instruments, which was fun, cheeky and enjoyable in their number Khoj- The Search.

One of my favourite sets was by The 7 Fingers who performed Nocturnes, a piece about that uneasy state between being awake and asleep. When the flickering TV distorts your thoughts and you float in and out of consciousness. In truth, this is the type of show I would have seen on sale and never booked, so to have a chance to experience it and be thoroughly entertained, and be able to relate, was just brilliant. This set included circus techniques like crystal ball manipulation, aerial straps, vertical rope, hand balancing and more. The sequence was dreamy, anxiety drawing and left me wanting more.

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Zenaida Yanowsky, Principal at The Royal Ballet, who performed The Dying Swan – PHOTO COURTESY SADLERS WELLS.

I was looking forwards to the next thing on the bill. Originally meant to be performed by the Northern Ballet but changed due to injury, it was a ballet number by Zenaida Yanowsky, Principal at The Royal Ballet, who performed The Dying Swan. It was as enchanting, haunting and beautiful as you’d imagine with elongated extensions, fragile intricate beating feet and beautiful tragedy.

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THE RUGGEDS – PHOTO COURTESY Belinda Lawley / SADLERS WELLS.

The #Sampled performance finished with The Ruggeds. A seven-piece, male group of street dancers, performing Adrenaline. It was fast and furious with break dancing, flying through the air, acrobatic, risky energy that was the perfect climax to the sampled show.

As if this night of diverse dance styles wasn’t enough value for money, before, during and after the show we were also treated to interactive dance and music in the foyers, where live b-boy battles by The Ruggeds, DJ sets by the legendary Billy Biznizz and random ballet and contemporary dancers would just pop up by the bar and do their thing.

All the sets that were cleverly sampled to bring us an enlightening experience did just that in a world of perfect diversity and spectacle. Perfectly.

Jasmine’s Juice – Sony Music Sign First African Artist – DAVIDO – To Global Record Deal.

Sony Music Entertainment have signed accomplished musician Davido to a groundbreaking global agreement. The deal was inked at the Sony Music offices in New York and will see the American-born Nigerian recording artist release his highly anticipated sophomore album later this year.

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Davido signs his global contract with SONY in their NY office.

In Africa, Davido is a bonafide superstar. After relocating to Nigeria from the United States aged 19, Davido set up HKN records alongside his brother and independently released the first song he ever recorded entitled, ‘Back When’. The track was an instant success and propelled Davido to national stardom as he followed this with the release of his second single and pan-African smash hit, ‘Dami Duro’. This track became one of the biggest airplay records not just on radio in Nigeria but across the continent, catapulting him to superstar status and making him one of the most sought-after artists to collaborate with widening his huge fan base and media support.

His debut album, ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ was released in 2012 to critical acclaim earning him countless award nominations and accolades including two MTV Africa Music Awards and the 2014 BET Award for ‘Best African Act’. A world tour followed which saw Davido perform to sell-out venues across Africa, Paris, New York and London. Today, Davido enjoys a massive social media following with a combined number of over 6 million followers across all his platforms.

This deal represents a step forward for Sony Music Entertainment as it grows its roots in Africa. Announcing its official presence in Lagos, Nigeria verifies Sony Music Entertainment’s decision to pursue new business via the introduction of on-the-ground operating entities in an expanded number of markets in the region. The timing of the decision is based on the convergence of a number of positive indicators in Africa’s economy and positive signs in the music industry. Davido is a shining example of this.

Sean Watson, Managing Director, Sony Music Entertainment Africa stated, “Working with incredible talent like Davido heralds a new era for Sony Music Entertainment Africa on the continent. We couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with Davido and we are extremely keen to support his vision to succeed at the highest level in our industry.”

Adam Granite, President, Northern & Eastern Europe and Africa commented. “We are thrilled to welcome Davido into the Sony Music family. We are very much looking forward to bringing one of Africa’s biggest stars to the world. We are also excited to partner with Kamal Ajiboye, Davido’s manager as well as Efe Ogbeni, who will be executive producing the album on our behalf.”

“Music is the universal language that unites and betters the world. It’s always been my dream to take my music and culture to all corners of the world so I’m blessed to be partnering with Sony Music Entertainment on this next chapter. My number one aim is to make my fans and Africa proud” Davido commented.

Jasmine’s Juice – #BritsSoWhite. Is It Taste, Race or Simply Business?

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Skepta deserves BRITS acknowledgement.
All photos copyright Jasmine Dotiwala.

This week MTV UK held their annual MTV Brand New events at Camden’s infamous Electric Ballroom. Doors opened at 7pm and within 15 minutes there was a 1000 strong crowd outside desperately hustling their way in for the urban music themed night featuring soulful vocalist Anne Marie, West London R&B trio WSTRN and the soulful garage king himself, Craig David. The night was immense with MTV puling out the stops for the show. Huge filming rigs, the best music crews in the business and a very slick lighting and stage set awed the very cool, young, influential crowd.

Similarly the behemoth brand that is the BBC realises that British black music is so strong and relevant to today’s generation, that they have a whole radio station – Radio 1Xtra – funded to the hilt to recognise the genre. Their annual ‘Sound Of 2016′ list this year features a really diverse set of British music newcomers from all genres, including BAME (God I hate that word!) acts Izzy Bizu, Mabel, Section Boyz, WSTRN and J Hus.

In addition, VICE has a really strong, informed music branch titled NOISEY. Much of NOISEY’s content is funny, edgy, mischievous and provocative and whilst they give all music genres equal love, much focus is given to the UK Grime scene. In fact, last year they made numerous Grime artist-focused documentaries like Skepta’s Topboy film, shot across his world tour dates.

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Krept & Konan deserve BRITS acknowledgement.
All photos copyright Jasmine Dotiwala.

So you get it? Grime exists in the UK. Its big, bashy and profitable and the kids love it. Check the twitter followers of your average grime act. Collectively they have millions of followers all over the world. Heck, even Americans Drake and Kanye have been championing them. So why do the BRITS refuse to give the genres of Grime and hip hop made by British acts a nod?

This fortnight, hot on the heels of spring awards season, where #OscarsSoWhite took off and combusted, with every multi-platform media brand having an opinion, came #BritsSoWhite which will no doubt be everywhere for the next fortnight, leading up to show day.

There was much online dissapproval after this years BRIT Awards nominations party showed its lack of diversity, specifically the lack of acknowledgement British musicians of colour, and Grime artists.

Despite the rise of Grime and UK rap music, which is played globally and has fans internationally, this isn’t reflected in this year’s BRITs awards nominees. Only this past week Stormzy performed in Japan and a video emerged showing hundreds of fans spitting word for word alongside him.

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Wretch32 deserve BRITS acknowledgement.
All photos copyright Jasmine Dotiwala.

The BRIT Awards website says that they ”operate a completely transparent procedure”. However it’s not very transparent to many of us watching and wondering how things are done.

The panel is made up of 1113 music enthusiasts. Many of my peers, who are journalists on the voting Academy, reassure me that whilst they nominate Grime artists every year, their nominations never seem to make it through.

In order to be eligible, the artist or product needs to have been Top 40 in either the single or album chart between 21 July 2014 and 10 December 2015. Which Stormzy has acheived.

My peers on the voting panel claim there are numerous issues. Firstly, a lot of the voting Academy are artist managers who vote for their own acts, and former winners (God only knows why they’d be given a vote?’)

Secondly, they also told me that most of the academy are much older, middle-class, music stalwarts, who whilst are great music influencers in their own rights and lanes, are totally unconnected and disengaged with the British urban music scene in 2016. To these voters, grime and hip-hop is an alien form they just don’t understand and therefore won’t vote for. Even i don’t totally ”get it”. I’m not meant to, it’s not for my generation, but can see its an unstoppable force that empowers innercity youth.

The thing to understand is that, the Brits are run by the chairmen of all the various major record labels, so they are naturally all ‘block voting’. Each record label CEO will tell their staff voting group who to vote for, depending on their business strategy and needs.

So, I can see that one explanation could be that, most pop acts are developed in their very early stages by a record label who has invested heavily into their marketing. Alternatively, Grime acts tend to have built their own fan bases and following over years from scratch. By the time a record label has snapped them up, the label’s are’nt always sure how to market these raw acts via their usual tried and tested methods.

The rest of the Academy is made up by record labels, publishers and agents, meaning that it’s a pretty a closed circle that are ONLY business focused, not about the art. Which is also understandable.

Alternatively, maybe it’s just us. We’re always banging on about ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ and ‘equal playing fields’. Maybe we should just ”get over it”. We’re all simply jumping on the race bandwagon or its ”just people in urban areas commenting” or ”they have the MOBOs why do they need a BRIT?”

Maybe some folks in areas like Tunbridge Wells and other countryside locations may not have been touched by the Grime genre yet. But I doubt their kids haven’t.

I mean, how can names like Skepta and Stormzy be dominating digital news internationally and not be acknowledged by their own national industry? Why does an American like Kanye have more success pushing British urban acts onto his set at the BRITS stage, than the Brits themselves could be leading on?

