Often thought about as the ‘other one’ in the group, Fazer hasn’t really had his time to shine in the spotlight. However fans will know that he has always been the man behind the great tracks for both Dappy and Tulisa as they went solo co-producing the Number One hit single No Regrets and writing and producing the number one hit We Are Young. And now Fazer has hit us with his own debut single ‘Killer’ from his upcoming debut Album.
I get straight into it. How does it feel to be going solo Fazer? ‘Weird. I look left, I look right, I don’t see them. We’re like family. I’ve known Dappy since I was 7 and met Tulisa when I was 10. But then again, it’s pretty cool because it has given me the chance to go into my own spotlight and really showcase what I’m about.’ And about time too! It seems as if Fazer can manage on his own two feet as he oozes confidence and understands hard grafting will eventually pay off.
N-dubz split when Tulisa announced on her Twitter page that they will no longer be making music together. Dappy later confirmed this was true and was the first to head out and make a solo single. But will N-Dubz ever get back together? ‘Yes.’ Fazer tells me ‘N-Dubz will always be the base. Hopefully around 2014. Give us two years to dominate these charts internationally and nationally and we’ll come back together and be better than ever.’
I’m sure all the ‘N-Dublets’ will be happy to hear that. N-Dubz, a british hip-hop group from Camden Town have sold over a million albums in the UK, won four MOBO Awards and have over one hundred million views on YouTube. The group were managed and encouraged by Dappy’s late father ‘Uncle B’ and soon caught the attention of Def Jam Recordings a few years ago. The band have always been strong about not letting people tell them what to do as writing and producing their own tracks have been an important part of their success. Not surprisingly, Dappy said ‘no to the Def Jam’ chairman as he says in his first SBTV Tarzan freestyle, and continued to push forward as Tulisa was announced as X Factor’s new judge.
We know a lot about Fazer and Tulisa’s upbringing but I want to know more about Fazer’s. He takes a deep breath and puts it very simply. ‘Well my mum used to clean toilets. My dad used to put up market stalls on the weekend. I grew up next to nothing. Rice and corn beef was a regular dish. (laughs) Real talk! I got to 16 and my mum stopped giving me the little pocket money she could and said ‘Look, you gotta stand on your own two feet’. I tried to get a job. It didn’t work. Started hanging out with the right crowd doing the wrong things. Didn’t really do too well at that either. Tried hustling. That weren’t the one for me. Then thank God, we got famous in the end.’
And sure enough they did. From the age of 12, Fazer would be recording music in the studio whilst performing at local events. But I wonder if he knew they would reach the success they did as they recorded music and freestyled on community radio stations. ‘I don’t think we knew. But we had the belief that we could make it. With the drive of Dappy’s Dad and writing songs after songs that were getting better than the one before, we had the belief. It’s the same with everything in this world. If you want something in this world, you can get it. You just really need to want it. Like really want it so bad you could cry.’
Did he ever feel overshadowed? ‘No. Not in the slightest. I’m not a fame junkie. I’m a musician. I just love making music man. All I know is music. So I was never really bothered about being in the limelight. All I know is that I can make great music and if people like and appreciate it, I’ll have longevity in my career.’
New Single: ‘Killer’
Fazer has just introduced his new single ‘Killer’ to the world. It’s a gritty, electro track with a crazy video to match. Lyrics include ‘Cock back/ Lock and load/ I’m ready to aim/I’m ready to go/I hit the target/Right where her heart is’. So what exactly is the song about and what triggered this idea? ‘Ok so I was thinking basically young guy. Seeing a girl. Maybe even a few girls. But he isn’t really looking for a relationship. He isn’t looking to get tied down in anything. As soon as a girl starts to fall for him, he makes a swift exit and becomes a love killer. So the girl is just left broken-hearted like ‘Who does this guy think he is?’ I can’t help but wonder if the track was based on his personal life. ‘No not really. That song wasn’t originally for Fazer when I wrote it. I had someone else in mind at the time. But my vocal sounded great on the record!’
And yes indeed his vocal does sound great on the track but YouTube comments and tweets since the release suggest some people feel the autotune was not needed. ‘You know what I say to that? I say I’m a producer. If I use autotune on the track, it’s purely for reasons of it being a symph. I’m not Luther Vandross. I’m not tryna be no singer. I’ll leave that for the singers. That’s their world. But what I do know is that I can write a great record. And anyway, you need a fairly decent voice to even use autotune otherwise you would still sound pants regardless!’ Fair point there Fazer.
The sound of ‘Killer’ is also quite different to what we have been used to with N-Dubz and the same has been for Dappy and Tulisa’s tracks after going solo which Fazer wrote and produced. Maybe it is a sign of maturity and growth to show mainstream music can also be done. But for Fazer, it is all very simple. ‘I’m a very versatile producer. I can do any genre of music. You can’t really put me in a box. I’ll go rip up an Indie record! Live guitars, live drums, live bass, live piano and make a track for someone like Coldplay. I can execute that. As well as ‘Killer,’ ‘We Are Young’ and even ‘No Regrets’. It’s a conscious decision for me to be versatile. Nobody’s going to expect what’s to come from Fazer. Some people may have not ‘expected’ me to do a dance track but people shouldn’t expect anything because I can do what I like. Next one is going to be completely different so people might think ‘Oh ok this is what he’s about’ but then the next one after that is gonna be completely different.’
Fazer wrote the treatment for the video himself directed by Jak Frsh and visually describes everything he describes the song to be about with an interesting concept. We see Fazer being stopped and kidnapped by girls as they put him in a straight jacket and force him to take his ‘medication’ with what looks to be some love potion.
