nineteen97, a rising musician making waves in the music scene since his debut project in 2017, CHROME. As a vocalist and producer, he has consistently poured his time and energy into creating music that reflects his diverse range of musical and non-musical influences. CHROME II, his latest project, is a testament to that.
But music is not the only creative outlet for nineteen97. He began his career as a graphic designer during his teenage years, working with prominent artists such as Jaykae, M1llionz, and Depz under the name DevszAllDay. His dedication and hard work paid off when he received a commission from his favourite artist, Skepta. However, when the pandemic hit, nineteen97 decided to pause from visual arts and explore a new path, leading to the birth of his music career.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES, AND HOW HAVE THEY IMPACTED YOUR STYLE?
Two that come to mind right now. Kano and Lily Allen. Kano because growing up I noticed that within UK Rap, the song structure was quite basic and the subject matter was repetitive until Kano broke the formula and pushed the narrative. I know that he wasn’t the only one but he always stood out for me.
Lily Allen helped me to realise the importance of unapologetically being yourself. Hearing her do songs with T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa, or even ‘Driving Me Wild’ with Common, produced by Kanye West whilst maintaining all forms of integrity and not bending her sound to conform is a beautiful thing.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A PARTICULARLY MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE YOU'VE HAD, AND WHAT MADE IT STAND OUT TO YOU?
MADE Festival! It was my first time doing a main-stage performance and it was beautiful. I was quite inexperienced at the time but my body was just on autopilot and I was just doing everything without thinking.
HOW DO YOU THINK AN ARTIST SHOULD BALANCE STAYING TRUE TO THEIR ROOTS WHILE ALSO REACHING A WIDER AUDIENCE?
I think you should stay true to your roots regardless, if not you’ll hit disappointment at some point.
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A STORY BEHIND ONE OF YOUR LYRICS THAT MAY NOT BE IMMEDIATELY APPARENT TO LISTENERS?
In PSA I say “PSA, They check my shit like TSA.”. I really be having problems at the airport, they are proper dickheads to me so f*ck them man.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE SCENE EVOLVING IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
I think it will continue to break off into fractions, especially within the alternative rap scenes which will be a beautiful thing.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING RAPPERS LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE INDUSTRY?
"FOLLOW YOUR HEART AND DO WHAT YOU WANNA DO! I’M STILL VERY MUCH ASPIRING MYSELF..."