I think the BBC are addressing this properly. Now for their annual music polls they ask their voters to explain how they are still connected to the music industry in the UK, so they are at least attempting to have the best possible, vetted, voting panel.

I hope that the British Grime music stars have the last laugh. They already have this generation’s ears, eyes and money. Their platforms are mostly digital and they’re breaking through without the support of the old skool gate-keepers. But they still need major support to achieve their full potential. Isn’t that fair?.

Even robust old skool powerhouses like the BBC and MTV playlist urban British acts on their A lists nowadays. Why does the BRITS Academy seem SO out of touch?

Yo, remember when they told us in the nineties that hip-hop was just a quick passing fad?

Jasmine’s Juice – Jasmine’s Top Ten Parties Countdown!

Tis the New Year. Party seasons over. For another few days! A whole new year of fabulosity has begun. This made me think about all my favourite parties from the past and come up with a list of my personal favourite top ten. Not beacuse of who threw the party, or who attended. More about what made the party ROCK!
ENJOY!

JD RUSSELL
RUSSELL SIMMONS PARTY AT BAROLO.

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Mariah once took me to a party at Barolo NYC thrown by hip-hop entrepreneurial guru Russell Simmons and we hung at his table all night with fellow music man Andre Harrell and more. It was fun, so much laughter, banter, dancing and a stellar line-up of names that now feels dream-like! The party vibe was pure big ballers and business.
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USHER AT JASMINES GEISHAS/GANGSTAS BIRTHDAY PARTY AT 190 QUEENSGATE,LONDON.

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Usher had so many good parties it’s hard to name just one. But they were all pure fabulosity. He’d perform, chat, hangout and dance with his guests all night till the early hours. The vibe was always very sexy with the ladies all out to catch the eye of the then young R&B star. Special mention goes to the Murder Inc Party thrown by Ja Rule and Irv Gotti at London’s In and Out Club (too much that happened that is not fit for public exposure went down!).
JD HIPHOP3

JD MAXWELL
JASMINE. WITH MAXWEL. ON A SWING. AT LONDON’S SANDERSON.

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Neo-soul star Maxwells label threw him an album launch party on the London Eye where each revolving pod popped with his new music, champers and food. We rotated around and around taking in London’s skyline and Maxwell as he jumped from pod to pod mingling with guests and we all pinched ourselves at the fabulosity of it all. Pure ‘I-cant-believe-this’ vibe.

JD JANET
JASMINE INTERVIEWING JANET JACKSON FOR MTV IN THE LONDON DUNGEONS.

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Janet Jackson’s record label in London threw an album launch at the London Dungeons with a party where each and every single room was styled like a different country with music, food/drink from that particular part of the world. I recall England (fish n chips/pop music), China (Chinese dim sum/Asian sounds), Jamaica,(jerk chicken/bashment) Thailand (Thai curry/Thai pop) ,India (samosas /banghra) ,America (hotdogs / hip-hop) and more. I have a reoccurring memory of walls of oysters, curries, chocolate fountains, delicacies and more blowing my mind….and physique. Most certainly the most opulent, expensive record label bash ever!
JD BEY JAY
A MEMORABLE PARTY IN ST BARTS, WITH JAY Z, BEYONCE, MARIAH, LA REID AND MORE. I THINK IM TELLING BEY TO MIND HER CROWN AS ITS BLOCKING MY FACE IN THE PIC LOL.

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Subterania ,Ladbroke Grove every Friday night in the nineties was THE spot to be. Guests queued for hours to get in but us regulars strolled unashamed straight to the front and partied hard. It was a club for the locals. The freshest young Londoners and every hot celeb internationally passing through would be there. Spike Lee, Prince, Eminem and more. Music by Femi, Alex Baby and more ensured the flyest crowd in the capital for dancing, fashion, fun and flirting. The roadblock outside at 3am when the party was done each week was as hype as the evening with young un’s hanging out till the early hours and continuing the party at the bagel shop in Shepherds Bush Green.

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JASMINE THE CARNIVAL GIRL WITH MARIAH THE MERMAID AT THE COLLECTION.

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For a few consecutive years, Mariah and I used to throw a party annually around Halloween in London. We had one at the Mandarin Hotel, another at Kingly St and another at The Collection in Kensington. There was always mass excitement, amazing fancy-dress costumes, celebs and normal peeps trying anything to get in and music mystros Richie P,DJ Nikki and Runningman killed the decks‎ so our mates could wild out all night.

JD MC HALL

JD MC GIRLS

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JASMINE AND QUINCY JONES DISCUSS WHY CARRYING A BOTTLE OF HOT PEPPER SAUCE ON ALL OCCASIONS IS MANDATORY.

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Oprah had a weeklong gathering of loved ones that coincided with her opening of her girl’s school in South Africa. The New Years Eve party had very fancy decor. Flaming torch’s lined mountain paths leading to a giant marquee with dining tables, fancy frocks and star curtains. Every star from Hollywood both onstage and in music was there. My best moment was seeing music manager extraordinaire Benny Medina, music God Quincy Jones and actor Chris Rock all doing Michael Jackson dances onstage. Pretty mind-blowing.

JD HIPHOP
JASMINES OLD SKOOL HIPHOP PARTY.

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I’ve had a birthday party of some sort every year of my life. From black and white themed karaoke’s, underwear and pajama parties to mass private bowling parties, dinner parties at the Ivy Club and more. Some of my fave parties have been my Motown themed party, my old skool hip-hop party‎ and all my underwear parties.
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GUESTS AT JASMINES OLD SKOOL HIPHOP PARTY- AFTER PARTY DONE AND PHOTO SHOOT STARTED!

But my highlight was my geishas and gangstas party by the royal Albert Hall, which was attended by every music act in London. Tim Westwood, Richie P,DJ Nikki and more dj’ed back to back throwing down tunes all night like a house party. Lennox Lewis, Usher and Joe turned up too, (although Lennox left after an hour as I refused to have a VIP area – Puffy once taught me that if you ever throw a personal private function, never have a VIP, it simply makes guests feel inferior/superior and kills the goodtime vibes).
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JASMINE’S BURLESQUE BIRTHDAY DINNER CABERATE.

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MTV Base’ The Lick parties in London were spectacles across the city, with queues of clubbers lining up for miles as they were entertained outside by fire eaters, stilt walkers and jugglers. Inside they were full of hot, fly young people all dancing and flirting like mad. Always top music by Trevor Nelson and very sexy vibes all night that would later be seen on telly. You know if peeps are going to be seen on telly the guests would turn up really looking and feeling GOOD!.

JD PUFFY
ITS BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE WORKING WITH THIS MAN OVER THE YEARS. HE IS THE KING OF PARTY THROWING!

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Puffy had numerous parties everywhere he went and every one was brilliant. He was a genius at throwing a party. His post MTV Awards party in Barcelona was truly mind-blowing. He greeted me and my mates (by name!) on the dance floor, flanked by minions with silver trays serving up copious amounts of champagne laden flutes. Naked hostesses painted like jungle animals and would bring you literally any drink you desired, free of charge all night long!. This party was closely followed by his yacht party in St Tropez‎ (the yacht was so big it was like Westfields on water and Penelope Cruz was sun bathing with us during the day!) and one in Berkley Sq, London where I recall he and Beenieman dancing pretty wildly with us all.

JD DIVAS
SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THIS PARTY WAS LIKE. I CANT SAY WHO THREW IT, OR WHERE IT WAS, BUT HAVE YOU SEEN A MORE GLAMOROUS LINEUP OF SCREEN AND MUSIC STARS AND LEGENDS?

Jasmine’s Juice – BROADCAST STARS! Ones To Watch – Celebrating New, Young, TV Creatives.

BROADCAST MAGAZINE AND RTS FUTURES BAME HOTSHOTS.

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BROADCAST MAGAZINES AUGUST 2015 BAME HOTSHOTS COVER.

There’s always a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in UK media. In the two decades I’ve been in the industry, there are waves of rising voices annually that lament the make up of this once male, pale and stale arena we call show business.
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THE BROADCAST MAGAZINE / RTS FUTURES HOTSHOTS PANEL WITH CHAIR; JASMINE DOTIWALA.
(L-R. KASCION FRANKLIN, SABRINA SCALLON, MICKEY DOWNS, JASMINE DOTIWALA, FEMI OYENIRAN AND FATIMA SHAFIQ).
(ALL photos courtesy- PAUL HAMPARTSUNIAM).

Last year, according to the DAILY MIRROR- ‘’TV bosses have admitted they are “embarrassed” after it was revealed a black man is more likely to score for England than host a prime time TV show’’. Then Sky, ITV, BBC and Channel 4 all said that ‘more needs to be done to tackle the lack of black and minority ethnic people working in telly’.

2013 was a pivotal year for the diversity agenda when broadcasters came under increasing pressure to make firm commitments on diversity.
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BAME HOTSHOTS BROADCAST PANEL AT THE HOSPITAL CLUB.

