After achieving chart success with his production work for Tinie Tempah on the mega-hits ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky,’ Londoner Labrinth is reigning back on the deskwork and concentrating on showcasing his talents as a rapper instead. With the 2010’s smash ‘Let The Sun Shine’ already in the bag, he spoke to ClashMusic.com about building on that success with his forthcoming new material, watching his old pal Tinie make it in America and his new project as style consultant for Reebok.
Are you surprised to see Tinie making a splash in the US?
“I am a little but it’s obviously great to see. It’s been a while since any urban acts from the UK have made any kind of impact over there. You have to be really good to compete with the American acts- and there are so many of them. But Tinie is good enough to stand next to them in my opinion. There’s definitely a cultural barrier and the accent can also turn people off, but Tinie’s accent is a lot more accessible. He doesn’t go over the top with his British lingo and people can connect to what he’s saying.”
Are you prioritizing your solo career over your production work now?
“I’m not sure I’m prioritizing it but think it’s important for me to show I’m not just a producer- there are a lot of other sides to me. I feel like I’ve got a lot of important things to say as an artist so I’m planning to step that up a bit. I’ve done a lot of festivals this summer and although the only track people know is ‘Let The Sun Shine’ but I was trying out my new single ‘Earthquake’ and people were going crazy. There were even mosh pits getting started so I was very encouraged by that.”
What has been your experience of working with Simon Cowell since you got signed to his Syco label?
“Simon’s definitely played a part in helping me find my feet as both a producer and artist. He believes in me so it’s great to have him on my side. I’m not sure a lot of people realize that his public persona is different to how he really is- or at least how he is with me. On TV, every artist that comes his way is completely new, so he can pretty much tell them where to go! He has to have that persona for the cameras but behind the scenes, he has more of a business mind. I think in my case, I’m already established to a certain degree so his attitude towards me is very different. It’s a lot more nurturing.”
Why did you want to get involved with Reebok?
“I wanted to go somewhere that I could shine instead of being another artist doing another endorsement with a brand that has thousands of artists. I didn’t want to get lost is the crowd which I think would have happened if I’d decided to work with a bigger name. It’s early days yet but I see it more as a partnership or collaboration rather than just wearing Reebok stuff and mentioning Reebok in interviews as much as possible.”