Exclusives Interviews 23 May 2023
Author: Vince

GRM Exclusive: Stepz Talks Debut EP, TikTok Fame & Plans For The Future

23 May 2023

If you exist on social media chances are you have come across Stepz. Whether it’s getting sturdy for TikTok, making people laugh online or his music, Stepz has entered is an entertainment force to be reckoned with. His humble and mature outlook sets him apart in music and business.

Stepz’s online persona is uniquely placed in the genre that he falls within. A true narrator of his own life, Stepz feels zero pressure to conform to the type of lyrical content usually found within the drill scene. Staying 100 per cent true to himself at all times, he actively demonstrates that there are alternative ways of existing in the space. A positive and often uplifting outlook to have in the current climate. 

He is a highly motivated, family and faith-oriented individual with a keen business head on his shoulders. Stepz has aspirations and plans to continue to propel himself to new heights in both music and the world of social media.

As Stepz gears up for some major releases and big business moves, we sat to chat about all things entertainment and business. But most importantly his debut project Step by Stepz.

When we talk about your earliest musical influences, and your earliest musical experiences, where does the music start and come into your life at the beginning for you?

“It’s a thing where I started taking music seriously last year, before I was just wrapped up with the mandem. But the things I was talking about were nonsense. I was just with my guys so I just went back and forth saying whatever. But I never took it seriously. It was just a joke to me. What I was doing before I wouldn’t even classify it as rapping, but now I take it seriously.”

This is super interesting to know because quite often you are referred to as a TikTok sensation, but you can rap. So do you think that you’ve always had a natural ability to be able to construct music?

“I’m not going to say ‘I’m this or I’m that’ but you know, people have told me. I’m happy to have it if that’s the case. I have just picked up on people’s opinions and I roll with that, to be honest. I wouldn’t say that I’m the hardest or anything like that. I’m just being myself.”

So you say a year ago was when you started taking it seriously? What is it that made you decide to make the switch? What changed for you?

“My name was Stepz. I got the name Stepz because I used to dance. My friends that were dancers ended up giving me the name. We’d do shoots for people like Russ or whatever but we would only get paid like a bill…and it’s not enough. Man’s growing up. A bill is not going to supply my life. So I started thinking how I can make money myself, and make a way for my bredrins to make p’s as well. And because they were all saying that I can rap I just started doing it. Then I would use my comedy to promote my music and they went off so yeah, that’s how it came about it. It helps because now we all get a higher income.”

So as a dancer, what kind of music would you have leaned towards?

“It was just drill. It’s trend dances. Man doesn’t pop and lock and that, it’s just drill.”

Do you find that because you’ve made this platform for yourself you don’t see the level of talent that you must have to get the attention that you’re getting?

“I appreciate you gassing me. I’m very grateful for all that’s happening. One thing about me is when I’m making music, I love it. But I’ll be on to the next track as soon as I’ve made one. It’s not even that I don’t like that track anymore.

“But I feel like I’ve done it… next. That’s something I probably need to stop doing. It’s not that I’m not proud of myself. It’s just that I don’t want to be the one to say rah, man, is this and man’s that. I just want people to do the talking.”

Okay, so when we think about you using social media to promote your talents, is that something that’s intentional or was that also something you were doing for fun?

“That was intentional. Do you know what it is? I ended up gaining a love for comedy anyway. But it’s all intentional.”

So let’s talk a bit about the comedy…When or where in your journey do people start telling you you’re funny enough for you to put yourself out there comedically?

“Do you know what it is? Naturally, people tell me that they find me a funny person. So I just thought I should just cater to what people like. Then I started making comedy bits and people liked it. So I just continued.”

The light-hearted and joyous persona you have has trickled into your music as well, would you say that is intentional also?

“See me, I’m willing to give everything to everything I do. I want to be the best version of myself. The music to me, sometimes it might match my comedy, sometimes it might not, at the end of the day. I feel like at the moment it matches.

“There might be a song where I talk about deeper things. It’s like emotions, you’re not always going to be happy. There are going to be times when you’re upset. Man’s making comedy and making everyone happy. But then in my music, I might talk about fake friends or whatnot. It’s still the same me but it’s just like there are two sides to look into.”

