Exclusive Interview: Fekky – “I’ve finally found myself again”
Fekky drops a lot of gems in this interview, laying out the blueprint for success in the music industry
Bu bu bang bang bang! – Fekky AKA Billi Sauce is back in full effect!
In his own words: “You don’t put in, you’re not going get out” and put in is exactly what Fekky has done for the last decade, putting out an untold amount of bangers with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Skepta and Giggs.
But after going on a legendary five year run culminating in him releasing his debut album, El Clasico, Fekky took some time out to destress from all the labour of the music industry, such as trying to adapt his music to fit with what his former label wanted. In that period he spent time with his family, recharged by meditating and also broke bread with a couple millionaires, getting their perspective on life, as well as soaking in the nourishing gems they had on offer. After the year of getting himself right, he got back in the studio and started to record his forthcoming project, 4LIFE, which should be out later this year.
So on a beautiful autumn day, I caught up with Fekky on The Curtain hotel’s balcony to chat about his upcoming mixtape and discuss where he’s looking to take things in this next stage of his career.
Your most recent single I was feeling is ‘No Apologies’ with Nafe Smallz.
I put it out to test the waters and people like it a lot.
With that one, you went with a different sound, so what was the feedback like from the track?
It was weird, because you know with me, I always take breaks with my music, so when I came back I wanted to drop the Nafe Smallz single first. I wanted to see how people would react to it. I always make them types of songs, but I just never put them out before. When I was with my label, they used to push me to put out more of the ‘Still Sittin’ Here’ type of tunes and it always felt to me, like I was cutting my self short. As an artist, I’ve done well and I wouldn’t change anything, but I’m a lot more talented than people think and I’m a lot more smarter than people give me credit for. But in terms of my roll out, I was going to put out ‘All The Smoke’ after, But then I had little disagreement with Tory Lanez and thought let me put out ‘All The Smoke’ first, then go with ‘No Apologies’ and I like the way people have received it.
With ‘All The Smoke’ I could hear the vitriol in your delivery.
Yeah fam, you understand the ting. As I said, I was going to put that one out after, but then I got into that disagreement and I just thought “you know what, let me just put out ‘All The Smoke'”, because it matched my mood at the time.
What was the dispute with Torey Lanez over?
He shot a video with a friend of mine and I didn’t like the way he dealt with it. I feel like a lot of the time when American rappers come over here, unless they respect you, they kind of like to walk all over you. I’ve been on tour with a lot of Americans and we’ve literally had to run up on them and let them know “you’re in the city, what’s going on?”, not in a bad way, but just to establish some sort of relationship.
Over the years, from the beginning of your career you’ve collaborated with a lot of big artists – from Dizzee Rascal, to Skepta, to Giggs – what do you think they saw in you before you even took off?
I think people do songs with me for different reasons. Someone like Skepta, I feel like he’s very savvy when it comes to knowing what’s going on at ground zero and in terms of the rest of the artists I know a lot of them from Napa (Ayia Napa) days, when I wasn’t rapping and was doing other stuff. So it’s like these guys know that I was very authentic when I came in the game. They know that, what I say, I mean. I feel like in the music industry that’s why people like us can always come in and find a place, because there’s not a lot of people like us. A lot of the rapper that are out, if they weren’t rapping, then they wouldn’t be nothing compared to what they are now. I’m just being honest. I was doing it before rap, in terms of having the best cars and everything. I was already known all over London before the music and I feel like that’s what gave me the training to be able to understand the music scene. So someone like Skepta, when he’s sees something authentic and the streets are messing with it, he’s like “let’s go”.
Dizzee is a weird one because, with the song ‘Sittin’ Here’, Dizzee’s version is from back in the day, so I wanted to show some respect and include him in the video. That was it, doing a song with him weren’t even on my mind. I didn’t even think he would do the remix, I just thought if I can get him sitting with me in the car, that would be calm. But what’s funny is, the week before I done that song, he followed me on social media. It’s like everything was just lining up for him and I to collab. So I thought, let me just message him the song and see what he does. So I sent it and he just done it. It’s crazy, because he said no at first; them times there he was arguing with the BBC, I think him and them had a fallout, so he had a lot going on. But then a week later I just opened my email and it was like ‘Merry Christmas’ from him. So I was like, “yeah let’s get it”.
