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Music Interview

Chipmunk

By
Chipmunk
You could never accuse Chipmunk of being a slow starter. Since making his chart debut a year or so ago, the London teen has notched up five hit singles, collected his second MOBO trophy and completed a headline tour of the UK... with another scheduled for the summer. What's more, he even found time last week to tease us about his upcoming sophomore album - which, in typical Chip fashion, is well on its way to being finished!

Are you happy with how your current single, 'Until You Were Gone', has performed on the charts?
"Yeah, it's amazing. People forget I'm still that guy who came from the underground scene and we didn't even know what the charts were. But my thing now - and I'm not saying I'm not caring about the singles chart - is album sales. I'm really trying to push those as much as I can."

Is that why you've re-issued your debut album?
"Yeah, but it's not just a sales thing - the I Am Chipmunk album has sold over 200,000 and I would have been happy with gold! The reason I've put out the 'Platinum Edition' is to give people a hint of the direction I'm going in with my second album. There's a track on there called 'Superstar' that really does that - it's got the storytelling, the barbs and the punchlines, but it's delivering all that through a hit song."

So you've started work on the second album?
"Yeah man, I've already written and recorded half of it. Give me two more weeks in the studio and it should be alright!"

How is it different to your debut?
"I've got better lyrically and the production's a lot... I don't want to say better, but everything's developed and gone one step further. The thing now is I want to execute the artform of the album. I want to try and compete with the best in the world with my album tracks as well as my singles."

You want to be up there with Jay-Z and Kanye?
"Yes. No offence to my fellow artists, but I can't see any competition over here. I respect everyone that's doing their thing - Professor Green, Plan B, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder, N-Dubz, they're all amazing - but I'm taking it back to the artform. The question you have to ask is: 'Can you lyrically blow someone away with your words, your punchlines, your delivery, your swagger, your flow, your delivery?' I can and that's what I have to my advantage. I want to compete with the best in the world."

Are you working with Fraser T Smith again on the new album?
"No, but not in a bad way! I worked with him on the single and man he's a hitmaker, but I've already got my team of producers for this album. There are three of us and that's all I need. They believe in me and my storytelling and we're going to work together to try and create a mindblowing album."

You've already teamed up with everyone from Beverley Knight to Daisy Dares You. Who would your ultimate collaborator be?
"I'd definitely like to work with Rihanna. I think she's beautiful but that's beside the point - I'm all about that swagger and she's got mad presence. You want to watch her whether she's dressed up like GaGa or whether she's in her Caribbean gear. She's got a distinctive voice and she's roughly in my age category as well, so it wouldn't be an unnatural collaboration. She's golden."

How have things changed for you over the last year?
"Massively. It has been hard and it has been rough, but I wouldn't change a thing and I'm still in touch. I never neglect where I came from. People don't know half the things I do for my community in North London. I'm the people's champion - I'm in the schools speaking to the teachers and I'm making a difference. I'm not trying to be a role model as such, but I'm definitely trying to live my life in a constructive way."

What do you want people to think when they picture Chipmunk?
"You can make it - like I did. I don't want music to be a thing kids are scared to be part of. If you know you want to be a rapper, don't be shy about it. Just go for it, man."

You recently posted this message on Twitter: "Why do I feel like no-one who's supposed to be in my team believes in this Chipmunk thing as much as I do... then again, f*ck them." What prompted that?
"Sometimes that's how I feel. I'm not going to water it down, but 'f*ck them' isn't like 'f*ck them'. It's 'f*ck them' because I'm meant to be the person who believes in this more than anyone else and sometimes I need to remind myself that. I go that extra mile and I don't feel like everyone else does. A few people on my team do, but I know there are those who don't. As I say though, at the end of the day I'm meant to be the person that goes five million percent so... f*ck them!"

The 'Platinum Edition' of I Am Chipmunk is out now.

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