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Interview: Eight9Fly

Eight9Fly is an emerging rapper in London’s music scene. Based in South London, he started making music from early age and developed his music style which made him who he is now.
Only recently he released his debut single RAGO, followed by the wavey Bad Gal RiRi. I sat down with him and talked about his artist name, P Money vs Dot Rotten and his collab with Moelogo. Enjoy reading below!

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and when you started getting into music?

Music. R&B was the foundation, I got introduced to it in an early age, when I was in school and at church. I got introduced to a few friends who all had the same love for R&B. Not long afterwards we founded a R&B singing group – it was me, my brother P2J who is a producer and others. At that time we were performing a lot of shows, talent shows and simply rehearsing every week. That was the birth of my love for music. When I got into secondary school I made a transition to Grime. I started MCing and loved the whole energy and expressive side to it. Not long after that I kinda grew to understand that my creative side is a lot wider than Grime so I developed into rap. From my musical beginnings to now I feel like I adapted my music and created my own kind of sound.

For how long did you have the R&B group?

We were together for like three years, from 2005. We were out every week, killing shows and just performing, it was a great time. I’m always going to love R&B.

Which R&B artists do you look up to then?

The first artist I fell in love with was Usher. Jagged Edge, Joe, that whole R&B era.

About your artist name, how did Eight9Fly come about, considering your names were FlyboyE and Fly earlier?

When I made the transition from Grime to Rap that was the first name given to me. I was boxing at the time and I kinda had my own style at boxing. It was different, a lot of swag. So everytime I came to train, my guy who I was training with started calling me Fly or Flyboy. It happened organically. I just used the initial of my first name, E, and added it to FlyboyE. So I was gonna use it as my ring name and my artist name. Then after a couple years, I took a break from music to re-invent myself, find a new management team and wanted to focus on my direction. When I started releasing music again I thought FlyboyE was a bit too long so I shortened it to FLY. I ran with that for 1-2 years. Then I got introduced to my new management team. I wanted to make it all right, music, name, everything. I thought about FlySince89 but I wasn’t completely satisfied. One of my boys then suggested Eight9Fly. After sleeping on it, I really liked it! So that’s what it is right now.

That’s interesting! So you’re about to release an EP called New Favourite. What’s that about?

I feel like a year and a half ago until now I’ve literally been in a creative process. The break that I took from music taught me a lot. At the time I felt like I used those inspirations in my music now, I felt I wasn’t getting what I needed or wanted. I taught myself how to produce. Since then everything just happened organically. My producer right now produced the majority. We want to go forward, put out a lot of great music. Eight9Fly needs to come out with great music, so my mixtape has 15 tracks!

15 tracks?

That’s the whole point of new favourite. Every song is better than the other and every song can be your new favourite. The original title was different but in our session my producer and I had a new favourite with every song. That’s the idea of the project! 

I love that idea! Do you have any features on the mixtape?

With this project I just wanted to be it only myself. It’s a strong body of work, and represents me and my work. 

What’s your ultimate goal music-wise?

I have got short-term and long-term goals. Of course I want to collect the best awards, I want to sell out arenas and put together my own tours. There’s a lot of goals I want to achieve. But as an artist I just want people appreciate my music, building up a solid fanbase. 

Speaking of touring, are you planning on performing somewhere some time soon?

Definitely. Currently the focus has been on music but we are talking about putting together some shows. 

Great! Let’s talk about boxing. You said you were a boxer, why did you decide to choose music as a career path instead?

I am not boxing competetively anymore. I was boxing in Germany and could of gotten a professional contract. But I would have needed to leave University at that time and still wanted to focus on my music. I put a little thought into it and decided to go for music. I still love the sport, though.

Do you think University helped you with your approach to music and everything around it?

Definitely networking-wise. At that time, if I didn’t get into that course (Commercial Music), I wouldn’t have done it I think. I only went to Uni for that course, for the practical-side of things – to work with live bands and so on. The lecturers were either music lawyers, A&R’s or managers so it was good for networking. 

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What are your thoughts about signing at a label or staying independent? What are your plans?

It all depends on what you want to achieve and what the deal is like. I feel like at the moment a lot of artists are choosing the independent route because they see a lot of success. Ultimately, if you are trying to make it to greater heights, a label would be suitable but look at Stormzy, Skepta – these guys can make it without a major label as well. Time will tell!

I agree. Which artists do you draw your inspiration from then?

I am a fan of music, I draw inspiration from everything. I like certain artists. In the UK I listen to Skepta, Stormzy, P Money, I like a whole bunch and respect what they are doing. It’s a great scene for music here at the moment, the tables have turned. Great artists oversees are recognising what we are doing!

Talking P Money, what are your thoughts about the current Dot Rotten x P Money dub?

This is P Money’s territory. Technically both are great, but P Money does not lose . When it comes to that, he doesn’t lose, he’s always in control. He’s one of the reasons I started MC-ing in the first place, he’s also from Forest Hill just like me. 

We will see who wins!
So you recently dropped RAGO and BadGal Riri, what was your approach for them?

RAGO was one the first tracks I really worked on. It just kinda represents a move-forward-approach. Sometimes in this game you have to take risks and forget what everyone else is doing. Just focus on your thing! That’s what I wanted to achieve with RAGO. BadGal RiRi is more fun, I wanted to create something people would move to. So in the verses I got bars, but the hook is very catchy. More like a vibey song really. RAGO is the first single off New Favourite.

Which one will you release next?

I’ve already got one on my Soundcloud which will be the next release. It’s called Vybz Cartel featuring Moelogo. The video will hopefully drop next week. 

How did the collaboration with Moelogo come about?

One of my producers sent me a snippet of the beat just before I went for a morning run. So all the way as I was jogging I was thinking of melodies in my head and realised I had the melody for the hook. So my producer sent me the beat structure, I started writing the tune and the following day I recorded it at my studio. When I was recording, Moelogo came in because he had a session, he came in and listened to it. He liked it and wanted to jump on it. Very organic! 

Keep an eye out for the mixtape to drop soon!

Photocredits: @danteslens

Follow: @Eight9Fly


Written By: Antonia

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