What have you been up to recently?
I have my own booking agency, so I book different British artists, including myself, to DJ. I’ve been doing this for ten years. I’m also working with some new acts on my record label Maffia Recordz. I’ve been so blown away with fashion and music that I keep forgetting about myself as an artist, but I’m writing at the minute and I’ve come up with an amazing new track.
What inspired you to launch your online fashion boutique, House of Maffia?
I closed it a while ago as my mum was battling cancer, but now I am putting together the platform to reopen, hopefully in September during London Fashion Week. It’s for upcoming designers to display and sell their pieces. Music and fashion go hand in hand. I didn’t realise back then that you could actually make serious money from it [laughs].
What were the highlights of your career in UK garage band So Solid Crew?
I toured with Christina Aguilera across the UK and Europe. Being able to perform to so many people and to travel around the world was amazing. I also shot with Mario Testino for UK Vogue and he’s one of the biggest fashion photographers. At the time I didn’t realise how great the experience was, but it’s the most amazing thing that’s happened in my career.
Were there ever any low points being in a group?
The most challenging part is knowing if you’re recognised as an individual, because there is so much talent around you. All the fans watch you as a whole, so when you are in it, you don’t know whether you are significant or not. Maybe you don’t have as much confidence so you’re always thinking, ‘Oh maybe it’s because of them that I’m liked.’ You have to remind yourself that you are working for something that you love.
Why do you think it didn’t last as long as people expected?
We were young and some of the guys were very foolish. I just don’t think the management as a whole was strong enough to take control of naughty kids. It just needed a bit more adult input in there because we were just young millionaires and foolish.
You are performing at Garage Nation in Dubai, what can we expect from the show?
I’ve being coming to the UAE for the past ten years, and over the years, I’ve played at R&B and garage events. Expect a journey of music and a really good night. I’ll be doing something from my R&B album as well.
Garage Nation. Dhs120. Fri April 10, 9pm-3am. Level 41, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (055 924 6496).