Described as the ‘21st Century Poet’ UK rapper Tenny Ten aka 10 Shott is about too make his assault on the UK music industry. Born and raised in Wolverhampton mother was a backing vocalist for Culture Club and UB40 and his father a keyboard player for the rock band Thin Lizzy. Having lost many friends to gun crime, he is committed to visiting schools promoting the message that with belief and determination you can achieve anything you want to. The rapper has just finished touring with chart topping artist Chipmunk on the Bizarre Presents Tour and is set to release his debut single Oh My Dayz. Here he took time out to talk to Flavour.
How long have you had an interest in music for?
For as long as I can remember! I grew up in a musical family- my mom was a singer and my dad was a keyboardist- so music’s always had a big influence on my life.
How did sitting at the back of concerts help you in the music industry?
I think it helped incredibly on my crowd control, seeing other artists rocking crowds gave me a big insight from an early age- and now I’m doing it!
What makes you different from the rest of the UK artists out there?
My versatility, originality and I’m not afraid to experiment with any genre of music. I was even asked by Seasick Steve to collaborate with him but unfortunately I had a record at number 2 in the Baltics at the time and was on tour, so the collaboration never happened.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I’d like them to feel inspired, influenced and to feel that can associate with the subject matter of my lyrics. I would like to think that people can appreciate the imagery in my lyrics so that they can visualise what I see when I’m writing them.
How does it make you feel to be described by others as a “21stcentury poet “?
I didn’t know it! I feel honoured.
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
Who do you look up to as your hero?
Barak Obama for making anything possible.
Who are you listening to at the moment? (List 5 songs on your MP3)
Busta Rhymes – Kill Dem
Damian Marley – There For You
Tinie Tempah– Pass Out
Vybez Kartel – Last Man Standing
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
Tell me about your interest in basketball and how that relates to your name.
I started off playing in school, I organised a petition to get the basketball hoops outside. I was there before school practising basketball and I was there after school practising basketball. I then became part of the school team and 10 became my number, I entered loads if competitions and actually won a 3 point competition for scoring 10 in a row. I then put the name ‘shott’ underneath the 10 on my jersey- hence the name 10shott! I moved on to play college basketball after school, got several injuries and had to give it up. Now music’s my profession but I kept the name!
Do you have any brothers or sisters, and if yes how would you advise them on how to go for their dream?
I have an older sister who always advised me how to go for mine and a twin brother who hears more than enough advice off me every day! I wrote a track called ‘letter to my twin bro’ stating how he could follow his dream.
What do your family think of your assault on the music industry?
They are very proud of me- especially my mom and dad. I grew up watching them perform and now the tables have turned and they are watching me! It was really weird the other night to see my dad taking pictures of me surrounded by fans when I used to do the same thing for him when I was younger. It’s even weirder to think that I had the fans screaming for me at Rock City where he has headlined over 35 times.
How has loosing friends to gun crime affected your life personally?
Obviously it was a negative time mourning the loss of my friends but the positive side was that I was determined not to go the same way and to stay out of trouble. I’m also forunate enough to be in a position to work and try to make a change and I am collaborating with the local council and 20 schools promoting self-belief by telling the pupils to set goals and sticking to them.
What is your essential fashion tip?
To customise your clothes and wear your own brands. Rock your garms with confidence cuz I could put a bin liner on and make it look swaggy!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Divorcing Hallie Berry and marrying Beyonce!
Who is your dream girl?
What kind of things should we look out for on your tour?
A lot of energy, crowd participation and a show you won’t forget easily!
Tenny Ten is performing at Rough Disco at Sound, Leicester Square on 11th March.
Words by Lenisha Foster