[Written for GRM Daily in December 2012. See the published version here.]
Despite being dropped from his record label earlier this year, Loick Essien hasn’t let it knock his confidence and has continued to put out new music at every opportunity. Recently he hooked up with Chip, Wretch 32 and Professor Green to sing the hook on the UK anthem and soon to be smash hit, ‘Londoner’ and also has a new single and album in the pipeline for next year. Plus, he never stops smiling! I caught up with the man himself to talk dream collaborations, twister and batty riders…
‘Londoner’ feels like a different sound for you. How did that track come about?
That song was a crazy one because I recorded the hook before anyone was on it. So I was going to do it and put some other people on it. I had Chip in mind and Wretch, but I wanted to get G Frsh too. At the time it didn’t really go to plan and then ‘How We Roll’ happened and other people had label commitments, so it was taking a bit too long. Then Wretch said he wanted to use it for his ‘Wretchercise’ mixtape, but didn’t end up using it. So then Chip took it and he wanted it to be the first one on his ‘London Boy’ mixtape. Everybody was kind of on the track already, but then he reached out to Pro Green. He was the last one brought in.
You’ve got a lot of features on your own ‘I.D’ mixtape too, is there anyone you haven’t yet worked with yet that you would like to?
Not really, I feel like I’ve worked with a lot of people and I’ve even got more features coming towards the end of this year, so I kind of want to focus back on my music. I’m going to start working on an album in the New Year. I might get a few features on it, but it depends.
Do you have a dream collaboration if you could choose anyone – alive or
I wish I could sing with Donny Hathaway. Obviously he’s passed away, but I’d
like to do some kind of tribute to him. Michael Jackson would be one of them,
Luther Vandross, these big voices that I grew up on.
What do you think of singing competitions like The X Factor? Would you ever go on one of them?
No I couldn’t go on one. It depends how bad you really want it I guess. I think people kind of watch it for the gossip… It’s become more of an entertainment thing now than trying to find new artists because most of the winners don’t even really last.
What did you think of Starboy Nathan deciding to go on The X Factor?
It was a surprise because obviously I talk to him and he didn’t tell anyone he was going on it. I think if it had worked out for him, everybody would have been singing his praises, but that’s sometimes how it goes.
If Wiley asked you to close Eskimo Dance with him, but on the same day you’d agreed to open for Rick Ross on tour, which performance would you end up choosing?
I’d probably do Eskimo dance just because of the legacy. I feel like Rick Ross and that do a bunch of shows, but Eski Dance is like where I’m from. I grew up on garage so it would be a reminiscing thing for me and why I would want to be there. But I would like to be at Rick Ross’ aswell so it would be a hard one. I’d have to flip a coin!
If your house was on fire and you could save only three items, which items would they be?
My two little brothers and my mum. Nothing’s more important, everything else can burn.
If you saw your ex in batty riders in a Giggs video, what would you do? Would that make you turn off the video?
I wouldn’t ever have a girlfriend that would ever even be in a Giggs video. I don’t even want my girlfriend to know who Giggs is! Not like she has to be clueless to the world, but she definitely wouldn’t want to be in any video.
If you had to play twister with any two celebrities, which ones would you choose?
Jessie J because I think she’d be hilarious and Etta Bond. You can’t play twister with guys!
If you weren’t doing music, what kind of day job do you think you would have?
Probably acting, but that’s something that I definitely want to look back in to.
Are you trying to go down the acting route like Kano and Bashy?
Yeah I want some roles like Kano man! Definitely films too. Anything where I can look like a badass and they give me a gun and I can be the action hero.
If I looked in your iPod right now, what song would I be surprised to see?
I have actually got the Carly Rae Jepsen song, ‘Call Me Maybe’ on it. That was the vibe there and then! Guilty pleasure man.