First of all give us a break down of who you are?
T’leevz: My names T'leevz and I'm an artist coming out of Norwich and I'm set to put "N City" on the map. There is a lot of talent here in all genres and I'm hoping that the UK will recognise this.
I started out as a garage MC spitting over the classic old skool garage anthems in clubs and on pirate radio stations. I used to record live sets of me and all the top MCs spitting over the new darker side of garage which has now become grime and dubstep. We used to give out these CDs for free to people and the name T’leevz was gradually being recognised.
I was introduced to a studio called NR5 by one of my boys in 2006 and was amazed at the opportunity there was to make your own tracks so I began recording on well known garage beats. This progressed to a collection of tracks and from that I decided to put together a mixtape entitled "Light In The Dark Vol.1". I released this in Norwich Feb 2007 and ended up selling 1200 copies and 300 downloads.
After the local success of the mixtape I decided to carry it on and provide the T’leevz fans with a second instalment entitled Light In The Dark Vol.2. This was a joint mixtape with WRC battle rapper Arkaic, hosted by BBC's DJ Limelight. We felt it had something for everyone from street music to politics and conspiracies to bangers to tracks for the girls. This was released July 31st 2008. Both mixtapes can be downloaded for free from the T'leevz myspace.
My first video release was for the track "Light In The Dark" which took many cold nights to film and was important for me to do because it was the track that started things off for me. Produced by Southampton’s T Dot many people feel its an anthem. The video was shot by Tom Goldser and can be viewed on youtube or myspace.
Late 2008 I linked up with an amazing producer from Hackney who goes by Detrimental Productions. I started out with session work and gradually we noticed the chemistry was there and I felt his productions were banging. The T'leevz EP / album will be featuring some massive productions from Detrimental and I can honestly say get ready to be blown away.
How did you come up with the name T’leevz? Would you literally pronounce it tea leaves?
T’leevz: T’leevz is a nickname from back in school days. I started out as a old school garage MC and had to come up with a name to use as my alias. With so many choices I couldn’t pick a name that I felt was "The One" so I decided to roll with my nickname T’leevz. I felt it was different to every one else’s and it stuck with me. It’s pronounced "tea leaves" and can be spelt in many different ways but the two main ways you'll see it is T'Leevz or Tleevz. For those who don't know Tea Leaves has two meanings. A) - it’s a slang word for thief. B) - back in the days people used to use tea leaves as a form of telling the future.
Your track Wiggle N Wind is heavy! A definite head bopper. For those who have not yet heard the track give us a breakdown of it?
T’leevz: Nice one! That’s the vibe I wanted it to have, bouncy and bubbling so when it comes on in a club or rave its one of them ones that you just gotta make your body move.
Wiggle N Wind was a track I originally made over three years ago on a D Double E dub called "Thuggish Ruggish". The feedback from that track was really good and I had always wanted to have a beat made for it and do it properly. In 2007/8 I approached a few producers including Maniac and was going to get something popping but when I linked with Detrimental I played him the beat and by the end of the day he had produced the whole track and I was feeling it, so from there it was mastered at Danny C's and the video was directed and edited by Charlie Sloth & Jumpoff TV.
The video is also making itself known on youtube, over 2000 views so far! How does it feel when you can physically see people taking an interest in your work?
T’leevz: Yer its doing alright on youtube. It feels great that people take an interest in my work and appreciate it. A lot of people have been telling me that I'm doing it big for Norwich and it feels good to have the home town support behind me.
What can we expect from your upcoming album project?
T’leevz: You can expect a disc full of bangers and solid productions. I'm excited myself about the finished project and I feel there's no limits to how far it can go. There's going to be a few club bangers, couple deep tracks, some street anthems, one for the rappers who love bars and one or two for the girls. A mixture of grime, garage and hip hop.
What other plans do you have for 2009?
T’leevz: 2009 - expect the third instalment of my mixtape trilogy - Light In The Dark Vol.3. This will be free to download and will be released before the EP / album. I know people love freebies especially online and I respect that so it doesn’t hurt to give people what they want. I believe the people will then buy the EP / album to show their respect and appreciation for the music. If not I'm kicking down doors and taking down their broadband connections. Just joking...
You can expect to see a few collabs with some big UK artists but I cant give away any names just yet. Also a few more videos of tracks from the EP / album will be coming shortly. Last but not least I'm pushing out the talent from Norwich so be sure to keep an eye out for Risky Bizniz Entertainment supporting Arkaic, Franko Fraize and LMS.
Where can our readers get more info on you? Hear your music and watch your videos?
T’leevz: You can get more info by typing Tleevz into Google or youtube or if you want to go direct I'm on all the sites.
- Facebook Group : Tleevz
T’leevz: Yer shout to Risky Bizniz Entertainment, Detrimental Productions, Danny C @ Aim Records, Charlie Sloth and Jumpoff Tv, the Tleevz fans, people of Norwich City and all those people who appreciate the music in UK.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.