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Under The Spotlight with Not3s [Interview]

19-year-old sensation and recent Relentless/Sony Music signee Not3s is tipped as next in line to take over the UK scene and beyond.

We had the chance to sit down with Not3s for an in-depth interview discussing his smash hit single, upcoming projects, collaborations, industry drama, and more.

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Not3s is young and enjoying life at the moment and it shows in his music. There is no greater example of this than his now biggest single ‘Addison Lee’ “It was fun, that’s usually how all my songs are made. It was actually just a joke” he tells us. As fun as it may have been to begin with,  Not3s knew he was on to a winner almost immediately. “I wanted a video for it [Addison Lee] as soon as I made the song.” The song which has since racked up over 4 million views on YouTube and over 6 million streams on Spotify to date, almost never happened; Not3s explains “I wanted a video in general, but me and my management were fighting because they thought things needed to be changed in the song and I didn’t want anything to be changed so I was just like “You know what, f*ck it, let me just release it myself.”

 Yh, I released it on sound cloud and then two days later GRMDaily hit me up.  No even the day after, sorry, GRM Daily hit me up straight away on twitter, saying ‘Yo, please I’d do anything to do a video.’ I was like, “Huh!” “Why?!”.

Not3s voice now buoyant “it just happened organically.  So yeah, like, I was a bit baffed. But, I was just like you know what, lets run with it, if that’s what you guys want to do.”

“I’ve always wanted to do music. Always. Obviously as a kid there was a time when I thought “Yeah, let me do football.” But that weren’t the one.”

Like many other young Nigerians growing up in London, University was always a part of the plan but unfortunately Not3s wasn’t able to go.

Not3s tone shifts’ “It was just a stupid, stupid reason for stupid things, but I got kicked out of College, in my last year.  I’m not proud of that at all and obviously certain things started happening in life, I took a bad turn in life and yeah, but then after something serious happened I was just like, let’s try out music really. I want to do something productive”

We move on to lighter topics and Not3s tells us of the first song he ever wrote aged just 10.

“It could have been year four or five, I’ve got a bad memory. I was in a music session class, we all got put into pairs. My friend was playing the drums and I had to write to whatever he was playing.  And, then I think I made a song about children starving in Africa. We all had to perform to the whole class. We performed that [song] and then they stopped me and got the Head Teacher to come in.”

Yeah, it was mad. They got the Head Teacher of the School to come in and he heard it and he put me in the choir.

Speaking on finally getting ‘noticed’ “I’ve grown up with a lot of people that are in the music industry now or that have blown or whatever you want to call it and I was making and releasing so much music but I felt like nobody was paying attention to me. This was just before Addison Lee came about.  I just felt everybody would listen to the people that I know or I conversed with and they were blowing up but nothing was happening with me.”

One of my producers N to the A, me and him were talking about this the other day. He was saying “I remember when you used to call my phone and talk about how nobody’s giving you a chance. Nobody’s giving you time, nobody’s chatting to you. No one’s listening, but now look where you are”. It’s the truth, just keep grinding, keep going, don’t stop pushing yourself. I know it’s cliché as well to hear that “Oh yeah, don’t stop, don’t stop, but it’s the truth. It’s only now that I realise that, the don’t stop thing was seriousness. Aspire to inspire, before you expire. That’s the rules I live by.

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Speaking on his biggest UK inspirations “if you’re talking about the scene and stuff it’s probably the whole of Disturbing London because they are family, know what I’m saying like, they’re actually related.  Dunmi, Tinie [Tempah], then there’s Mo, there’s different people there, there’s Tinie Sisters, they’re all like doing one whole movement together. Tinies’, his record is crazy. This is mad. He’s got seven number ones. Do you know how mad that is?  Michael Jackson has seven number ones. Straight up. You know what I’m saying, it’s crazy, think about it like that, so probably him, probably Tinie and his whole camp, Dunmi, even raising Tinie up from where he started to the end. It’s just crazy.

Stormzy as well, Stormzy is massive, I don’t even know what to call him, but he’s a big deal.  It’s iconic to see all of these things, it’s crazy.

Speaking on collaborating with J Hus “Me and him are very cool, we’re calm, obviously certain things are going on in the music industry, where certain man have beef with certain man and with me just being in the middle, being a calm individual. I’ve got beef with no one, just staying in the middle, but certain guys could feel a way, like you’re swaying to certain sides or what not, but it’s never that and he knows that now anyway”.

We’ve spoken. You never know a couple years down the line, who knows what’s going to happen. I’m still young, he’s still fairly young, like he’s a couple of years older than me.  So, you never know, you don’t know what will happen.

Speaking on the J Hus Comparisons “…It irritates me because you can actually hear the difference. The only thing is like how my accent might be or how his accent might be in terms of like when we’re rapping and stuff…, if the instrumental was made in a kind of way where, that’s how, the melodic structure has to be then I’m going to ride it like that.  It’s going to sound like Not3s but I’m going to ride it like that. I don’t know man.”

I’m not trying to compare myself to anyone in this thing in any way.

Speaking on his absence from recent music videos “Basically, what happened with the Hardy Caprio video, these are all cleared up by the way, but with the Hardy Caprio one, he’s told my management that I had to be there, at a video shoot on this particular day whenever he shot the video but my management never told me.  So, on the day he’s calling on the phone saying, “Where are you?” I said “Uh!” I was like, “What’s happened?” He was like “What do you mean what’s happened? I’ve got a video shoot, you’re meant to be at the video shoot.” I was like “What?” Nobody’s told me about the video shoot I was with my family. My family’s just come over from America, what am I going to do, I’m not just going to leave my family straight away just because somebody said you’re meant to be at a video shoot that I didn’t even know about, so then we’re just going back and forth, but afterwards he’s clocked it was my Managers fault. My Manager actually said it was his fault and he apologised. Yeah but obviously, he wanted to do the video ASAP which is calm, obviously, his EP dropped, which is hard.”

The Olami situation me and him weren’t on good terms.  So, he’s just done the video without man.

“I never knew at all. We weren’t on good terms at all and then he dropped it and I was a bit angry. It’s cleared up now, but it’s nothing I can do about that, so now it just looks like I’m a bougie c**t.”

On what to expect next from Not3s  “I’ve got my EP dropping called ‘Take Not3s’, which should be coming out in June, the start of June and I’ve got a lot of singles, a couple singles coming. I’ve got sick features as well that I’m looking forward to, proper.”

Before leaving, Not3s also hinted at an upcoming feature on Sneakbo’s Brixton project which he seemed extremely proud of.

Not3s – Take Not3s EP drops June 3rd
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Interview by ClubTolu and Wunmi Bello.

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