“Tiny who?” – The reaction from most New Yorkers when I told them I was in the US to see Tinie Tempah play on Live On Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on Broadway.
Despite the bemused looks, the Brit award winning rapper is clearly going to be the latest UK star to make it in America. His debut album ‘Disc-Overy’ was Number Ten in the iTunes chart on the day he released it in the US and he packed out the theatre playing an eight song set accompanied by Eric Turner for ‘Written In The Stars’.
We caught up with him before the show and asked him how his mission to take his success global is going and when we can expect to hear a new album over on this side of the pond.
Photo: Jeffrey Neira, CBS
How’s it going trying to break America?
“So far, so good, we’re trying to make it happen. ‘Written In The Stars’ has done incredibly well out here, it’s gone platinum. We just released the album today, so far it’s number ten in iTunes so I’m very, very excited.”
Is it weird going from being so popular in the UK to starting out as a new artist in the US?
“It’s a pretty exciting experience. Everything that’s happening in the UK is still relatively new, it wasn’t a year and a half ago that I was still a very, very new artist, so it (working in America) definitely reminds me and takes me back to that time and that’s the most exciting time for me. Having to prove yourself and earn your position amongst this culture, I’m having a lot of fun trying to do that.”
Photo: Jeffrey Neira, CBS
You’re a Brit award winner with a very distinctive British sound, do you think it’s going to be received differently in the US? Are you going to change anything or are you going to go about it the same way?
“I think I’ve got everyone’s ears peeled for it, there’s a bit of a British invasion going on at the moment and I think now’s the perfect opportunity to use that to my advantage. You’ve got Adele doing amazingly well over here, you know, Jessie J. Then you’ve got the Ellie Gouldings and Eliza Doolittles who are following through as well. We’ve got so many different influences to offer. Playing someone drum ‘n’ bass for the first time in ‘Pass Out’ – they’re like, ‘Oh my God, what is this?’ I’m having a lot of fun and a good time showcasing the music.”
Do you like indie and rock bands? Do you like Beady Eye?
“A lot of the newer NME bands, I’ve not really been in the country, so I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, forgive me! But during this whole festival period I’m going to be doing my research, checking a few out and seeing who I really, really like.”
You’re playing a lot of festivals this year, are you looking forward to getting out into the fields?
“I can’t wait, that’s the best thing about being a musician, being able to perform. I don’t think there’s any better performance than festival opportunities and I’m going to be back in England for that. It’s going to be crazy, I can’t wait.”
Watch Tinie’s full performance on Live On Letterman here:
How’s the second album going?
“The second album is well under way, it’s sounding amazing. I’ve been in the studio with Pharrell quite a lot recently and we’ve been working on a few things and obviously Stargate. I’m really happy, I just want to take my time and make sure it’s right. The first album has done so many amazing things, I want to make sure the second one is twice as good.”
Who else would you like to work with?
“I’d really like to collaborate with Lykke Li, I think she’s amazing. Sleigh Bells, they’re pretty awesome. I’d like to collaborate with Adele as well, she’s out of this world. And Kanye as well, that would be pretty awesome.”
When are we going to get to hear some new tracks?
“I’m gonna say by about September, yeah give me until September definitely. I’m doing my big arena tour in November and we’re doing all the major arenas around England. I can’t wait, we’ve already sold out the O2. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
What’s it like doing shows like the Letterman show? Is it different to doing shows in the UK?
“It’s an amazing opportunity, he’s had so many great artists on here. It’s a show that’s so big, you even catch it a bit in England. To have that opportunity to showcase my talent on such a huge platform is incredible.”
Watch the full interview now: