Very rarely do we see a UK female rapper still creating buzz, five years after the release of their debut single. However in Cleo‘s case (you may also know her as Mz. Bratt) she has remained as one of the key ingredients within the UK urban scene for some quite some time.
The rapper/singer has worked and collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Wretch 32, Wiley, Tinie Tempah and Tulisa, after a well deserved break, a new record deal, and a brand new sound, the rapper is now ready to join her peers in becoming the superstar she deserves to be. So what happened when I spoke to Cleo? We talked everything from the music industry to heartbreak and her groundbreaking new EP titled Beauty For Ashes. Dig in…
Hey Cleo! First of all Thank you for featuring on SamMaffiaOnline.com. How’s your day been so far?It’s been great so far! It’s International Woman’s Day, so I hung out with my Mum, Nan and big sis 🙂
Let’s get right into your amazing new EP. It’s called Beauty For Ashes. Why specifically Beauty For Ashes?
It’s actually a biblical term, there’s a story behind it but ‘Beauty For Ashes’ to me is about finding beauty in adversities. I went through a very dark time, created this EP in that moment and now I feel as though I made something magical from a bad phase in my life.
So everyone has probably been asking you this, but your entire career you’ve been known as Bratt or Mz Bratt, why the change of name and were you scared of what the reaction would be from critics and fans?
The name change just happened naturally for me. I just got to a place as a person and musically where I had outgrown Mz Bratt. I guess it just happened over time and I was wary that fans wouldn’t reconnect with me as ‘Cleo.’ but that was a risk I was willing to take and it was more of a personal development than a marketing strategy.
On the track Beauty For Ashes, the lyrics include “You broke my heart, so I broke yours too / I just hope we gonna find our way, cause I can see she wanna take my place” I can actually hear your heartbreak in the song, what happened for you to get so deep on the track?
I went through exactly what I’m talking about in that track. I’m a very loyal soul and I love deep but sometimes when you’re young people make mistakes and you don’t know how to deal with them because that experience is so new. So this song is about being in situation that became tainted, there was hope that it could move on and still be great but it wasn’t at that place.
This new sound is completely different from anything you’ve ever done before, it’s very very eclectic. I’ve read loads of comments with people absolutely loving it! Who and what was the main inspirations behind the project?
I spent a lot of time listening to music, mainly as a way to vent rather than inspiration. My experiences were the drive behind this project, they were the vessels. The great thing about this project is that it happened so organically. I had never really sung like this before or opened up as much as this, I worked with one producer and it was perfect because I felt so free. I wasn’t afraid to stretch myself and I led the direction of the EP.
Artist’s usually release E.P’s as a sign of an album to come, so can we be expecting a new album anytime soon and will the sound follow up from the E.P.?
I won’t be releasing an album anytime soon. Just good quality music for now. I want to enjoy putting out music again without those pressures to fulfill.
On the Intro track, you rap: “I guess I let them water me down, tryna make money all from a sound / I become a project of somebody elses dream.” In my opinion its sound’s like its aimed specifically towards the music industry and the last record you released was under Atlantic Records, but you mention Sony in the Intro with the lyrics “I had this conversion with Sony…” What happened with Atlantic? and are you now signed with Sony?
The situation with Atlantic kind of just fizzled out. They were an absolutely fantastic team, but it just wasn’t working. I definitely got lost in other peoples visions of who they thought I should be but at the same time, I didn’t know who I was as a person or musically. I am currently signed to Sony, which happened over a year ago now.
You have a massive loyal fan base (count me in haha), why do you think they have continued to follow you for as long as they have?
Haha, thanks Sam! They are amazing, honestly to have loyal people like that who support you no matter what, that gives me life! I’m lucky. Going off what a lot of them have said I think they are fans of me as a person. They mean so much to me and I do try and connect with them as much as I can.
Apart from music, what other projects are you involved in?
At the moment I’m really into marketing, I do a lot of research around it, it’s enjoyable to me!
For the rest of the interview, I’m gonna ask you 20 random questions, they don’t require much attention, just quick, sharp, honest answers. Hope your ready!
1. Best artist you’ve ever seen live?
Ooo, would have to be Bruno Mars or Method Man & Redman
2. If you could add one word to the dictionary which word would you choose?
‘Drake’ lol, that’s so Drake..
3. What are your thought’s on Iggy Azalea?
I don’t have a problem with her, I don’t really listen to her music but I do see the Earth absolutely terrorizing her
4. Would you rather be the feature on a Kanye West track or a Jay Z track?
Kanye! I’d rather reason with Jay
5. Describe the typical Cleo fan/supporter…
Kind, charismatic and crazy!
6.Whats the main difference between Cleo and Mz Bratt?
To me there isn’t much difference, just the name. Cleo is definitely more outspoken and ruling 😉
7. Favourite Britney Spears song?
8. Could you write Beyonce a hit song, if so what would the title be?
Haha, I’d write her some gully trap sh*t entitled ‘Baddest B’
9. What was the last Whatsapp message you sent?
‘Truss mi daddy’ lol
10. Would you rather have permanent clown clothes or have a permanent clown face?
Jeez, what a strange question haha! Erm, clown clothes 😀
11. A collaboration with Ms Dynamite or a collaboration with Jamelia?
Ms Dynamite, she’s flames!
12. If you were in charge of the Grammy’s, who would you select as nominees for Best Female artist?
Sia, I can’t think of anyone else right now haha
13. The last time you laughed until you cried?
Haha, last night at my sisters house, we had a girls night in. I laughed so much I nearly wet myself :/
14. Thought’s on gay marriage?
Nothing wrong with it at all
15. Favourite song on Beauty For Ashes? (You can only pick one)
Beauty For Ashes 🙂
16. Who is the artist you would most like to make a comeback?
17. Favourite UK female urban/pop singer?
I love Ella Eyres voice
18. Favourite USA female urban/pop singer?
We love a bit of Beyonce
19. I’m in London for the day, where would Cleo take Sam Maffia for the day?
We can go to the Breakfast Club and get some food, then go watch a movie, then go turn up on a random one haha!
20. The next Cleo track to be released will be…
Finally, thank you SO much for featuring on Sam Maffia Online! Is there anything else you want to tell your supporters?
I want to say a massive thank you for ALL of the support! <3
Follow Cleo on Twitter: @itscleopatra and Soundcloud/itscleopatra