Sizzling with Jamaican flavours
In The Works: Toddla T

When he dropped his ‘Skanky Skanky’ album in 2009, Tom Bell married dancehall with the UK’s more grimier music climes, thus straddling an explosion in modern club bangers inspired by the Caribbean’s most musical isle. This influence has now only got stronger.

“The first step I did was just book a trip to Jamaica,” Tom tells Clash. “The thing with this album is there was no deadline - I wasn’t even signed when I started making it and I felt like there was nothing to prove anymore. Basically I could do what the fuck I wanted.”

Toddla may wrong-foot listeners with his new material, as he hinted at, saying: “It’s a lot different; it’s a lot more sort of soulful R&B as opposed to like moody bashment, and it was better to take a step back in a way and be like, ‘Well actually I like this as well, so why can’t I make it?’”

Our former Sheffield lad loves a skanking collaboration, and ‘Watch Me Dance’ will be packed with guests that include Róisín Murphy, Shola Ama, J2K, Kimberly, Ms Dynamite, Terry Walker, Donae’o, and he even squeezed in a mammoth session with Skream. Love blaps!

Having just returned back from Jamaica’s Tuff Gong studios only weeks before, the producer was feeling buoyant: “I was so happy with my last record and how it all it all happened,” he laughs. “I was just worried I would do an album I wasn’t happy with to be honest, but you’ve just got to get on with it. And that’s why I consciously made it sound a bit different.”

Words by Matthew Benett
Photo by Marc Sethi

Album Title: ‘Watch Me Dance’
Release Date: August
Producer: Toddla T
Songs Include: ‘Streets So Warm’, ‘Take It Back’, ‘Cruise Control’
Other Facts: The lead single will feature Shola Ama, a track that Toddla T describes as “surprisingly posh” - remember he’s from Sheffield though!


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