London singer, A.G (meaning All-time Greatness), who has been compared to rapper Nelly for his looks, cheerfully describes his music as a breath of fresh air. ‘It will break you down and capture your attention,’ adds the confident Harlesden-born singer. With his smooth and soulful voice, he has already been lucky enough to support the likes of Erykah Badu and De La Soul on stage. With an overflow of passion and fire in his lyrics and his heart, A.G tells Flavour a little more about his music and where he is coming from…
How long have you been singing?
It’s been about 5 years now.
How did you start out?
It was actually an accident. I went to an open mic session and was forced on stage because of peer pressure. After my performance, I was approached by an A&R for a major label and they asked me to do a reggae cover of Blackstreet track, No Diggity. The track was released in Sweden, but not in the UK.
What made you want to become an artist?
It was always a dream of mine. When I was younger, I used to imagine being on stage performing and making my friends and family really proud. As a child, when I used to go to church, I used to watch people singing and I’d aspire to be like them.
How would you describe your musical style and who is your music aimed at?
I would say it’s a contrast of new and old, with a West Indian hint. It’s aimed at everyone and I am bringing it to the masses.
Who are you influenced by and who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to all of the greats like Marvin Gay and Ray Charles, reggae artist Beres Hammond and artists like H-Town and Silk, but the biggest influence I have to say was a lady named Debbie, a woman from my church whom I really looked up to as my idol. She was more inspirational to me than any other singer because she was right there in front of me every day of every week – not just on television.
Where do you draw musical inspiration from?
Mainly my spirit, my soul, my heart and my parents and the things I have seen them go through.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
I am still in the process of accomplishing as much as I can, but getting to perform on the same stage as Erykah Badu was definitely a proud moment for me.
If you could change one thing about the UK music industry, what would it be and why?
There are still not enough platforms for up-and-coming artists to showcase their material. The people with the money and the power are not offering us enough to compete with other countries. Even places like Sweden and Rotterdam have a lot more support.
How do you overcome this?
It is really hard, especially when there may be demand for your music, but no support from those in power to help you push it. But my passion for music outweighs that. You have to remain positive and stay passionate about what you do. If you are focused and determined enough, you will find a way to succeed.
What is your motto for success?
Keep believing in your spirit and your soul. Keep believing a dream is not just a dream, it is an ambition!
Tell me about a career high…
Seeing the support that women show towards me when I’m performing. The way that they sing along is nothing short of phenomenal! It makes every minute worth every second. I love it!
Tell me about a career low…
It was a really trying time when I lost Tubby T, who was like a soulmate to me. I remember working with him in the studio and he would always keep pushing and encouraging me. His music will still live on because he is one of the greatest artists to come out of the UK.
The best advice for someone trying to succeed in the industry…
Do as much for yourself as you possibly can, before you take anything else on. Work with a producer who really understands you and what you are trying to achieve. Otherwise you will both be at cross-purposes and pulling in the opposite direction from one another. The problem nowadays is that too much music is rushed. To really come out with something of good quality, you need to be working in the studio for a while. Because what you come out with will be your benchmark, it should not be rushed.
What are your long-term ambitions?
To be here forever and for my music to live on when I have gone.
Words by Lynnike Redway
Check out: www.myspace.com/agtony