Next we saw Sir Lenny Henry campaigning loudly for a change after criticizing the BBC’s efforts. Then around a month ago the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality evidence to the Lords Communications Committee on the BBC and BAME employment was finally published, and was pretty devastating reading. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/communications-committee/bbc-charter-renewal-public-purposes-and-licence-fee/written/21757.pdf

It made points such as ‘’ The BAME population is under-represented in terms of BBC employment, it is underserved as viewers and the BBC response has not been proportionate to the scale of the problem’’, and ‘’ The BBC has made some improvement in on-screen BAME portrayal but this has not been matched with off-screen employment. On-screen representation which is not matched by off-screen employment becomes a deceptive and superficial gesture’’. It also suggested remedies like ‘’ BBC has performed poorly on BAME employment in relation to Public Purpose 6. To be effective the Public Purposes need greater specificity and clear performance metrics. Public Purpose 6 should require BBC business and production units to reflect and plan to match the demographics of the population where they are based,’’ and ‘’ As a first step, the BBC should set a quota of 12% BAME employment on its top ten radio and television programmes and its leading News and Current Affairs programmes by 2017”.

Alongside that report, came the DIRECTORS UK report titled ‘’UK Television; adjusting the colour balance’’, which highlighted terrible stats for BAME staff in TV. I mean, just check these stats; https://d29dqxe14uxvcr.cloudfront.net/uploads%2F1447243539508-os03d6qe4pmsra4i 7c96b125575ce06ca956559154962a0a%2FDirectors+UK+-+UK+Television,+Adjusting+the+Colour+Balance.pdf
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BBC1 LEAD ACTOR KASCION FRANKLIN SHARES HIS EXPERIENCES.

Thankfully then, so we wouldn’t all be left demoralized and dejected with all the bad news, this year in August, Broadcast magazine decided to focus on 26 BAME Hotshots, to shine a light on the diversity within the industry, and the 26 Hotshots selected, represent the cream of that rich pool of candidates.

So this week the Royal Television Society Futures team, celebrated Broadcast magazines BAME (black and minority ethnic) hotshots list 2015, with a panel of representatives at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. I was lucky enough to be asked to chair the panel.
SABRINA TALK
RENEGADE PICTURES DEVELOPEMET RESEACHER SABRINA SCOLLAN SPEAKS.

The 5 panellists on the night shared their jobs and journeys with the audience. On the panel were Mickey Down, a writer and director who’s been nominated for a British Independent Film Award at the 2014 BIFAs, Sabrina Scollan; a development researcher at Renegade Pictures, FEMI OYENIRAN; an actor, producer and director who has starred in hit films Kidulthood and Anuvahood and made his first feature film It’s A Lot. In 2016, Femi is to be seen acting alongside Kelly Brook in romantic-comedy Taking Stock.”
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PRODUCER FATIMA SHAFIQ ON THE BROADCASTS/RTS FUTURES HOTSHOTS PANEL.

The panel also included Fatima Shafiq who is a freelance TV development and documentary producer. Her credits include Jamie’s Dream School, BBC3’s Reggie Yates’s Extreme South Africa, Payday on C4 and The Cruise Ship for ITV. Most recently she’s turned her attention to short form factual content, and has generated over one million pounds worth of profit, from devising new factual formats and documentaries online. Finally we had newcomer Kascion Franklin - an actor best known for his recent screen debut playing the lead in Danny and the Human Zoo, on BBC 1 earlier this summer.

They all spoke about the good, bad and ugly scenarios they’ve encountered and how they’ve managed to navigate them positively.
JAS TAK

The UK is a global leader in TV production, and everyone wanting to pursue a career in broadcasting should have a fair and equal opportunity to do so.

The figures show some groups may be facing barriers- both in entering the industry and more importantly, allowing them to progress once they are in.

We all know, there is a lot of BAME talent trained and ready to go in UK media, and many within the sector from broadcasters, industry bodies and more have for some time been driving initiatives to drive this forwards.

I have to say that since I first started working in TV up until this point, there have been changes. There are louder voices campaigning for changes and social media means we are able to call out injustices, patchy storylines and characters a lot more easily. Whilst I see a lot of BAME faces onscreen in certain areas like news, I know that production teams could do with some colour adjusting in their staff makeup.

Public facing campaigns like broadcasts BAME hotshots plus nights like this will hopefully help drive more diversity in our industry. There are clearly lots of young, fresh BAME creative all across the industry that simply need to have more of a light shined upon them.

In 2016 lets hope this story stays positive, and that panels like this, are just the start of great progression and change!

Jasmine’s Juice – The Utimate Seminar.

(Verbals Jasmine Dotiwala and Chloe Blackwell).

With dreams of riding private jet planes, wearing more bling than Puff Daddy, trashing hotel rooms like rock stars, being mobbed in Nando’s and selling over 2 million in 2 days like our very own Adele, every one from Dundee to Dalston wants to be a pop star.

In fact, nothing irks me more than young adults stating ‘I want to be a pop star!’, and then expecting everyone to help them get there, instead of putting in all the initial hard graft themselves. Hell, I wanted, as a kid, to win an Oscar, but I sucked at Cinderella in the end of term play and so cut my coat according to my …aheemm… talent!

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L-R Marc Williams Artist Manager Labrinth, Marc Sheinman Artist Manager David Rodigan, Hattie Collins Music Editor i-D Mag, Dumi Oburota Artist Manager Tinie Tempah, Buck Artist Manager Giggs.
ALL Ultimate Seminar Pics: © 2015 Paul Hampartsoumian

That said, a great place for aspiring future music industry wannabees is London’s Ultimate Seminar, which always gives young dreamers the ‘’real talk’’.

The Ultimate Seminar took place on Saturday 21st of November, at the prestigious central London University of Westminster. The annual event is free to attend and draws in a UK wide crowd of the next big music artists and industry players. Run by Cre8ting Vision, the daylong event brings together the music industries most elite; 40 speakers in total, with the aim to inspire, inform and educate those who are trying to break into the industry.
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ULTIMATE SEMINAR’S kWAME KWATEN SPEAKS TO RELENTLESS A&R BOSS GLYNN ATKINS.
L-R Glyn Aikins Virgin A&R Director, co-founder Kwame Kwaten

Kicking of The Ultimate Seminar with a playful round of appreciation for his co-founders was Kwame Kwaten – manager of singer-songwriter Laura Mvula – and key presenter of the day, who commanded the room with a sense of openness, authority and experience “after this seminar you will be armed with ideas, your mind will be buzzing, act on it.”

The panel line up was most valuable with every sector of the industry represented; from artist to A&R, management and lawyers. Basically if you want to get into the music biz and you were not at the seminar, well, you’re lucky it’s an annual event.

The day was balanced well with a mix of the hard line facts and joys of the world of music world aligned with the good, the bad and the ugly. (Like Biggie said; Mo’ money, Mo Problems!).
US CROWD
CROWD AT ULTIMATE SEMINAY 2015.

The first panel debated their concerns for the future of the industry. There was no doubt by all that there is still profit circulating through the music business, with 71.4 billion pounds made in the UK creative industry sector this year alone. In-fact, the concern was with the distribution of that wealth not reaching those that are actually creating the music. “its fantastic how many young talented people want to come in to this industry today, but without income coming in, we are not going to get young artists coming through” – remarked Chris Panayi, accountant and owner at CC Panayi & Co LLP as part of the Knowing Your Business Panel. The consensus was that although it is possible to make a live-able income, it’s far harder than it should be. Panayi stated “In 2014 the 3 major record labels signed 156 new artists, that includes the independents that umbrella off the majors, out of these 156, only 9 artists albums reached gold status which is 100,000 sales. The ‘successes’ represent 5.7% of those 156 new artists. The amount that reached platinum status is only 2 artists, Sam Smith and George Esra, that’s 1.25%”

The experts agreed, that the industry needs to change. It’s too exclusive and means that too many artists are not earning enough to pay their rent and put food on the table. Part of the problem, some of the panel believed, is that lack of major reach for independent artists, AND new artists going up against the mainstream acts such as Beyoncé and Adele getting lost before they even get started due to songs having to be released as soon as they hit radio. Although there are an abundance of online platforms, they are saturated with miles and miles of scrollable good and bad content.
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NAUGHTY BOY AT AN ULTIMATE SEMINAR.

Again, the music industry specialists also agreed that there needs to be more balance on the ‘next level’ platforms such as radio, which according to Obi Asika, founder of Echo Location, (talent agency for artist such as Tinie Tempah and Naughty Boy), who talked passionately on the subject, could be achieved by better funding into these platforms and better distribution percentages from online streaming platforms, such as Soundcloud – who pay zero royalties to the artists who’s music they host! (Someone get Taylor Swift on the phone…)

Refreshingly, the industry experts were honest and unreserved about the difficulties young artists and songwriters will face when trying to establish a career within the industry, but were also abundant in the great opportunities that are coming with the direction the music industry is taking. Don’t wait to be picked up by a label or management company, do it yourself, the power has shifted and it is very much in the hands of the artist. “Hits aren’t so important, you don’t have to go through majors but you have to smarten up and know your industry, you can no longer afford to be just the artist” articulated Simon Long, lawyer and owner at Collins Long.

