24 October 2012 (released)
24 October 2012
Making it in the world of music is no mean feat. But it's especially hard to develop your own identity and sound when you've been part of one of the most successful award-winning UK urban acts, N-Dubz.
Richard Rawson, better known as Fazer, was 12 years old when he first joined the Camden born hip hop trio renowned for hits such as: I Need You, I Swear and Strong Again.
The group clocked an impressive 12 years together during which they were awarded MOBO Awards, a Brit award and and Urban Music Award, before cousins Tulisa Contostavlos and Dappy announced they were taking a two year break so they could each pursue solo careers. Dappy was first to release his solo single, No Regrets last September and Tulisa claimed the UK number one spot with Young in May. It was only a matter of time before Fazer unleashed his solo talent, which took the form of Killer, his debut single released the end of August this year.
Music News' Victoria Dillingham caught up with Fazer ahead of the eagerly anticipated N-Dubz reform (in 2013) to talk about his own sound and his long awaitied debut single, Killer.
MN: Firstly congratulations on the release of your debut solo single ‘Killer’. How would you describe your new solo sound?
Fazer: Thank you, I appreciate it. I’d describe my new solo sound as very individual, unique and versatile.
MN: How does your new single and musical direction differ (if at all) to your previous work?
Fazer: I don’t have to stick to a formulated sound in a sense. I can re-invent myself on every record and that’s what I intend to do with the album.
MN: The new single and the accompanying video in which you don a straight jacket in an ex-military mental asylum has received lots of airplay. What’s the song about and where did the idea for the video come from?
Fazer: The song is about male or female heartbreaks, by breaking hearts you become a love killer. The visual side of killer was a more artistic approach filmed by fashion directors and not the usual urban suspects. The location was because I wanted somewhere with a padded cell and eerie hallways to get the colour for the record. I know it sounds freaky but I hear music in colours.
MN: Where did you shoot the video and how long did it take?
Fazer: We shot the video in Portsmouth, it was a 24 hour shoot. By the end of the night I stunk, my nails were black and I was looking forward to my bed. I had a black eye and a three hour drive ahead of me, but all in all the day was lovely. It was a great experience.
MN: Few musicians are lucky enough to have enjoyed the undisputed success you have as part of N-Dubz. How has that level of fame and success impacted on your expectations as a solo artist?
Fazer: Coming out of N Dubz, there wasn’t really any expectation for Fazer so I could have released anything and the fan-base still would have said ‘that’s not what I would have expected from Fazer’. It’s nice having no expectations. In terms of success I’m going to pick up from where I left off with N-Dubz and make it bigger and more international.
MN: You were just 12 years old when you joined N-Dubz. How have the last 13 years impacted you as a musician and shaped the direction you now want to take?
Fazer: The last 13 years have been a learning experience. I really understand music and how it works now. I’ve been learning my art the whole time, asking questions and perfecting my trade and I’m confident to say I’ve got it to a place where it’s ready for the world. It’s all the experience that’s shaped me as a musician.
MN: What have you missed most about not being a part of N-Dubz?
Fazer: Performing. And flying planes with Dappy lol. Being on the stage now is completely different to how it was before, but I do enjoy it just as much.
MN: What do you enjoy most about being a solo artist?
Fazer: Just really converting people to what I’m about as a musician and an artist and really respecting my ethic and what I bring to the music industry.
MN: If there was any one artist (dead or alive) that you'd most like to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Fazer: Dead: Bernie Mac, on a comedy sketch. It’s random but true. And alive even though it’s cliché, Adele, because she’s mad talented.
MN: When you’re not writing or producing, how do you like to unwind?
Fazer: By writing and producing. When I’m upset I like to write songs, when I’m happy I like to write songs. When I’m bored I like to write songs. No matter what mood I’m in I like writing. I have a hobby, I’m a bit of a speed junkie, and cause I can’t take it out on the London roads I go to Silverstone, where I’m legally allowed to drive fast.
MN: What can former N-Dubz fans expect from your new album?
Fazer: Fazer. Just Fazer. There’s a lot of different genres and sounds on there but everything on there is just what represents me and I’m looking forward to letting N Dubz fans know me as an individual.