1 Be wary of the music business.
Get to know the music business and make sure that you protect your rights. I discovered this with my big hit, ‘Original Nuttah’. You can’t just trust people in this game. As an artist you get passionate about creativity and forget about the business side of things, but you should always study it, whether you take a class or just look on the internet.’
2 Don’t go the Winehouse route.
‘It’s not just about having the best mic and amps – as a vocal artist you also have to be very physically fit, because it puts heavy demands on your physical strength. It’s a serious thing. You can’t be drunk and out of your head. People want to see you live and fit. Real artists don’t just watch what they eat to look good.
3 Practice, practice, practice.
Keep up with your sit-ups, because the voice comes from the stomach. And practice breathing properly. A good singer learns when to take breaths and when to let them out. You can do this at home.
4 Prepare for the worst-case scenario.
In the last 10 years I’ve had a few situations where the equipment hasn’t worked and I’ve had to go a capella. You have to be prepared to do these things, because nothing is guaranteed in live performances. If you can’t do it without the music then you’re not good enough.
5 Learn to play the crowd.
A lot of artists now are just studio artists who don’t know a about how to communicate on the stage. I always have tracks that involve the crowd. I usually start with a track called ‘I Say, You Say’ and I always get the crowd involved in the song. And when I’m doing ‘Original Nuttah’ I start off a capella and people sing it word by word in every country in the world. It helps people feel involved and they enjoy the night much more. I like to connect to people. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m untouchable or special.
6 Always keep your musical avenues open.
I’m doing something now under the name ‘Arabingi’ – the UK Apache name has always left me in the shadow of Apache Indian. It has an Arabic feel to it, but it’s really about consciousness and righteousness. It means a lot to me because my father’s Iraqi and my mum is South African Asian. I came from reggae music and I always wanted to go back to that cultural, rootsy type of thing. And nobody will confuse me with anyone again, because nobody’s got a name like Arabingi!
UK Apache plays UKNIGHTS at Submarine on October 24.