Exclusives Interviews 29 November 2022

GRM Exclusive: Arz Talks New EP ‘No Features’, Identifying His Sound, Performing & More

29 November 2022

We’ve seen a surge of young talent bursting into UK music over recent years, and one organic artist in particular who has gained an undeniably strong audience with his standout music is East London artist, Arz.

His viral 2021 hit “Alone With You”, which has already reached almost 1 billion streams on Spotify alone, saw Arz soar into a loyal demographic who now stand by for his every release, and his new EP No Features has allowed him to further explore his raw talent, which we can hear spread across his new seven-track project that taps into his multitude of artistry.

Whilst only at the beginning of his career, the Rated Award nominee has already impressively carved himself a path of inevitable success as his fanbase continues to grow. As Arz continues to cement himself into the emerging music scene, we sat down with the rising star to delve into how he establishes his sound, what went into crafting his new EP and much more.

Congrats on your new EP No Features! How long has this one been in the making? 

“I’ve probably been working on this project, I’d say for about a year, two years now. Some of the music is almost two years old and other songs on the project are probably about a couple months old, so it ranges. But generally, I’ve been working on No Features for about a year and a half – maximum two, trying to go into different places and just work with a bunch of different producers trying to build it.” 

Some artists say their first project gives them the standard to work to, do you feel this is true for you? And what do you feel the main difference was for you dropping this one compared to your first, Love Letters?

I feel like the direction and what I’m talking about, really, like the direction of Love Letters was more about young love, teenage love and just kind of talking about relationships and navigating through them. And No Features is more now, like, I’m growing up and this is my lifestyle, being by myself.

“I don’t know, it’s a little bit more mature. There’s other topics in there that aren’t really just about love. And even the production, I feel like the production is I don’t know, it’s definitely a big, big step up from Love Letters.”

Let’s talk about your sound – do you have a specific genre or sound you kind of identify with most? I know you’ve said before that speaking your feelings in your music is the sound you want to go for, can you tell me a bit more about this?

“I don’t know, I’m still trying to build my sound, like, I’ve always liked Trap over Drill, like, Trap sounds like big bass and I’ve always liked talking about women and relationships. I feel like I’m still nurturing my sound and trying to create it, but at the same time, I don’t want to be just tied down to one. But I feel like, if I keep putting out the music I’m putting out and talking about what I’m talking about, people would just naturally gravitate towards it.”

Much like the title of your EP, neither of your projects have features – is this intentional? And do you think that’s important to do as you’re starting off your career and establishing your sound?

“I think it’s really important. Like, definitely establishing your sound just so you have a core, like a core fan base for people that mess with you, for you and uniquely what you’re doing, which is obviously going to be your sound. So I feel like it’s definitely important in establishing your sound. And I didn’t really want features on my project because, I feel like I still need to build myself up, literally.”

Do you have a favourite song on the album & why is it your fave?

“My favourite songs are probably “Shine Bright” and “For Now”. [With] “Shine Bright” I was in Miami when I made it, and I just remember that session, it was such a chilled session and it was dope and the vibe was literally perfect. So I feel like that kind of shows, that kind of translates into what my favourite song is, which is “Shine Bright” and “For Now”, which I just think is stupid hard.”

One of my fave songs this year so far is a song you feature on with Chanel Loren called “Some Other Time” – I feel like your verse definitely meshes very easily with the R&B vibe, is that a genre you’d like to explore more?

“100%, I love R&B. I’d say R&B and Trap are like my main two favourite genres. I do like Drill, but I definitely would say I like R&B and Trap more than Drill, so I don’t know. In the future, 100%. I’d love to work with more R&B artists and create more songs that have that R&B sound in it because I feel like it’s really dope and there isn’t a lot of it going on right now in London, or in the UK anyway. So I feel that there’s a nice space there for someone like me to come in and maybe rap over these R&B beats with singers on hooks and create something really nice.”

You’re still super young so you have your whole career ahead of you but obviously, you’d have gone into this thinking my goals are xyz – as you’ve kind of grown a lot in a short space of time, have any of your goals changed?

“That’s a good question. I feel like now my main goals are just being happy, making sure I’m releasing music, making sure the people that love listening to me can listen to me every day, every month, whenever I drop, I feel like they’re the main goals. Just making sure my family is cool, making sure I’m having fun while I’m doing all of this.

“I feel like before, maybe my goals would have been that I want to do this and I want to be here, and I want this achievement. My feeling now is just about doing what I’m doing and making sure that I’m happy whilst I’m doing it. I feel like that’s one of the biggest goals, just trying to be happy and make sure everybody around me is happy.”

Do you have a mantra you live by to keep yourself focused or any advice that has stuck with you over time?

“No mantra. I feel like just always do what you want to do. Believe in yourself; if you have a gut feeling and you’re feeling one thing and five people are like, no – I feel like you just gotta go with yourself, not go with what you think is best, go with how you feel.

“Acknowledge other people’s opinions and how they feel, but more time just really, just believe in yourself is the main thing I would say. That’s really it. I could talk about advice for ages, but if there was one, just believe your gut and go with what you want to do.”

Have you done many performances yet and do you feel like you’re starting to become comfortable with performing?

“I’ve probably done altogether less than ten performances. I say I’ve done about seven or eight. When I first started, I got nervous and I was really anxious. But now I feel like, as I’m doing it more, I’m enjoying it more and it’s definitely more fun.”

What’s your fave song to perform?

“The song I enjoy performing the most is probably “Alone With You” so far, because that just gets the best feedback. That’s the one that a lot of people know the most, so it’s nice when people sing along to it. Obviously, I haven’t performed since I dropped my new project, so I think once I perform my projects out, it’ll change and it will be a song that’s on the project for sure.”

Have there been any artists who have reached out to you that you could be working with in future?

“Definitely! Artists have hit me up and I speak to quite a lot of them. I’ve got a lot of artist friends, and producer friends. I’ve had these conversations, but I feel like as of right now, I’m kind of just really focused on me and making sure I’m big and making sure my music is good. Lyrically it sounds good. For now, I’m not really trying to tap into a feature, but, yeah, man, I’m just going with the flow right now.”

What can we expect from you in the next year – have you been back in the studio, got any other projects planned?

“I’m always in the studio. I feel like I like staying in the studio a lot because I feel like you need to get better. You’re not really going to get better unless you’re in the studio quite a lot. So I’ve definitely still been in the studio. Other projects? 100%. I think another EP at the start of next year and then throughout next year, hopefully maybe a mixtape, but really I’m just trying to get a lot of music out and still nurture my sound and show people that I’m coming, literally.”

No Features is available to stream now on all platforms – have a listen to it below.