Maxim Meyer-Horn

20 Aug 2020

Interview: UK Rapper Nadia Rose Gave Us A Small Scoop On Rihanna’s Album

Salute! Girls are once again taking over the rap game, and we’re so here for it. If you’re looking for the next act to completely blow up, it’s your lucky day because we’re introducing you to our new absolute fave Nadia Rose. The UK rapper has been around for some time now and even caught the attention of Rihanna. In an exclusive interview, Nadia Rose talks about her epic new EP ‘First Class’ and even spills some tea about collaborating with Rihanna for the highly anticipated album R9!

First Class is your first big release as an independent artist. Why did you decide to continue without a big label?

It was around this time last year when I decided to cut ties with my label and start my own label. It was all becoming real and everything was coming out what has been around for a while.

How is it to be your own boss and make all the decisions yourself?

I finally feel in control of my destiny, which is something I guess everybody wants in their life in general. Just the freedom to express myself and do what I want to do is absolutely priceless. Honestly, I’m really enjoying this so much and finally have my power back.

Did that also boost your creativity because you don’t have to hold back?

I feel like I had a ton of chefs in the kitchen with me that all gave their unnecessary opinions. I’m finally free now and feel the way I felt before I entered the industry when I was writing music that felt right for me. There weren’t opinions and thoughts about stuff like sales, performing it live, and other things. I think I really got back to that youthful mindset that I had once before. Free as a bird when I’m creating now and nothing that infiltrates my dream anymore.

We currently live in very interesting times since there are so many ways to have a viral hit. What’s in your opinion the key to success in 2020?

I try to just own my space and do what brought me success in the first place, which was just doing me. I didn’t ever think about all the other things and continue to really focus on my visuals because many people know me for my great visual for “Skwod” and “Big Woman”. I try to make visuals that really compliment the song and will hold on to that. I also try to be different because visuals in the UK often are made in an apartment with some girls or flashy cars and there really isn’t a storyline. I’m trying to bring things that haven’t been seen by me before so that’s my plan for success.

It’s been four years since you emerged on the big stage. What was your biggest accomplishment looking back?

Getting free from the shackles of Sony is definitely up there, but I’d probably say winning the MOBO Award for ‘Best Video’ with “Skwod”. Growing up, MOBO was the place where I saw all my favorite artists from over here and the US. As time was going, I saw people like my cousin Stormzy or Section Boyz all on my screen doing it. For me, being added to that great list was very special, and I was up against some real talent and some amazing visuals. I was so thrilled to know that my work has touched people and was rewarded for it.

Is there a big difference between the US and the UK scene in your opinion?

In terms of like production and all the things the Americans would do, which was really about going all out, I didn’t see that much over here. But it has always been fascinating for me that there’s a great scene over here as well that was flourishing. In terms of unity and collaborations, I definitely see a lot more happening of that in the US scene but as time has gone on, the UK is also doing a lot more dope collaborations. It’s great to see.

Do you find difficulties in staying true to yourself as an artist and your sound?

No, I think it’s more difficult for me to do anything else. I feel like, at times, my sound and my style is quite different from my peers or other people. I just don’t know if people are able to take to me as easily as they take to others because they have something else to kind of relate to. When people can’t make an immediate association or comparison, it takes them a little longer to get with it and, at one point, I thought it would be my downfall. It’s my place of strength now. It’s absolutely a strength that I stand out: I’m different and quirky.

You’re one of the leading voices of the grime scene, but grime was considered an underground genre for a long time. How have you experienced the shift from underground to a popular more mainstream genre?

You know what? I always say that my sound hasn’t really been grime. I think my music is predominantly hip-hop, dance hall, and rap, so I wouldn’t personally label myself as a grime artist even though I made some grime tracks. But from what I’ve seen from the scene and just starting off as someone who didn’t know anybody and just put out things to now have it as my career and profession, the shift seems very natural to me. I haven’t really noticed something big and just make my music.

Some of it has more commercial success than the others, and that’s just what seems to happen with my material and the way my journey has gone this far. I can make an array of music since I’ve got some songs that are gritty hip-hop and some touch more my pop influences like the Spice Girls or Jhené Aiko. That’s just who I’m going to be forever and you’ll continue to get a very versatile catalog from me. I’m trying to find a way to get some balance but will also try to showcase all the different sides of me as an artist.

What’s for you, as the creator, the difference between your first project Highly Flammable and the new EP First Class?

I definitely say that the difference sound-wise, is that First Class is a little bit more polished. For Highly Flammable, I was just enjoying that I was making the EP because it was my first one, and I just wanted to put my favorite songs on it. First Class is my lead-in to my debut album because I think it’s a lot more directional and I, once again, got to work with some amazing producers. Further, I think there’s a lot of growth because I’m not holding back. Sometimes, the younger me being in these situations with all these different opinions, I might got too much in myself sometimes and didn’t say all the things that I wanted to say. Whereas now, I’m just saying what I think and feel.

The one and only Rihanna is one of your biggest fans and there are rumors that you might have worked with her for her new album. Is there anything you can tell us about it?

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything I can share with you at this moment, but I would say: “Watch this space!”…


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