Issue 77

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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Page 46 of 59

How are you? Is life treating you good? Oh absolutely, I'm fine and life couldn't be treating me any better. So where are you from? My mum's from Brazil and my father's Jamaican so it's not an easy question to answer. I'm from a bunch of different places but I was originally raised in South London. How did you get into music? I've always had a love for music but the singing thing was new to me. I wanted to be an actor and I went to college, I did a performing arts course, and that's where I discovered that I really like the effect that music has on people and on me, so I picked up a lot of things there. I did the dancing, played the piano, all of those things. Yeah you do a lot of dancing in your videos. Do you do the choreography yourself or does someone help? Well right now I'm dancing with a set of guys, there's a bunch of us, and we all choreograph everything together. We're just guys who like performing and running around on stage. Who have been your musical influences? There are the obvious ones like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, the whole Jackson family but I studied as far back as Fred Astaire because he was very much the hat-trick person, so I needed to learn all that stuff. I studied some of the old school, like your Marvin Gaye's and all that, because I was really connected to soul music and slow songs. Then there's Usher who I practically grew up on, and that influenced a lot of my dancing and my character on stage. I'm deeply, deeply influenced by a lot of different aspects of music. How would you describe yourself as an artist? I've never really pigeonholed myself into a specific genre because the team I work with allow me to be really creative. So if I wanna do some, I don't call it rap I call it poetry, then they allow me to do that, if I wanna to sing at the top of my voice, they allow me to do that, and if I just wanna talk, they allow me to do that. It's hard to say what genre I fit into or what type of artist I am. My roots is R&B because that's where I grew up, so I take the soul with me into everything that I do, and we just go towards what feels good to us, so we search out energy as opposed to a specific style or genre. It's just about having our own spin on everything and allowing your personality to come through your music. So what would your dream collaboration be? Any rapper, singer, producer living or dead? I would love to do a song with Janet Jackson. It used to be Michael Jackson but Janet, I feel like me and her would do something really good. Writing wise, I think me and Ed Sheeran would come up with a nice song, he's a very deep writer. I'd work with Pharrell or Timbaland, I put those in the same category because they're both capable of creating some real solid beats. I'd like to work with Stormzy, we did Scorcher already, I feel like those guys are really good, they're very talented. And there's this guy called Big Narstie, and I think me and him would do a really funny song together. What was the inspiration behind 'Moving Too Fast'? We really wanted to pay respects to the garage hits of that time and that was one of the songs that stood out the most to us. However, Efx the producer, my manager walked past his studio and heard it, "what's that? Let's have that". He got the song, he brought to us, we were like "that's great, let's make something of it", we got the whole team together, wrote the song and it turned out like that. My manager knows Scorcher's manager so they had that connect, along with Ten Letter PR, they brought the whole thing together. Scorcher came on, he liked the song, he blessed the song and then all of a sudden we had 'Moving Too Fast'. It's a sick tune. Why did you pick that one as the first single from the EP? Because I kind of felt like in this day and age it's really difficult to be heard over all the other artists that are there and we wanted to come differently. And I think people expected us to come a certain type of way, because if you look at how we came first, everybody felt like "oh he's gonna come out with a sing song R&B slow jam type thing", so I think it was a great twist on what you thought I was. That's the reason why we championed that song, because it paid a lot of respect to people we wanted to pay, and it brought us into this year, combined all the energies and almost created a new side of me to the public eye. We did the dancing in the video as well so that alerts people to the fact that don't mess with us, we can really dance [laughs]. We packed a lot of things into that video, just to alert people to how serious we are, and the amount of potential we have. So far the feedback has been great. So what's your message behind your music? It kinda depends. With my friends I'm the guy that everybody goes to with their problems, so if someone's having a bit of a problem in their relationship, they normally bring that to me, so my songs are normally telling a story or another. I normally try and look at these stories from a lot of different perspectives, and I've got really good writers on the team. Even with 'Moving Too Fast', the whole thing was like so many people wanna stand in your way and 'Moving Too Fast' is about recognising that you have your own key and chase your dreams, and you kinda got to ignore what people say. What has been the biggest struggle in your life? Ok personal wise, I'll tell you something deep about me, the biggest struggle is learning the type of man that I am when it comes to women and relationships. I feel like if you don't know who you are as a man then you won't really know how to deal with a woman when she comes into your life. I recognise that I'm a sensitive type of guy, I take on my partner's problems and unfortunately if you're not strong enough to deal with two people's weight then that can really bear you down. I think that's a really important lesson that I needed to learn because my last relationship tore me up. Musically, I've learnt that nothing is easy. If you decide to do music or any type of entertainment, it's