Speaking to Kadeem Tyrell on his upcoming EP, his South-London influences and who you need to be listening to on the upcoming R&B scene.
I’m Kadeem, I started music when I was about 18 and started taking it seriously from then. I used to make soulful, garage music, I was doing that for a while and then I kind of found my own sound from working with producers that were coming along and finding on SoundCloud. I’d hit them up on SoundCloud and be like, ‘do you want to work’, so some things are trial and error but I taught myself to record and the first kind of R&B song which came out of that was ‘Moon’, which kind of showed me a little bit more and since then I’ve been doing it.
Your new single ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ with Ka-Li, what was the inspiration and how did that collaboration come about?
So I literally met them last year, it was the time when I was like, ‘Hey, guys I really want to work with you, I love your music’, they were like ok cool and we actually became friends and we’re really close now. We started off a track which will come out but after we finished that track we sat down and I just started humming some stuff as Sam was playing the guitar. He was playing bits and I was just humming words, it wasn’t even really words, it was just things. So, I was like ‘this sounds kind of dope’ so me and my other producer, I kind of had an idea in my head, so I just started beatboxing to him what I think this should be like and obviously he put his ideas in as well and then we just recorded it. So after we finished the session, we’re just sitting on the floor, literally we recorded it and then Kaz is like ‘ok cool, let me see what I can do with this’, literally within just a week, she had loads of words for it and then we came in like a week later and recorded it.
You also released ‘April 25th’, what was it like working with Ego Ella May?
I think as an artist it’s not good to be in your own little bubble, I think collaboration is key. When it comes to music you can collab with a musician and a producer, but think of people who can really write. A lot of people write songs and are like ‘this isn’t for me’, it’s for someone else, like there’s so many artists singing songs that aren’t by them. That kind of pushes you as an artist to actually do something that’s outside of your box because how I sing it, is how I want it to be. Whereas someone might have an idea for me and I’ll be like ‘ok cool’, I can see where this goes and it pushes me because I didn’t think that I could do that.
What was the inspiration and the importance of the message behind the song?
She was talking to her boyfriend and to me as well about how men are this way. For example, I’m not the most hard-bodied boy out there, I’m in touch with my emotions. I think this is a story not just for one man out there but for so many men. Like, we feel like we can’t speak about situations and get depressed, you can’t really turn to your boys and be like, ‘this is how I’m feeling’. That is the main message about that, it’s a conversation that me and Ego had, and the conversation with her boyfriend just kind of enhanced it, so it really helps. So because she’s so in touch with her feelings and her spirit and energy like it also helps. She’s so good at telling someone’s story and articulating it, if that makes sense - she’s able to write it down into a song.
Your single ‘Take Me’ also featured a lot of your UKG sound, what was the inspiration for the track?
So I got the beat last year, and at first I was like ‘Oh how can I work on this!’, but then the more and more I heard it, I was like ok I can make this into something. My producer was telling me like this is you, you could do this well and I was like ‘uhhh’. So I sat there with my friend that I write with, Pia, we wrote ‘Let Me Know’ together, she’s a wicked songwriter. That’s another thing, I feel like I have so many talented friends that can write so good but they just write it on a piece of paper and leave it, or they don’t want to sing - I’m like nah, let me sing it! I just want to put them on the platform as well and let them know like you can actually do this, one day it might not be me but Chris Brown, or someone that wants to take their song - keep going. The inspiration behind it was just about taking your relationship to the next level like with all the songs, they kind of have that ongoing sequence to them as well.
What was your inspiration and creative process for your debut project, ‘Feels’?
I think it’s all in the name of it. One, it’s all about being up in your feelings and it was all eclectic and different feelings to me, across the whole EP. Just giving you feels! It was actually an EP that was an accident because I wasn’t thinking about making one, I was kind of scared to make one. It’s daunting, like when someone says to me ‘where’s the album?’, it’s like ‘no, no, no, slow down!’. I literally just taught myself and Ego is another person who taught me to record at home, so I literally record in my room, I have a little studio section and every day I just record and teach myself something different and see what I can do - it’s cost-efficient, as well.
How did the ‘Fooled’ EP come about and how did working with RYN influence your sound today?
