Interview: Mr Mitchell
Remember The Mitchell Brothers? The duo stormed the underground with the now UK urban classics 'Routine Check' and 'Harvey Nicks', whilst being signed to Mike Skinner’s label, The Beats. Two albums later, cousin’s Tony Mitchell and Teddy Mitchell left the label and we were left wondering if they would ever return...
Now Mr Mitchell (Tony) has returned to the music game as a solo artist, ready to make some serious waves in the industry. The Wrap Up’s Maz Khan chats to the new soloist about going it alone, what his relationship with Mike Skinner is like today, new music and future plans.
The Wrap Up: So, Tony, what led to you becoming solo artist?
Mr Mitchell: I just grew up and wanted to work creatively on my own. That’s not to say that I wasn’t creative with Teddy at the time, because we had made two albums with Mike Skinner – which was great! But I was always writing, and my material never made the album. When I listened back to it, I liked what I wrote and I got more and more into it so I was like, ‘I’m gonna go and do something solo.’ When you’re in a group, you have to work together and compromise. Although we did argue a bit, we did manage to compromise. This time around, though, I just want to go my own route.
TWU: Are you still cool with the guys?
Mr Mitchell: We’re cool. I mean, I haven’t heard from Mike for a bit, but it’s all good. I’m sure if I saw him it would be a heads up or a handshake (laughs).
TWU: What did you do whilst you were off the scene?
Mr Mitchell: I just spent time reflecting, relaxing and travelling. It was like having a gift and a curse, because having that time out led to the fans not knowing what was going on. However, the gift was that I could reflect on my music, reinvent myself and come back stronger.
TWU: You’re now signed with Paramount Music. How’s that going?
Mr Mitchell: Good! It’s allowed me to focus on my brand. When we were at The Beats, we didn’t actually have management – which was slightly detrimental to what we were trying to put out there. A lot of people remember The Mitchell Brothers, but I think we could have had more of an impact if our brand was really focused.
TWU: Do you miss being part of a duo?
Mr Mitchell: Yeah. It’s still new for me because I haven’t been on stage yet, so if my voice goes I can’t look to my other side (laughs). Some of me misses being in a group, but a lot of me has moved on because I want to prove that I am one of the best UK artists out there – in my heart, I feel that I am. I’m not trying to claim anything, that’s not me, I’d rather have the fans like my music and just enjoy it.
TWU: Tell us about your new single, 'On The Rooftop'…
Mr Mitchell: For me, being on a rooftop is symbolic of a place that you can get away from any troubles in your life. Sometimes, we just want to get away from our problems. Being on a rooftop, you’re with the birds and they get to fly to any destination they want to go to and I feel like we, as people, can do the same. So my new single, ‘On The Rooftop’, is just about getting away from your situation and making it better.
TWU: Deep stuff! What inspires your songwriting?
Mr Mitchell: Real life! I guess Mike Skinner inspired me a lot as well. He taught me a thing called ‘specifics’ and ‘show and not tell’, and that helps you to be creative but not obvious when you’re writing a chorus, bridge, hook or verse. I take subjects from real life situations and make it entertaining by going in-depth with my imagination.
TWU: What do you think about the progression of the UK music scene since you’ve been away?
Mr Mitchell: Urban artists are really being focused on. They’re all being pushed into an area that they weren’t before, such as radio and TV. BBC 1Xtra has just hit one million listeners, which is massive for a digital urban station, and then there are artists like Tinie Tempah who have been successfully received in America and Europe – before, that wouldn’t have even been an option. It’s inevitable, urban music is dominating the charts.
TWU: But do you think we’ve had to compromise by watering it down?
Mr Mitchell: It’s about being artistically creative. Being commercial is not wrong, as long as you’re credible. The problem is that we’re fighting the obstacle that you don’t want to sell out, but radio stations and record labels want a hit. I think a great example of being commercial and credible is Wretch 32’s ‘Don’t Go’, that was a winner.
TWU: Have you got any collaborations that we can look out for?
Mr Mitchell: I don’t want to let anything out of the bag (laughs), but I’ve got a remix of ‘On The Rooftop’ coming out soon, and you’ll get a glimpse of the mystery artists in the video. I’ve got a few people that I’m planning to work with and it feels great. When I was part of The Mitchell Brothers, we didn’t really work with many artists. I like what a few artists are doing right now, like Maverick Sabre and Wretch 32. In due time there will be more collaborations, but right now I’m focusing on my solo music.
TWU: And lastly, what can we expect from Mr Mitchell in coming months?
Mr Mitchell: Well, me and Cheryl Cole should be... (Laughs), nah I’m joking. Just good music, man. I’ll be reppin’ the UK all the way. I’m an artist who is back and fully focused. I will definitely have an EP out in the summer. I’m also designing a clothing line with Djibril Cisse, which will be called Le M.O.B and stands for ‘Members Of Bravado’. We’ll start out with around fifty menswear pieces, which will hopefully be available for sale in the spring season. But it all starts with the music before anything, before I start hitting up the red carpets and all that crap (laughs).
Mr Mitchell’s new single, 'On The Rooftop', will be released on March 25.
Stay up to date with Mr Mitchell on Twitter - www.twitter.com/MrMitchell
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)