Furthermore, it is very much possible to thrive within this industry, which is proven by the Adele’s and Sam Smiths of the world. The lesson was that all new acts start in the same place. “you have to be out there everyday fighting for the advantage” enthused Myles Keller, Membership Development Director, PRS for Music. “Work hard, take every opportunity and show willing, take control of your own career.”

US3
THE STAVES.

The resounding voice from the seminars long standing Breakthrough Panel, which included candid responses from acoustic folk rock trioThe Staves, new West London rap act WSTRN, JP Cooper, North Londoner Tom Prior, South Londoner Jodie Abacus, Nigerian singer-songwriter-producer Samm Henshaw and Kojey Radical, was to love what you do and maintain a focus for doing things for the right reasons, don’t get caught up in the push and pull of the industry, be alert to it, but don’t let it dictate your mind set. The Staves spoke with passion on the subject “Have some integrity as an artist and find something you really believe in and stick to it. You need to accept early on, that not everyone in the industry is your ‘friend’, and they don’t have a personal connection to your music as much as you do”.

The artist’s also spoke about the abundance of support they have received from so many within the industry “It’s important to have the framework of a good team around you’’ stated award-winning songwriter Fraser T Smith. The level of relentless hard work and commitment it takes was repeated numerous times but my favourite quote was ‘Never expect to play at the O2 arena and Wembley stadium if you’re not prepared to play at The Water Rats in Kings Cross’</em> by singer-songwriter Tom Prior. I wanted to scream ‘’Preach Tom!’.

Ultimately the message was all in all there is no right or wrong way to get your music out there, its just about dong it.

A line that summed it up for me was “A talented person with no drive is like a Porsche with no engine – Looks great but it’s going nowhere!” - Marc Williams, Manager Labrinth.
US KK JC
KWAME KWATEN AWARDS CAPITOL RECORDS JO CHARRINGTON WITH ”THE ULTIMATE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD”.

Grime Music’s Time For International Takeover – All Hail Top Boy Skepta!

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Grime act Skepta onstage on his American tour. PHOTO COURTESY- NOISEY.

The UK genre of Grime music has quietly been doing its own thing, minding its own business, not killing itself to make nice and play ball with the usual music gate-keepers, and this past year its blown up internationally.

International music acts like Drake and Kanye West have been shouting out British music genres and acts for years, and the latest British music star to get the American love-in treatment is Nigerian British soloist Skepta.

jas skept
Jasmine with Skepta at his Top Boy world premiere.
(PHOTO COPYRIGHT- Paul Hampartsoumian.)

Originally a Tottenham based DJ; Skepta has been releasing music for years with his first big release in 2007. It’s said that either 10 years or 10,000 hours of hard graft are needed before achieving initial success. So Skepta has proved that timing just about right.

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Skepta onstage in Queens, NY. PHOTO COURTESY – NOISEY.

Skepta has been releasing material to a variety of responses for years. With his Boy Better Know collective, who include other solo brand names like his brother JME, Jammer, on-off collective member Wiley and more, both singles like Rolex Sweep and mix tapes like BLACKLISTED have been quietly gaining him a respectful fan base and respect in the industry.

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PHOTO COURTESY – NOISEY.

noisey

This week Noisey invited a special VIP audience to the world premiere screening of a documentary titled TOP BOY, at the vaults in Waterloo, where the audience was an oversubscribed, cool, new-media group, that included Chip, J2K, Jammer, Frank Ocean and music industry gatekeepers.

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Jasmine with Chip, who turned out ton support his peer Skepta at the Top Boy doc.
(PHOTO COPYRIGHT- Paul Hampartsoumian.)

In the summer of 2015, the year that grime exploded into the mainstream, Skepta headed to America’s east coast and Canada with some friends to play a sold out tour. Following him from New York to Washington DC and culminating in a performance at Drake’s OVO festival in Toronto.

Top Boy is a film that documents Skepta’s American tour. It’s a fly on the wall roller-coaster ride from Queens to Washington DC, to Boston, Brooklyn and Toronto, where the BBK crew on a smoky testosterone-heavy tour bus, are all smoking weed, drinking Henney and making money rain. They all rock union-jack BBK t-shirts and a lot of Nike.

The only difference between the golden age of Puff Daddy and Skepta is the lack of women on the tour bus. Or at least that’s what we were shown. There is a moment when a couple of females on the bus are ejected and ridiculed for calling Skepta ‘’Spectre’’ a la James Bond. An understand error in the same month both a being heavily promoted to an American audience?

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Skepta’s tourbus. PHOTO COURTESY – NOISEY.

From the tour bus to the stage to downtime in the spa, behind the scenes footage features Skepta, Novelist, Krept and Konan, A$AP Nast, Frisco, Jammer and Shorty.

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Skepta and friends. PHOTO COURTESY – NOISEY.

The American audiences love a new, hot trend and the doc footage showed them in each city wildin out and moshing madly in a rampage. American fans who were vox-popped enthused ‘’ “He speaks very clearly on his records. He has fast as hell lyrics. They’re real London boys. “He’s Nigerian I’m Nigerian. He’s real not flashy”. Even Londoners who now live out in the USA stop him on the streets to say how proud they are.

Skepta told me before the screening that he loved making it but after months on the road he was tired.

He said, ‘‘We stuck to what we believed in”. When visiting the Whitehouse he was in awe “it had a mad energy around it”.

Unfased by the current attention by the world, Skepta says he wants to make an impact when he looks back and asks “What did u do when it was your time?”

After the film, there was a Q&A session with Skepta and Noisey Exec Producer- Alex Hoffman, hosted by music journo Hattie Collins.

SK PANEL
Top Boy Q&A Panel…Skepta / Alex Hoffman / Hattie Collins.
(PHOTO COPYRIGHT- Paul Hampartsoumian.)

jas hoff
Jasmine with her old MTV colleague, now Noisey Exec Producer- Alex Hoffman.
(PHOTO COPYRIGHT- Paul Hampartsoumian.)

Alex Hoffman told me more;

Why has Noisey as a brand chosen to champion the grime music scene? What makes it a win-win decision for you?

For us it’s about the musical output. We’ve always loved grime (5 years ago one of the first things I ever did at VICE was make short films with Wiley and Tempa T) and right now pretty much everyone in the scene is making the best music they ever have. If you go to a grime event, most of the biggest tracks were made in the last year. Some in the last few weeks. We want to be reflecting what we think young people in the UK are passionate about. A nice bonus is that so many of the key players in grime are not only smart and insightful in interviews but sometimes hilarious as well so they make for great documentary subjects / hosts.

Skepta mentioned that he trusts and respects you so he knew TOP BOY would be good/positive.

It was very flattering what Skepta said but I don’t think he meant it as a personal thing, rather a testament to some of the work the whole Noisey team have put together over the past few years around the world.

How much has social media and artists now being able to control their own PR/MKTing, has made brands like Noisey have to adhere to a loose ‘’editorial approval’’ relationship with music acts?

You’re right in that things have changed since our days back at MTV in terms of more power being with the artists but we don’t generally agree to things where artists camps have editorial approval as we have our brand – and its distinct voice – to protect and the last thing we want is pieces that feel like dry label EPKs. This was a different situation as it was a collaboration and Skepta is a director in his own right so it felt natural for him to be involved in the editing process. He has great taste and good ideas so we benefited from it.

Did you know before shooting began that the USA crowd reaction would be so big?

It wasn’t the size that surprised us as much as the reaction of the crowd. The energy! We thought there’d be people there as a lot of people were talking about Skepta at the moment but we didn’t expect kids going nuts, moshing, shouting ‘BBK,’ rapping every word and not just the big singles, a lot of them knew his lesser known material and were rapping along to other grime tracks during the DJ sets before he came out.

The intimate camera access by your shooter was brilliant. How do Noisey afford to make these fresh, edgy fly-on-the-wall docs when mainstream brands like MTV can’t afford to/choose not to anymore?

We are passionate about immersive documentary filmmaking and make it our priority. We’d rather not make anything for a while and not feel the necessity to fill up the internet with content for the sake of it and then put all our love and effort into something a bit deeper like this.

Ending the evening Skepta said even though a lot of lights been shone on him this year, new technology has changed the game “everybody’s popping right now. It’s a worldwide thing. Big up the internet,our scene has birthed loads of stars, Everyone’s celebrating. It’s a good time and I wish everyone the best who’s in it. This is all we wanted… to put out music and everyone to hear it”

Jasmine’s Juice – Skepta’s TOP BOY Noisey documentary. An Enlightening, Roller-coaster Ride!

tb
Grime has quietly been doing its own thing, minding its own business, not killing itself to make nice and play ball with the usual music gate-keepers and this past year its blown up.
jas skept
JASMINE WITH SKEPTA AT HIS TOP BOY NOISEY DOC WORLD PREMIERE.
(ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT- Paul Hampartsoumian.)

International music acts like Drake and Kanye West have been shouting out British music genres and acts for years, and the latest British music star to get the American love-in treatment is Nigerian British soloist Skepta. Originally a Tottenham based DJ; Skepta has been releasing music for years with his first big release in 2007. It’s said that either 10 years or 10,000 hours of hard graft are needed before achieving initial success. So Skepta has proved that timing just about right.

