Q. Tell us about Chiu. Where are you from and what inspired you to become an artist?
I was born and bred in North West London. My passion for music has been with me since I was a kid. I didn’t really think of being an artist initially…I saw it as a release to express my (generally!) negative emotions and past experiences. When I saw people could relate to what I rapped about I guess, that was strong motivator to pursue music.
Q. You come across as a conscious rapper, which rappers would you say inspire your style of rapping/performing?
I wouldn’t say everything I write is conscious (I came from The Jump Off!) but that has definitely caught peoples’ attention. I liked different rappers for different moods, energy and bars I could relate/fantasize to… Kool G Rap for his story raps, Big L for his swag and delivery, Common and De La Soul for their honesty and British rappers- Supa T (Sundragon), Chester n Jehst.
Q. As well as a rapper, you also are a comedian. Comedy is a good way of addressing serious issues in a light hearted manner, is this something you hope to do?
I’d say I’m more of a joker than a comedian! But yeah, humour is how I end up dealing with the crap that can come your way in life. I’m glad people can laugh at my bars, I don’t take myself that seriously.
Q. In America, there is a lot of talk about the Hip-Hop scene changing, a lot of people see it as the South are rising while the East rappers are getting worse. Is there anything similar in the UK? Is there a certain area taking over or are the UK catching the US hip-hop scene?
This may sound like a cop-out but I’m honestly not bothered where artists are from. If I like their music, I like their music! I’d say that the Yanks are still ahead of us but the Brits definitely have more opportunities to be seen as hip hop artists.
Q. You are the winner of the ‘Streets Of Peace 2013’. What was it like supporting Akala?
It was an immense experience! I didn’t think I’d get that far in the artist competition let alone win it! And it was an amazing opportunity to support such a respected and credible artist like Akala.
Q. Tell us about your latest track “Vibe Away” ILuvLive Acoustic?
Vibe Away is a track which was produced by my boy, Jimmy Logic. The vid we shot for iluvlive was an acoustic version of it but wait til you hear the original beat- Jimmy killed it! It’s for a chance to perform on an, ‘iluvlive’ stage which would be wicked if we do! The song is to remind me not to stress so much with what’s going on in my life. Certain things are just out of hands and I need to let go…
Q. What’s in store for you? EP? Live performances? Features?
I’ve got a 5–6 track coming out in April, called, ‘Chiu’s Day’. This is a labour of pained love! It feels like it hastaken ages to put together but I can finally seeing it happen! It’s produced by Jimmy Logic with a couple tracks from Amour and featuring Tom Kane and Stubborn. Show-wise, I’m co-running a night with Jimmy Logic, ‘Noteworthy Open Mic’, Pub On The Park, Hackney every weds. We normally get involved at the end for a lil impromptu jam! More shows with Jimmy and I will be happening when we’re promoting our ep.
Q. Which 5 artist dead or alive would you love to work with? And why?
Top of my head, Big Daddy Kane, James Brown, Lynn Collins, Nina Simone and Donald Byrd. They were all massive influences in my life.
Q. How important is it for you to give back to your community? What projects are you working on outside of music?
It’s not a question of giving back for me it’s being able to help others if you’re in a position to do so. I would love to get back to youth work when I’ve got my music out. My own path has had me focussing on my own growth and development to better help others in the future…I hope!
Q. What does 2014 look like for Chiu?
Honestly, I feel 2014 will be a good year for me. And it’s rare I’m this positive about the unknown! I guess I’m just ready for the ups and downs I may face. It’s started off well and if everything falls into place at the right time then I predict that I’ll have my own Lear jet by September!
For more info on Chiu click here.