most likely gonna be a long journey, it's most likely gonna be gruelling, you're gonnna have people standing in your way at every turn. Having a team that is willing to back you at any given moment, that stuff is important, and you have to persevere. I can't describe enough how much of an iron will you have to have to pursue music and I feel like that's what I've given myself now, and I feel like everyone in the team has that Spartan drive. What song of yours captures the true essence of Kyle Lettman? That is very interesting. Ok my last EP I did a song called 'Your Body' and that song embodied the type of artist I wanted to be because it was a really strong cross between the core of R&B and then a dubstep iron grit. From this EP right now, not really allowed to give too much away but there is a song that we've done called 'Hills and Oceans', just look out for that one. That one holds quite a lot of weight for me. So how have you developed as a person and as an artist since Fundamental? Obviously I was in a group back then so you start to play in a triangle. You have the point and then you have the left and the right side, and I was the left side of that triangle. Now being the left side means that it's most likely you'll be singing on the bridge. I had the slow jam voice, so on slow jams I'd be featured. That doesn't mean that it's not an important position to play, everybody needs to play their position for a group to work. Now I have to be the point, and then I have to be the right and the left. When you are the lead you have to concentrate on singing, on dancing, on the audience, a ton of different things go through your mind as a solo artist you need to learn, and if you didn't start as a solo artist it's a crash course. I think I'm navigating myself through that quite well right now, it's still a learning process. The further we go with this the easier it will all become, so it's just managing those little details. How are you in the studio? Are you the goofy guy or the strict guy? I think with us it's all about having fun while you work, and I think that creates the best feel in a song. Whether the song fails or if it works, none of that matters, all that matters is that you get that energy out, and you learn from that energy to move onto the next song. My manager does a lot of the recordings for me and he knows me so if we're doing a slow song and we're in that mood we'll darken the studio a bit, or if its an up-tempo song I'm literally bouncing off the walls, dancing while I'm recording. It just depends but it's never boring. So what can people expect from your upcoming EP Under Construction? So we decided that we were going to keep the core of everything, which is all the sounds that you might be familiar with when it comes to my voice, but we explored a bunch of different energies in the build up and we recorded a hell of a lot of songs, so I think the trick is now picking the best ones for the job. We did some afrobeats, bashment, reggae type sounds, we messed around with live instruments a lot, piano ballads, guitar ballads, we messed around with garage and dubstep a lot as well, those ones came out really well. So it's about picking maybe one of each genre, it's a tricky job. It's gonna be an interesting adventure when you listen to it. What aspect of the music making process excites you the most? A bunch of different things have a bunch of different effects. The writing process is nice but that goes by quite quickly, the finished product process is quite nice too, after recording it and hearing it mixed down. The good bits starts if you wanna shoot a video for it or if I'm gonna perform it and we start building a show to it, I think that's the most exciting part. If I'm building choreography or I'm doing a video and you get to have a model, or bunch of models, [laughs], that can be quite interesting too. The 'Moving Too Fast' video shoot, wow, we had amazing cars, we had the booty shakers, we had the models and the dancers, it was too much to take in all at once! Yeah there are a lot of pros to that whole music thing. I love all the processes, I really do. How important is video to you music? If it was down to me I'd have visuals for every single song that I do because I think visuals in this day and age are very important, which is why Instagram is such a big deal because it's all about show and tell. During a song I'm telling a story through the words and I feel like people can imagine it, which is just as effective because they can apply it to them, they become the star of what they're hearing but for me I like to show people what I envisioned when I wrote the song. In any case it's good for people to see you. People use their eyes then their ears more now. Ok so fun questions. Your house is burning down, you need to pick one item, what would it be? My laptop. I'll go back into a burning building for my laptop, it's very important! A private jet is waiting outside and you can pick any destination, where would you go? Brazil. I kind of feel like I'm gonna find my wife there, so I wanna go! What can we expect from Kyle Lettman in the future? Wow. Man I have so many plans, my team has plans. There's gonna be TV series, web series, short films, story projects, documentaries like behind the scenes, EPs on EPs and an album in the future. Definitely more videos, more collaborations. We've got everything man, we're just building very slowly. All the things I mentioned, look out for them, they're all coming. 7 47 Issue 77 / 2015 HIPHOP / RNB Kyle Lettman is causing quite a stir at the moment - he recently opened for Omarion at his headline UK show, his tracks are getting premiered by the likes of i-D Magazine and he's getting support from SBTV, Cameo, Ras Kwame and Music Week. He's not afraid to play with genres, as shown on his garage inspired, rap and R&B mix of a track 'Moving Too Fast'. We caught up with the singer, dancer and actor to find out where he's going next " I can't describe enough how much of an iron will you have to have to pursue music and I feel like that's what I've given myself now "

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