With the UK producing talent left, right and centre, the mainstream charts have seen rap music dominate over the past few years, which has allowed for many new hopeful, talented musicians the ability to experiment with their own sounds. In attempts to offer their own piece of music to the ever flourishing scene, we have seen an array of talents storm the charts, going on to do great things both within the country and worldwide.
With all this being said, the newly revolutionised scene has broken a number of barriers along its way. One of these barriers is the topic of age; with individuals from all age ranges showcasing their crafts, eliminating bias’ that we have seen in the past, which as times, posed as a restrictive boundary.
Enter EO, the 16 year old London based YouTuber turned musician, who’s breakthrough single “German” surpassed all expectations peaking at number 15 in the Official UK Charts. It wasn’t long before the labels came knocking and, EO managed to bag himself a deal with Columbia Records, which has in turn lead to various doors opening for him this summer; such as landing himself a spot on the prestigious Wireless Festival line up this year.
Culminating in what looks to be a prosperous career for the charismatic, humour led teenager, it must also be remembered that the music scene is in fact a business and for a young 16-year-old, adjustment is vital. From talking about his mother controlling the TV at home, to how his friends have reacted to his success, we managed to speak exclusively with EO to shed light on how much his life has changed ever since his chart booming single “German” was released.
How much has life changed since the “German” record?
“Ahhh its mad!” [Laughs]
Life wise for me, I haven’t really changed as a person, I think im still the same bubbly person. The thing is I feel, is that the “German” record has just opened up more doors for me and just let me do more things now, its great”
I came across your YouTube channel before I heard the single and I see you have a solid following with 131k subs. With the music now taking off, what does this mean for your channel?
“It just widens my audience, init. It just lets more people like yourself find out about it. Its actually helped a lot, I feel like more people are now able to be exposed to my YouTube as well as the music, so it goes hand in hand really.”
Still being in your teens, you have a radiant personality. What kind of student would you say are you in school?
“Probably the class clown, I can’t lie”
Even in Year 11, I won the award. You see like after we finished out GCSE’s we had an award ceremony for our year and I won the class clown award and also the the most likely to be famous award, it’s mad how life works.”
Recently, I was watching the tattoo prank you played on your Mum, how has she adapted to your new lifestyle?
“I think it was hard for her at the beginning cause I would have lot of studio sessions that ended quite late so it was hard for her because she was worrying that I was away from the whole “school life”. I think it was tough for her to let me explore different avenues but I think now she realises its all for the better really.”
Aside from YouTube, how else to you like to occupy your time?
“Chilling, well that’s my favourite hobby.”
Chilling, eating and playing some video games, some PlayStation 4 to be specific.”
But yeah Fortnight baby, that is the one right now fam. I’ve been sloppy though because obviously I’ve been busy with all this music stuff, but don’t worry, I’m coming back.”
Generationally, musical inspiration varies. Who would you say you looked up to growing up?
“Growing up, because my mum used to control the TV, she always used to put on the African channels so the African music was always something I was growing up with and I didn’t really get to play any of the American/UK stuff that was out at the time.”
I think it definitely influences my sound too, yeah for sure, you can hear it.”
Congratulations on peaking at Number 15 in the Official UK Top 40 Charts, how did the Columbia deal come about?
“Damn, it’s mad cause it feels so long ago but it really wasn’t. To be honest, I don’t really remember, everything’s moving so fast right now. It was all in the space of two weeks though, that’s what I do remember, during the Easter holidays. They kind of just reached out to me and it all went off from there.”
Being young, how have you dealt with the business side of things?
“It’s quite a lot to take in, you know what I mean, but at the same time I’m adjusting and getting used to it. Plus, I have my manager who helps me out a lot with the business side of things, so that makes it all a lot easier.”
Me and my manager have the best relationship bro, its too funny. You know what it is, I like people around me that have positive energy, making jokes, making me laugh and stuff like that. When I tell you this guy makes me laugh, you know those people where everything they do is just so funny, even when hes angry I just laugh at him.”