Skepta has been releasing material to a variety of responses for years. With his Boy Better Know collective who include other solo brand names like his brother JME, Jammer, on-off collective member Wiley and more both singles like Rolex Sweep and mix tapes like BLACKLISTED have been quietly gaining him a respectful fan base and respect in the industry.
noisey

There was a time when brands like MTV Base, Channel U/ AKA, Radio1Xtra, RWD, GRM Daily and more were the sole champions showcasing grime. But like Skepta playing his cards slow and steady before saturating the international scene, a new media brand has snatched up the baton that the rest have been plodding along with for years and run riot. Every music act wants to be on Noisey. They’re fresh, edgy, mischievous, and provocative. Like the Channel 4 of the music world. The Noisey tone is youthful, cocky, full of attitude and so bloody refreshing.

This week Noisey invited a special VIP audience to the world premiere screening of a documentary titled TOP BOY at the vaults in Waterloo where the audience was an oversubscribed cool new-media group that included Chip, J2K, Jammer, Frank Ocean and music industry gatekeepers.
jas chip
JASMINE WITH CHIP-WHO TURNED OUT TO SUPPORT HIS PEER SKEPTA.

A film that documented Skepta’s American tour. It was a fly on the wall roller-coaster ride from Queens to Washington DC, to Boston, Brooklyn and Toronto where the BBK crew on a smoky testosterone-heavy tour bus, with all smoking weed, drinking Henney and making money rain. They all rocked union-jack BBK t-shirts and a lot of Nike. The only difference between the golden age of Puff Daddy and Skepta is the lack of women on the tour bus. Or at least that’s what we were shown. There is a moment when a couple of females on the bus are ejected and ridiculed for calling Skepta ‘’Spectre’’ a la James Bond. An understand error in the same month both a being heavily promoted to an American audience?
TB CROWD
THE BEST SOFA SEATS IN THE HOUSE FOR HIPHOP PHOTOGRAPHER PAUL H AND JASMINE.

The American audiences love a new, hot trend and the doc footage showed them in each city wildin out and moshing madly in a rampage. American fans who were vox-popped enthused ‘’ “He speaks very clearly on his records. He has fast as hell lyrics. They’re real London boys. “He’s Nigerian I’m Nigerian. He’s real not flashy”. Even Londoners who now live out in the USA stop him on the streets to say how proud they are.

Skepta told me before the screening that he loved making it but after months on the road he was tired.

He said, “We stuck to what we believed in”. When visiting the Whitehouse he was in awe “it had a mad energy around it”.

One of the cutest, funniest moments is when a manly skepta clad in a bathrobe with his crew all attend a spa and he notes ‘’it was spiritual, the eucalyptus and cucumber slices was good’’

Unfased by the current attention by the world, Skepta says he wants to make an impact when he looks back and asks “What did u do when it was your time?”

After the film, there was a Q&A session with Skepta and Noisey Exec Producer- Alex Hoffman, hosted by music journo Hattie Collins.
SK PANEL
TOP BOY Q&A PANEL…SKEPTA / ALEX HOFFMAN / HATTIE COLLINS.

PH HC JD
PAUL H, HATTIE COLLINS, JASMINE AT THE NOISEY TOP BOY PREMIERE.

‎Asked why Noisey had championed Skepta with this doc Alex joked ” charity. ” before informing us ‘’it came about originally when I contacted Skepta about directing something for us. We think he’s the most important artist in the uk’‘. The feeling of trust and long-term respect was mutual as Skep gushed ‘’I just like Alex. In this business you see a lot of BS. But I trust Alex. Maybe if someone else asked from Noisey I would’ve said no”

A surprised Skepta told us “I dropped freestyles two weeks before going to the states and they knew them word for word when I was out there!”. Showing how big grime is globally he added “ we could do another doc on our time in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and more. When we go to these spots we’re not going to mingle with celebs there, we are working hard. I went to New York and just did it”. Regards any outtakes that didn’t make the final cut Skepta revealed “there were some bits that didn’t make the cut cos I didn’t want anyone to see those bits’’ to which Alex shot back ‘’As long as the spa steam and eucalyptus parts stayed in I’m cool”

jas hoff
JASMINE WITH HER OLD MTV COLLEAGUE ALEX HOFFMAN- NOW NOISEY EXEC PRODUCER.
My old MTV mate Alex Hoffman told me more;

Why has Noisey as a brand chosen to champion the grime music scene? What makes it a win-win decision for you?

For us it’s about the musical output. We’ve always loved grime (5 years ago one of the first things I ever did at VICE was make short films with Wiley and Tempa T) and right now pretty much everyone in the scene is making the best music they ever have. If you go to a grime event, most of the biggest tracks were made in the last year. Some in the last few weeks. We want to be reflecting what we think young people in the UK are passionate about. A nice bonus is that so many of the key players in grime are not only smart and insightful in interviews but sometimes hilarious as well so they make for great documentary subjects / hosts.

Skepta mentioned that he trusts and respects you so he knew TOP BOY would be good/positive.

It was very flattering what Skepta said but I don’t think he meant it as a personal thing, rather a testament to some of the work the whole Noisey team have put together over the past few years around the world.

How much has social media and artists now being able to control their own PR/MKTing, has made brands like Noisey have to adhere to a loose ‘’editorial approval’’ relationship with music acts?

You’re right in that things have changed since our days back at MTV in terms of more power being with the artists but we don’t generally agree to things where artists camps have editorial approval as we have our brand – and its distinct voice – to protect and the last thing we want is pieces that feel like dry label EPKs. This was a different situation as it was a collaboration and Skepta is a director in his own right so it felt natural for him to be involved in the editing process. He has great taste and good ideas so we benefited from it.

Did you know before shooting began that the USA crowd reaction would be so big?

It wasn’t the size that surprised us as much as the reaction of the crowd. The energy! We thought there’d be people there as a lot of people were talking about Skepta at the moment but we didn’t expect kids going nuts, moshing, shouting ‘BBK,’ rapping every word and not just the big singles, a lot of them knew his lesser known material and were rapping along to other grime tracks during the DJ sets before he came out.

The intimate camera access by your shooter was brilliant. How do Noisey afford to make these fresh, edgy fly-on-the-wall docs when mainstream brands like MTV can’t afford to/choose not to anymore?

We are passionate about immersive documentary filmmaking and make it our priority. We’d rather not make anything for a while and not feel the necessity to fill up the internet with content for the sake of it and then put all our love and effort into something a bit deeper like this.
—————

Skepta ended the night saying that even though a lot of lights been shone on him this year, new technology has changed the game “everybody’s popping right now. It’s a worldwide thing. If you’re integral with the culture it’s gonna prosper. Jumping on tour with other acts to gain their fans as a support act is disgusting to me. Big up the internet, fucking hell! . our scene has birthed loads of stars, D double E might not know he’s a star!!! Ba ra ba ba is his thing. Everyone’s celebrating. It’s a good time and I wish everyone the best who’s in it. This is all we wanted… to put out music and everyone to hear it*”
TOPBOY CROD 3

WATCH THE TOP BOY DOC HERE; http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/noisey-specials/skepta-top-boy-the-documentary!

T CROWD 2

Jasmine’s Juice – Dynamo’s UK Marathon Of Magic!


About a decade ago, as I was hop, step and leaping from one over-the-top hip-hop party to another, a young man popped up on the scene, backstage at rappers shows, at urban music parties and events all across London and further afield at the MTV Awards and more.

A petite slip of a lad, with twinkling piercing eyes, that had a warm energy was fearlessly sliding into superstars close proximity, and mesmerising them with his own personal brand of magic tricks.

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JASMINE WITH DYNAMO BACKSTAGE AFTER HIS SELL-OUT UK TOUR AT HAMMERSMITH.

Over a few months back then, I got to become familiar with his story. He was from Bradford, where as a young lad his granddad had taught him magic tricks, to help deter the local bullies. His granddads passion for magic rubbed off onto young Steven Frayne as he was known then, and here he was today in the bright city lights of London trying to get a break. No-one knew what that break might be back then.
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ALL DYNAMO LIVE SHOW TOUR PICS COPYRIGHT – ANDREW TIMMS.

Steven and his long-time, loyal and sweet-mannered manager Dan, were regulars on the scene and Dan tenaciously shopped this young magicians talent around town. They came to see me at MTV to see if there could be an opportunity with us. Alas, I had been pushing my bosses with so much non-music content like urban comedy back then, that I was loathe to suggest another, and also, frankly, I just didn’t have the knowledge about how my small team would film the genre of magic.

Thank God his tenacity paid off, and years later the TV channel – Watch – took a chance on this kid. With a series of shows that rated through the roof and put Watch and Dynamo on the map. He had finally made it after grafting since the age of 16.
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This past few months he’s been doing his UK tour, spending a mega three weeks at Hammersmith Apollo and over 90 dates across the country in total. His success had bred a number of pretenders on other TV channels, but no-one quite so mesmerising as him with his very unique modern take on trickery.

