Interview: Richard “Fazer” Rawson
TWU: You’re back! We heard the premiere of your brand new single, “I Woke Up”, on (Charlie Sloth’s show on BBC Radio) 1Xtra - What is the inspiration behind the track?
Fazer: It’s just the way I live my life. Wake up, get to it, if you know what I mean. Obviously it’s an inspiring record and it goes to show that no matter where you come from or what walk of life, through your hard work and ethic you can get to the levels you want to get to.
TWU: Of course! And you mention the lessons you’ve learnt along the way, do you think these are important to portray? What can people learn from them?
Fazer: 100% - Listen to my lyrics and stuff like that because i’m always going to put out a little message here and there. It might be one line but it’s for the listener to take onboard and use it in their own lifestyle.
TWU: One of the most impressive things about you, both now and in the N-Dubz days, is that you appeal to both younger fans alongside people of a similar age to you, who have experienced similar life situations. So, what’s your one golden piece of advice to younger fans or artists who want to achieve something similar to you?
Fazer: Just work. Work. Literally, hands on experience in the studio, learn your vocal and then learn how to record in the studio. Just rapping in the local council estate with your mates, to rapping in the booth are two completely different processes. Stay in the studio as much as you can, record as many songs as possible and learn your vocal.
TWU: So, whilst in N-Dubz, not only did you provide the rap verses for some huge tracks, you also wrote the lyrics and produced the material. Tell us a little more about your journey since then and also your production company, STL.
Fazer: It’s been fantastic - We’ve been working a lot and we’ve signed a few artists as well. With the production company we’ve worked with some of the biggest players in the world and it’s been great. It has been a great experience and I’ve documented every single step of it. Within a few weeks time I’ll stop dropping the webisodes and people can see what’s been going on in the life of Fazer.
TWU: So Fazer’s vlogging side is coming out soon…
Fazer: Haha something like that… It’s more of a spin-off to our TV show “Being… N-Dubz” but within webisodes. We set the benchmark for reality TV back then, there were no TOWIE’s or Geordie Shore’s and everything came after us.
TWU: Over the years, you’ve written and produced tracks for N-Dubz, solo material for yourself and music for other artists. If you had to choose just ONE track as your favourite, which would it be and why?
Fazer: My favourite track? That’s the hardest question you could ever ask me. Probably “Girls” whilst in N-Dubz. That’s a hard one.
TWU: The hype over the UK urban scene has increased across the globe recently - Obviously with Drake including homegrown talent such as Skepta and Giggs on his most recent album. Who is on your “dream collab-list” for your next track and why?
Fazer: Someone who can rap properly. I’d like to have someone like J Cole, just to show people who may not know my capabilities as a rapper or lyricist - So I’d have to get somebody who is on psr with myself, lyrically. So when I think about Wretch 32, J Cole, Avelino and artists like that, there is more content to “ring ring trap trap”...
TWU: Alongside others, we feel N-Dubz were very much the “pioneers” of the urban/grime music scene and you really brought it to the forefront and allowed it to finally be accepted in the “mainstream” charts. A new wave of urban artists have come through, especially with Stormzy’s domination of the charts recently - Which new artists are you keeping an eye on at the moment?
TWU: Picture this - You’re placed in a boxing ring against another artist and each given a microphone - Which artist (of any genre - dead or alive) would you like to take on in a music battle and why?
Fazer: I don’t know, that’s a mad one. If you’re talking charisma I’d take on somebody like Lil Wayne… Just because of the charisma.
TWU: So finally, having just released the new track and music video, alongside balancing a busy family life - What’s next for you?
Fazer: Solo music is the main thing right now - It’s my main focus. I’ve been working on a body of music for the past 6-7 months now and I’ve got to a place where I’m happy with the product and material. It’s just a case of building that now and a real cult fanbase as myself as Fazer. I’ve put out music here and there, but that’s just because fans are demanding it - To keep them happy. Whereas this time round, this is the first time that everything is serious about putting out solo music and they’ll be coming one after the other. I know everybody has seen the first record and the main question in their head is, what’s next? Then what I do next is what’s going to set me up for the future.
TWU: Obviously you have the hardcore “N-Dublets” from a way back, do you feel like you have to convert them? Or have they been super loyal thoughout?
Fazer: A lot have them have been super super loyal but my thing is that I want to convert the new fans. The original fanbase are there but I want to create new fans and get people to understand my story, away from N-Dubz. I want people to understand the life Fazer lived before music, how he was brought up, what kind of household he lived in, what did his parents do for work, how did he make money, was he running the block - What was Fazer doing? I feel like right now, through my music, I really really have the chance to express that and let people know where I’ve come from and where I want to get to. That’s where I’m at right now.
Fazer’s new track, “I Woke Up” is available to download here.
Words: Emily Atkins
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan