The inimitable Tinie Tempah shot to prominence in 2010 when his debut single ‘Pass Out’ hit #1. More huge crossover hits followed in the shape of his second #1 and Stateside breakthrough track ‘Written in the Stars’, as well as ‘Frisky’, ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’, ‘Invincible’ and ‘Wonderman’ – all of which featured on his debut album ‘Disc-Overy’ which went straight to #1. Numerous awards followed, including Best Breakthrough Act and Best Single at the BRITs; Best Newcomer at the MOBOs and an Ivor Novello for Best Contemporary Song- all of which underlined his status as one of the most important artists of his generation.
For his second album, 2013’s ‘Demonstration’, Tinie decided to return to his roots, recording the entire album in the same Greenwich studio he’d made street hits like ‘Wifey’ and ‘Tears’. He also refused to settle for anything less than perfection; he had songs re-produced, re-mixed and re-vocaled numerous times until he was 100% certain they were perfect. He also enlisted Manny Marroquin, engineer for everyone from Tupac to Kanye and Usher, as well as collaborations including Dizzee Rascal, Tom Rowland of The Chemical Brothers, Naughty Boy, Emeli Sandé, Paloma Faith, Laura Mvula, 2 Chainz and John Martin.
After the release of ‘Demonstration’, Tinie once again hitting the upper reaches of the charts with crossover singles such as ‘Trampoline’ and ‘Children of the Sun’, Tinie’s guest features extended with two more #1 smashes with Cheryl Cole’s ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ and DVBBS & Borgeous’s ‘Tsunami (Jump)’.
As a prominent figure in British fashion, Tinie was named Best Dressed Man in GQ’s Men of the Year Awards 2012, and in 2013 was selected as the ambassador for the London Menswear Collection. More recently Tinie featured in the BBC arts series Private View in which he examined Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty costume exhibition.
As well as famously high-fivin’ none other than Prince William at 2014’s BAFTAs, Tinie’s highest profile live shows have included the closing ceremony of the Olympics; every major festival from Coachella to Glastonbury; as well as supporting the likes of Jay-Z, Usher and Rihanna. His most recent UK arena tour included a triumphant homecoming show at London’s O2 Arena.
Tinie Tempah made a sensational return last summer with the release of ‘Not Letting Go’, his first new track since the release of ‘Demonstration’. ‘Not Letting Go’. Contrasting Tinie’s charismatic flow with a soaring pop hook courtesy of Jess Glynne, it became Tinie’s 6th UK number 1. He quickly followed this up by guesting on KDA’s ‘Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)’ together with Katy B. His inimitable party rousing style on this club banger helped deliver his 7th UK Number 1. Tinie has now had as many UK #1s as Michael Jackson, U2, Kylie, Robbie Williams and Elton John, and is the artist with the most UK # 1s this decade.
Tinie then concluded 2015 by revisited his underground roots on the ‘Junk Food’ mixtape. Released on the independent Disturbing London label, it featured guests including Giggs, Big Narstie, Stormzy and JME.
In April 2016, Tinie stormed back into the upper reaches of the charts with ‘Girls Like’ which features Swedish vocalist Zara Larsson and has since sold 500,000 copies. Together with a sold-out O2 Academy Brixton show, it proves that Tinie is on a high and back at the top of his game – something that he celebrated by reprising his renowned Disturbing Ibiza party at Ushuaïa Ibiza during residencies in June and September.
‘Girls Like’ was followed by ‘Mamacita’, a summer explosion of Latin rhythms and swinging salsa grooves which finds Tinie weaving his distinctive rhymes around a hook courtesy of guest artist Wizkid.
Tinie’s new album ‘YOUTH’ was recorded in his studio in Greenwich – a location just 10 minutes away from the home where he grew up rather than in the epicentre of London’s music industry. And describing it as simply as studio is to undersell it: it’s the centre of a cottage industry from which all of his activities in both music and fashion emerge, and a place in which he’s surrounded by the family and friends who are employed by his Disturbing London label.
It’s a site that also affords him the chance to nurture breaking new talent – most notably producer Nana who worked on ‘Girls Like’ and who is signed to Tinie’s publishing company Imhotep.
Tinie commenced 2017 by dropping two tracks from the new album – ‘Text From Your Ex’ and ‘Chasing Flies’ – on the same day. More recently he shared one of ‘YOUTH’s most emotionally engaging moments with ‘Find Me’ where Tinie’s larger-than-life rhymes explore the connection between the challenges of his past and the success that he now embraces. While the live instrumentation backing Jake Bugg’s hook contrasts the track’s beat-heavy verses, thematically they’re united by the defiant proclamation: “It’s not in my heart to give up.”
Musically, much of ‘YOUTH’ finds Tinie reconnecting with his underground roots. So while ‘YOUTH’ is infused with the huge crossover bangers that he’s renowned for – see ‘Girls Like’ (nominated for the BRIT Award for British Single), ‘Mamacita’ and the #1 smash ‘Not Letting Go’ – it’s also the most eclectic album of his career. It’s apparent in ‘Something Special’, a two-minute blast of minimalist beats, gloomy synths and an intense atmosphere in which Tinie’s flow hits hard, while one of his personal favourites ‘Holy Moly’ heightens that visceral punch to a whole new level. At the other end of the scale, ‘Cameras’ is a summery haze of laidback rhymes and sweet summer synths.