RKZ has recently dropped his mixtape ‘Words of Adrenaline’ but there is a lot more to this UK rapper singer/songwriter than meets the eye. I caught up with him to find out more about the mixtape and what else he has been up to. As we have just begun a New Year I ask him if he has made any Resolutions.
I’ve never really done ‘resolutions’ in the traditional sense, so I don’t have any per sé. I have general aims such as how much progress I aim to make in terms of national coverage and expanding my international fan base – particularly in Europe! I’ve been getting a lot more attention in Amsterdam and Berlin as of late, which is a good start!
‘Words of Adrenaline’ is the 22-year-old from Luton, England’s 4th mixtape and RKZ tells me about the message he was trying to convey with it
I wanted to take the audience on a journey of expression and creativity. We’re so shackled to our 9-5 lifestyles and I wanted to break away from this. Tapping into dormant parts of your mind and soul, and really beginning to let art take over. There is so much more to the universe than what we see/feel, and there’s a greater level of creativity, spirituality and oneness which we seldom embrace. A lot has happened in my life as of late that allowed me to speak from experience, as well as create a new level of music which ironically, was more accessible to the public. The concepts are easy to grasp on face value, yet run a lot deeper than you’d imagine. Have a proper listen to ‘Waiting/Floating’ as the mixtape was mainly based around that song.
RKZ says that this is the first mixtape where he has really embraced his influences and the creative content is certainly higher than his previous works.
I sampled some of my favourite producers and artists and created content that was a lot more soulful, with more lyrical depth. It’s a really nicely-rounded package and it’s definitely a taste of things to come in 2013 onwards.
One of the things to look forward to this year is RKZ’s album ‘Wanderlust’ which will be his official debut and should drop in the last quarter of 2013.
That isn’t set in stone but if it doesn’t release this year, you’ll definitely be hearing some material from it, regardless. The album is very much new-age R&B, but not the commercial norm of today. For one, there aren’t any dance records masked as R&B, it’s really just really smooth R&B! It’s executively produced by Gifted the Great (who produced my last two singles) and vocal-lead as opposed to rap-lead. Crazy exciting wouldn’t explain the half of it! It very much follows a similar concept to ‘Words of Adrenaline’ in as much as it takes you on an expressive journey, but this is a lot more personal, a lot more raw, a lot more passionate.
Not only is RKZ busy getting the album ready, he is also spending his time directing music videos, including most of his own.
After picking up a lot of knowledge from S Sid [Ahmed], I knew how to work my way around a camera and post-production software. That led to me directing all of my mixtape videos. I enjoyed that a lot, so I decided to take on some small projects and it was awesome! As a musician, I feel there’s a greater understanding in a fellow artist’s vision – which is what I wanted to exploit.
He has certainly shown his talent in the area but if he could direct a music video for any artist, who would it be?
I’ve always wanted to work with Ellie Goulding and Jhené Aiko artistically, so I guess that could also go for visual work! Anything with them would be special,
Although there is an obvious segregation in the Asian music scene between the Bhangra and the more alternative music, it is something that RKZ stays out of.
I have a select group of friends in the ‘alternative’ side of that industry, and I don’t know enough about the Bhangra scene, nor the apparent rift to comment. It’s not really my place, and that’s more than fine by me. All I’ve wanted to do is create good music, and that’s my only focus. Each to their own, after all.
When he isn’t making music, RKZ is working with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) which aims to reduce the suicide rate with young men in the UK, particularly London.
CALM was the first charity I saw that didn’t act like a typical charity: they deal with everything hands on; the staff are extremely passionate and personable; and they don’t treat depression as an illness. They say things as they are, but most importantly, they get rid of the ‘stigma’ of depression. They are so essential to the United Kingdom, particularly my demographic. Suicide is the biggest killer of guys my age in the UK (15-35 years), more than knife crime and road accidents combined – how crazy is that? Having experienced first-hand, I know how isolated depression can make you feel – but it’s a LOT more common than people would believe. Opening up is a needlessly difficult thing for a guy to do, but once that barrier is down, you’ll be amazed at how important it [talking] is
It’s certainly going to be a busy year for the musician but what he is most looking forward to?
The music I’ve been making has increased phenomenally in terms of quality and maturity. That transition of sound is definitely something I’m looking forward to giving out to the world. There’s been snippets of this with records like ‘Superstars’ but that’s literally the tip of the iceberg. Honestly speaking though, I think the beauty of it all is that you never know what a New Year will bring. More than anything, I’m looking to be excited, and surprised by the potential of everything.
Finally he has a message for his fans,
Everything I write, I create, I perform, I do for you guys. A ‘thank you, keep supporting!’ whilst plugging my social networks wouldn’t justify how much I appreciate you all. Without the you – the listeners, the observers, the followers, the critics and the fans – musicians wouldn’t be who they are today. The same goes for poets, writers, artists and so on. I love interacting with people who have heard my music, and it still takes me by surprise when I get messages from people outside of London/Luton! I love your support, wholeheartedly – you never fail to put a smile on my face. Let’s ensure this year brings the best for all of us!
By Dal Kaur
Follow her on twitter: @missmaya84