The multi-talented artist talks soulful new single amidst new West End role.

I Am i-D
I Am i-D

Flitting between making music, and taking to the stage – the North London-hailing artist doesn’t conform to one medium in order to express his creativity. As a teen, I Am i-D received a musical education of sorts while working at HMV. With a wealth of musical knowledge at his disposal, he began to craft a tasteful repertoire of references – including the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Burial, and Wu-Tang Clan. While studying at uni in Leeds, the artist began to explore his musical talents against the backdrop of the Leeds buzzing music scene, venturing into genres such as DnB and Soul.

As creativity knows no boundaries, in 2012 I Am i-D made the decision to study a Music and Theatre Masters at the prestigious RCSSD – which clearly paid off. Halfway through his degree, he was offered the coveted role of Simba in the UK tour of The Lion King. It’s refreshing that both of the artist’s passions have been developed side by side – culminating in his biggest role, as Bob Marley in ‘Get Up Stand Up!’, coinciding with his latest release “Everything Everything.” With so much creativity existing within one mind, we ask ourselves – how does he do it? Luckily, we had the pleasure of picking his brains – and we hope you find this interview as enlightening as we did.

Head below to take a peek into I Am i-D’s creative mind…

Hi i-D! Where are we speaking to you from?

I’m currently chilling in Stratford East London, but I originally come from North West.

You have a solid career in theatre, would you say that is your true calling?

Not at all. I’m fundamentally a creative. I try and balance my activities whichever way possible to ensure that remains the primary focus – creating whatever I want whenever I want. I’m lucky that working in theatre has supported that whilst also helping me to develop artistically. Music was definitely my first creative outlet though.

Tell us about your song “Everything Everything”: what was the writing process for it?

Everything Everything was one of those tracks that just falls out fully formed. I’d been working with an engineer in Woolwich on some mixes for some other tracks, and at the end of one session he dropped me a couple of beats. I was living in Willesden and basically penned the whole thing riding the Jubilee line back from Stratford. I was in this crazy focused head space at the time, hitting up my brother T’s studio two to three times a week, and after sessions we would just stay up all night planning out how best to attack the game. That’s the energy you feel in the tune. Just pure IDGAF hunger.

Has having been classically trained during your school years given you an advantage?

Not really. It definitely gave me a basic foundation and a feel for some of the tools available, but I wouldn’t consider myself an accomplished musician by any stretch. As a kid I was always more interested in playing sports than practicing, so when I returned to music, I was DEFINITELY lead more by instinct than theory.

How much freedom do you have in your creative process?

I have complete creative freedom, (within the economic parameters I can afford). I write whatever I feel like writing, I pick the singles, curate the releases, write the treatments for music videos and produce them myself – everything. I control every aspect of my creative identity. I’m not signed, I have no management, and I fund every project myself, so this gives me full creative autonomy. It’s something that is really important to me.

You have been interpreting Bob Marley in the West End adaption for ‘Get Up Stand Up!’ since March! Congrats! How much character study went into the preparation for the role?

Wow! Okay, so gearing up to play Bob Marley in the West End production of ‘Get Up Stand Up!’ was a whole journey! I watched hours and hours of archive footage, read multiple books by different sources close to him, had hours of dialect, movement and character sessions with the various creative directors on the show. And I spent a whole heap of time just sitting and thinking about Bob Marley and his philosophy while listening to his music. Bob Marley is as iconic as it gets. You’re never going to get anywhere by imitating. You have to carry the feel.

Is there a dream collaborator you would like to share the stage with?

I’d love to work with Frank Ocean. His writing is visceral af, and I just dig everything he creates. Also he almost never tours, so to share the stage with him would be monumental already!

Tell us a bit about your clothing brand, Free Minds Fear Nothing.

It’s my fair trade organic clothing brand. I’ve got a BA in Philosophy, and I’ve always been interested in universal principles. Free Minds Fear Nothing is just that. It’s a reminder to challenge my fears, and to question the source of my perceived limitations.

Your latest music video feels like an ode to consumerism: do you feel like you sometimes fall victim to it?

It’s both an ode to consumerism, and in the same breath a condemnation of it. Consumerism is a force, and by and large we all fall victim to it one way or another, myself included. I see it like food. If you’re going to consume something, you really should think about what it is and what effect it’s having on you, on your spirit, on your wallet. I’m not saying that buying a t-shirt is the same as eating a burger, but there are parallels.

And lastly, what is the message you want to convey with your music?

Identity is everything. Be conscious of who you are and why you are that way. Understand you can curate your own existence with any given opportunity. In your relationships, the clothes you buy, the content you watch. It’s all up for grabs. You might as well take charge.

Head below to check out the music video for I Am i-D’s new track “Everything Everything”…


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