So, Tinie, welcome to Dubai! What do you think of the city?
Do you know what? It’s amazing. Considering 25 to 30 years ago this was like a developing country, it’s really amazing to see how much has progressed. I realised a lot of the design briefs for these buildings were just like, ‘I want it to be the biggest and the best’, you get what I mean? And The Dubai Mall is a perfect example. I just came back from there, which was… (laughs). I probably got myself in a bit of trouble there.
Do you spend lots of money?
(Laughs) That’s what I’m saying! Dubai Mall – I need to like stay away! ’Cause I’m gonna be broke!
You shot to fame really fast. Did you always know you were going to be famous?
Well, I always wanted to be successful as a musician. When I was younger it was about fame, but when I started to mature it was more about being respected for your craft and for the fact you’re a musician and you’re talented and you write real good songs. I kinda had that aspiration from about the age of 12, and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.
You’re 21 now – where are you going to be when you’re 25?
I’m the kind of person that sets myself goals, so when I was 15 or 16 I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to put everything I have into music and if I don’t get a record deal by the time I’m 20, I’m going to stop.’ Lo and behold, October 9 2009, one month before I turned 21, I signed my record deal and that was a real big deal for me. So from now it’s just onwards and upwards, you get what I mean? I just want to continue making great music and delivering real amazing products and doing proper amazing shows.
What do you say when people compare you to Dizzee Rascal?
A comparison to Dizzee is actually an honour. Going back to when I was 12 years old and aspiring to be a musician, he was the only thing I was listening to at that time, you know? I think sometimes comparisons are not bad if you like who you’re being compared to. I’m a big fan of Dizzee – I’ve had the opportunity to meet him a few times, and he’s set some real light on the music industry and has given me some real good advice.
Do you think you might ever work with him?
I would love to work with Dizzee Rascal – that would be a real big moment for me. Definitely try to make that happen! Time Out Dubai, let’s do something – get on the phone and make it happen!
You heard it here first! So have you already spotted the next Tinie Tempah?
I haven’t, but that’s not to say there isn’t one. One of my ambitions is to make music that inspires people not only to buy it, but to also to help them with their aspirations, you know? So if someone has heard my music and thinks, ‘I want to be like Tiny Tempah,’ that’s a big deal to me. I’d love to nurture a new, young, fresh me.
Have you been watching the World Cup?
I have – I watched the first England game. I’ve watched the Nigerian games as well ’cause I’m originally from Nigeria.
Who do you think will win?
England! Of course! Each and every time!