Do you find that quite liberating to be able to have all of these different outlets to express the full spectrum of yourself?

“100 per cent. One thing I’m grateful for is the fact that God hasn’t made me someone that tries to be someone I’m not. I am who I am, I won’t ever try to differ from that. Everything I’ll say is the truth. Man makes songs saying I’m not like that. A lot of man won’t do that. A lot of man will say yeah I’ve done this I’ve done that. I’m not on that. I will say I’m not like this, but this is what happens. I’ll just speak about how I feel and my life. Obviously when you have a good flow with it or a  good melody then music is music, and people will like it regardless.” 

Do you find you lean into one of your artistic disciplines more than others or do you plan on staying across the board with it all?

“I plan to be across the board, but different things mean more than other things at different times. This Month My EP Step by Stepz is dropping. So music is my focus right now, but that doesn’t mean that I like music more or comedy.” 

Having all these different avenues must be hard to juggle. It’s going to be an intense job, people struggle with just one thing, let alone all these different avenues and platforms. What’s your team like? How has it changed since you first started? 

“I do a lot. So it’s not like just one thing. The team makes sure that I’m doing everything correctly. They let me know where I need to be and what I need to do. I just did a shoot for Mist for a show, but then I might go to the studio later. But at the same time, everything I’m doing is fun to me regardless, I don’t find it’s like work. I enjoy it.”

And is this what you had pictured for your life?

“I wanted to be a baller like most man, I never wanted to rap. My friends, if they could they’ll tell you I’ve never wanted to rap, but obviously, God chooses people’s lives for a reason.”

There was a different plan for yours. And a lot has happened, it keeps getting more and more visible for you. You’ve gained attention from a lot of well-established names in the scene who are also looking at you. How is it taking that in and meeting people you’ve admired or listened to?

“For me, That’s one of the biggest parts of my journey. I’m very lucky because I remember there were days where I’ll be thinking this person is so big etc which they still are now, but to think that I can link them or that they will ring me or check up on me it’s mad… Mans met AJ Tracey, Ms Banks, and Micheal Dapaah, and they’re not just people that I’ve met for one day they message man and link man. It’s just mad to me how everything’s turned out. I don’t understand why it’s me that this is happening to but I’m very grateful, I respect all of them. Everyone that’s ever shown me love even my song with Fizzler. Fizzler was my favourite artist that I met in my life.”

That is an accomplishment! That must feel good. Have you had any good advice from someone you’ve looked up to?

“Yeah, Micheal Dapaah gave a lot of good advice.” 

Could you tell us any good pieces of advice that you’ve received?

“He said to me, remember your plan. Remember why you started and make sure you go through with it. Don’t let anybody get in the way of that.”

Sound advice. So in terms of your surroundings, people around you, family, and friends, what’s the reception to what you do?

“They’re supportive.  Most of the time, I have a lot of friends in my videos and comedy skits. My friends are always around me, they always support me. My manager, the people around me, the people that work with me, everyone’s just so supportive. Some people might be harsher than others but that is necessary as well.”

Do you have any particularly harsh critics that will look at something before it is out and be like, no that’s not it?

“100 per cent. Even me myself. I don’t like some of the things that I’ve done, my friends will tell me this doesn’t suit this, or this is not good and sometimes I get it. They don’t make me feel like oh, you’re dead. It’s more like this one is not my type of music, but this is better than this.”

I guess one of the things that a lot of artists will say on their rise when going through that transition, the more popularity you get, the harder it can be to trust people’s opinions. How important is it to you to have honest people around you?

“You don’t want a bunch of yes men on your side. If your manager is saying yes to everything, then you’re going to go wrong. If a guy throws on a fit and it’s dead and everyone says that it slaps, everyone’s gonna look at him like he’s a wallad. But then he’s got people around him saying bro it’s hard, you don’t need those people around you.”

So would you say you’re quite open and can accept any sort of critique and criticism quite well?

“100 per cent. But when I know something is good, I know it’s good. So no one can change my mind. That’s one thing about me. When I know what I want to do, and I know it’s good, no one can change my mind.”

