How else would you say Peckham has influenced your development as an artist?
Peckham is the trenches. People didn’t want to get off the bus there because they felt unsafe. I’ve spent the majority of my life there, so I can’t really tell you what it’s like. I always thought it was normal until I went into depth with people about certain things, and they told me it wasn’t. Growing up in Peckham, you definitely had to have a tough skin, the majority of people I know from the area do. It builds character and charisma, 100%. In Peckham, if you were good at something, you had to make sure you were the best at it, because we didn’t have much else. Whether it was football, acting, hairstyling, that’s what you’d become known for. Your talent was what made you an individual, and you just had to run with it.
At what age did you realize you wanted to pursue music professionally?
All of my mates were playing football and were smart in school, whereas I was pretty average. Music was my thing, so I just focused on that. Around this time, I started getting in trouble on the streets. People would say to me: “Look at Stormzy, he’s from Croydon”—which is just down the road—“and is Ghanaian too. There’s not much difference between you guys, you can do what he’s doing.” The fact that people from my area believed in me and gave me the push to take music seriously.
How did you end up focusing on drill specifically?
Drill was the sound I grew up on. It was very dominant when I came onto the scene. It was fresh. The activities I was around and got into when I was younger weren’t particularly the best, but they were what I saw and lived. For that reason, I felt like I could relate to drill more than any other musical genre.