British rapper Professor Green, real name Stephen Manderson, has caused a buzz with the mischievous lyrics of his debut studio album, Alive Till I’m Dead, and hit singles ‘I Need You Tonight’ and ‘Just Be Good to Green’, the latter featuring fellow Londoner Lily Allen. Following the recent release of latest single ‘Monster’, we sat down for a little chat.
He doesn’t believe in overnight success.
‘It doesn’t happen like that and I think there’s a great risk when it does. There are a lot of flash in the pans, and that’s not something I want my success to be, I’m definitely thinking long game. I don’t want this to be over any time soon, and I know no one does, but I’m aware of just how fickle the business is, having been through what I went through signing to Mike Skinner from The Streets’ record label.’
There’s no bad blood between the two, and Skinner features on his single ‘Crying Game’.
‘I love Mike to bits, but I think we’re both pretty stubborn. He looked at my music from the perspective of an artist, as opposed to an A&R [artist and recording, a talent seeker], so he’d say, ‘If this is mine, this is what I’d do,’ and my point was always, ‘It’s not yours.’ I think as an artist it’s hard to let go of that control.The creative differences we had taught me a lot about myself, and this time round I was given the trust of the record label [Green is signed to Virgin], and they let me do as I pleased. I got to make the record that I wanted to.
But he’s no pampered diva.
‘For the first time in my life, I went to a spa yesterday and had a massage, which I’ve never done before and I feel like I’ve been missing out! I slept for 10 hours last night, and I don’t often get the opportunity to sleep 10 hours, but I wanted to because it’s the first set of the tour tonight.’
He writes all his own lyrics.
‘I think it’s really important to be part of the whole process, otherwise the music isn’t really yours. A lot of people sing songs that have been written for them or that have just been picked up by them, and I think that instantly takes a lot of honesty from the music, which I think is the best part. It’s the way you connect with people. If you talk about situations you’ve been through, there’s always going to be someone else who has been through that – I’m sure a lot of the time it’s going to be a great deal of people.’
He’d kiss Lily Allen, marry Pixie Lott and kill Katy Perry.
‘I’d kiss Lily. It would be awkward – it would be like kissing a sister – but it would be over and done with and out the way. I’d kill Katy Perry. I wouldn’t really wanna… I’ll say marry Pixie, but… You have no idea how awkward that question is for me. I know Lily and Pixie, and I couldn’t really care less about Katy Perry, so that was the easy part… That was very awkward!’
He’s already eyeing up his next collaboration.
‘I’d really like to work with a producer called Bonobo, who’s signed to Ninja Tune. His music is incredible – it’s kind of trip-hoppy. A lot of it doesn’t have any vocal parts, and even without the vocals it kind of sparks. It’s good for thinking, I find.’