South London rapper Fem Fel releases his third single ‘Hero’ featuring singer Kurt Collins. The track was produced by Dan Dare, who also produced previous single ‘Put it in a Bag’. Hero is taken from his album ‘Eyes Closed’, which is out now.
Fem describes the recording of his album as a cathartic experience; ‘closing his eyes and letting it all out’, telling story after story of his life over 15 tracks produced by Rymez, Dan Dare, Sibling and many others. A freestyle track picking through his very own experiences through real life obstacles he’s had to deal with along the way.
What does Fem Fel stand for?
Well it originally stands for Femi Felola because that’s my name, but when I was at school my friends use to call me ‘Femi Fell over’ to take the piss, and then that disappeared but then I went prison and it kinda came back, and it was short for Felon, Fem Felon, but I didn’t really like that name because it was too negative so when I decided I wanted to do the music thing seriously I decided to abbreviate it back to Fem Fel because everybody knew me as Fem Fel anyway.
How did you start rapping, and what inspired you?
Umm what made me start rapping was my best pal. I was in a prison cell with him and he was always rapping and use to try and encourage me to give it a go, but I was a bit shy and I don’t really like doing something if am not good at it, so I told him I wasn’t going to do it but at the same time I would practice and practice and a couple of weeks later I told him ‘’yea lets do it now’’ and that’s where I started rapping.
What inspired me to start rapping was my love for music. I had a CD that was always on repeat of a guy called Cormega, even though he was from the street he kinda articulated his emotions and feelings through his music, and still kept it kinda gangster if you know what I mean, and I liked that.
On your new album ‘Eyes Closed’ you work with a lot of producers, how do you go about making those selections?
Whatever just feels right. I know the thing that usually people do is as they get bigger, they work with bigger producers, but that’s not really my thing. I’d rather just do things organically; Name doesn’t matter to me as long as it sounds really good. My best songs on my album were kinda the most UN planned/by accident one’s, so I would say I select producers by the beats rather then the other way round.
A lot of your songs, If not all are very controversial, How much of the lyrics you write are based on your own life?
I dunno how to answer that [Laughs] I would say ninety five percent of my music is based on my life, past experiences or things that I’ve seen. Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily have to be my own experience, like if my best pals going through a break up then I could do a song on the bases of that cause am kinda feeling it, because he’s feeling it. So it’s all my feelings but could sometimes be via somebody else.
So you’re an open book?
You have a new song out ‘Hero’; tell us a bit about it?
Hero is about a guy who goes through so much stress because of his girlfriend, but he loves her so much he doesn’t wanna let her go. He’s afraid that if he lets her go he will regret it, but at the same time he’s kinda had enough so he’s baring it all out. The song comes from a lot of things, Personal experiences, my mum with partners in her life, friends and what not… and that’s kinda how I got all the little bits and bob for this song.
What’s your favorite track on your new album?
That’s a hard question, there’s so many you know…
If you had to choose that one song that just sticks out from the rest?
A song called Magnificent, because it’s just so not what I’ve ever done before. It’s about me being boastful and cocky and flash, but it’s done very differently. It’s a feel good song, but it’s not an up beat song which usually you don’t find. The chorus is ‘’I’m magnificent, am not the only one but am different’’, and I just think it’s a song for everybody, to show people that no matter what you do, you can be the best at it. You don’t have to be tom cruise to be the best actor, you can just be the best in yourself and that’s really the deeper meaning to that song.
Who is your biggest inspiration musically?
Apart from myself, I’m a huge Jay z and Cormega fan, but I wouldn’t say they influence my music. I try my hardest to keep my music about me. A lot of people like to make music with the trend and times, but when that trend dies your music dies, but if it’s about yourself then it won’t die until you do really.
Which UK artist would you like to work with that you haven’t yet already?
Adele…Because am totally in love with her. That’s it you know. There’s so many good artists out there, there’s not one specific, but with Adele it’s because I hear real emotion through her songs.
What kind of message do you hope people gain from your music?
I think just to be yourself, do what feels right and be true to yourself rather then following anyone else.
If you could tell me one thing you learnt about yourself as a person when you were serving time, what would it be?
That I’m OCD [Laughs] and that I can cook. Umm I think I just got to really appreciate my life and my freedom and just realized money wasn’t everything. I got to work with special needs kids when I was in prison and seeing some of them not even able to see or walk and still be smiling everyday, made me feel that my priorities were wrong before.
A lot of people compare you and Gigs, How do you feel about that comparison?
I feel as though it’s mainly people being lazy because were completely different artists. I grew up with Gigz, so ive known him for years. I mean I wouldn’t say ive yet made a club tune, where as Gigz has with ‘If you’re talking the hardest’ and ‘Look what the cat dragged in’ So yea I think were different.
What sort of vibe can we expect from your new album ‘Eyes Closed’?
Everything…You should expect to cry, smile, Laugh at something’s I say and just enjoy it.
What song title would best describe your life story?
Miseducation by Lauren Hill
Interview by Natalie Joseph