I think its better this way though, it doesn’t feel like this is my job, you know, its mad. Like if I had the choice to just chill with my manager aside from all this music stuff, I would, we get on that much where it’s like a friends thing. You see for example, when I’m playing shows, going up all the way to Manchester, it doesn’t feel long when I’m with my manager, I know its going to be a fun time.”
A lot of people criticise lyricism we see in the UK rap scene these days and I’ve seen people comment on you speaking about cars even though you have yet to acquire your licence, how would you respond to such comments being made against you?
“It’s not about being able to drive a German my brudda, it’s being able to afford it…. Like can you afford one, erm, ohhh.”
How have your friends reacted to your success?
“Its mad, my friends man, they’re great. They were the ones gassing me when everything was moving so fast. Its mad cause when its you, you don’t feel like much is changing but my friends were the ones like “bro your thing is moving mad you know” and “bro you know you’re actually famous now yeah” [Laughs] and I’m just thinking lol shut up man, they seem to be more shocked than I am.”
How have you been dealing with the ladies? Have things changed?
Indeed, indeed, indeed. The ladies, the tables have actually turned now, its funny. But you know, hmm.
But I mean, you have to push some things aside but you also have to bring some things in, you know. You can’t just push away, you got to bring it too.”
With new artists emerging every day, the term ‘one hit wonder’ begins to circulate, do you feel any pressure now having had a commercial hit moving forward?
“No, not really. I mean there is obviously pressure now, lets not pretend, but I don’t really feel it too much, cause I believe in my music and I know that I have good music. Like even if the next one is not as big as “German” was, it’s still great music so, at the end of the day, it is what it is.”
Also people are always waiting for you to fall, but its cool, if anything its good, it sheds more light on me.”
You’re playing Wireless Festival this year, what are you expecting?
I’m expecting a heart attack with that [Laughs]
I’m expecting a cardiac arrest, I’m so ready for it, so it should be a lot of fun.
With success comes riches, what have you found yourself spending your money on?
“Ahhh I remember the first thing I bought when I go my first cheque was a hover board [Laughs], oh my days, hover board my brudda!”
Flippin’ hell, when I was what, 14 or 15, my mum was not trying to get me one, but now! I can get it all for myself, but yeah that was the first thing I did. I remember I withdrew £200 from the cash machine and went straight to PC World and I said “Yo, you see that machine over there my brudda, I need that and I’m going to ride it out the shop right now.” [Laughs]
At what moment did you realise your life was about to change forever?
“When I got my Segway [Laughs] no I’m only joking, it wasn’t then. Erm, probably the first time I got paid init. You know what it was, when people are talking about big figures and stuff it doesn’t really seem real until you have it you know. But I remember my manager was telling me I was about to get paid at midnight. I remember so clearly him saying, “Ok so at 12, check your balance”; at the time I was just casually playing fortnight with my friends. But you see on Fortnight yeah, every night at like 1am, the shop changes and you can buy a bunch of new stuff and I remember my friends saying “ay quick check the shop, there’s new stuff” and I remember checking my balance like “Oh lard, if you guys could see what I could see, you would not be able to sleep tonight my bruddas”
It was crazy.”
So what is happening in regards to schooling, have you completely committed to the music now?
“No, I’m still finding a way to get tutoring, because, you know my mum is very fond of the education system you see [Laughs], so we are currently finding ways to move forward with this and to proceed with all of it.”
If you were to pick 3 artists to work with right now, who would they be?
“One artist would be WizKid, another would be Davido, I’ve been listening to them for years now. I’d also say Drake, obviously, because he is the guy right now and has been for a while.”
Lastly, what can we expect from EO for the rest of 2018?
“Bangers, bangers, bangers and more bangers, I got loads of stuff coming. I have a feature coming out with a female artist, which will be her debut release. Aside from that, we are focusing on putting out more singles to be honest and after this one my next solo single will follow.”