With so many female’s running the UK urban scene these days, competition for the crown is at an all time high. However one artist who has the crown solidified, is Lady Chann. The London based singer/rapper has consistently trail blazed with her unique style and flow, mashing up all genre’s of music to become a serious force to be reckoned with. In our exclusive chat (one of my favourite interview’s by the way), we discussed her new E.P, the pro’s and con’s to owning a record label, the importance of radio play in 2016 and Azealia Banks. No question went unanswered. Dig in…
So let’s talk your new single They Could Be. It’s produced by Sticky! You guys have done loads together! How did you guys first link up?
Basically, it was back in 2008, he reached out on Myspace because he heard me do a track with Curtis Lynch, he messaged me and was like “Hi, it’s Sticky! I’d love to get some work done”. I was like “OH MY GOD!” I was so super gassed. At the time though, I had gone back to college studying Accounts.
Yeah yeah yeah, just because sometimes music was getting a bit slow, gigs weren’t plenty, I wasn’t like out, out there. I had just finished as being part of the collective Sun Cycle and I thought I would do college as a back up, I just thought whatever comes up music wise, comes up. So then Sticky reached out, he called me a few times, I told him I would come when I could, it took about six months. He played me a few beats and one beat in particular, I told him I could do something to, it was in fact a looped beat but I told him it didn’t matter I could do it. So I went home and made Sticky Situation on it. He re-did the whole beat, he remixed it with the Ms. Dynamite track Boo! So basically that’s how we started working. We’ve just always been a good team, he gets my vibe and I get his.
Wicked, so you’re like the Timbaland and Aaliyah of the UK.
Yeah yeah, it’s like slyly yeah (laughs). He just gets me, he gets what I’m about.
He’s also producing your new e.p. Conspire!
Yeah, it’s all Sticky based, he’s produced the vast majority of my stuff. With Conspire, we thought we would go back to basics, do a whole Sticky E.P. and then put on what made us known together. We also revamped some bits as well.
What I really want to know, why the name Conspire?
Because, I kind of thought about it, everyone conspires! It doesn’t have to be in a bad way, but everybody will sit round with their mates and go “right this is what we’re gonna do…” Do you know what I mean? Everyone conspires. So I just thought that’s a good name. That was the thought process, everyone does it, it appeals to everyone and I wanted it to appeal to everyone. A lot of the topics I touch on with this E.P. are from when me and my mates conspire. Everything can be a conspiracy, it doesn’t always have to mean aliens and the people landing on Mars etc. It’s basically everybody conspires and everybody say’s what their gonna do and what they aim to do or plan to do, I guess (laughs).
It’s cool because where he’s come from a Garage background and you do like the Dancehall side of things, it’s like a nice little link up of the two genre’s. What can we expect in terms of sound? You had your last E.P. CorrupChann, is it going to be totally different?
Yeah, it is. I am always consistent I guess because it’s me innit. But it is totally different from the CorrupChann E.P. because that was a different thought process and different vibe. Obviously I represent dancehall, I represent grime, so I combine two genres just to make people know that they go really well hand in hand. Dancehall goes hand in hand with a lot of stuff, like we said before even with garage it does sonically sound different and there’s no collabs like I usually do. The CorrupChann E.P. was just to collab with all grime artists and let you know this is what we can do together. This one though is back to basics where it’s sonically sounds more dancehall orientated and more reggae orientated as well, but obviously with a bit of a twist because I am still a bit of a digital dancehall artist.
And we have to talk DunDem Music. That’s YOUR record label! What’s the pros and cons of owning your own label and what’s the plan for the next 5 years?
Okay, so the pros are that you own everything that you put out. I’m gonna go in depth of what the pros are. So you own everything, you have full artistic creation, you don’t have to compromise with anybody else because you’re the boss. So once I put out a project, I effectively get paid twice, if somebody wants to use my music, they have to pay Lady Chann and they have to pay my label which is run by me.
