Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Tinchy Stryder: Charity begins at homeboy

Tinchy Stryder
Tinchy Stryder Tinchy Stryder Tinchy Stryder Tinchy Stryder

Charity singles usually bring out the best in artists, as the fore mentioned are usually falling over themselves to give back to the public that put them way up on those diamond encrusted pedestals. Seriously though, this type of single is always welcomed on these pages; highlighting good causes that seriously need funding to carry out much needed work, will always have our respect...

So in this particular case the charity concerned is ‘War Child’, deserving indeed as it concerns itself with children affected by the actions of war around the globe. The artists who have agreed to lend themselves to this worthwhile cause, calling themselves by the moniker of the Young Soul Rebels are a relatively well known who’s who of current chart talent including (Deep breath): N-Dubz, Pixie Lott, Frankmusik, V.V. Brown, Ironik, Bashy, Mpho, McLean, Kid British, Egypt, Domino Go, London Community, Gospel Choir, Chipmunk and the demure figure of one Tinchy Stryder. It was this pocket dynamo that I had the good fortune to sit down and have a chat with, as I was invited to the rehearsals for this single at the Shepherds Bush Empire.

“War Child, yeah basically they just phoned up like YO-YO-YO do you feel like singing for this third generation, third world country should I say - and like, they are forced to fight wars and some of them are like 16 years - it feels like it’s not real but it’s actually happening. So we gotta back the track to help it out to put positive note on something.” He adds “Diesel’s (the band) Fraser said to me - I’ve worked with him, and he worked on the track so obviously it went through my head and I asked my manager and all that – there was no hard spin on it. I just said I’ll do it. He said (Fraiser) this is what’s what, this is what it’s all about – explained a bit about it... He mentioned a couple of artists; I think the only one that was on board at that time was, I think, N-Dubz. Me and Dappy had just done that track (Number 1), so we were cool know what I mean. Then everyone I put in there heard the track and said that sounds cool”

Just to dot the aayy on Mr Stryder, in case you’re not familiar with his brand of entertainment. Born Wasi Danquah on June 10 1987. Stryder’s name change came about after starting his career on pirate radio at the age of 14 – his par-shone for video games and in particular the game ‘Strider’, gave him the idea for his dynamic surname. Tinchy, came about because of his size and the fact it was his nickname at school. This hand in glove fit of moniker and artist was how Tinchy Stryder shook the hand of destiny to became the chart star we know today (opps sorry for making him sound like a super hero!? Cue the music!).

“Why they call it ‘I Got Soul’ (the originai is called 'I know I've got soul but I am a solder'), I donno know - I wish I could tell you (I've got a feeling). It’s the Killers original. I’m saying when we did the track I hadn’t heard the Killers version – I’ve heard it now. Apart from a couple of verses, it’s not REALLY... Obviously the same chorus, same little frilly bits and obviously verses aren’t cos I’m on it, it’s got Chipmunk on it, Ironik’s on it, Bashy’s on it – so yes it’s got different verses, but that’s the end”

It would appear that Stryder, you could say, has become a bit of an overnight sensation, with his studies having had to take a backseat for the time being. It has been three years since this hopeful student enrolled on a Visual Arts and Animation degree course at the University of North London.

“I did like, visual arts and animation - I was in my final year. I went back to finish, but I’ve been like so busy – I tried, I tried so hard but I couldn’t - they wouldn’t let me finish. I was at a stage in my life when I needed to do something, you know what I mean. I wanted to do something with my life; I wanted to do like a course or something. Animation was a part of it, but I wanted to get into filming and lighting and all that stuff. To think I came from Pirate Radio to like, selling a thousand CD’s, to selling a million – it’s crazy man!”

Selling CD’s is indeed something that Tinchy Stryder has become adept at this year with two number one singles under his belt already. The first called ironically ‘Number 1’ featured fellow chart stormers N-Dubz and riding on the crest of that wave, came the track 'I Will Never Leave you'. But it was the previous tune before this mighty pair which paved the way for a Tincy triumph. This came in the shape of the evergreen track ‘Take Me Back’, where the Stryder man partnered with recent chart topper Taio Cruz. This chart number #3 track had Taio stamped all over it, so much so, it was asked "should it have been Taio featuring Stryder instead of the other way around?" With both artists more than happy with the billing on this tune, I leave the dust settled on that question. But It was this meeting and the subsequent working relationship where Stryder admits to getting a lesson OR two in song creation.

“Working with Taio is good man – He’s so talented. He’s like I dunno man, how he approaches he’s like, fires all these things coming in, always keeps all the ideas there you know what I mean... I do that as well, but sometimes I might think of a lyric that I could use, and then come back to it you know what I mean. It was the first time that we got creative - that’s what it feels like, like a kinda blessing man.”

As I round off the interview I can’t help but ask him about the last time our paths crossed. It was at the launch for internet jukebox We7, where he took to the stage as the guest of the one time young pretender Craig David. It was on this stage master and apprentice did lyrical battle which would have put the bloke who commentates the horse races to shame and out of a job!? – man, I think I even saw smoke coming from Craig’s lips that night as he was laying down his rhymes in the quickest, slickest manor. The fact that I had, from my view that night and in my judgement, given this contest to Craig David and didn’t go down too well as you can imagine.

“[Laughs] What! Serious? Were you drunk? I took it easy on him to tell you the truth. But if I had to start, then – man... He’s a good friend, and he obviously does his thing. But when it comes to the lyrics no,no... [Shakes his head with a cheeky smile]

I feel a Tinchy challenge coming.... just a little one...

'I Got Soul' by the Young Soul Rebels is out now as is Tinchy's album 'Catch 22'... New Stryder single 'You're Not Alone' is out on the 26/10.

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