I did wonder though, how he could possibly translate his intimate TV shtick to a massive audience of 4000 and he surprised me. Every single trick involved engagement with the audience and you were locked in from the start to the end of his two-hour marathon of magic.
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Afterwards I caught up with him backstage to laugh apologetically for not taking a chance on him years ago, and to quiz him on the brand that is now – DYANMO MAGICIAN…

1-Tell us about how the UK’s tours going and what’s surprised and excited you most about the shows so far?

The show is going amazingly and it’s been an incredible experience so far. It’s crazy to think that we started out with just 10 dates and now I’m performing over 90 shows across the country, most of which have already sold out. I think it shows how appealing magic can be to a modern audience. We live in an era of unprecedented information where we can access a vast library of knowledge at the touch of a button. We have become a nation of experts and yet people still crave mystery, the feeling of wonder that experiencing something inexplicable can create. When I stand on stage and hear the sound of four thousand people gasping in amazement… it’s a pretty incredible feeling.

Also, being live, the show is different every night so I never quite know what is going to happen! We’ve had some really interesting characters up on stage that have totally changed the direction of the show. I guess one of the most exciting things for me is how magic is starting to shape popular culture – we’ve had icons such as Kate Moss, Tinie Tempah & Damien Hirst attend… people who have had a lasting effect on British culture. My aim was always to bring magic into the publics awareness and this is a really big step.

2-Whats next for after this tour for the Dynamo brand?

There are a number of projects I’m working on which I can’t talk about yet, but we’ll probably take the show international next year, as there’s been lots of demand from abroad. I’ve also setup a retail company, which will be developing a number of magic related items over the next few years. We launched my very first Dynamo Magic Kit in Harrods this Saturday, which I’m very excited about, as it’s been a year in the making and features magic that I have performed in my TV series and live shows. The idea is to encourage and empower young people to get into magic and I’ve personally selected every item in the kit.

3- You’ve changed the perception of magic and its engagement both with TV audiences and younger fans…your shows were sold out to anyone from any family, background or class…. what makes your magic so inclusive?

It’s funny, when we started out my manager said, we’re not competing with other magicians, we’re competing with the 4 pillars of entertainment… music, film, comedy and sport. If we want to be successful then we need to change the perception of the genre. For a long time a magician was seen as a guy (never a women.. which is still a big issue within our industry) who acted smarter than everyone else… because he could do things that they couldn’t do. Magicians often had an air of superiority or felt very dated and out of touch with culture. But really if you look at the greats like David Berglas or David Copperfield, it was always about a shared experience… it’s like a great music act… they are nothing without their audience. For me, magic reveals something on a very human level… it transcends racial, cultural or economic barriers because amazement is truly universal.

4- and finally, what would grandpa Dynamo say if he could see your success today?

He’d probably say… ‘Steven… how did you do that!?’
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Looking for a great Christmas gift for the young magician in your life? Check out Dynamo’s Magic Set being sold at Harrods for £29.95.

Jasmine’s Juice – The Return Of Craig David. The Bassline Has Dropped!

craig jas
JASMINE WITH CRAIG DAVID.

BACK AGAIN, COOLER THAN EVER.

Jasmine
So welcome back to town Craig, how does it feel to be back?

Craig David
You know what, it’s a weird one cos I don’t feel like I’ve really been away, but its like you need to put the faders down, and just monitor things for a moment, but now I’m raring to go, like you almost got to calm yourself down cos youre gonna blow some speakers cos you’re hitting red on the meters, I’m back in that young sixteen year old kid mode so its lovely, I love it!

Jasmine
What inspired the return cos you’re suddenly everywhere?

CD
Do you know what, I went away for a minute cos I felt like musically the direction I was getting to wasn’t me, so lets I started off with “I’m checking this girl next door, you’re that guy with a beanie hat, evisu jeans doing your thing kinda repping your whole scene… and then fast forward all the way to the point where one of the last records I put out which was a covers record, which I loved the songs that I sung but when you are doing like “ sitting at the dark of the bay’’ and I mean we’re straight up, not chopped and screwed versions, not like we’re some sixteen bar trap version with a rap on it, just a straight up cover …I was like wait up, I was like I gotta put all this away, gotta go away for a minute, go find myself, get hungry, go to Miami drive the car that all this success has given you, live in a house in Miami, live in that little palace that you’ve got going on to the point where you get so bored to being in that and you get that hunger again that you wanna go to the most gritty dirtiest street you know and do it all over again and that’s right up to the present moment.

J
For me its like the biggest come back since Mariah Carey, do you feel people had written you off?

CD
The love has always been there d ’you know what I mean …so you never really go away cos as a song writer I’ve always got three mins in me that can change my life and anyone else’s..
JD CD1
A MUCH YOUNGER PAIR- JASMINE AND CRAIG IN THE EARLY DAYS.

AMERICAN LOVE AND THE ORIGINAL UKG MUSIC SCENE.

J
Globally and America is particularly obsessed with you. Drakes been name checking you, Justin Biebers been doing Craig David karaoke.. I mean it’s really cool to be down with Craig right now, how do you explain the cool factor?

CD
Things are very cyclical you know, now you’ll see people rocking double denim, musically people who grew up with my music are now fifteen years older and they’re at a point in their life where they could be married, have children and they’re looking back at some of their best times and all those different memories are linked to my music in their youth.. Thankfully my music was part of the whole generation growing up so there’s that nostalgia but then also throw into the mix , there’s the fifteen year old, sixteen year old kid who doesn’t know who I am, has never heard my music before right, and they hear “fill me in” for the first time, I was checkin this girl from next door and her parents went out and we was just doing what young people do, parents tryna find out what we’re up to,…so its relevant if you’re thirty or thirteen!
CD JUSTIN
CRAIG DAVID WITH A VERY YOUNG FAN – JUSTIN BEIBER (WHO HAS RECENTLY BEEN SINGING CRAIGS FILL ME IN AT KARAOKE!)

J
So classically you have that old school audience and lots of new, young people, but what happened to that old school audience with the UK garage and the UKG scene?

CD
It was my time with the Artful Dodger and Dream Team , Wookie and MJ Cole, an amazing fraternity of people coming through and changing the game, it was the UK vibe globally; I was seeing Timbaland doing songs on a sort of two-step vibe, you had Ronnie Jerkins with Whitney Houston’s “its not right, but its okay” which is pretty much a garage tune … from the time you were having an impact on American producers people tried it, they were very straight where it came from – we just had this feel from the UK and we owned it.
“Twenty-one Seconds” came through and So Solid changed the game, it was just like ‘how was this possible, how many guys can you have in this crew, it was Wu Tang but on ecstasy, it was on some next flow of what was going on,and the grime scene did its thing, but even then it still it wasn’t getting rated commercially. It wasn’t getting the success in the charts as well that I thought it would’ve had, especially as the garage scene had had that kind of success with Sweet Female Attitude and Flowers and Sweet Like Chocolate … then it needed a time to go dark, it needed to go underground, it needed guys to just spit and get on the mic and just be emcees.

I remember how it used to be before with the jungle scene; like there’d be a line of like six, seven guys and you were like fourth in the line and you was like trying to rip a mans arm to get to the mic, you wanted your sixteen bars and everyone was on their hunger thing, it was aggressive … and then what happened, the scene evolved within grime and we got up to date, we started to see the Stormzys coming through where you’d start to dominate the charts, without actually having that push that you’d expect from a major on a freestyle. You start to see the Skeptas getting love from the Drakes and getting recognised, seeing Kanye West recognising the whole Boy Better Know crew, that this is real and now the grime scene is actually being recognised as being a commercially viable asset, not just some kids on the street who just ran a car with the boot open playing some heavy bass subs just trying to emcee, its real.

J
To me, the grime scene is the modern day son of the garage scene, would you not agree, UK accents, mic, fast chatting, what’s the difference?

CD
Do you know what yeah, to be honest, it is the same. I think that the difference in terms of what its up to now, is that its found its feet where, when it comes to song because of the same time as me doing Rewind and the Artful Dodgers stuff, and I recognised that the one thing that was so good about garage days was that there were usually songs like Jaheim’s Just In Case and I say Sweet Female Attitude again cos it was like, we’ll take an R&B sample and just, it was a proper song with a beat, so it was like a slow jam but we just put a beat on it and feel like it was up tempo… now you got the same things happening now where people are starting to recognise that the chorus actually needs a hook, it cant just be sixteen bars of fire and another sixteen bars of fire over a hook, give us the pay off!…and people are starting to recognise that pay off now, which is more of a song structure so that’s why the scene is so gonna BLOW, oh man, its gonna, and its still in its teething days, trust me it hasn’t gone full, there’s a vocalist coming on the R&B thing, trust me!

J
The Americans never got UK hip-hop though so why do they get grime, what is it about grime that stands out?