I wasn’t expecting to make an EP , what happened was I had a lot of tracks and I had two that were finished but they weren’t sounding how I wanted them to sound. Garage is always a big love of mine, I’m from Battersea from South London and I think the estate that I live in is So Solid Crew’s estate - so I grew up on that. Heartless Crew as well, so I was like ok if I’m going to start this I should at least try something like this. I bumped into someone called Statik Motion and started doing tunes as well, so I was ok maybe I’m just going to do garage then. Although my love was always R&B, I just had to kind of find my sound and find out how I can make beats that bring that today sound as well because a lot of future R&B has a lot of electronic sounds to it. So, when my album does come, people will see that I can do this, I can do that and those sounds kind of gel well together. Other than it just being straight R&B, it’s going to have elements of different things.
How would you say London and UK music has influenced your sound?
Every single day, it influences me, there’s always a new artist that comes along and I’m like ‘oh, I like this’, but I definitely want to keep the London ‘feel’ to my music, because I think London is doing so well. There’s a lot of my friends who are doing it and a lot of people who I’ve just met in the industry, I’m always influenced by them. One, they’re hardworking and their work ethic always inspires me to push forward and learn a bit more about where I can go with the music and like I said I think collaborations are key, a lot of people think that I don’t collaborate but … I do, it just has to work.
How did you get into making music?
I never studied it and I don’t know why I didn’t. I feel like I should’ve because everything else I didn’t want to do. Didn’t want to do Maths, didn’t want to do English. But I grew up in a church household and greet up in church as well and my dad’s a DJ, so I was surrounded by music. I knew I liked music but I didn’t know I wanted to sing until I was like 15, when funky-house was coming about. I was like I really want to do this because I’m loving these songs, I feel like I can do this and I think that’s where the whole garage thing came in to because of funky-house. I love soulful-house - that’s one of my first loves and I think that’s where it started.
Who would you say has influenced or shaped your current sound today?
It’s mad because there’s so many different people that I’m actually so influenced by, people will come to me and be like ‘you do this like this person’, my brother always says that I’m influenced by Brandy , I didn’t know that but then when I go back to all the songs I used to make and I do all the harmonies just like she would. A lot of Donell Jones as well, Tyrese , it’s funny because people don’t really think of him as doing music, they just think of him doing films. Even today’s artists, there’s so much music. Aaliyah and Timbaland are my two, that’s where it really all seemed from, all of that.
What video has been your favourite to make so far and how involved are you with your visuals?
Quite involved but also allow other people’s ideas to come to fruition, I want it to come alive, like I want their vision to come alive. With ‘April 25th’ I teamed up with Shady, he’s a photographer whose actually sick and he directed this one, it was his first music video so I was like ok you can do it and we loved it. ‘Take Me’ was all me, that’s the one I was most involved with, the placements, the clothes, everything. That was my first one to direct, so at least I can call myself a director now. All the other videos, I just put a little bit of me in them, for example, ‘Let Me Know’, it was my idea to have all the plants around me and stuff like that, I was talking about growth and I was talking about all that stuff so I wanted plants, so yeah we did that with Sunny Jake.
You’ve been working on the new project, has your process changed at all?
Yeah, I think this one was very different to the first one, although they both took about six months it was a different feeling. I enjoyed doing the first one, not that I didn’t enjoy this one but it was harder. Pushing myself to sing differently, pushing myself to collaborate with people and making sure that everything is perfect for me. This one was executively produced by Baker Aaron , who helped on ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘Take Me’, so he overlooked everything and mixed and mastered it and touched up some tunes. This one is more deep, like ‘April 25th’ is on it so it has more of a story-line to it, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is on it and ‘Take Me’ and there’s three more.
I’m going to carry on with EPs, even though I am working on the album, the album’s going to have a lot of different sounds, I’ve reached out to a lot of different people. I really want it to have like a choir feel, like it’s got a different sound, it might not have a feature but there’s a voice you can recognise on it somewhere, it won’t just be me - I want it to be a big black project. Like I’ve already got sax and stuff and I want live instruments and I want t push myself even more than I did with this new EP.
Which 5 artists would you recommend to your listeners?
What’s coming up for this year?
So there’s going to be a lot of shows, I’m going to be headlining in different regions - it’ll be my first time playing outside of London. Shows and a lot more music coming this year.