Wretch 32 appeared with the likes of Jessie J, Mona and James Blake on numerous ones to watch lists at the start of 2011. Having already toured with the likes of Tinie Tempah and Professor Green, the London rapper is set to make this year his own.
Currently on tour with Example, Gigwise caught up with the rising star about his debut album and what he has planned for the rest of the year.
How have things been over the past few months?
Very good thank you, I’m just at a sound check now for Mark Ronson, I’m here with Professor Green which is good catching up with him. I did the performance at the BRIT Awards after party with Ronson and loads of others for his track ‘Bang Bang’. It was a crazy night but it was for War Child as well so it was nice to do what I do but for a good cause as well.
How have you been finding all the recent attention?
Yeah it’s brilliant. It’s very cool to be on those lists with so many different artists who I reckon will be massive by the end of the year. It was just a great start to the year for me. I had a great 2010, touring with Professor Green and Tinie Tempah and making a name for myself. I just hope we can continue the run that we’re on at the minute.
When did you start getting into music?
I started when I was about eighteen; I just needed to find something that I could release my frustration out on. I was a very frustrated teenager so I needed to find an outlet; I wanted to stop doing all the mad stuff that I was getting myself into so I started doing music. Then as I got better I took it a lot more serious, as you get higher up in the ranking I actually thought to myself that I could make something of it. It was something that I loved doing and there was no crime involved.
What kind of music shaped you when you were younger?
When I was growing up I used to listen to a lot of reggae. My dad was a DJ and he had a sound system so we used to have a lot of Reggae in the house when I was young. When my dad left I was the only boy, I’ve got four sisters so they listened to a lot of R n B. I like a lot of Soul, R n B and Reggae. I found out about Hip Hop and Garage music when I was older.
You’ve worked with a range of other UK artists – how has that been?
It’s been great. It’s always good; we each have our own family issues and when we bring them all together it’s a good thing. I think collaborations are great, you get to work with all this emerging talent as well as your mates.
How’s the debut album coming along?
I’m working on the album now and it’s almost complete, I haven’t got a specific date of when I’ve got to have it finished by so we’re kind of still going. As long as the tracks are getting better and better we’re in a good position.
Wretch 32 - 'Traktor'
Has the album been quite a long process?
Any album takes a while to make; you want to talk about so many different experiences you’ve had in life, how you feel at this moment in time, how you plan to feel. So it’s a lot to cover, you make better albums when you go through the most experiences. You can’t do that in a week or a month, it can take some artists’ years to make a record that is right for them. If you’re limiting yourself to only six months to write and record an album where you’re constantly in the studio for that amount of time I find it pretty difficult to think. What’s been good for me is that five months ago I was in a totally different position to what I am now; so that provided me with loads more material to talk about.
What is the main sound of the debut?
I’m just trying to go for that cool edgy sound for the album. I just try my hardest to make an album that suits me and my style. Any time I hear something that I like I just go in on it. We’ve been working on quite a lot of material and we’ve got a lot of different sounding tracks; some that are quite soulish, some that are more edgy, some that are just cool. It’s just about picking the best tracks that fit together, the problem that we’ve had is that there are some tracks that we think are great but they don’t particularly fit with the rest of the album. It’s about getting a collection of tracks that sound great together.
Did you work with anybody on the album?
I’ve been working with the same people that I have since I began, they know my sound best. I’ve worked with Future Cut who have worked on the new Example track, which is going to be massive. For me it’s about working with a group of producers or people who know what they’re doing and enjoy it.
What are the plans for the next of the year?
It’s just about music - no nonsense, no extra stuff. I think when you make great music you end up in great places, great opportunities and it’s just about grabbing them and making the most of it. I’m touring with Example which will be great. It’s always good to get on the road and tour, it’s where you get to meet people and put your music out there.