We delve into the mind of ‘1,2,1,2’ singer and the hottest name in spoken word, the talented GeorgeThe Poet.
Give us an insight into your journey – when did you realise that music was the path you wanted to take.
When I got Wiley’s first album, ‘Treadin’ on Thin Ice’. I had spent the previous summer learning how to DJ using two of his most famous instrumentals at the time (“Eskimo” and “Avalanche”) and his sound really got me. Then he released a few videos, which I became obsessed with because they accurately depicted my community. It wasn’t violence and drama, just MCs, motorbikes, raves, play-fighting…boys being boys really. When I got the album I realised I could successfully represent myself and where I’m from.
What is your earliest childhood musical memory? Can you remember any music in your house whist you were growing up?
There was always music in my house. I remember my mum explaining to me the lyrics of “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley. She used to teach my brother and I about slavery. I also remember being captivated by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. I used to pull out the vinyl and just look at his picture with the little tiger lol.
What were you listening too as you were growing up – any guilty pleasures?
So many pleasures, none of them guilty! Good music is good music J I loved Kool and the Gang, Boney M, Earth Wind and Fire, then as I grew older I noticed a lot of hip-hop artists sampling those older artists. I loved that.
What are your main inspirations – where do you look for inspiration when you’re beginning the writing process?
I just talk to myself. There’s always a lot on my mind so I look for a moment of clarity and put it to good music.
You’ve had an incredible 6 months – are there any highlights thus far?
My Scala show in October was a highlight. Everyone came and I got to demonstrate a lot of different musical styles.
You studied at Cambridge – do you find yourself using your degree during everyday life?
I specialized in Sociology and yeah I do use it in every day life. It’s all about people and structures, often it helps me understand why people act the way they do.
Was it a conscious decision to steer into the music industry and leave academia behind for a while?
I realised that through music I could contribute to academic discussions. I studied the music industry in uni and I was always determined to defy some of the bad practices I read about, if just to show my fellow artists it could be done.
What are your thoughts on the current state of music that is coming out of the UK? Would you say you’re trying to break a few taboos with bringing spoken word into the forefront of people’s mind and raising its ‘awareness’ into the mainstream?
I think there’s a lot of good music around nowadays. It’s important to consider artists that might not be in the charts or even in the music industry – Soundcloud ,for example, is full of diverse talent. With spoken word, I’m trying to demonstrate that it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it. I want everyone to contribute to society through unconventional use of their talents.
How do you think London has shaped you creatively as an individual?
London gave me a dynamic upbringing. I saw poverty and wealth living side by side, and it made me think anything is possible. Being in London, there’s always competition in everything you do, so that kept me sharp.
You were in the Top 5 for BBC’s Sound Poll of 2015 – how did it feel to be included?
It was like a big pat thumbs-up for all my work. It’s actually taken some time to sink in but the more real it becomes, the more excited I get about the future.
What would you consider to be your most cherished piece of writing / piece of poetry?
My favourite poem is “Baby Father” from my EP, “The Chicken and the Egg”. Even though I don’t have a child, that poem has helped me connect with parents young and old across the country.
Any favourite modern day poets?
My favourite poet is Tupac Shakur
Where is best the best place in London to discover emerging spoken work talent?
There’s a lot at the Roundhouse in Camden – the poet Polar Bear does a great job of working with young talent there. Also, Apples and Snakes as well as Chill Pill are good poetry collectives.
Tell us more about the album. How is it shaping up and when can we expect it?
I’ve already written and recorded a lot for the album but it grows every day. There’s always a new idea or dimension to explore, so I’m having a lot of fun. It will be with you by Autumn.
Fans have until midnight tonight, to vote right here, for who they want to be crowned winner of MTV Brand New, #MTVBrandNew
Words: Shane Hawkins.