Since my adolescence, I’ve been enamored with the UK: the culture, the appreciation of hip hop, and the history have all made for countless dreams of spending time an ocean away.
Last summer I was fortunate enough to be in Berlin performing at Lollapalooza with CRO when I got the surprise opportunity to perform in London for my first international headlining show. As soon as I reached London Town I felt completely at home and, despite a few mishaps with my Airbnb, I got settled in North London – near Alexandra Palace – with a friend and started exploring.
Brick Lane’s whole vibe is one of the most interesting I’ve ever experienced. Between the murals, music, shops, and food it reminded me so much of Philly that I would’ve mistaken it for home if it hadn’t been for the accents! I also got the chance to visit the VICE London office and had the most amazing pizza at a spot called Homeslice, which I’d highly recommend. My guide also took me to a grime show where I was introduced to the purest, wildest energy in the form of Big Zuu.
Before I headed to the venue, I linked with Netil Radio, a local podcast and live radio show hosted at Netil Market. It was an intimate conversation about what inspires the music and how I felt about the upcoming show and ended in a brief live performance. At the end of the interview, pre-show anxiety set in and saturated my whole being.
The show had all the makings of mini disaster: my manager/DJ couldn’t perform with me, I lost my USB drive on the way to the show, and my voice was adjusting to the particularly potent chill that London is known for. But when I got onstage and saw the warm faces in the basement of the Sebright Arms, I knew I was in the right place. People were singing along and connecting with other people in the room in a way that I’d like to think only a show like mine can do. I can’t wait to make it back to the The Smoke with the new album in tow, hopefully the London-based garden gang has grown!
Photo by Lee Shaner.