Interview: Wretch 32

Tristram Fane Saunders 8 June 2012

Tottenham-born MC and rapper Wretch 32 has an impressive CV. He has had four MOBO nominations. Last year, he had three consecutive Top 5 singles (Traktor, Unorthodox & Don’t Go).

Today, he has lost his voice.

TCS were worried about his health, so we used the internet to send Wretch some digital get-well wishes.

I’m sorry that you’re not feeling well. A lot of people might assume it’s a product of leading a really wild lifestyle. Here’s your chance to prove them wrong (or right). What were you doing last night, Wretch?

I’m not going to lie – I was out partying, but it was responsible partying, and it wasn’t the cause of me losing my voice. That’s because of the overnight apartment I stayed in at Glasgow. I made the mistake of leaving the aircon on all night…

But let’s imagine you lost your voice permanently. What would you do instead, if performing was no longer an option?

That would be so devastating to me, I can’t imagine… Probably become a ghost writer for some artist, or if that doesn’t work out, a mime in Trafalgar square.

It’s a good back-up plan. How did you end up working with Ed Sheeran?

I’ve known Ed for the longest time. Coming from the same grime scene we’ve worked together before. We’ve seen each other’s progression within the music scene, so it’s given us a mutual respect. Regarding ‘hush little baby’ I reached out to Ed asking him to jump on the hook as I’d already laid down my verse, and thought Ed would be perfect on the hook.

Tell me what your album ‘Black and White’ sounds like.

I would say it’s like going to see a film at the cinema, and having all the great sound effects and visuals, whilst trying to piece the movie together.

That makes sense – you’ve said in the past that you wanted it to sound “super polished and classy.” But who else has a good classy sound?

I think Jay Z is classy. It shows in his music and videos. Who but Jay will do stunts in a Maybach with a woman driver? That’s a classy move. Also, I like The Script, they’re cool. And because of growing up having my dad’s music around me, I’ve got to mention Damien Marley. There are loads.

Thanks to the Adidas/Olympics advert, you’ve become a kind of unofficial figurehead for the Olympics. But are you athletic? Do you exercise?

I don’t think I need to exercise – all my exercise is done on the stage.

Of course. But no sport at all?

I do play football when I get an opportunity, but unfortunately not as often as I would like.

I like ‘Unorthodox’; the Stone Roses sample works brilliantly. Was it your choice? How did the track come together?

That was more down to Future Cut but when I heard the beat, all I could hear was an Example chorus . It had that sort of stadium/festival sound, and that’s what I wanted to create. My brother Example delivered a sick hook.

Tristram Fane Saunders