The Independent London Newspaper
18th November 2017

Music - Interview: Tinchy Stryder

    Urban musician Tinchy Stryder

    Jet set success but Tinchy has his feet firmly on the ground

    TINCHY Stryder is on the phone, asking for me. He sounds about 15 and is devoid of any showbizzy razzle. Unlike most artists, who get put through by their press team, he said he just felt like making the call himself today.
    Considering the whirlwind year he’s had, he’s surprisingly grounded. Hes currently riding the wave of two number ones (including the first ever song called Number 1) and his most recent, Olive’s You’re Not Alone, which reached the top 20. He’s also had a sold out tour and is promoting another – due to start next February – and has hit the big million sales mark.
    “That’s a crazy feeling you know, it’s a big achievement,” he admitted. But his rapid success, diminutive size and schoolkid demeanour belie his years in the industry. He’s been making records for nearly a decade, he’s had underground success for years, and one suspects he had pop star phone numbers in his mobile years ago.
    What is different is the secret behind his recent rise: he won the backing of Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb MP – who remortgaged his house to support Tinchy’s career – after the politician’s son Archie became his manager.
    Has mixing with the most powerful people of Britain had any impact on his ambitions? While most urban acts make a point of spelling out their material dreams, does Stryder have loftier goals? But it’s a firm ‘no’ when I ask if he would ever go into politics or ‘do a Bono’ one day; instead, more predictably, he cites multi-millionaire Jay-Z as his idol.

    He wants to be a businessman mogul just like Mr Beyonce, and he’s not doing badly: unlike what it says on the front of his highly successful t-shirt line, the star has left the hood. At 22, he’s bought his own home in Essex, and his parents have retired.
    While he maintains he is not materialistic - “I don’t think money can improve life” – he admits it is a boost to be able to afford whatever he wants, and it is confirmation he has made it. “It makes you appreciate the hard work when it pays off,” he explains, laughing as he describes his first ride in a private jet.
    And of course private jets and buying five of everything is the dream of every young wannabe star so its only right he should enjoy it, but is it as good as he thought it would be?
    “Parts of it definitely are in a good way and a bad way,” he said, weighing up the good and the bad. Can’t go to shopping centres anymore, but is loving the lifestyle.
    “I wouldn’t say any of it surprised me, a lot you see and read about being a star, and you wonder if it really happens,” he says, still somewhat wide-eyed to the whole scene, one senses, “but it does. It really is how things go on.”
    But did he make artistic compromises, moving away from grime towards a poppier sound with the likes of Camden Town’s N-Dubz, to get there? Does he mind being described as a “non-threatening urban artist” by his manager?
    “How people look at you…I just be me, so if that’s how I come across then that’s how I am,” he says flatly. “You couldn’t last anymore if you’re not being yourself or natural.” But before I have a chance to question such a theory, he mentions his PR for the first time, who are motioning him to wind things up, and he’s gone.
    CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS

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