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Keakie Exclusive: Meet Not3s - The Man Behind The Mystery

We caught up exclusively with Not3s to discuss his background and his growth as an artist.

10th Feb 2017

Credit: Serge Malange

His track 'Addison Lee' has been played and remixed countless times in the past months. We sat down with the man behind the image Not3s, and spoke about his progression as an artist and his upcoming EP. Notorious for his desire to keep his real name a mystery, we spoke about his music, Tory Lanez and the New-New generation.

Listen to Addison Lee here:

So, how did you get into music?

Well, I grew up in Hackney and I’d have to say that I’ve had a passion for music since birth. My parents brought me up in an environment surrounded by music. My Dad was very deep into music, and he didn’t live with me. Music gave us a chance to be around each other and bond, and that made me more motivated about it. Stories were always told when music was around, and that’s how I see music. It’s about a story. Even as funny as Addison Lee might sound for example, it’s still about a story.

What were your parents listening to?

Man, my parents were listening to the likes of DMX, Aaliyah, Ashanti and Ja Rule. At the same time though, they were also listening to people like Stevie Wonder and the Isley Brothers, so it was a big weird mixture.

It seems like a lot of people were influenced by that 90’s / 00 sound, and they’re reinventing it.

Yeah you’ll hear those influences a lot. Not necessarily in my music, but in our generation. I call it the new-new gen. There’s the New Gen, who Caroline from XL is putting up so well right now, but there’s a newer gen than that; that’s how I see it.

Who’s leading that New-New Gen?

Man, people like J Hus and Kojo Funds. There are a lot of people in different genres. Even AJ Tracey. People don’t really know that he’s been around for a minute, but he’s completely twisted Grime and Drill into the same thing and it just makes so much sense. People like him have really invented a new sound. To get the exposure he’s gotten recently and the way he’s gone about it is incredible. There’s just different people like that in different lanes, which makes it sick. It should be a great 10 years at least.

I agree, it feels like the UK scene has really found its voice, and in some senses the rest of the game is trying to catch up

Yeah, even in what I’m doing or Hus is doing or Kojo is doing; the fact that we are capable of taking an Afro-caribbean beat and make it sound English is a strong mixture. It just works, and now we have a sound that Americans might want to use or might want to jump on. So in that sense the whole game has just switched up. That’s why we see collaborations between Drake and Dave. There’s a real madness happening right now due to the fact that we’ve got something that they want. It’s quite sick.

You said it would be a great 10 years, do you think we’ll have timeless music like before?

It’s mad you know. Someone tweeted me the other day. He’s a writer for the MOBOs, and said something like “I’ll probably be playing Addison Lee in 10 years time. For someone to say that means a lot to me. Tunes like Sneakbo’s “Top Button” or Drakes’ “Over” can still get played to this day. That’s what I really love in music man - the capability of hearing a sound is just beautiful.

Who right now is inspiring you and how has it influenced your music?

Tory Lanez is probably one of my biggest inspirations. Ed Sheeran is amazing too, he’s the reason why I’m learning how to play the guitar right now. J Hus is sick. The way he does things is just sick.

Do you think Tory could come for Drake’s throne?

I personally think it could be done. Tory has a certain persona. He’s got this kind of “I’m cocky and I don’t care what you think” persona. The fact that he doesn’t care and shows that he is who he is actually makes me like him even more. I don’t really like cocky or self-centred people, but the fact that he’s capable of showing you that he’s gone through blood, sweat and tears to be here - I have to respect that. The way he performs is completely immense. If you watch me perform, you’ll see traits of his performance in there.

It’s a rockstar status, and I feel like a rockstar.

As for whether he’ll take Drake, I think age difference is a big thing. In football terms, Cristiano Ronaldo is 32. He’s only got a few more years in the game. But you have a young kid like Rashford who’s got plenty of years. There’s a possibility that he could be the world’s best. So in a similar way I could see how Tory can be the world’s best after Drake.

Addison Lee is the big track right now. What’s the story behind it?

Well, there was a girl I was seeing at the time. That was her way of transporting me. I was taking Addison Lee everywhere. The first time I thought about the track, I didn’t even make it. One thing about me is that once I hear an instrumental, within the first 20 seconds I’m capable of coming up with a chorus or a melody for a chorus. That’s been happening since God knows when. So when I was in the studio, and we were running through beats, and I was singing through different choruses, when I heard that specific beat I started singing that chorus straight away. At first everyone was laughing and saying “that’s not serious, it’s a joke etc.”. I didn’t record it on that day.

We left it.

Weeks later we came back and there was a similar instrumental because the initial instrumental had been sold - we heard it a second time and straight away I started singing the same chorus. I don’t write down my lyrics, so the fact that I was capable after so long to easily remember the same chorus was really telling for me. It made me realise “okay, this is actually mad catchy, let me just lay it down as a joke and see what happens”. That’s how I make most of my music - it’s all inspired out of fun, banter, laughs and the story I want to tell. I don’t do the whole fake thing.

Very cool, so what have you got coming up?

I’m going into the studio soon and I’ve got a couple features coming out with different artists soon. Then I’ll drop a couple more singles, I just want to make sure that they’re completely right and that the video looks sick. I want my videos to be a signature trait. So yeah, I’ve got a couple tunes coming out and then I’ll drop my EP. From there we’ll just see what happens.

We have the first of those songs, 'Naughty' here:

Tell us more about the EP?

So the EP will be called 3 UP, and I’m looking to drop it within February. It will be through every stream, and I’d want it to be an EP where it has videos to every single song - like how Beyonce did her album. Until then, I’ll be performing at events around the country. I’m trying not to perform in London until my headline show, but when it comes it’s going to be truly special.

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