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INTERVIEW: Ady Suleiman

The Verse caught up with an interview with singer/song writer, Ady Suleiman, ahead of his Brighton gig at Green Door Store on the 29th February.

  1. Your tour kicks off in Brighton on 29th February, are you looking forward to it and have you ever performed in Brighton before?

Yeah I am definitely looking forward to it. I love Brighton, I think it’s a wicked place. I’ve played there once before for The Great Escape Festival last year at The Brighton Dome. It was a really good show and so yeah I am excited.

  1. What can we expect from your latest EP, ‘What’s the score?’, compared to your previous efforts?

It’s pretty much more of the same stuff. There is a song on there that’s pretty dark, which is a different style to what I’ve done before; a bit of, not really rapping but not so much singing, so kind of a mix of both. I would say it’s more a body of work to play from start to finish, rather than playing each individual song.

  1. Did you grow up in a musical household? Who inspired you to do music whilst growing up?

I would say my household was pretty creative. I’ve got two sisters who were equally good at music and very good at art and stuff like that. My parents are big fans of music. My dad’s a DJ and so he had records, CDs and stuff lying around. But they weren’t really the people who inspired me to do music, it was more that they were supportive when I decided I wanted to do it. But I found my inspiration through Jimi Hendrix, when I was about 13/14. I heard a compilation CD of his and kind of got addicted. Later on, Amy Winehouse did massive things for me in terms of me believing I could make the music I wanted to and still be successful.

  1. Your lyrics are very honest and deep – songs such as ‘State of Mind’ speak about more controversial topics such as Jesus. Are there ever times when you hesitate to include certain lyrics in a song because of what others may think?

I think sometimes, because when I write music I think of it like I’m talking to someone directly or I have that specific audience in my head. And also I’m thinking I don’t want to offend anyone, like my music isn’t meant to be offensive. So even if I’m questioning things that seem controversial, I think for me they’re normal questions to ask and I see it as me trying to find out the answers and in some ways putting these questions out there so someone can give me something or to see if anyone else feels like that. But I definitely thought is this too far, or is it too rude or too that. But like everything, there might be somethings you edit because you don’t want people to get the wrong impression. But otherwise I don’t really feel nervous to question certain topics.

  1. Being from Nottingham originally, what’s the change been like now that you’re living in London?

The only thing that is probably different is that London is bigger so it’s kind of long getting around and when you do music it’s not like I’m going to an office every day. So with studios it could be in areas all over London, so that’s the only thing that can be a bit long. But, apart from that it’s been really smooth because, although I was in Nottingham, I did a lot of gigs in London beforehand so it felt like a natural progression, so it wasn’t too tricky.

  1. Do you miss Nottingham?

Yeah I definitely miss the community in Nottingham. I guess everywhere you go it takes a while to find your people and I’ve lived in London for a year now, so I’m starting to make some wicked connections. But yeah I love Nottingham and I do miss the Notts accent, but at the same time I’m very happy to be in London.

  1. Who is the number one artist you’d like to work with in the future?

J.Cole or Kendrick Lamar because I really love what they’re doing and I think I could lend myself quite well to their music. I could imagine me singing a chorus for them or something. And also, there are a lot of ideas I could work with as I always hear rap and I guess dipping into a slightly different world, hearing someone of that calibre and to be a part of that would be incredible.

  1. You’ve performed at a range of festivals, such as Bestival and Glastonbury. What is that like?

Playing at festivals is amazing because before I got the opportunity to play there, I used to go there as a punter just for fun and I remember when I’d be walking around and saying, “I’ll be on that stage one day” and so it’s really nice for that to have come true. The crowds are always pretty wicked, although sometimes it can be tricky because at festivals not everyone is there to watch you. So sometimes you could be looking out to the crowd and if not everyone is not completely listening then it can affect you. But at the same time, I kind of know what it’s like. Even when I go to festivals and watching people that I want to watch, I’m still chatting away and having a good time. But I love festivals and the crowds can be very big, especially Bestival, where I played on the Big Top stage.

  1. You originally got picked up by BBC Introducing. How did that opportunity arise?

I think you’re supposed to upload your track on to BBC Introducing. But I think mine was through a guy called Dean Jackson, who was a radio DJ in Nottingham. He put me forward for one of the best artists in the East Midlands, because Radio 1 were asking everyone in the country for each region to put forward their best acts. And then I got put on Radio 1 Xtra, and from that point BBC Introducing started offering me a couple of bits here and there. I got to play at Glastonbury through that.

  1. To end the interview, do you have any advice for upcoming music artists?

I would say just do you and make the music you want to make. Don’t chase the label, the industry or anything other than doing what you want to do and I think that’s the best way to get noticed. Record yourself, make videos yourself, put stuff online yourself and I think through that you’re naturally building an audience. I don’t think people need to be signed anymore, I think you can do so much by yourself and that’s probably more enjoyable in some ways because you’re in control of everything.

Ady Suleiman is playing at Green Door Store in Brighton on 29th February 2016. For tickets go to www.gigsandtours.com/tour/ady-suleiman Watch out for Ady’s debut single ‘Running Away’ coming soon.

By Maxine Harrison

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