PW is a crazy talented young rapper from North London, UK, with an eclectic mix of hip hop and R&B sounds under his belt. He’s been making waves in the UK and has recently come back recording in New York, which he cites as his home away from home, so with any luck you will get to see him there sometime soon. We chatted to him recently to find out about the west Indies, soccer, and, er, scotch bonnets …
Young Adult Mag: Hey PW. Describe yourself in three words.
PW: Hey, Hope you’re well. I would describe myself as being creative, inquisitive and Hard working.
YA: You grew up in Edmonton, which is just round the corner from White Hart Lane. Do you support Tottenham Hotspurs? What did you think of the UK’s recent performance in the football (soccer) world cup?
PW: Yes, I have been a Tottenham Hotspurs fan all my life, before Music my main focus was football, I actually had a trial at the club when I was 9 years old.
I thought our performance at the World cup wasn’t our best, infact this is our worst performance in a World Cup since 1958, a lot of improvement is needed but I can’t deny those players played their hearts out for those three lions on their shirt. I thought Roy Hodgson brought with him a youthful side, giving some of the younger players a chance to go out to Brazil and shine; but what we lacked was experience in defence, players like Ashley Cole and John Terry were missed in the Tournament but i feel encouraged about England’s future seeing the likes of Raheem Sterling really showcase his talent at that level. So overall, the performance wasn’t that great but I do see a bright future for England’s soccer team.
YA: Can you describe your childhood a little bit for our readers?
PW: My childhood had the best memories, my family are from the West Indies so we would venture out there nearly every summer.Sun, sea, sand, great food and family you can’t go wrong, I sound like a travel agent. At the time I was into cartoons, Scooby-Doo was one of my favourite shows; so one time i was on the beach and i jumped straight into the water screaming ‘Puppy power!’ Then ended up scaring my knee, so that memory stayed with me forever and obviously i’m the bud of everyones joke at every family reunion.
I was a very troubled child, anything I would see on TV i would do it, from eating a scotch-bonnet pepper cause i saw captain hook do it, or locking myself in the washing machine cause Tom locked Jerry in one.
Other than cartoons, Football was my love I would play everyday without fail, wether it was in the front of the house or the park i always had a ball on me. I eventually went on to play for Fulham Football clubs youth team for a year before getting injured and being released. That was one of the most heartbreaking times of my childhood, i saw all my dreams shatter right in front of me; it took me a while to get over it but now at twenty-two and the stage i am in my career, I feel like i’m eventually going to be in a position where I’m going to live out my dream through another young kid- by creating an academy where i can give them the opportunity to go on and play professionally in years to come.
YA: Was there somebody special in your mind when you wrote the lyrics for Here With You? It’s pretty romantic for a rap song.
PW: Of course, the song was about my ex-girlfriend who at the time was leaving London to go and study in another city, I felt like this is a subject matter that hasn’t been touched on and the situation inspired me to write that song alongside seeing some of my close friends go through separation too, I think thats why it was my most successful song to date because i focused on a particular group of consumers and some how it connected to them. I would say rap is opening up to romance, just look at Jay-z and Beyonce and it doesn’t matter how high profile they are, they are still open with their relationship; some people label Jay-z the best rapper alive so if he can do it, why can’t i.
I’ve always wanted to create music that is saying something, some rappers have the most amazing metaphors, other rappers have the most absurd flows but to me its what is being said on the record is what counts. I like to sit and think “how is the consumer going to be entertained for these three minute and thirty seconds thats going to have them listening to the song for the rest of the year ?”, or for the rest of their lives- its about honing my craft enough so i can achieve that, but as we know we live in a microwaveable society; the internet age where everything is here today and gone tomorrow, i want to create timeless music thats going to have me here forever. I want to rap and perform in a way that allows a lot of people to understand me, not just in the UK but across the world. I have an international ambition.
YA: From the video, you definitely have a strong visual style and fashion sense. Who do you think is super cool, fashion wise?
PW: Thank you, recently i have been into dark clothes as I feel like fashion matches with your mood. My new project is fairly dark sounding so whilst i’m getting ready to drop the project, i’m now into some brands called ‘Been Trill, HBA, Oak, Cos and the Kooples just to name a few. Artist that are very fashion forward are people like Chris Brown, Rita Ora, Kanye West, Pharrell etc. A lot of your favourite videos have famous outfits that accompany them, i.e. Michael Jackson- Thriller video, the wardrobe was monumental. Michael always had great outfits, i’m just trying to follow in the footsteps of legends- be inspired by what they did, but never copy.
