The Heartbreak Kid is back a year after his Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” mash-up.
There’s not many people that can attribute Ed Sheeran to being instrumental to their big break, but hey, the world works in mysterious ways. And just in case you were wondering, sizeable cajones are just the required assets needed to tamper with a song as popular as Sheeran’s earworm “Shape Of You.” But that’s exactly what charismatic East Londoner Yxng Bane did almost a year ago, revamping the track with his signature dancehall sound – and to viral effect.
A year on, and the larger-than-life rapper has been busy honing his genre-switching sound, adding tracks named after Rihanna to his setlists, and emboldened by his ever-growing fan base – which to be fair, comes as no surprise with his fizzing-off-the-walls energetic live sets.
We caught up with Yxng Bane below…
Your “Shape of You” remix was about a year ago. What’s been the biggest change?
From small things like people noticing you, to bigger venues. Even my fan base has grown; my Instagram followers have grown. It’s all been a blessing – loads of good changes.
How do you think your sound’s developed from when you first started out?
I think it’s gone parallel to my growth as a person. Just getting older and more mature. I’ve developed my skills to write better and learned to express myself better.
Tell us about “HBK”, which launched this week…
“HBK” is a mixtape that I created whilst I was going through the changes that we just spoke about. It’s a playlist/mixtape based around a summer that I had, and just on being away from home and travelling loads. I just wanted to create an opportunity for the fans to get closer to me, and create a relationship with them so that they understand who Yxng Bane is.
What’s the biggest inspiration behind the tracks?
The biggest inspiration is just life. I’m inspired by life, so my music Is based on real-life experiences. That’s exactly what it’s about, the everyday life challenges of a teenager, because that’s when it was made.
Do you have a collaboration that you’re most excited by on it?
I am very happy with all the collaborations that are on there.
So why Heartbreak Kid – is it heartbreak you’ve endured?
Yeah, exactly! So the heartbreak is not like I’m going around breaking hearts, because I’m not like that. It’s more me as a person I’ve accepted. HBK, more heart-broken kid, in that you try and be that person, and it means that sometimes you’re too nice, or naïve but I mean, you just end up getting hurt sometimes. So it covers not just relationships, but like friendships as well.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece I’ve been given, was by Kano: “Nobody will ever understand your journey better than yourself.”
How have you used that to influence what you’ve been doing?
The advice that Kano gave to me meant that, once you believe you can do something, it doesn’t matter what nobody else is gonna say, or try to do to prevent you from doing it or getting there, you will get there.
You’ve walked at Men’s Fashion Week a couple of times – is fashion something you’re interested in?
Yeah, Tinie Tempah brought me out at the What We Wear catwalk at Fashion Week, and that was a great experience. Where I’ve always had an interest in fashion, that was an opportunity in which I had to actually be in fashion. I had a great time meeting all the models, who are actual professionals and are super dope at doing it, which made it easier for me.
How would you describe your own style, was there anyone you looked up to growing up?
My style is very unpredictable, authentic, and sometimes I’ll let you know how I feel when I’m dressing.
Do you have any favourite brands that you turn to time and time again?
Yeah, I like Virgil – he’s sick. I like Gucci a lot, Balenciaga clothing is very very nice. Nike, obviously, Adidas as well. Craig Green, oof! Craig Green, Craig Green.
What kind of clothes do you like to perform in, do you go more for comfort, or do you think when you’re onstage it’s your time to experiment a bit more?
I like to wear joggers a lot. Sometimes I’ll wear joggers with a silk shirt, but you know, it’s whatever I feel like on the day, I guess.
Your fans love you – do you have any wild stories?
Oh my days, yeah. For one, I was coming off the stage and a guy was just crying and wanting my towel, and I was like “no bro, I can give you a t-shirt or something” and he was like “nah, I just want your towel,” so I gave it to him. The second one: I lost my wallet near Heathrow, and a fan found my wallet, tweeted me saying “I’ve found your wallet, come pick it up” – he didn’t touch a penny!
What is next for you?
Just bigger and better man. More music, more fashion, more of everything good in life!