Shazam Meets… Chipmunk
For the last two weeks, UK urban star Chipmunk has topped our UK Pre-release Chart with his new single ‘Champion’. The track sees the London MC join forces with Chris Brown, who delivers an emotive verse that has particular resonance considering Brown’s well documented problems. The collaboration is taken from Chipmunk’s forthcoming second album, ‘Transition’, which follows on from his platinum selling debut ‘I Am Chipmunk’. His steady rise puts him firmly within an ever expanding group of UK Urban artists who are dominating the European charts - including N-Dubz, Tine Tempah and Tinchy Stryder.
With ‘Champion’ ready to drop next week, we grabbed a few minutes with the man himself. We discussed a number of topics, ranging from his ever expanding tattoo collection and if he has plans to take his music to the States. To find out how his duet with Chris Brown came together and what we can expect from ‘Transition’ click on the link below.
‘Champion’ is your next single and sees you collaborate with US singer Chris Brown. How did you end up working together?
When I was looking for someone to work with, I wanted someone who would sing it from their stomach you know? Chris heard the track and loved it, he asked if he could have a verse on it and first I was like ‘not sure’ because I’d never done that before. Then I heard what he’d done and I was just blown away.
It’s accompanied by a suitably lavish video, where was it filmed?
Thanks man. It was shot out in Miami with Colin Tilley (who previously worked on Brown’s solo hit ‘Dueces’).
The lyrics to ‘Champion’ and ‘Flying High’ reference you proving your doubters wrong. Is this a theme across your new album ‘Transition’?
I can see how people might think that but it’s more of me stepping up to the challenge. Back when I did the first album I was doing my A-levels, you know. I was 16. Now I’m a young adult I’ve got different things to say. But with that I’ve got to make sure that things I’m saying now appeal to people who liked the first album. If they were 19 when they liked the first album, I want to make sure there are things on this one they’ll like now.
Were there any new sources of inspiration for you on this album?
This might sound strange, but I’ve been listening to Florence & The Machine quite a lot. The production on that album is huge man; that is a big sounding record. In terms of urban influences? I wanted to get back to it being about the bars. In the scene previously it seemed like I couldn’t do it. But now everyone seems to be more open to it.
We mentioned the collaboration with Chris Brown and your debut saw you hook up with a host of other artists. Can you tell us about any others you have lined up on ‘Transition’?
Yeah, as well as Chris there’s Diddy and Skylar Grey.
The UK urban scene just keeps thriving, the likes of yourself, N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah, Skepta etc are all smashing it at the moment. Back when you were making mixtapes, did you ever think it would get this level?
If I’m honest, no. I feel over here (the UK) we naturally gravitate to artists that aren’t from here. So I could go Platinum, or I could sell a tour out. But someone from another country might sell 100,000 albums and sell out Wembley arena. You’re not meant to be able to bump into artists from other countries; you can bump into me, or N-Dubz, or Skepta. You see us in the clubs. So it makes it that bit harder to capture what they’ve got. But I feel slowly but surely we’re getting there. Things like me collaborating with Chris Brown, Tinie with Kelly Rowland, things like that help the audience appreciate us as stars more.
Obviously you guys all guest on each other’s records, is there an element of competition between you lot?
I think it depends; I can’t speak on behalf of everyone. I feel all of us as acts are different; there are kids that will identify with me more than they will with someone else and vice versa. If we spend all out time looking at each other then we’re gonna end up in a pear shaped salad bowl! So it’s like; let’s just roll man.
Presumably you’ve got your eye on conquering the states next?
If I’m honest, even though the album has a lot of guests from the US on there, that isn’t me trying to break the States. That’s me trying to make the best possible album I can here for my fans in the UK. If that transcends to other countries, then that’s great. It just means starting again, explaining how I got my name a million times again! This album is me solely trying to make my UK fans happy, and they’re fans of these (US) artists as well.
You’re tattoo collection is ever growing. What are your latest additions?
Haha. Yeah man, I’ve got a clock on my chest. Honestly? I’m just rolling man, if I like something I’m gonna get it. People are always asking if there’s a meaning but I’m like, it’s my body.
Finally, what new music have you been listening to?
It’s not really new music, but even been listening to Craig David’s first album a lot recently. I think everyone should give that another listen. That was some epic s**t! As in new music? ‘Last Train To Paris’ by Diddy Dirty Money is a sick conceptual hip hop album. Listening to ‘Born To Do It’ you can hear the UK influence coming through Diddy’s new stuff. At his album launch he said the sound of the album was ‘hot UK soul’.
Chipmunk Feat. Chris Brown ‘Champion’ is now available on iTunes through Jive Records.