Within the realm of British music, it definitely seems that there’s some good luck in being male, white and ginger so I’m sure one of the UK’s most promising artists won’t mind me mentioning the fact. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, meet 21-year-old Bobii Lewis, the breath of fresh air sent to reawaken mainstream urban music. Starting with the uniformity of choral singing – a reputation killer that he doesn’t regret – it wasn’t long before he started collaborating with artists in his hometown of North London, studied music at college and went on to solidify himself as a singer, rapper and producer. Blessing Brum Town with his presence on stage at I LUV LIVE, I got to kick back with the man himself; the one who sang to my soul to find out more about his current single, Cut Me Some Slack and what it’s like working with his best friend.
Tell me about your day. Have you been in Birmingham long?
We drove down here – when did we get here? About 5 ish but we got lost along the way. It was quite a horrible journey, I won’t lie, but it was worth the wait. It reminds me of London to be honest, the scenery itself is almost like being in London. It’s got everything here. We ended up going to Nandos – yeah, always go to Nandos. I have to branch out and try other stuff. [Laughs]
So you know, a lot of artists would say that performing live is much better than being inside the studio. Is that something you’d agree with?
I would say that performing live before, it used to be scary to me when I was first coming up with the music so the studio was my home, that was where I was comfortable, but I’ve realised you can make music in your bedroom but after a while, it’s just for your bedroom, it’s not for anyone to share vibes with you so now I’d say performing is better. I never thought I would have said that two years ago.
Like you said, you’ve been in the studio for the past few years and I know you’ve been through a lot to get to this point in your career.
There’s a lot of grinding, a lot of nights when you stay up late – pretty much I think I share the same grind as everyone else but I really pushed hard. Me and my team we all work together so that made it easier because The GaHD, my manager, Kenneth my guitarist, we’ve been there the whole two years – well actually three years. We’ve just been grinding and have had each other’s backs.
Speaking of TheGaHD, working with him, musically, what’s the energy like between you?
I would say the energy – well we’ve known each other since primary school, hence the Afrobeats thing, we were doing that from way before, maybe two, three years back but it wasn’t the right time to throw it out because I’m an RnB artist, I had to pursue RnB first. But working with him, obviously we’re best friends so the vibe just comes out in the music, I guess.
The second single, Cut Me Some Slack is officially out on iTunes, the video’s doing really well, how do you feel about it?
B: Extremely happy. You know, every time you do a campaign, as fun as it is, it’s very stressful as well because you have to do a lot of things but I guess that all comes with the package. Then when we saw the results, getting played on radio, TV channels, a lot of love online as well, I was very happy – that’s all I can say.
The song and its lyrics, it’s definitely quite an anthem. Was it therapeutic for you to write?
Yes, when we were first doing the track I wrote the hook – I didn’t write the verses as quick but I wrote the hook – it was almost like a freestyle, I was just vibeing. What I usually do is when I record, sometimes I’ll just do a melody and once we got into it, I wrote them in about two minutes basically – it came off the top of my head but the verses I did the next day and took my time with it because I really wanted people to know the journey and understand.
From your set I can tell that you’ve been influenced by a lot of genres and you have a very edgy sound as well. How would you say that it’s developed? And who are some of your musical influences?
I would say my actual musical influences of recent years, Kanye West has been my favourite artist, probably since I was 12. I heard College Dropout, his album, and since then it’s always been that way. I think the edyness was more me challenging myself because when I was first doing music – as a young kid you have more insecurities, you’re more self- conscious so I was bit more like, ‘I don’t know if I should do this.’ A lot of artists are still like it now and I didn’t want that box to be there so I challenged myself to be edgier and when I did it, the results were good.
I suppose it’s quite exciting the fact that your career can go anywhere right now because you’re just at the beginning.
That actually excites me a lot.
Coming up to summer, what kind of things have you got lined up? I can imagine that you’re going to be super busy, promoting.
Something that’s definitely going to happen is at least a couple tracks this year, videos, full push campaign. We’ve got a lot of hits stacked up and we’ve got to squeeze it down to two or three tracks but we should be able to do it. And events, I’m terrible at remembering, but my website bobiilewis.com/events that’s where you need to look. Sometimes it’s not updated in time but there’s stuff that’s in the pipeline.
But your twitter, that’s always nice and up-to-date?
Oh yeah, follow me on twitter @bobiilewis.
Well, you heard the man.
Buy the single Cut Me Some Slack on iTunes here.