This excites me and makes me think about what kind of tracks he is planning to do next. That confidence streak just continues to ooze out of him. There’s no pause. No contemplating what type of music he will do. He just tells me straight. ‘I’m going to do an Indie record.’ I think ‘nice’. ‘I’m going to do a gully side record.’ Whaaaa. ‘I’m gonna do a street anthem.’ Keeping it real! ‘I’m going to do a Ladies tune for the girls.’ I cant help but smile and nod whilst a ‘hmm’ slips out as I nod in appreciation. ‘Mmhmm. Get the ladies gassed!’ (laughs) Damn. I so should of stopped there.
‘We should have the album done by the end of September or early October. Killer obviously starts the campaign for this album. Conscious decision. Summer anthem. Partying in Ibiza. Everyone gets slushed. ‘Killer! Killer!’ Straight shutdown. I can play that anywhere this summer and it will shut it down. We got the second single there ready to go.’ So shall we expect the unexpected?
‘Just expect an alternative album. The features on the album are not the usual suspects. People will be like ‘oh wow, I would never expect him to be on the record with him.’ I’m really really hitting the shock factor and the wow factor.’ Did I hear features? Who can these possibly be? UK or U.S artists? Or maybe even both? Understandably, everything is top secret and so I move on.
Not only is Fazer a great rapper and producer, he has showed us he can play the piano beutifully whilst featuring in Dappy’s video for ‘No Regrets’. He also showed his multi-instrumental talents with his involvement in ‘Urban Classics’. A collaboration with some of the biggest names in the UK urban scene and the 80 piece BBC Symphony Orchestra, to produce a one-of-a-kind performance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Barbican Centre. ’I learned drums through school. I had a mini casio keyboard which had that little demo track on it. (sounds out the demo and pretends to play) So I used to play along to the track. And I really just taught myself to play the piano really. Of course being in the studio all the time and getting really hands on with the equipment and stuff you really just pick it up naturally.’
He is so musically talented. It’s almost as if Fazer breathes music. There is no denying that his musical talents are far from one dimensional. If music is his life I’m eager to know what he would be doing if he couldn’t rap or make music. ‘I’d be repping for Great Britain in the Olympics!’ This takes me aback. Really? ‘Yeah I’d be an athlete. I’d be bringing gold back home for us. I was unbeatable man. I still got all the trophies and medals from doing long distance running.’
Not one to focus on one thing at a time, Fazer will be entering the fashion world. ‘I’m literally mixing music and fashion. All my visual stuff like videos are going to take a more artistic approach and will be paying attention to detail.’ Sounds very interesting. ‘Im gonna execute this by using fashion directors that work on things like Christian Louboutin adverts and not the people that work on urban, RnB videos. I’m steering away from that completely and really making something different. Mixing fashion and music was natural. I love fashion. I love mixing clothes and materials. I like the way things are put together. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of money and now I can afford to look good. Its not about brands for me. It’s about the art and the style and how I feel when I wear the clothes.’
I check out his outfit again. A navy blue T-Shirt with striped sleeves, jeans and Ice-T style Gold chains. ’My style is very open. I like trying new things. I read French magazines and have a look into the Italian styles. I really just pick little bits out of everything and piece things together to work for me. I’m really really focused in the fashion side of things because at some point next year I’m bringing out my own fashion line for Men.’ Fazer leads on to my next question smoothly about what business prospects he has in the pipeline. There is no hesitation. ‘Ok I’ve got a 5 year plan. First thing is first. Fazer. Solo. I’m making that as big as I can internationally. Then start signing my own acts through my production company which I’m releasing my own songs through my own label STL music (Sky’s The Limit). So yeah its about getting myself out there as a solo artist than bringing new talent in.’ He pauses. Perhaps people have tried to water down his dreams in the past or maybe he feels like I’m only interested in current topics. ‘People wont even know what I’m talking about. Seriously. It’s a different type of business. Different world. But I pull it off, I’m gone.’
And hats off to you Fazer for even thinking about the five years ahead with so much conviction. Dream big and have the confidence to chase them and you’re already a step closer. I decide its time to move on and find out what he feels about the recent twitter beef between the two cousins Dappy and Tulisa. Who ever knows about N-Dubz will know its nothing new. They are family and have grown up together. ‘If they wasn’t having arguments, I’d be worried! The minor feuds is just how it is. It’s all love.’
What keeps Fazer so motivated? ‘My hunger to succeed keeps me motivated. If I was to define success it would be getting to a certain age and being with my family and kids and being able to forget I had ever wrote lyrics. Definitely not in this country. That means I havent succeeded. somewhere out in the sea, little boat out the back, my kids running around on the beach happy days! If I can take my family out the struggle we had to come up in, that is success to me.’
Is Fazer single?
We all know Tulisa and Fazer were once a couple and now for whatever reason, they are not. Big deal. Its now Fazer’s time to shine. On behalf of all the ladies, I had to check up on his love life. ‘Yes I’m single and no I’m not looking to change that.’ Oh what a blow! ‘Honestly right now I’m focusing on my career and my plan for the next five years.’
There is now more reason to buy the single ‘Killer’ as Fazer recently tweeted that N-Dubz would make the guiness book of records if it goes to Number 1 as they would be the first ever band to have all leading singers go to Number 1!
‘Killer’ will be available on iTunes August 26
Follow Fazer on Twitter @IAmFazer