Meet Amplify Dot – the freshest voice out of UK hip-hop, whose new track ‘I’m Good’ just so happens to feature a cameo from the one and only Busta Rhymes.
Not many recording artists can sit smugly knowing that their debut stage performance was alongside Missy Elliott when they were merely a teenager, but South London’s very own Amplify Dot can do just that. The Brixton-born wordsmith has been murking the underground scene for a lengthy amount of time until 2012 saw her finally nab a major label contract with EMI. Wonderland went in to find out more.
How does it feel to finally be releasing music through a major label?
It’s great to have the backing of a major label because it allows me to focus on making the music and takes a lot of the logistical pressure off now that I don’t have to worry about things like pressing my own CDs. It’s given me the freedom to be a musician again as the underground often forces you to play every role from radio plugger to investor.
Where did it all begin with you?
For me it all started with a Salt n Pepa video tape called ‘Salt with a deadly Pepa’ – it was a collection of their music videos which I watched religiously from the age of about 4 until I learnt all of their verses and choreography. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be like them.
So you and Missy ‘collaborated’ when you were a teenager?
I went to Missy’s Brixton Academy concert when I was 13 and jumped on stage doing an impromptu talent competition she held half way through the show. I performed my own version of Left Eye’s rap from ‘Waterfalls’, with me being crowned the winner. To have that as my first ever stage experience was amazing and to have Missy Elliot sit down with me after the show and give me her seal of approval is something I’ll always carry with me.
Besides Missy, who else has inspired your journey, your writing and your overall aesthetic?
I grew up listening to a lot of Jay-Z, Eminem and Foxy Brown before UK hip-hop was really thriving so like a lot of artists who grew up in the 90s, I learnt so much from American rap music as well as UK garage MCs like Kano and Ms Dynamite.
You’ve collaborated with a horde of different artists on your mixtures. Who else would you like to make music with during your career?
I’ve been privileged enough to already work with a handful of my idols from Busta Rhymes to Ms Dynamite so it’s crazy to even imagine what more there is to come. I’d love to work with Andre 3000 or Kanye West but I think my dream collaboration would be Jay-Z.
Do you think it’s important for emerging talent to give away free music to attract a wider, more diverse audience?
Free downloads are such a double edged sword as they are hugely beneficial when growing a fan base but they can begin to devalue music. Some of my favourite musicians are artists I discovered with free downloads – Jacob Banks, Jhene Aiko and Meek Mill to name a few. It’s definitely a great way to attract new listeners who may have missed out otherwise, but it is important that we, as musicians, don’t destroy our own commodity.
Tell us about the album? How are you feeling about its release and what can we expect from it?
I think a body of work should feel like a journey; I’ve spent the last year writing and recording it so it has really captured the essence of everything I have experienced during that time. The album really plays with sound and defies any expectations you may have of a ‘rap’ album so I can’t wait for people to hear it.
Will your clothing brand be making an appearance any time soon?
Quiff Head Clothing is my baby, it’s just taking a nap at the moment. It will definitely be reappearing in the not too distant future.
‘I’m Good’ is out on 22nd July 2013 via Virgin EMI Records. amplifydot.co.uk
Words: Shane Hawkins (Follow Shane on Twitter @piccadilly_boy)