Exclusives Interviews 14 October 2019

GRM Exclusive: Headie One talks all things ‘Music x Road’

14 October 2019

Headie One’s latest release Music x Road was a boundary-breaking project which saw the self-proclaimed King of Drill move between rap, drill, r&b, dance music and everything in between.


At 15 tracks long, Music x Road is a meaty offering which perfectly exemplifies the versatility, rawness, creativity and uniqueness of the Tottenham hailing artist.


It is difficult to pinpoint a standout track on the project with every offering representing excellence in a different way. Headie One agrees and can’t choose a favourite track from the project either, “It changes every day, depending on my mood”.


Headie was a late addition to the 1Xtra Live lineup and offered the crowd an assertive and fun rendition of his tracks “Know Better”, “Both”, “18Hunna” and “Back to Basics”.


Moments before his performance, I caught up with the chilled artist and asked him a few burning questions as he relaxed into the ambience of the room and the comfort of his drink.


Music x Road houses collaborations with Dave, Skepta, Stefflon Don, Lotto Ash, RV, Krept and Konan, and Canadian vocalist Nav. The features are cohesive on the tape and Headie explains his collaborative process and rules out a specific methodology; “It’s about energies and what makes sense. You just go with the flow. It’s your relationship (with the artists) as well. It’s all about the mood and that”.


Speaking on artists from Birmingham and who he’s looking to collaborate with, the North London hailing star told us, “I’ve worked with Lotto Ash before. I speak to a few other Birmingham artists and that so going forward, we’ll see how it goes. There may be suttin…”.


The single “Both” peaked at number 13 on the official charts and received stellar visuals to accompany its release. The track samples the 1997 dance hit “Free” by Ultra Naté which has become a club classic.


Track 10 on Music x Road, “Home”, also incorporates a notorious sample, taking vocals from Faith Evans’ P Diddy penned track “Soon as I Get Home” which charted highly in the late 90s.


Produced by PJ Beats and Nastygia, “Both” is a well-crafted and exceptionally clever lyrical construction which constantly references dualities throughout. Do music, road or both?, “T house up or near the coast, rudeboy there’s both”.


Being a standout track on the project thanks to its upbeat nature, catchy chorus and its intelligent lyricism, the track perfectly evidences Headie One’s versatility which he addresses directly with the line “Now they say that I’m the king of drill, trap, rap, I’m doing it all”.


With the project showcasing Headie’s talent for much more than drill, I asked the artist whether he feels most comfortable being labelled a drill or rap artist or if, all pun intended, he considers himself “Both” “My go-to genre would probably be drill cos I’ve been there from before but as long as I feel comfortable, I just do whatever”.


Starting in late October, Headie One will tour the UK wit Br3nya, Bandokay and Double Lz in several cities starting with Cardiff in Wales.


When asked whether he prefers being in the studio on performing on stage, Headie’s answer is assertive and certain; “I’d have to go with the stage. You have to”.


The artist also revealed his favourite track to perform for his loyal fans, “I like performing “Know Better” because the fans always go mad to that one. And um…, all of them you know, they all bring out different moods and energy and that so all of them in their own separate ways”.


With 2019 already seeing the release of his highly anticipated project, a headline tour, festival performances and much more, the artist proves his insane work rate by setting himself some more goals for the remainder of the year.


Headie says, “I’m looking to just grow and move forward and yeah man, just keep the positive energy”.