Charlie Blaize is a woman with a bright future. Born and raised in London, this rapper hopes to bring something different to the scene with her story-telling style and gritty realism. Determined to counter the negative image that hiphop has, Charlie is working to bring positivity to the forefront of the scene and make us all look on the bright side of things.
You were born and raised in South London. Can you tell us a bit about your roots (both musically and socially)?
How would you define your style?
Charlie Blaize: I would define my style as ‘BritHop’ or ‘Urban with a Twist’.
What’s your take on the UK hiphop scene at the moment?
Charlie Blaize: I think the UK hip hop scene has a lot of talent out there but not enough A&R people to pick up on it. We still have a long way to go. There are more artists putting out positive lyrics and at last the UK are creating their own style. Artists I like at the moment are people like The Streets, Kano, Wretch 32 and Akala.
I hear that you’re making it your mission to make ‘positivity a fashion’. Can you elaborate?
Charlie Blaize: I am "On a Mission to make Positivity a Fashion" as there is so much negativity out there at the moment. We need to start to think more positively to make good things happen and to be happy. Too much negativity gets people down and we must make sure that people out there don't lose hope. My hope is that from my positive lyrics, seeds will be planted in people’s heads which may grow. And then they may not feel the need to always reach for the negative.
Your lyrics carry a social / political current. In your opinion, what’s wrong with British society?
Charlie Blaize: The problem with British society is that there isn't one! My lyrics are not really political; they are just observations on life.
Your lyrics are gritty and honest. A lot of rappers would be reluctant to give their audience such a candid insight into their lives. For instance, you talk about being broke, when a lot of rappers would blag that they’ve got cash when they haven’t. How has this different approach been received by your audience?
Charlie Blaize: I feel that my lyrics need to be gritty and honest as that is the real me. No one trusts a liar, least of all me, so people can really identify with what I am saying – knowing it comes from the heart.
I understand that you’re not just vocally talented either. You can play some instruments too? Tell me more about that.
Charlie Blaize: I played the drums from the age of 12-16, and still enjoy doing so to this day, when I get the chance.
Have you found it particularly difficult as a woman to succeed in a music scene that’s predominantly male?
Charlie Blaize: No I haven't found it hard in the music scene being a woman, as (without sounding bigheaded) I know I am good at what I do. I don't think it matters what sex, race, age etc. you are. If you have a talent people have to respect that.
Your Myspace page has you down as ‘unsigned’. Have you had much interest from labels? Or are you planning to stay independent?
Charlie Blaize: I have recently formed a company with the founder of Kiss FM, Gordon Mac. He's put together a team with big names from the music industry who are eager to work with me. We have set up a groundbreaking and unique company, which the music industry has not ever seen before.
Can we expect to see you on our screens soon? Are you planning any videos?
Charlie Blaize: You should look out for me on your screens as there are plans to do some music videos for my tracks; like Mind Over Matter and Trisha. My tracks have great stories to them and we are going to have a lot of fun making the videos to them.
Where do you look for inspiration when you’re writing?
Charlie Blaize: I get all my inspiration from life and what goes on around me!
Are you a big fan of day-time television other than Trisha? (Her talk show being the subject of you track entitled ‘Trisha’)
Charlie Blaize: I am not a big fan of daytime TV. I am a huge voyeur on life and that is daytime TV in a nutshell.
I love that Cash in the Attic programme. You ever caught that?
Charlie Blaize: I have seen Cash in the Attic many a time.
All I’ve got in my attic is cobwebs and a nasty smell.
Charlie Blaize: Unfortunately I don't have an attic, just a coal cupboard!
So, what’s your take on this whole reality TV thing? Is it healthy that people want to go on to talk shows to air their problems and get advice?
Charlie Blaize: Personally I would not want to go on one of those shows myself but can understand how they can help some people. Occasionally I feel sorry for people but on the whole, all that is needed is a bit of common sense.
Which other artists would you like to work with?
Charlie Blaize: There are many other artists I would love to work with and I’m as passionate about my singing as much as my rapping. Artists like Akala, Missy Elliott Productions and Busta Rhymes would be fantastic to work with. I think Ludacris and I could work amazingly with our lyrics and story telling combined. I have always loved Jungle and some of my songs have a very strong Drum and Bass / Jungle feel, so working with someone like Shy FX would be a dream come true for me.
Have you got any big collaborations planned?
Charlie Blaize: I do have a couple of big collaborations in the pipeline but I never count my chickens before they've hatched.
What has been your favourite live performance to date?
Charlie Blaize: My favourite live performances to date have been at Z Bar in Brixton and The Hackney Empire. Z Bar was extra special as there was a showcase for all my friends, family and fans, who have all been there for me for the past 6 years. As my grandfather said, 'there is no such thing as overnight success'.
Where can the public get your material?
Charlie Blaize: I am in the studio at the moment mastering my album and having a website built. My album should be out early next year, so watch out for it.
What else can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
Charlie Blaize:Check out http://www.myspace.com/misscharlieblaize for further details and upcoming shows / album release. All I can say is look out for Charlie Blaize next year as we are going to be everywhere!
By Tom Atkinson