Rhymes like these might sound like wishful thinking, but 23 year-old Tinie Tempah really is living the dream. No one, least of all Tinie, could have predicted the scale of success created by his No.1 debut album, Disc-Overy.
“When I do look back, I see I’ve achieved a lot but it’s kinda typical of me to want more. Everything I’ve already done, I want to do 10, 100, 1000 times over. I’m not sitting about being content and happy; I’m continuously striving for more,” Tinie reflects of his incredible achievements. To date: 1.2 million copies of Disc-Overy sold worldwide, 4 million single sales, 12 major awards (including two BRITS, three MOBOs, one Ivor Novello and a BET), 2 No.1 singles (Pass Out, Written In The Stars) and 2 Top 5’s (Miami 2 Ibiza, Frisky). Tinie is also the first British rapper to sell over 1 million singles in the US after Written In The Stars went to No.12 in the Billboard charts. The single was also chosen as the official theme for Wrestlemania XXVII. Having supported Rihanna, Coldplay, Jay-Z and Chase & Status, Tinie announced a headline Arena tour in 2011, culminating in a sold-out shows at London’s O2 and Wembley Arena.
In print, Tinie was the first British rapper to feature on the cover of The Times newspaper and since then has won the prestigious GQ Best Dressed Man of the Year (he’s often snapped on the Front Row of fashion shows) and has featured in publications including the NME, The Observer, the Sunday Times, The Guardian, GQ and Q Magazine. The Sun’s Bizarre section crowned him
‘Lord of the Year at the end of 2010 too. On screen, he has been on every major talk show from Graham Norton to Jonathan Ross, has hosted an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks as well as performed on Jools Holland and the US X-Factor.
His online stats are also incredibly impressive, with over 100million YouTube/Vevo views, 1.3 million Twitter followers and 2.4 million Facebook Likes to date. A festival favourite, Tinie joined Snoop Dogg on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2010, and has since played every major national and international festival from SXSW to Coachella, Ibiza Rocks, Australia’s Big Day Out and Radio 1’s Big Weekender, where he found a new fan in the form of Prince William.
In the last two years, Tinie has collaborated with, Wiz Khalifa, Soul ja Boy, Wretch 32, Emeli Sandé, Ellie Goulding, Swedish House Mafia, Kelly Rowland, J. Cole, and, of course, Labrinth, whose single Earthquake, Ft. Tinie, recently went to No.1, making it Tinie’s third chart-topper. His free-to-download Happy Birthday EP, released just before Christmas, racked up hundreds of thousands of downloads in just hours.
Outside of music, Tinie’s brand continues to spiral skywards. High-profile, carefully chosen endorsements with Lucozade and Blackberry have established his commercial appeal, while Tinie recently announced the inception of his own fashion line, Disturbing London (in conjunction with Maharishi), named after his label, Disturbing London Records, which includes rapper G-FrSH and production outfit All About She (Devlin, Scorcher, Tinie). In November 2011, Tinie released his first book, My Story So Far, on Ebury Press.
What makes Tinie’s success even more spectacular is his global reach; a first for a British rapper, Tinie’s name is known throughout the world, with fans from New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and, crucially, America. US X-Factor, David Letterman and Jay Leno have all booked the boy from Plumstead, while US rappers have showered praise on his lyrical skills and fans have snapped up his singles. From national to international waters, Tinie has become one of the UK’s most successful musical exports.
His second album, due later this year, is currently in progress. Muted collaborations include Adele and Gary Barlow, and Tinie recently confirmed he has been working with Pharrell Williams, Usher and The Script. “The last two years have been incredible,” said Tinie. “There’s been highs, lows, and everything in-between. I’m still the same person – I’m still Patrick – but I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot. My next record will definitely reflect the next stage of my life. I want it to be better than brilliant – I want it to be the best it can be.”
Amongst the sales and success, the accolades and adoration, Tinie remains one of the most likeable pop stars you might wish to meet. Part of his success could be put down to his intelligent, witty, down to earth manner that has won him fans from Damon Albarn to Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z to Chris Martin. “I’m not trying to be a ‘cool’ rapper rocking shades and a frown. If I find something funny, I laugh, I don’t care if I look stupid,” Tinie grins. “I don’t ‘become’ Tinie, it’s not like an alter-ego thing when I stick on my shades. Tinie is Patrick and Patrick is Tinie; what you see is what you get.”
This year, fans can see Tinie perform in Australia, at SXSW, Coachella and at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend. His second album is due for release later this year.