Yeah (laughs). So I own all the masters and copyright control. After I did my first track with Sticky, it got signed to Ninja Tunes, which was via Toddla T’s Girl’s Music Label and most of the tunes that I’ve released, they’ve always been controlled by other people, like massive management teams and then they’ve gone and got them signed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a major label or independent, they’ve still come with stipulations, because they’re paying you money, they still think they can say “maybe you can change that verse, because we wanna aim to cater for this audience, this market or this territory” and I just found it to be a bit cheeky. Also the fact that when people think that they’ve invested in you, they look at you like you’re a power sign and then they think “right, she better make us back this amount of money!” If I wanna go with a certain song as a release, I’ll do it but they may feel another song might be a bit more commercially viable. I’ve never cared about being commercially viable, I just like good tunes. I just got sick of basically the business side of certain things and I just thought “I can do it myself!”. The cons of it, is that you have to pay for everything yourself (laughs). I have to hire my team which I can also look at as a pro. I’m quite funny who’s in the team and the team can be re-shuffled if I feel that people aren’t pulling their weight. I hire my P.R. team, I’ll hire my radio pluggers, I’ll hire my agent. I don’t have a management, I haven’t had a management for three years.
But you’re doing so well by yourself!
Yeah, yeah because all they wanna do is wait for stuff, and then you do all the work and then they wanna take twenty percent of that. I was a bit fed up of certain management teams not doing their work. If I’m gonna pay you, cool. But do a sick job about it and I won’t have any qualms. However my agent is kind of like my manager, he’s kind of evolved into that role because I end up saying “can you do this, or can you fill this out for me…” We work so well and throughout all the up’s and down’s, I’ve established a great team where I don’t necessarily need that manager title. So that’s the pro’s and con’s.
You’ve also been playlisted on Unity Radio. I was having a little stalk on your Twitter…
But then, Radio 1xtra who are usually quite supportive, they’ve not been supportive this time round, I don’t know if they’ll jump on it, but apart from Unity none of them have been supportive…(laughs)
Oh wow! Well that brings me to my next question. How important do you think radio is in 2016? Because streaming has become so popular, do we need radio anymore?
Radio’s always a million percent a great thing to have. If it’s there, it’s a bonus. If you get radio play, it’s cool because it just is. But I mean, it’s no longer the be-all and end-all it was two years ago because now we have the internet. Good music doesn’t really need a passport, as long as you put it out, it floats around the net and it zoom’s around the world. It’s mental, so I’ve never depended on radio but I’ve had really good radio support at times, and I’ve had really minimal support at times. You’re at their peril, if they say they don’t wanna play your track, they won’t play your track. Whereas, where I came from, DJ’s would play a track whether they liked it or not, just to see if their audience who listens to their shows would like it or not. But these days, I think DJ’s are all about if they themselves like the track, when ultimately it should be about the audience, give them a chance to listen to it. They take that option away from you now. It’s a lot of politics but it’s cool.
Time for a controversial question. So talking about the UK scene. Azealia Banks went on a massive rant regarding UK rappers basically being shit. What are your thoughts on her and her opinion?