CD
I think because its gone back, the kind of tracks and beats are kind of similar and flow similar a little bit towards garage, which is something that we’ve owned for however long, you have to live the culture and be in here to get it, … and then, the flows are then accepted. As soon as you start to do almost a grime emcee over a hip-hop track its where it starts to get lost a bit in its translation in America, where they go we don’t quite get this?
But we have fierce emcees in this country, that when you see any of those kind of ciphers or fire in the booths, and sometimes the Americans come over and you’re like ‘’you better go back and step up your game and come back again cos that aint gonna go down around here’’… I love it, its like the levels up here now are BIG and social media has also helped these people now, before these were hidden gems, now these people are all out everywhere!

J
What’s the main difference between the garage scene back then when you were first seen and now?

CD
Okay garage when I was coming through it was very fashion, oh wow fashion,… reebok classics on, in full effect, girls felt sexy, the guys having a bottle of champagne in their hand and a glass and they felt kinda sexy by the whole thing cos everyone’s having a good time, it was just bubbling, it was nuts and it was enjoying the music… if someone stepped on your shoe, its cool bruv, its alright man, girls in front of me, life’s good. I’m seeing organised chaos at grime gigs now, it’s like a rock event… there are people in a mosh pit going at it and its not we’re going at it like we wanna beat each other up, I mean if you get in the middle of it, you may get a knee in the face cos you was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it kicks off and its just mad, the energy is crazy!
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CRAIG AND JASMINE IN CRAIGS FIRST COMING SUCCESS YEARS!

8-YEAR BREAK UPDATE, FITNESS AND THAT 8-PACK BODY.

J
So you’ve been away for …has it been eight years now? What have you been doing in that break time… obviously the whole image has changed, you talk about losing the beanie, the clothes are different, the body is different, you’re very about the fitness trends, talk us through that.

CD
I think always that there was a point where my fitness was taking over where my music was at, I was getting so on my fitness, losing body fat, looking ripped and but then having the question of why am I getting so ripped for? And also when you get super duper kinda ripped you look gaunt in the face, like 20 years older, you look sick if you wanna wear a brown paper bag over your face then your abs are gonna look great… but people don’t really go for the brown paper bag over your face walking around town with your top off thing, so I was like lets ease this back and its okay if you have four abs, doesn’t have to be six, eight, ten, no one cares… what people do care with me is that come with the music so I had to put the, the fitness had to find balance, but it was good that I went to the extreme to know that there is a middle ground.

J
From the outside looking in it felt like for you, it was a distraction, you just needed something to be away from the pressure of making music?

CD
I think it stemmed from there and also stemmed back to being an overweight kid who was always like one day I’m gonna go to the other extreme… life is very simple when you look at it.

J
Actually I completely forgotten about that, you used to talk about that when I used to speak to you in the past about that whole being that overweight kid in your past and bullying, do you think that had finally come through …

CD
The overweight kid will always find a way of always being that fat kid inside, trust me. I mean when I open the fridge I will rinse everything that’s in there, I still have the mentality of have the dessert before my mum made my tea and all that kind of madness, which got me fat in the first place, but now I’d experienced what its like to be kinda super duper ripped but that didn’t quite work, it didn’t quite give you the satisfaction you wanted because once you’re at that place where the fear starts to kick in from both sides… now you’re fearful of losing it so it becomes more important than going out with your friends for a nice meal and socialising, you’re like nah nah nah I gotta stay in and do my cardio tonight, what are you doing, what are you doing it for, are you going in for some body building competition because nobody cares so ummm… eat clean, train dirty, which is my little motto is the ideal, its balanced.

J
A lot of young people are always going through food and body issues in all generations, but now more than ever. ..bulimia, anorexia, body shaming is like a real thing in the media now, could that have something that was even there with you?

CD
I think mine was deep rooted as a kid, I mean I see it in the media because obviously that’s the way that certain set ups are made, like if you look in the modelling industry I don’t quite understand it d’you know what I mean, what you see on the billboards is not real, telling a girl who’s perfectly healthy to lose more weight puts her in this state of mind where she thinks well I want to be a Victorias Secret model so bad, and everyone wants to be a model chic or whatever… so you go and do all kinds of nonsense, eating tissue paper to try and keep you there, bulimia and anorexia all that kind of stuff starts to happen …

J
But even men are affected now…

CD
Oh yeah.. but men, I find that they do it for the reasons of ego , they want to feel like worthy so they therefore need to get into shape. When you start to realise girls don’t even really care they’re like I actually like a guy who’s got a little bit of cushion for the pushin d’you know what I mean, I like a guy like that, I don’t need the guy with the six pack, it looks like you take it all too serious.

J
So when did you realise that then, where did that come through?

CD
When my manager was saying to me, Craig, in your face, you’re looking old, and then you start to have an awareness of people around you and start to see that there were beautiful beautiful girls who would just like a very normal guy, who kept himself nice, did a little run when he wanted, had the food when he wanted, a bit of cake cos he felt like he wanted some cake… and there’s me, going all out going crazy and thinking that’s what people wanted and what I needed was to get out of the ego that was tryna give me all these things to do.

J
It’s a control thing isn’t it, it’s being in control of some part of your life?

CD
And recognising the duality in life, everything has its opposite, when I got to my second album, first album had sold seven million, second album record company are looking at maybe eight million, nine million, they’re already like, they’re in the willy wonka elevator, they’ve gone through the roof, they’re in another place right. Second album did three point five million and they was like hmmpff what are we going to do, tsss its on the decline, where are we going to go… and I bought into it. I bought in to the fact that three point five million people had gone out and bought my album, if you think you’re on a downer at that point and I’m seeing albums now going like ten, twenty thousand to get to number one, or the life of a record maybe hitting two or three hundred thousand and everyone’s saying yes we did it great success lets get onto the next, three point five million and I’m on a downer!
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When you’re in that cycle, you’re in a different world, you’re in it, and they tricked you. Instead of just loving and going out with your friends, having a drink, have some fun to celebrate, its like ‘’oh I’m a bit scared cos what’s my second single gonna do?’’, so you’ve forgotten about the number one you wanted, your whole life tryna get that number one, you’re scared for your next song. So you start to realise that failure and success are in the same seed, its like a magnet, positive and minus are on the same thing but unless you start to get balance and recognise that that’s actually you, you think that you’re positive and pretend that negative isn’t a part of you, but you’re part of the same thing. And I’ve started to find that in life and that metaphor for everything that I do now is amazing cos failure is part of the success, if you didn’t have failure you wouldn’t know what success was, and I love it so don’t take any of it serious!
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CRAIG AND JASMINE AT THE MTV AWARDS RED CARPET A FEW YEARS AGO.

EVIL RECORD INDUSTRY?

J
Well it shows record labels can actually be place of evil I think, it can put you in a very dark place if you’re a young artist trying to maintain those levels of success.

CD
I think for any young artist coming through you need to have a good team of people around you outside of going into music industry and I hate when people call it industry because it shouldn’t be that. When I was making my first record or my early stuff it was turned into a commodity it wasn’t to sell it. It was just like I went out the studio, I played it in the car I was like man this baseline is sick! I don’t care if anyone likes it or doesn’t like it Rewind, its fire! That was my pay off, that was my number one! that was my millions of records sold! that was my first cheque, everything was in that little car on my way home, and when that changes to when its not about making music for you, its making music for this ‘pressure’ you created from everyone else and what they expect of you or for a record label. You’re in it. Another little trick. you’re in the game. Once you get into that it’s a rocky road and its not fun, for me right now its just FUN and then people say “yeah its easy for you because you had the career and da da daa got some money in your pocket” trust me, the same amount of money in your pocket doesn’t change – the ratio is the same, you’ve got a leak in your apartment and back in the day it cost you £500 to fix the roof, now with your bigger house it will cost you 5 grand to fix the roof, or it will cost you 50 grand to fix the roof. It’s the same thing …biggie said it “more money more problems” trust me its all the same flow, money is not going to make you happy trust me.

J
So this time around you’re coming back with new music, tell us a little bit about the new music and working conditions of the album.

CD
Ok so not to be hyper man but I can get a little too gassed on this like I hype the whole thing up too much but I’m back in the mode like I said the 15,16 year old kid whose hungry and got everything to prove who wants to get his mum out the council flat she’s in, in Southampton and put some money in my dads pocket, and make sure people around me are cool, because the awards and stuff along the way how amazing they are and very proud of, one of the things that I started to realise it’s a beautiful piece of validation. But the validation that I need now is that people around me are healthy and happy.
Big Narstie was funnily enough in this room with me and spotted that I had some of my old awards plaques on the floor and was like “Craig whys that Born To Do It plaque on the floor “ and I was like “you know , I haven’t had time to put it up” he was like “woah woah woah bruv you don’t know how the times I was grounded with my cousin and we were listening to bootyman or whatever from that born to do album that got us through being grounded that made man wanna get on the mic and do this thing’’….so it GAVE ME some perspective.

J
You mentioned just now that motivation back then was obviously your mums house, getting your parents, family set up and secure, what’s the motivation this time round?

