Written by Akenke White and Marcus Campbell
Photography by Lara Whittaker
BeMedia managed to get entry into the Redbull music academy talk with Giggs at Prime Studios on Kirkstall road. Along with the interview there was a gallery, called ‘an eye on grime’ displaying photos taken by photographers including Vicky Grout of some of the UK’s biggest grime artists, and a RedBull Bar giving out free drinks. Outside, the queue was large which was to be expected considering the recent release of Giggs’ new album: Landlord, and once everyone was inside there wasn’t a seat left vacant.
As with most RedBull Music academy talks it was interesting to get an insight into the life of an artist like Giggs hearing things from their point of view and understanding the background behind their career. Giggs was seated up on the stage on a couch next to Hattie Collins who was curating the talk, she did a good job getting him to talk considering how reserved and laidback he is. The first question was about what Giggs was like as a child and his early musical influences. He grew up on an estate in Peckham, London with 3 of his brothers and his mum, who he says influenced his music taste the most in his early life.
The conversation moved to his lyrics, he mentioned that his mother had written his first song when he was in high school for a talent show. After winning the talent show, he won a competition to make a song about giving up drugs for a Channel 4 programme, which we thought was unexpected as he was a young boy living on a Peckham estate.
Giggs was then asked about early Garage/Grime influences and mentioned So Solid Crew’s Asher D, who is also from Peckham. He then went on to mention that he was aware of their success but at the time he was in a different crew so it wasn’t very typical for him to support another crew’s accomplishments.
His mixtape Ard Bodied, which featured his breakthrough song Talking The Hardest sold out in two days. He used to make his mixtapes for himself to listen to, until a record shop owner asked him if he could buy some CD’s. Giggs said the money he made from selling mixtapes felt different to the money that he made while selling drugs and the idea of making money from something he loved to do was enough to make him give up drug dealing, so he started to take his music seriously.
Giggs’ new album was released in August 2016 under his label SN1. The album was produced by Giggs independently which is incredible considering it has been a great success as it debuted at number 2 in the iTunes chart.
After the Conversation with Giggs he performed alongside Nadia Rose, Slimzee, Grandmixxer and other upcoming musicians at a club in Leeds City Centre. He showcased some of the songs from ‘landlord’ and some of his other hits from previous projects. This felt like the ultimate end to a great evening with Giggs.
Thank you to Red Bull for this amazing opportunity and a true insight to the urban music scene.