Idiot! Where shall we start? This woman, this lady, this girl, at first when she come on the scene with the 212, I thought it was sick, a breath of fresh air, I loved it. Then I started to see some of her personality traits that I thought was a bit dodge but cool, let it go, just see how it goes. And then, I was happy when she did the track with Shystie and I was like wicked! Then, when the video landed, I saw her switch on Shystie. I thought “You fucking bitch!”. Then I saw her switch on Lily Allen, this was when I realised she was out of order because she started to basically slew Lily Allen’s kids, they were only babies. Doesn’t matter whether they are kids or babies, it’s below the belt. That’s when I realised, I didn’t want to follow someone like that, I find her really mean spirited, so I kind of just dropped her out. Obviously she’s about so intermittently, I would see the stuff she would get involved in and it was always bad stuff. So when all this stuff came out recently, the thing I found frustrating about the whole scene and the uproar, was that there was more uproar that she cussed the whole UK scene. Like who cares? If you know you’re good at what you do, like why do you care if she doesn’t rate you? Who is she? The people that are supposed to rate you, already rate you. If that’s what she think’s then cool. My whole problem with her, was she can’t be talking about someone’s race like that and talking about someone’s mother. It was out of fucking order. Super out of order. That to me was my problem, not so much what she said about the UK scene, I couldn’t give a shit what she said about the UK scene. Without our scene she can’t really survive because she doesn’t really go anywhere else, so why care? But like it showed that the scene were a bit narcissistic, you lot cared when it was only directed at you, you’re supposed to care when things are directed at other people as well! You’re not supposed to endorse or condone or stay silent on someone’s mum or someone’s race just because it’s not your race. It’s out of order. She’s out of order. I’m so glad that she actually got clamped down and dropped from the Rinse Festival, she was out of order and I wish there would be no more of it. Her apologies were ridiculous, they were rubbish. She went at a little 14 year old girl, she’s ridiculous. I don’t know whether she needs mental help but I have no time for her. Really and truly, I didn’t even tweet her. And then people tried to put me and some of the other female emcee’s in their tweets. I just thought I’m not even gonna bother retweeting these. But yeah, I thought she was just totally disgusting.
But sometimes you can’t help but mention her because her names pop’s up on Twitter for all the wrong reasons…
Yeah I know! She leaks through, like vermin! I blocked her, muted her just so I couldn’t see nothing about her, but some how, some way, she comes through. She claims that she’s bisexual, but yet at the drop of a hat will call someone a faggot or be so derogatory about their gender or their sexuality and she’s racist on top of it. She’s just awful. I can’t cope with that. Like I said, I don’t stand for that shit, I’m not a mean spirited person, I’m on the way of like, if you fuck with me, I’m gonna definitely out fuck with you, I’ll check mate you so hard, I don’t care if you’ve got a million followers, or one, I’m not having it, so I just chose to not get involved to that level. I saw it all going back and fourth and I just thought everyone was doing it for their own ego’s when there was a greater cause, her calling people out on their sexuality, talking about people’s mum’s and race. People need to know what’s important in life!
So for the next part of the interview, I’m gonna hit you with some quick fire questions. Are you ready??
Tim Westwood or Charlie Sloth?
Favourite Britney Spears song!
Everytime, sick tune!
Would you rather win a Brit Award or perform at the Grammy Awards?
Perform at the Grammy’s!
Double denim – amazing or awful?
Beenie man or Vybez Kartel?
One act alive you’d love to see comeback?
Could you write Rihanna a hit song?
Possibly you know, I’m moving towards yes, I’d like to think so and definitely her specifically because we share the same vibe.
What word do people incorrectly use to describe you?
Name four UK female’s you would love to sign to your record label.
Ooh that’s hard one. They would definitely have to be undiscovered because all of the other UK females are doing so well, doing their own thing. I wouldn’t want to intervene, I’d have to leave that one blank, meaning I don’t think she’s discovered yet. All the other girls at the moment are doing their thing, I rate them and support them.
Describe Twitter in one word.
Who would you say is your U.S.A. equivalent is in terms of sound?
Oooh bloody hell. I would like to say I’m a fusion of people, definitely a bit of Lauryn Hill and also Missy Elliott.
What age is too old to be on Instagram?
There’s no too old to be on Instagram.
What’s right with the UK music scene?
That we are now confident that our sound is our sound. I think it’s taken a long time for people to be co-signed by Americans, but the reason it is now co-signed by Americans is because it’s nang!
Finally, 2016 will be the year that Lady Chann will….
Dominate and dominate into 2017 (laughs).
Lady Chann’s forthcoming five-track EP Conspire will be released June 12th via Chann’s Dun Dem Music.