The Hackney-born rapper talks his early beginnings, not fitting into the UK scene and building a core fanbase.
When it comes to UK music, the scene is ripe with upcoming talent and that includes London-hailed rapper GIO. Breaking onto the scene with powerful raps and smooth melodic vibes, the artist effortlessly rides trap-tinged productions and cascades us into his world. Dropping his new single “Hot”, the artist indulges us on the affluent rapper lifestyle and gives us a glimpse into his daily life.
Speaking on the single, the artist revealed, “It took me around 20-30 mins to write, I went to the studio about a week or two later and I wasn’t going to record it but I brought some of my family and friends with me about 5 extra people and they said you might as well record another song and ‘Hot’ was the second song I decided to record, I would say if they weren’t there I might not have recorded it.”
Spending this past year expanding his own jewellery shop Icejewlz and writing more music, we caught up with GIO talking his early beginnings in Hackney, not fitting into the UK scene and building a core fanbase.
Check out the interview below now…
Hey GIO how are you? How has this past year been for you?
This past year has been good. Even though we were in a lockdown it gave me a bit more time to focus and write more music. We even had time to think about the next step in our business, and me and my team Icejewlz are expanding opening a new jewellery shop, which will be the biggest for hip hop jewellery in Europe. Plus this year is the year I’ve released the most amount of music so it’s going well, I just need to keep going and be consistent.
How did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
Music isn’t something I just woke up and wanted to do, it’s something I always did I just didn’t take it serious until I got to a certain age. I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop because of my dad, it’s something I’ve always been around and always enjoyed from as young as I could remember. My parents say when I was a baby they use sit me in front of TV and play music and I would stay quiet.
You’re from Hatton Gardens, do you think growing up here impacted your sound in anyway?
I’m actually from Hackney. Growing up there showed me a lot and impacted my life as much as it would have if I was from a different part of London but I just took the positive from anything that was negative and tried to keep a strong mind so I wasn’t easily influenced. If you can make difficult decisions early in your life it sets you up nicely for the life to come.
You’ve just dropped your new single “Hot”, talk us through the production process?
The idea of hot came from lock down, in my area a lot of the side roads were blocked off so everyone had to take the main roads and a lot more police were out. When you don’t want to be seen or something is likely to go wrong like getting stopped by police for no reason they will say that’s “hot” and that’s where I got the idea for ‘Hot’ from. It took me around 20-30 mins to write, I went to the studio about a week or two later and I wasn’t going to record it but I brought some of my family and friends with me about 5 extra people and they said you might as well record another song and ‘Hot’ was the second song I decided to record, I would say if they wasn’t there I might not have recorded it.
Being a rapper from the UK do you feel like you have to fit into a certain genre?
Me personally I never feel like I need to fit in. If your music is good enough it will speak for itself and being different is always a plus especially in the UK music scene where a lot of people have similar background story’s, so they speak about a lot of the same things. Also, l believe that my type of music fits into different genres ask your self “Have you ever met a jeweller that can rap”?
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I want people to understand me and the things I’ve been through and the decisions I’ve made, even though I’ve gone through these things because in terms of being from an area like mine I can say I’m the only jeweller my age. Growing up I don’t remember hearing any kids apart from me saying they wanted to become a jeweller or sell jewellery but now I guess with me rapping it will open up more kids eyes to show them you don’t only have to be a certain way or do certain things to become a rapper or to be a rapper you can be a jeweller and still rap or whatever career path you want to choose and still rap.
You’ve started your own business alongside music, what was the thought process behind this?
Before I took music serious I was already selling jewellery I’ve been doing it since I was 15 and I’m 22 now, the company had been around for about 5 years before that. The business was always going to come first so I could make the funds to put into my music and as the business got bigger it made me realise I was already in the lifestyle with these athletes, rappers and influencers which made me like selling jewellery even more because rapping and being a jeweller works together perfectly.
Who would you say inspires you?
I wouldn’t really say anyone inspires me, there’s some artists music I like listening to and I think they’re good, but as far as being inspired by them not really. I can say my biggest motivation and support is my family, they’re the reason I take music seriously, so if I really had to say who my inspiration for music is I would say my parents because if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t like jewellery as much as I do.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
What’s next for me? I’m looking forward to building a core fan base by being more consistent with music and finally putting out an EP or project for the fans so they can see more of my versatility and understand me a bit more.