Watch out grime scene, there's a new kid in town
Who is Maxsta? Well, pretty soon you probably won’t even need to ask that question.
The 20-year-old grime artist, gearing up to releases his first proper single, is currently wowing critics and fans alike. There’s a lot of hype from music journalists, but Maxsta seems to be successfully converting this hype into success, with his fanbase growing rapidly.
So, what do you need to know about him, ahead of his assault on the music scene? We caught up with the main man to find out who he is and what makes him tick.
OK let’s go right back to the start. You were born in Lewisham in 1992. Did you grow up with a big passion for music?
Do you know what, at school I was just always involved in the extracurricular music things. Whether that was playing in the steel pan band or having guitar lessons and whatever. Then, there was also another thing that started in my area, like a Saturday school but a music school, so I went there and I did the cello and stuff like that. So, before I started rapping, I always kind of liked music a lot and got involved.
And did that continue throughout your school life?
Yeah, I had always wrote lyrics and my mum would always find them, whether they were under my pillow or under my bed. I remember writing some lyrics in Year 6 at school and a girl found them on my little desk thing that everyone had in the classroom, and she read them out and I was proper embarrassed. But I just kept writing. Then, when I got to secondary school, you were the man if you were that guy everyone was crowding around in the playground, to hear what you had to say.
We should point out your real name is Ian. Was this when you became Maxsta, because spitting lyrics at school when you’re called Ian just isn’t cool?
I used to tell people my name was Maxwell, so that’s where Max and Maxsta came from. I just didn’t like the Ian name. My mum blatantly told me one day, “before you were born, Ian Beale from Eastenders was a young, cool guy, so that’s why your name is Ian”. I was like "no, leave it! That’s f***ed up". I’ve never said that before, I’ve never told anyone, so that’s an exclusive. An embarrassing exclusive.
That’s hilarious. Maybe never admit that again though! So, from there you just kept rapping and making a name for yourself?
You know what, I always thought you literally can’t stop if you wanna progress. So I remember in those days I’d save my lunch money and put it towards going into the studio for a couple of hours at the weekend. I was known in my borough for like being an MC or whatever, and then from there you just start to network with other people from different areas. People get to hear about you, asking about you, wanting to work with you. It’s been a gradual process over the years and it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it cos now I’m here.
Which artists were you listening to when you were starting out? Who are your musical inspirations?
There was a lot of people, but I felt a proper sense of individuality listening to Eminem and Dizzee Rascal. Like there were no pressures to sound like anyone else or do stuff like anyone else, they just did their own thing. I thought, if you are literally just yourself, it might just shine through more than just jumping on what everyone else does.
Who are you listening to and loving at the moment?
Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky.
A$AP Rocky got himself into the new Lana Del Rey music vid, maybe you should get in with a big female popstar?
Yeah, definitely. Maybe Rihanna. I’d proper get it on with her.
OK, maybe not, we’re talking collaborations in music not the bedroom! Anyway, if anyone out there hasn’t heard of you just yet, how would you describe your sound?
Erratic. Yeah… erratic.
Debut single I Wanna Rock is pretty erratic, I guess?
Yeah, I would say it’s like a party song cos the beat is banging, but it’s not a typical party record. It’s hip hop with grimey elements to it. When it all comes together, I hope it’s the kind of tune you might hear first of all and not like, but then you listen to it more and proper get into it. It’s erratic.
And then will we get an album too?
There’ll be an album around February 2013, but that’s if the singles go well. So after this one, if I was to talk about the next single, all I’d say is I’m never gonna do the same thing twice. So it’s like, don’t think all my stuff is gonna sound like I Wanna Rock. There is a theme behind it all, it’s definitely all following a couple of key elements, but there’s a lot of different boxes being ticked as well.
Exciting. We'll definitely expect more erratic music from Ian Beale... sorry, Maxsta... throughout the year then.
I Wanna Rock is released on 5 August