CD
It is actually similar; the management company I’m on with right now is the same guy I’ve always been with. Colin has been with me from like day 1, 15 years ago he came to my house for the first time, he was actually the first person to give me a record deal when everyone else was like yeah got a development deal…what more do you want to do to develop Rewind because it seems like its developing pretty well by itself. Colin’s been with me for years, he is hard-core but when you know him there is a soft side trust me, like he’s got that business uh he don’t play like he’ll go all out like sixteen’s at a drum and bass gig, but when it comes to knowing him the love I have for him is ridiculous cos like he held me down, he’s held me down like a father but at the same time I love him for it because we’ve been together 15-16 years if it wasn’t for him taking a risk on me then I might just have been a regular kid in Southampton.

colin lester jas
JASMINE WITH COLIN LESTER – CRAIGS MANAGER.

BO SELECTA.

J
Oh he has always championed you, always protected you I remember seeing that moment when that clip had gone viral where he freaked out about that Bo Selecta skit thing….. I was laughing at Keith Lemmon thinking ‘’ its not Craig that you should be worried about, its actually Colin!’’

CD
Oh he went hard-core and wasn’t even that fussed about it…

J
Really? I know its part of your past and it was many years ago, and a minor blip compared to everything else you’ve achieved, but how did you feel when that first came out on TV?

CD
Do you know what its weird because the mainstream media betrayal of it was they quite didn’t know how I felt about it, that’s why it kinda lingered on for so long. At the end of the day it was no different from Spitting Image, which I used to watch on Channel 4. it was……

J
Flattering?

CD
Completely if you’re having a caricature done of you, you have to be well known enough to have a impression puppet and there were loads of people that also had them too, like David Beckham, Michael Jackson… all these different guys ….so if you cant have a bit of fun with it then that’s not cool. The thing where it got blurred is where my PR were involved. I mean come on, I clearly embraced it cos at my Royal albert hall show I walked on with the puppet mask on. Meanwhile my PR was putting out stories saying that I was mad and so it became all confused. if I had followed my intuition back then I would’ve just stayed out of it completely cos it just wasn’t affecting me as people thought and frankly we patched it up a long long time ago.

J
How did that happen?

CD
It was at Ferns (Cottons) wedding and we were both in the room …

J
Awkward?

CD
Awkward tension in the room I think from everyone else, they were like ooo whats gonna go on its gonna kick off, you know like at school, oh I hope it kicks off that’d be sick. So I saw Keith and I walked up, gave him the biggest hug and it was a good embrace, he hugged me back properly. It was like, I know what it got to but just to let you know I have no care in the world about this, listen you’re a comedian on the come up and that was your come up through the door cool, if I allow my music to get affected by that then I’m a little chief who needs to go back and sort himself out, because at the moment you come with heavy weight songs no one can trouble you. If you think of Kanye, he’s like ‘’you know what I don’t care you’re still gonna buy me Yeezy Boost, and I will rock that presidential candidate angle and I will come with the hottest girl in the game and I’ll shut you all down!’’ and I’m just like ‘’yes’’, this is the guy – love or hate him – and that’s where I was, just don’t buy into the mechanism again, don’t take it all too so seriously and I knew ultimately as an artist people just wanna hear music and that’s all I wanna bring.
CD BO
CRAIG LOVING THE PUPPET MADE IN HIS HONOUR.

This time I wanna do it not just for me and the fans though. Like I said I wanna do it again for my manager Colin, and the rest of my team.
Alex has come aboard and is part of my management and Matt who has been here with me. Alex and Matt are younger and I want it for them guys. I remember Matt saying to me “Craig you’re in Miami and I don’t really feel you’re gonna get the record that we talk about being out there, you’re gonna HAVE TO come back to London and be in the mix” and it took me a moment to understand that and I respected the fact that a young kid could say that, and it was a pivotal moment in my career and I was like you know what who cares about this car, who cares about this apartment right now I need to get back in the mix and I came back over. I wanna see those guys walk up with their suits on going to Brit awards, Grammys the MOBOs, whatever it may be, its really not for me I experienced it, I know what its like to be in the arena with ’60,000 people going nuts to your music’ I know it how it feels to hear your record on the radio for the first time and like get gassed and be like ‘ah’ its shifted. Its like when you have a baby and the responsibility is for them. my babies in my life (because I have no children) are my songs!
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CRAIG WITH THE KURRUPTFM CREW AT THE RADIO1XTRA SESSION WITH MISTAJAM.

NEW MUSIC.

J
So you say new flavour, tell us about the new music does it sound similar to the old stuff, are you going on any new explorations musically?

CD
I hate saying this cos it sort of sounds like harping back to the past and I never really wanna be locked to that heritage thing or nostalgia artist label because right now like I said I’m a 15 year old kid and gotta prove myself. I know with 7 days and Fill Me In I was narrating stories people could relate to, they were simple melodies and I wasn’t taking it all too serious and that’s where I’m at with this new record. Its RnB but it always has a hint of pop. Trust me, I embrace the genre of pop. trust me you could say Ed Sheeran is a pop artist but those songs will rock a rave you know what I mean! You throw a grime beat on any of his tunes and he will stand up there with an acoustic guitar and play to like 80,000 at Wembley stadium! I’ve got so much respect for Ed- that acoustic thing was something I loved from day 1 seeing him go up there with just him and his foot pedals and rock the whole stadium that’s sold out!

J
In a way he’s been a lone ranger holding up the fort for soul music for the UK, do you feel like soul music and RnB music here died?

CD
I mean it went from George Michael, and then Elton John doing his thing. I came through and it was kind of more of an RnB tip more like the traditional RnB that America would kind of get on, so when I listened to Ed Sheeran’s song I said its kind of in the pop bracket, its got a guitar open for everyone, everyone can like it, doesn’t matter if you’re 80 years old or if you’re a street kid, you get what he’s doing. There’s even Sam Smith on the Disclosure stuff, everyone loves that BUT I just feel there’s always been and its not me being egotistical but there’s a void do you know what I mean of that RnB thing…… but like not like Chris Brown not like Usher not like Trey Songz not like Omarion…. these guys are doing their thing, if I tried to do what Omarion does or Chris Brown does I’ll be a watered down version of Chris Brown but if I do me. Oh man if I stay in my lane and do what I do no one touches what I do cos I know that’s me, you cant be someone else! To Usher I would say on camera, Usher ‘’do a confessions album right and you come back with that style let it burn, you got it bad, you make me wanna, nice and slow you will shut this all down cos I’m an usher fan, its like me jumping on a whole bunch of EDM songs, it works for a moment and people like yeah that’s the thing that’s happening but people deep down are just ‘give me nice and slow, that’s what we want’. Usher if you bring that you will get the love beyond, anyway….

J
Its interesting to me that you mention the Americans, you mention Usher, Omarion, Chris Brown when we talk about UK soul singers we talk about Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. I read an article recently that said UK soul music has been high jacked by white singers, what happened to the black singers, where are they?

CD
HHMMM the race card one.. I always think is a bit of a cop out … I… there’s racism in everything d’you know what I mean… it really can go both ways and it would diminish everything that I did to say, yeah well d ’you know what ‘’its heavily dominated by white guys or girls doing their thing’’ but I’ve never really been in that white black thing, my mums white, my dads black, I don’t know this colour thing, …
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J
Right so tell us new music, is there an album title, have we got some singles, how would you describe it?

CD
Okay new album id love to call it, Following My Intuition.. Because that just pretty much self explanatory, I’m in that place where I’m going with what I feel and every time I’ve done that, its always made the right decision, every time that I haven’t, at the time it might have seemed right but it bit me in the ass later on, that’s the biggest piece of advice id give to any young aspiring artist, just do what you’re doing, from tying that I go back to Stormzy, from time you can do a freestyle and you can infiltrate the chart scene and everyone’s going nuts for you… he just did his thing cos he didn’t go soft and do some nonsense. I’ve been working with some really good people, I’ve been working with this guy called White Nerd from up in Manchester and he is that next guy who is gonna come through and bring a whole NEW feel to the whole garage scene, he’s an amazing producer and he does his own work as an artist himself. Tre Jean-Marie, I’ve been working with him, weirdly enough he’s a song writer whose father was background vocalist for my first tour, so that’s a mad one, I’m working with the father and the son, Trey is amazing, so I’m working with him. The names that people would know I would say Kaytranada, I’ve been doing some stuff with him, his stuff is amazing, a futuristic R&B….
Trust me – your boys back in town and its gonna change right now.. That’s the mentality that I’m going on, let me just go out there and do it, I’m in that mode, I’m like listen I don’t care, I’ll come out all green and crush this whole thing down!!

….and with that Craig David jumps up and eagerly plays us parts of his new album which sounds amazing and of course, he cant resist singing along for the whole channel 4 news camera crew who are fans!

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT CRAIG’S NEW SONG – with Big Narstie #WhenTheBassLineDrops

CRAIGS LIVE MUSIC MIX PARTY RADIO SHOW TS5 has now been picked up by NOVA FM for Australia & George FM for New Zealand which is great news on the radio front.

GO TO @CraigDavid instagram as all his updates are on there for upcoming shows and music

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CRAIG IN THE STUDIO WITH BIG NARSTIE AND THE BOYS-MAKING MUSIC!

Craig David interview Transcription by;
Sheikh Islam
Nadia Mahmood