I am currently reading a book by Hip-hop mogul ‘Steve Stoute’ its called the ‘Tanning of America’, in the book Steve explains how Hip-hop impacts fashion; when ‘Run DMC’ started wearing the shell toe Adidas, the sales in that year was higher then Nikes, it just shows how important music is to fashion and how they work hand in hand.
YA: You recently toured with popular UK acts Mindless Behaviour, Conor Maynard and Dappy (of N Dubz). How ridiculous is Dappy in person? Did you throw things at his head backstage to see if you could knock his hats off? I would have.
PW: You’re funny, of course not. Dappy is very cool, he brought me on tour with him in my first year, i guess he believed in my talent that much, so I will always have respect for him. He has a great collection of hats too.
I went on tour with Mindless Behaviour and Conor Maynard at the start of 2012, literally coming back from Glasgow the same morning and I nearly missed the first show but I got to Birmingham just in time; and had one of my best shows to date. It went on to be a great tour and me and Conor connected so he invited me to join him on his tour which was cool- and we’ve been close friends ever since.
YA: Seriously though, that’s quite a high profile tour. What was your favorite thing about it?
PW: My favourite thing about the tour was the fact that the response from his fans was great, I remember starting the tour with 1,000 followers on my twitter and leaving the tour with over 4,000 followers. I loved the reception from the fans and built a good following from the shows.
YA: You’ve recently spent time in New York and stated that it’s part of the inspiration for your upcoming EP “From London with Love”. What did you dig about it so much culturally?
PW: We all know New York is the home of Hip-hop, so I love how hip-hop is infused into everything, and when i say every thing I mean everything from style to language. The hustle and grind in New york is a next level, I became friends with a group called ‘Elegant Cavier’ it consists of a bunch of creatives who all lived together from rappers, producers, visual artist to graphic designers- all they do is wake up and work all day long, it just put me in to shock like ‘ you think you’re working hard, you haven’t seen hard work yet !’. They inspired me and i thank them for that.
From London with love just embodies the fact that ‘yes, i am from London and I am very proud of that but I just want to be somewhere that accepts my genre of music’ and thats New York, Also the time I spent there I ended up getting together with a female who nicknamed me ‘London’ she became an inspiration behind some of these songs, check it out. The project will be released on the 1st of September. This is my gift back to New York and her for being there and looking after me for the past year. From London with Love.
YA: The track Blow is a lot darker than Here With You. What was your inspiration for that song?
PW: I’m a person that absorbs my surroundings, where i’m from may not be the hardest place to grow up but it surely has its negatives, ‘Blow’ is a song about me seeing the things that happen around me but not wanting to be apart of it- some of my friends dress different from me, some don’t have the same aspirations as me; i never knock them but we’re just different people growing up in the same community.
When Hakim sent me the beat it took me like three months to write as I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with it, until one night it was the last song i had to record i sat down and really thought about what i’m going to do to make a change in my life, i told myself ‘i’m gonna keep on rapping like i’m packing up the Blow’ that stayed with me and I wrote the record that night. ‘Blow’ is simply a metaphor for drugs and success, and I want the success.
YA: Who’s your favorite rapper of all time and why?
PW: Jay-z, I just like what he represents as an individual that made something out of nothing – to be one of the most influential people in not just Music but in the world. Sitting in the barbershops or walking down the streets and hearing the conversations over the past year I see how he is such an icon in the Brooklyn community, they go as far as labelling him ‘King’ . I learnt that Jay-z gave money to a charity to help build wells in African countries- and was awarded by the UN for his humanitarian work, its not just the music when it comes to him its making a difference by being in the position he is in cause he understands he has a voice and power to influence a change.
The media doesn’t always promote that side of artists. People believe as an artist you have to do something to make a change but in actual fact you don’t have to do anything; your job is to make great music but if you are doing more than just that its a bonus, and Jay-z is doing just that. I commend him.
YA: Where and when can I catch you live stateside?
PW: My agent should have dates for me soon hopefully. I just came back from New York from performing at the legendary SOB’S, it was one of my favourite performances this year for sure and performing the new material of the EP and seeing the reaction it got gave me a extra boost that this is the right direction i should be heading in, sound and subject wise. Before this year is out i should be back in the states with some dates so if you want to catch me, just follow me on my social media to keep up with all the updates.
YA: Which five songs are you listening to on your iPod right now?
PW: My five favourite songs right now are, Party Next Door – West District, Drake – 0 -100, Niko and Vinz – Am i wrong, Zhu – Faded and Tove Lo – Habits. I would say thats a eclectic bunch of songs.