Mr Hudson’s SXSW Diary – Onstage With Kanye West – Mission Accomplished

It’s just starting to sink in. Last night’s G.O.O.D. showcase was massive.

But it all started at 1pm. Kanye wanted a production meeting with the band and the artists to go through the running of the show, it was like a scene from ‘The Godfather’.

It’s this kind of planning and attention to detail that got Kanye where he is today.

We left the hotel at 6pm with the G.O.O.D Music family (left to right) Big Sean, Really Doe, GLC, yours truly, Kanye, Tony Williams, and Consequence. Just out of shot, to the left, is Kid Cudi.

I’ll admit I was nervous. First time in Texas, completely new crowd, wanting to do the G.O.O.D. Music family proud, singing new material, thinking I’d forget the words and not knowing if I’d hit the stupidly high notes.

A last minute trim courtesy of Ibn, then it was showtime.

Adrenaline is a powerful drug. Once I got up there and saw the whites of their eyes I just went for it.

Having Kanye’s formidable band behind me was a big boost. Then he introduced me to the people and I started to feel at home. Considering the crowd had never heard my stuff it felt pretty good.

Went backstage for a beverage with Goldierocks and a few minutes later someone’s shouting my name saying get back on stage. Kanye was doing ‘Paranoid’ and wanted me and Kid Cudi up with him for the chorus. Cudi shouts across the stage, “You take the high notes and I’ll take the low notes”, then we went in right on cue. By this point we were just having fun.

My next attempt at drinking a bottle of ice-cold, export-strength, continental lager was interrupted by another shout to go on. The whole crew was filling the stage for a high-five singalong of ‘Love Lockdown’ – that’s me at the far right of the stage. Never thought I’d end up here.

Funny where music can take you. All around the world. Perhaps deep down my nerves had little to do with singing some songs into a microphone (I do that everyday), more to do with being a bit of an alien: an extremely English singer-songwriter on a very American, hip-hop label. But as we came off stage and Common gave me his trademark “everything’s gravy” grin….

…and Cudi gave me a big hug, I realised I was quite at home. Now where’s that beer? Texas, see you next year!