R&B star Angel in Dubai - interview

The UK star on working with Rihanna, JLS, Frank Ocean, Ed Sheeran and more

Interview, Hot seat

Ahead of his appearance at N’Dulge, Peter Feely has a chat with up-and-coming UK R&B star Angel.

‘Wonderful’ – what’s the song about and what’s the inspiration behind it?
The point is that you shouldn’t have to feel different to anyone else. Whatever you do that makes you feel good – you should hold your head high.

I saw an acoustic version of ‘Wonderful’ on YouTube where you were with Ed Sheeran and Michael Kiwanuka. Are you competitive with them?
It’s not a competition. Mike and Ed Sheeran are good friends.

You have written songs for Pixie Lott, Jason Derulo, JLS and Cheryl Cole. Do you get asked to write with particular people in mind?
It depends really. I was writing stuff for Rihanna’s new album and with that they didn’t say ‘What songs have you got?’ They just put us in a studio and said ‘let’s see what you can come up with?’ And we had to write with her sound in mind. The album’s not been picked yet so they’re still pending.

There must be a genre that you’re not personally keen on? Country and western?
I love country and western! Listen – that is my favourite – Tammy Wynette and all that.

That’s quite a long way from Dizzy and Wiley…
[Laughs]. It is, but that’s what makes me different. Melodically, when I deliver my vocals, it’s very country. If you’re a music head and you know about runs and ad-libs and stuff and the way that you might finish the deliverance on a vocal – it’s very country and that’s what I listen to – especially people like Tammy Wynette.

You’ve had some tumultuous times [Angel served time in Feltham Young Offenders Institute in the UK] – has it helped in the long run?
Definitely – everything happens for a reason and at that time – that’s what needed to happen to see where I was in life – it was a wake-up call – it’s all just made me more vigilant as a person.

You worked with Frank Ocean on your track ‘Rocket Love’?
That was last year. It was his peak – he was killing it, but he’s still killing it now.

Was he intense and meticulous or laid back?
He was cool – he is kinda tense though. There’s no mucking around in the studio with him. He comes straight into the studio, says hello to everyone for ten seconds then goes straight to the piano and starts thinking of ideas.

Will it be your first time in Dubai?
I’ve never been and I’ve heard so much about it. It’s a bit too lawful for me – I heard it’s quite strict. Saying that, I think I’ll have a banging time. I know I’ll have fun regardless.

Angel performs for No.1 Fridays at N'Dulge, Atlantis The Palm, on Friday August 8, 10pm-3pm. Entry: Dhs100 (free for ladies before 11pm).

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