You were born and raised for many years in Nigeria, tell us about your childhood?
Ang£l: It was fun, although we weren’t rich. I mainly lived at my grandparents house which was like the family home. My aunties, uncles, cousins etc… all lived there so although the house was mad crammed full of people it was nice with all the fam around. But when I first moved there it was a lil difficult for me because English was my first language so I couldn’t speak Yoruba (one of Nigeria's 3 languages) so it took me a while to adjust. Luckily I was still young so you already know kids learn languages quite quickly so I was aright after a while. Like I said we were surviving but it was all fun. I was crazy into football and we used to ball all the time too.
Originally you started out as part of a group called “Hipnotic” why did you decide to go solo?
Ang£l: My partner at the time (Kid Nasty) was a songwriter before the group so the singer he used to work with migrated to the States. He was planning to bounce too, but out there on the song writing tip because they had their partnership with that so I kinda figured even if something pop off with the rap thing he still prolly gonna bounce which I wasn’t ready to do yet, so we talked about it and we deaded the group situation, he still my boy though way before music like from young days so we still the same just minus the group thing.
You have opened up for Ludacris before, what was that like?
Ang£l: It was nuts, we just got back from NY from being out there like a month, it was our first ever show, so you can imagine most people first shows are small and here we were about to go open for a superstar like Luda on a BIG stage in front of like 4000 people at the Brixton academy. My boy was mad nervous, we still watch the video for jokes and he saying he mad nervous on that, but we went on and did our thing and tore it up, got mad love from the crowd, it was a real nice experience, big dressing rooms and all that it was dope. But to tell truth it never dawned on me till we got like the “you’re on in five mins” call. All because the month before we were supposed to open for Method Man and Redman, so we were amped about that, we went round telling everybody like the whole hood and beyond and you know everybody was real proud for us and happy for us and mad people we know were going to the show too only for us to get a call the day before the show saying we got taken off the show.
I’ll never forget that night we were in KFC in Harlesden mad people coming back from the show was like what happened we never saw you guys, I was mad pissed off but during the call they also said they were bringing someone big over the next month and they def had us for that. But I didn’t believe them so I never said nothing to anybody. Only for the reversal mad people saw us and was saying we tore it down was like how come you never told me about it... lol.
Why did you pick the name Ang£l?
Ang£l: The definition of the word angel is messenger and a messenger is someone that communicates something whatever that may be. Music is the universal language and artists make music. So you put the two things together it only made sense to me and the Pound Sterling in the spelling is there to show you I’m about getting paper plus it reps where I’m from that being the UK currency.
You released you album recently, what response have you had so far?
Ang£l: The response has been crazy, so positive, I mean when you make music obviously you put so much of yourself into it so you’re not sure how people are gonna receive it but fortunately for me its been all good and all love from all over the world, UK, US, Asia, Europe, people always saying they feeling the music. I just need more opportunity for more people to hear the music and support it by going to buy. Its out at most big HMV stores, its online at all major online stores, itunes, play.com, rhapsody, asdaonline, curryonline, real music player etc… just google “Angel Soar With Me”.
You record in the States as well as the UK yeah? How did you get that opportunity?
Ang£l: Yup, well the people around me musically and that taught me about this thing from when I first got into the game have mainly been from the US so, its just when I’m over there, I just dip through their studio set-up to do my thing, plus in 07 I had a recording deal on the table from a production company in Texas so when I was out there I was putting in work too.
You also write for others, who has used your lyrics?
Ang£l: I’m a ghost-writer can’t reveal that info... SORRYYYYYY.
Are you still working with Marc B? He is a DJ for So So Def out of Denmark right?
Ang£l: Yup, Marc B is my peoples. Yup he’s the only So So Def DJ not based in the US so that shows you how he’s doing it way big. We still work together, that will never stop, he’s actually managing Kay & Ndustry who are one of the top producers in Denmark so they hitting me with some bangers now. Marc B ain't the only DJ I mess with though, the big dawg WESTWOOD shows me mad luv and hooks me up with stuff every now and then plus DJ@WAR, DJ DENOX outta Canada and DJ Midnite too.
What do you have planned for 2008?
Ang£l: Wow, I got a lot, number one on the list get rich… lol… on the real I’m about to get on my mixtape hustle, I been on mixtapes before from all over the globe but I never put one together myself, so I’m about to get on that first one should be dropping free download or sent only specifically to people on my mailing list first quarter 08 then I might start a mixtape series (www.myspace.com/angeltheartist, www.reverbnation.com/angeltheartist hurry and sign up to the mailing list).
Appearing on DVDs look out for Across The Pond DVD I’ll be on that coming sometime in 08, might do one myself, hooking up to do some work with the big basketball tournament Midnight Madness sponsored by Nike so look out for that coming sooner than you think. Going to do some more videos, more shows but travelling overseas more doing that, write for a whole lot more artists, starting to do more features. I had one with Leona Lewis that unfortunately fell through in 07, plus my new album will be in the works, gonna really do my video blogs so fans get to know me and roll with me, I wanna build my squad with artists, writers, producers, models etc… When you see me in pics with my index finger up that’s my squad I’m throwing up Pole Position, P1 you already know I’m the rap Lewis Hamilton, early, but you know just generally working on a whole bunch of different projects, sky's the limit so I’m aiming past that.
Obviously every artist is proud of their work but which of your own songs are you most proud of and why?
Ang£l: Stakes Is Higher track number eleven on the album. My music is my thoughts, experiences, environment and of those around me. That track draws from all that and delivers a story with a strong message. I feel when you listen to it, its not like you’re listening any more its like you see the song. The lyrics combined with Ricochet's production on that just makes it so cinematic.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome within the music industry and why?
Ang£l: Its an ongoing obstacle, its getting the opportunity to get my music out there to the people and by that I mean getting spins on radio, TV and shows. People pay to get those outlets nowadays to be honest unless someone within the system that has power hears your music and puts you on. Me being an independent artist, I haven’t got the budget to do that. But every so often my music somehow gets to the right ears and once people hear my music so far its been nothing but luv and I get the opportunity to so a BIG show (e.g. open for Ludacris) get spins (e.g. play listed on Choice FM and other stations around Europe, going on Westwood Radio1). Another reason being there are a lot of artists who aren’t ready yet or some that are plain trash so a lot of people in the position of power to help ain’t even trying to check for up n coming talent.
Ang£l: Da Mystri, Ricochet, Marc B, Westwood, DJ @ War, DJ Denox, DJ Midnite, Lawrence, The Council, D-Low, Little King, Shikoro, iimuch, D Boy, Lumes Flowne, Cheddah, Underground Promotions UK and a big shout to all the people that’s been supporting coming to shows buying and loving the music.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.