Rapper, singer, producer and fashion fan Fazer maybe only be 25-years-old, but he started his musical journey in N-Dubz over a decade ago. Since the trio took a break last year the pro pianist has been crafting his own sound, alongside writing for some of the biggest pop stars on the planet. In the run-up to the release of his debut solo single ‘Killer’, The Wrap Up caught up with the Camden-bred artist to talk about his future plans for domination…
The Wrap Up: Hey Fazer! So let’s talk about your debut single ‘Killer’. What made you pick that song as your first track?
Fazer: The time of year! It is summer, so everyone’s going to festivals, Ibiza and places like that. So it’s the right kind of song for the right era.
TWU: What you made you go down the auto-tune route with the song?
Fazer: Basically, it is to document what I’m about as an all-round producer. I’m not trying to be Luther Vandross, but I didn’t put auto-tune on to hide dodgy vocals and I don't think anyone else should either. Don’t just put auto-tune on a dodgy vocal and think you’re a singer, because you ain’t!
TWU: In your video, you wear a strait-jacket and you’re captured by scantily clad women - was that your choice?
Fazer: Yes, it was! It was funny because when I was writing the song, you always think of visuals, so I put a treatment together and the team loved it; the label loved it. We worked with the Gas and Electric Production Company and a director named Jack Fresh who used to work for MTV. We brought the treatment to life and it’s a work of art now!
TWU: ‘Killer’ is a million miles away from some of your early N-Dubz stuff. Would you say having a dance element to your music is vital today?
Fazer: Not really, I don’t think it’s a key part for my progress because my album’s not a dance album; it’s a feel good album! It is like a ‘best of’ album. If you like indie music, like The Script, there is going to be a record on there for the indie fans. If you like the whole J. Cole vibe there is going to be a record for you too!
TWU: What else can we expect from your solo album?
Fazer: It’s funny but coming out of N-Dubz, no-one had any expectations. I could have made the most street hip-hop track and no-one would have expected it. I could have made an indie record and no-one would have expected it! I’m very versatile in what I do. When I write or produce, no-one can put me in a box. I do pretty much any genre of music.
TWU: That’s the beauty of being a producer isn’t it?
Fazer: It is fun, it shows my versatility when I work with other artists. I produced ‘No Regrets’ for Dappy, I co-produced and wrote Tulisa’s No.1 single ‘Young’. It shows the versatility of the records; ‘Young’ is completely different to my record. My second single is 95BPM, which is a hip-hop tempo. I’m just going to have fun with it.
TWU: Will Dappy or Tulisa be featured on your album?
Fazer: I’m probably just going to do something myself. Coming out of N-Dubz, it is weird and exciting at the same time. You look left and right and it’s like ‘where are my team members?’ I get to take the stage by myself and it gives me the opportunity to branch out and show people what I’m about.
TWU: As a producer, will you be producing the whole album yourself?
Fazer: Yeah, it is all in-house - I don’t really need anyone else. If I want to cook up a sound that’s unique, I don’t want to work with the usual suspects who are doing everyone else’s records. So I’m shutting my doors, closing my ears to the charts and doing something completely different to anyone else!
TWU: Are you working on any tracks for anyone else at the moment?
Fazer: I am and it’s not leaving much time for anything else! I did something for The Wanted last week and was in the Rihanna writing camp recently.
TWU: N-Dubz fans are dying to know when there will be another album from you guys. Can you tell us if it will be coming soon?
Fazer: There will be a new N-Dubz album! N-Dubz will always be the base; this is like a Black Eyed Pea’s type split where we go off, capitalise on three different fan bases and come back bigger than ever and do N-Dubz.
TWU: Tulisa and Dappy both went to No.1. Do you feel any pressure for ‘Killer’ to do the same?
Fazer: Not really, but it would be a dream come true, don’t get me wrong. I’d celebrate, but to be honest if it didn’t it wouldn’t bother me because N-Dubz never had a No.1 as a group but we still sold millions of records! I’ve never been fame hungry and driven by No.1’s. If it did go to No.1, we would make history as the first group where all three members have consecutive No.1’s, I think…
TWU: You’re launching a fashion line soon. What can you tell us about it?
Fazer: Yes, hopefully we’ll have samples ready to hit fashion week this time next year. It’s more tailored and high end, so you’ll see it alongside Alexander Wang, Comme des Garcons and brands like Acne.
TWU: You’ve done music, a bit of modelling and acting in the Conductivity video. What is next for you?
Fazer: Next is my solo album which is coming late this year or early next year, then my tour and the festivals. Then I want to start my own company, signing and developing my own artists and featuring them on my records. Basically I want to do a Cash Money type thing in the UK and capitalise on it internationally.
TWU: Do you have your eye on anyone in particular?
Fazer: A few people… they're not in the limelight so there would be no point, but if anyone thinks they are good enough to be signed holler at me and subscribe to IamFazer.com!
TWU: Lastly, what can we expect from your live shows?
Fazer: Expect to be entertained! I go in, and I don’t think I come back out! It’s a stage show, something to watch and a lot of shock factor. I might take my drummer out of the show mid-set and do a set! My second single is all grand pianos, so I may just do a number with my voice and the piano…
TWU: Sounds exciting!
Fazer: It’s going to be emotional, as the records I’m writing are very close to home; I’m writing about my lifestyle as it is right now. I am writing about fame, the backlashes and being a normal guy… but because I’ve sold records I can’t even go to the shop to buy eggs! I am talking about the sacrifices we make and I hope that people will just see that I’m a normal guy who got famous. I hope they respect Fazer and his work ethic, whether it is music, or the clothing line. Just respect it!
‘Killer’ is out on 26 August 2012, but you can pre-order the track now!
Interview: Joanne Dorken (@miss_liljo)