Local rapper DeeCien has been chosen as the overall winner of Brixton Voices competition. Jessica Whitham spoke with him on his mixed feelings about the UK music industry, his influences, and his new material dropping this week …
Fifty hours of studio time – the prize for winning the Brixton Voices competition – has come at the right time for DeeCien.
The South Londoner beat Jbxnu, Majesty, Maviis, Nina Marie, and Richard Carter in the live finals.
Chosen for his performance style and musical versatility, the 21 year-old, has previously performed at Lovebox and Notting Hill Carnival.
The final was hosted by Harry Pinero, and accompanied by a DJ set from Rachael Anson.
Jess Whitham spoke to Karl Lokko, head of the creative team at BRXTN Studios, and DeeCien.
Karl, how do you feel now BRXTN Studios are fully launched?
Very surreal. It’s been a long time coming and I’m elated to open our doors.
How important is it to you to provide these kinds of opportunities in the area you grew up in?
Personally, at this time in my life and stage in my journey, it’s crucial and means everything.
Home is where the heart is.
What else will the Studios be doing to help young Londoners?
We will be collaborating with a number of youth initiatives in the area, to help young people gain experience within music.
We will also continue to hold competitions and giveaways to discover and champion home grown talent.
Do you have any specific goals you hope to see BRXTN Studios achieve this year?
This year is about dual awareness. Allowing
a) the local community to be aware that we are here to serve them, and
b) the wider music community.
DeeCien, winner of the Brixton Voices competition
Who are your career idols?
My father, who is a reggae singer and goes by the name of Chucky Bantan (Trojan Records), is my biggest inspiration.
He encouraged me to put pen to paper and write my first rap as an apology for misbehaving at just 13 years old.
He was in shock when I performed it to him and told me to continue songwriting as he saw true potential, and I’ve never stopped since.
I grew up listening to the likes of Eminem (my favorite all-time rapper!), 50 Cent & the G-Unit, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg and Krept & Konan.
And I’d say my music is influenced by artists such as Chip (especially with his unlimited lyrical skill and versatility), Poundz, DaBaby, NBA Youngboy, Playboi Carti, Stylo G and Vybz Kartel.
How do you feel about the recent industry support?
I’m in two minds about the industry if I’m totally honest.
One side is proud of the industry, especially coming from the UK and how far we’ve progressed from the 00/10s era. I feel like we’ve kicked doors down, proved everything we set out to and have put ourselves on a global scale where everyone around the world has eyes on us now.
However, the other side of me feels like the industry is fake and that artists aren’t being protected by labels.
There aren’t enough artists genuinely supporting each other or unifying as a team to make something beautiful and historical either. Instead, I’m seeing separation, conflicts, controversy etc.
My mission is to change that and be one of the greatest artists homegrown out of the UK.
To do what other artists fail to cover … To be a prime example of a role model … To inspire generations, and express that it’s OK to be yourself and demonstrate how to use hate, doubt and dismissal as motivation to succeed even more.
Are you excited to put out new music?
This is what I’ve dreamed of. What I’ve always wanted. The saying “you can’t rush greatness” has never been more relatable to me than now.
I feel like this is God’s timing as I’ve been working throughout the whole of lockdown last year until now, just perfecting my individual craft and sound, networking, expanding my fan base and social media following – just digging deep into who I really am and how I want to portray myself as a brand and artist.
I’ve manifested this year to be my breakthrough year and it’s coming to life as I have hit releases lined up from this summer all the way through til next year!
Most importantly, I have a FreshWave Session with DJ Limelight dropping on the Limelight TV YouTube channel on 10 June and will be available on all platforms the week after so be on the lookout for that!
What was the best part of the Brixton Voices competition process?
The best part was just experiencing what it’s like to be in a competition and to compete alongside many other talented acts.
I feel like it was a long time coming and that it was a calling to finally showcase my talent and everything I’ve been working for.
Also, this competition helped get me out there to the public domain and go viral across multiple social media platforms – i.e. TikTok and Instagram, which I never thought would happen.
Another highlight was of course, meeting the man himself, Harry Pinero. It was mind blowing actually being on live with him, let alone meeting him in person, especially as I’ve been a hardcore supporter watching his YouTube videos and being left in stitches from laughing for years. Proper down to Earth and genuine guy, man, definitely one of my highlights of the year thus far.