Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Mr Ekow find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I was born and raised in Croydon and have lived here my whole life, apart from a brief spell in Norwich for uni. I remember when grime was first popping off I was in school and it was just everywhere. You'd walk through the playground and hear Forward Riddim, being blasted through Sony Ericsson walkman phones. It got to the point where everyone had a few bars they could spit and naturally I started to join in. I didn't really take it seriously at the time, but it's definitely grown to be something much bigger and more serious for me.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
With my dad and brother always playing music around the house, I had a real variety of music to feed on. I was listening to everything from Outkast to Solid Crew to Stevie Wonder and Fela Kuti. I grew up in Church as well so I was seeing live music being played every week, which was great. I think the way I was introduced to music has meant I have built fairly eclectic influences over the years. My music is influenced by artists like J Dilla, The Roots, Sufjan Stevens, Yasin Bey, Flying Lotus and more.
How would you describe your sound?
I say I make jazzy, soulful, conscious Hip Hop that's heavily influenced by the 90s golden era, while constantly pushing the sound forward.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
Me latest single "Jungle Gym" came about from a collaboration with a Mexican producer Eidan. We met via the music networking app Vampr and just dug each other's styles. The beat sounded playful and I heard the sample of the kids playing, so I just wanted to have some fun with it. Sometimes I just wanna flex on a beat, with some dope flows and lyrics, without having to get too conceptual.
What’s your local music scene like?
South London has been having a real moment for a while now. The jazz scene is exploding and there's plenty of underground acts making really interesting, forward thinking, soulful and jazz based music. Croydon of course has also had the likes of Stormzy, Nadia Rose and Krept and Konan etc. putting the borough on the map. There's plenty going on in London on a mainstream and underground level, which is great to see.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
As well as my own stuff, including an album in the works, I'm working on a bunch of collaborative projects and one-off singles at the moment. I'll be looking to step up the number of live shows I'm doing too. I love playing with a full band, so I'll be looking to do as much of that as possible.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Ooh there's so many people I'd love to work with! If I had to choose one right now, I'd say Robert Glasper. He's been killing it for years and I think our styles combined could produce pretty special.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I like to do a freestyle bit in my set where people hold up items I can put in the rhyme. For some reason there's always someone holding up a shoe!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
That I've barely started and there's much, much more to come!