After your album El Classico did you take a break from music before this current run?
It was just like, you come in the game. Remember I blew out of no where. I’m going from hotel to hotel. Show to show. I’m traveling across the country. I’m battering it. I’m not eating properly. I’m drinking every night. I’m not training. Remember I’ve been doing it from before that as well, so after a certain amount of time and with a lot of other pressures on my back, I just needed to reset and get back focused on my physical health. I got kids as well and when I was on the road, I was still around them, but I was always so busy I didn’t get to be around them as much as I wanted to, so to spend a year around them recently and really get to know them and teach them was great. Then I was in a public relationship as well, which went left.
But it’s these trials and tribulations that created my upcoming project 4LIFE, because if I’m being honest, I was just gonna knock this music thing on its head. I was going to just focus on my business ventures outside of music, get rich and just live. But then one day I was recording and I done a freestyle, which was six minutes long and I got everything that I wanted to say off my chest. Then I said to myself, you know what, I’m in this ting 4 life and that’s when my label F Music came about. This is bigger than me: I want to be the next P Diddy or the next Birdman in terms of putting man on.
Stuff I was doing on my break from music, was investing in bitcoin, so that took my interest away from music for some time. But again I was like, “nah I’m in this music ting 4 life” and my project sounds nuts, which I believe is because I’ve finally found myself again.
Do you feel like you’re back in your bag now? – because when you first broke out you had that fire in you with songs like ‘Ring Ring Trap’.
A million per cent. No disrespect to my past catalogue, but with songs like ‘Sittin’ Here’, I’ll put them out like its nothing and get the bag, cool. But there’s a space where the masses missed out on Fekky, where I was very honest. When I speak, I’m very honest with what I say and I feel like a lot of people missed that wave of mine. If you look at songs like, ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Make It Out’, I was doing that style from long time. With ‘Make It Out’, I was using auto-tune before anyone in the U.K. was using it and these are songs which had more of the real me in them. But I kind of left that alone and followed a formula, and I just don’t believe that anyone who follows a formula will last. You have to be organic. That’s what kept me being who I am now.
I feel like another big juncture in your career is when you did the first ‘Fire In The Booth’, because a lot of people were just used to the trap stuff from you, but on that freestyle you showed that you could really rap.
Yeah, 100 per cent and that’s the thing, its like I said to you before – I’m a business man first. So when I came into the rap game, I looked at it like a business. I thought to myself, “know body is doing this style of music”. I remember listening to ‘Hard In Da Paint’ by Waka Flocka Flame and thinking, “none of us do that” and that’s where you get ‘Bu Bu Bang Bang Bang’ from. So that’s the void I took up and I designed my music to be that way. But I could easily do the lyrical rap at the same time as well. I just decided to do the trap style. With my friends, they knew that I could rap for real from long time, the wider public just got to take it in with that ‘Fire In The Booth’.
If you could go back to that time, when you were in the streets and just starting out in music, what advice would you give yourself?
Know yourself. Know your business; know Fekky and understand the difference between the streets and the music game.
When do you think you got to that point where you started living for your own approval rather than other people’s?
Over the last year and a half. Like I told you, I went through the break from social media and all of that and I started realising that – “know one cares”. People don’t care about you how you think they do. Your family and fans care about you, so really and truly those are the people you have to focus your energy on.
In terms of the project, 4LIFE, when are you looking to drop it?
So we’re aiming for the end of the year/top of 2020. To be honest, it’s finished, but there’s just a few things that I’ve come away with this week that’ll add to the project. I’m just waiting for that to be sorted at the moment, but once that’s done, we’re good to go.
By the end of this year, what are your main goals?
My main one is to get this project out, then drop another video before that and I’ve written a couple freestyles that I want to put out over the next few months.
Interview by Denzil Bell