So you have a standard in your head that you’re holding yourself to… do you think that you’re ever particularly hard on yourself with the more popular you get? Does the standard become higher?

“Yeah. Views can determine a lot of what you do. A lot of influencers will tell you that. If you’re bringing in a million views every day, then one day a post only gets 100k, and it can be like rah. But you don’t let it get to you, because that’s still 100,000 people watching you.”

How do you manage to not get caught up in views, comments etc?

“I do look at comments, that that’s not something I separate myself from. Not like that. If you say something to hurt me, I don’t care, it’s not like that. Do you know how many people call me short daily? Do you think I don’t know? I look in the mirror every day… like what else? I know. Like I know.

“People say that want me to reply, shut up. Unless it’s like a mad hate comment, or they are trying to get onto man. I just think, bro, I don’t understand how people can sit there and write hateful comments. I’ve never written any negative comments on anyone’s stuff. So I just find them weird.”

Do you see there ever being a point where you might decide to go down a different path that takes you away from social media?

“Right now I’m very happy. It’s not like I look for followers. But in this life, you have to make money. Now if I could make money from music or comedy without people watching me I would do it. But to do this, you have to watch me for me to do that. When I’m a big man, I’ll probably do it less but for now, that’s what I’m doing. I see some acting down the line.” 

Now in terms of what you’ve got going on musically at the moment, talk to us about that.

“I got my EP coming up, Step by Stepz. I’ve got the single called “Bookbag” which is on the EP. Another song that is on my EP, “Oh No” is the one I did with my little brother. That wasn’t a song that I’m trying to make the hardest, that one was just doing something cute for my family. But I’m so focused on my EP Step By Stepz.

Talk to us about the project in terms of what we are going to hear on it.  What’s the content and the inspiration behind it?

“I have made a lot of songs, but music is gradual. You get better at it as you go along. That’s why I call it Step by Stepz. Some of the songs were made when I started my career. Some of them were made recently, so you can see the difference. It’s me telling my story, you can see how it has changed.”

Would you say your sound has evolved as well as your lyrical content?

“I would say that I’ve gotten way better than I was before. I will say that. Like before I just rapped in a really low tone now I scream and shout into the mic.”

What’s your favourite song from the project?

“Either “Trust” or “Grandpa Track”. Those are my two favourites. Oh, or “Bookbag.” No, I can’t lie, I like the whole project.”

How do you want the listener to leave feeling and what do you want people to take away from it?

“I’m showing with this EP that you can be an artist without being bad in the UK. That’s what I’m trying to show. You can express yourself in music and still do well without trying to be a bad guy. You don’t need to talk about man splash and dip and you can still talk about how you feel. That’s what I’m trying to portray.” 

Do you still listen to the other stuff though?

“Like Drill and that…Yeah! I love it. I love it. Personally, it just doesn’t affect me. I can listen to drill and still be the same person and more time I grew up on it anyways. Yeah, I’m just not on that, so I’m not going to make music like that. I’m just gonna be myself.”

Without judgement, we do see an awful lot of that lifestyle and content. What would you attribute the most to keeping you away from that life?

“The Lord Jesus Christ nothing else nothing more.”

And is faith important to you in your life?

“100% without a doubt. If it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be here. I know that 1000%.”

Your outlook is very mature, do you attribute some of that to your faith as well?

“Yeah. Obviously what I do is a journey. The music industry is evil, in my opinion anyway. So, God has given me a task to produce and I know what the task is. This is my task to prove that it doesn’t all have to be about negative stuff. So while I’m doing that, I have to go through certain things and see certain things. But mans never gonna let the devil get a hold of me, because Jesus is the Lord of my life.”

You’re doing a lot and you’re quite entrepreneurial. And that comes across in your lyrics and just from what people know about you. So in terms of business going forward, what does the rest of your year look like?

“Starting Twitch, trying to get into acting more, not even trying, I am acting. I’m making sure everything just runs properly.”

Stepz debut EP Stepz by Stepz is out this Friday on all digital streaming platforms.