Archives for posts with tag: music

So, my old friends. It’s been a little while. The past few weeks I have been lucky enough to receive the support of the BBC. I’m truly grateful that a prestigious organisation has taken interest in my work. Here’s some of what’s been going on:

Interview on Yasser’s show:

Cynikal_BBC_Asian_Network Cynikal_Yasser

Listen back:

Watch the video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016wfz5

Live Lounge: 

Cynikal_Live_Lounge Cynikal_BBC_Live_Lounge

Maida Vale (BBC Introducing Masterclass)

Cynikal_BBC_Maida_Vale

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It’s been 6 months since my debut mixtape ‘Breakfast’ dropped. Just want to say a big thank you to EVERYONE who has downloaded, blogged, published and supported.

We managed to garner features from some of the biggest publications, radio and TV stations in the country, something I am extremely grateful for.

But in all honesty, the key thing was being able to deliver an honest snapshot of my thoughts and feelings in recent times, and to have people appreciate it.

Thank you for listening. On to the next one!

 

Initially, my family were not supportive of my musical endeavours. I had to win their respect, and in due time they allowed me to pursue something I was clearly so passionate about.

Two years ago (November 2010), I proudly graduated from Leeds College of Music with first class Honours in BA Music Production. The University invited me to perform at the graduation ceremony, as I was joined on stage by my compadres, The Street Orchestra.

As far as Hip Hop goes, I don’t know if this is something a rapper has done before, but regardless, this achievement will always stand tall in my memory, as that day, I defied whatever stereotype there is of a Hip Hop artist, and that is something I will continue to do throughout my career.

My Olympic Pass

“I have my artist pass for the Olympics – It’s somewhat surreal, especially because I was born in East Ham, and I grew up just down the road in Ilford. The old East End heritage played a massive role in sculpting the capital’s history, but that era has gone and a new one has arrived. I just didn’t think it would be in my lifetime.”

In the Zone

Being back at One Mic for what must be the third or fourth time was such a great experience, especially as two of my friends (Skillit and Khalaeliah) were also on the bill. The venue, Queen of Hoxton, is always an awesome place to play – the acoustics suit my flavour and the sound-man always manages to strike that delicate balance between the thumping bass of my percussionist and the clarity of my vocals – he’s done a fair few gigs of mine now.

On the night, I performed the track ‘Jim Beam’, taken off my ‘Breakfast’ mixtape for the first time. That was probably the highlight of my set, because I got to play the character I created in the song, and of course bring him to life.

Can’t stress how much fun it was, and how your receptiveness as an audience gave me another precious memory to cherish.

Thank you, and catch you on August 3rd at the next one. My website has all my upcoming performances.

One Mic

 

 

‘Slurp’

Sat in Starbucks, Covent Garden, finishing what’s left of my Coffee Frap on this late sunny afternoon in London and I think to myself – I’m very fortunate. It’s been little over a month since I dropped my ‘Breakfast‘ mixtape, and in that time I’ve received an overwhelming sense of support from old friends, and new friends alike. I’m not the kind of person to expect anything in life, and nor do I take things for granted, so I guess the purpose of this entry is to say thank you to everybody who has given me a a great sense of motivation to A) continue, and B) do better.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to give a big thanks to all the media that are covering the tape, without you my music wouldn’t be heard by the new listenership it’s beginning to attract.

Much love,

Cynikal


The Marking of a New Chapter

It’s been a year of many contrasting tales; quite easily both the best and worst year of my life combined into one. But what I can take from this remarkable 365-day-experience is knowledge – how to deal with things better (good and bad), the importance of listening, turning the ideology of desire into a tangible force (thank you Alya), and possibly the most crucial – realising the necessity of instinct.

We all have those moments when we are presented with a decision that could go either one way or another – be it with your education, your family, your partner or your career. Well, I’ve learned the best option, 100% of the time, is to go with your gut feeling. Sometimes it is too easy to over-think a situation, and then in turn undertake the completely wrong plan of action. Your gut is never wrong. Before language, thought processes and opportunity became so expansive, our furthest ancestors, primitive beings, had nothing but their instinct and basic knowledge to go with when for example hunting. Do not forget, we are merely more advanced versions of the same species, we all have this supernatural power within us. The key is to use it.

And so on that note, enjoy your last day of 2011 – and I hope you and I both make 2012 a year where our decisions enable us to fulfil our goals.

Happy New Year.

Here’s a brand new track which I recorded recently. It’s a refix of J Cole’s Losing My Balance, taken from his The Warm Up mixtape. The track (in particular the music) really resonated with me on a deep level, so I felt to discuss some issues that I was going through at the time. I guess you could say it’s a very personal song, and I wanted to encapsulate that in the recording phase, so I ensured that the process was continuous from beginning to end – literally – if you listen closely you can even tell small differences between the choruses. I also wanted to incorporate a slightly different feel to J Cole’s version for the hook, so I worked out a singing part, as well as a couple of harmonies and brought in a friend of mine (Theo Llewelyn) to lay them down in some sort of hybrid Caribbean/Portuguese type accent. I shot a video to this a couple of days ago which should be online very soon! In the mean time, listen here:

http://hulkshare.com/u80h8gy22tiv
If you’d like to download the track, you can get it from: http://hulkshare.com/u80h8gy22tiv 

I’ve had this in the locker for a little while now. Written when Lil Wayne’s anthem was still fresh on the radar in 2008, this version is something I never got round to recording. However, having tracked it last week, here it is:

Over the years I’ve listened to and absorbed so many different brands of music, either as single tracks, mixtapes or albums. The challenge of making an album which works as a uniform force throughout is huge, and there aren’t too many albums that I’ve heard that can capture my attention through the entire journey. I decided to compile a list of ten of these that are the most influential in forming the person I am today.

Of course, I’ve left out some classic albums, artists/producers I deeply admire, and genres which are far more diverse than those stated here, but I wanted to be true to myself, take a step back and really analyse what was more than just music, more than just art, and was in fact a catalyst to my formative creative process. Not all of them fit my taste palette any more, or give me the same buzz as when I was in that state of mind, but they are nevertheless the soundtrack to my first few years of being an active musician. So without further ado:

1. 2Pac – R U Still Down?
2. Craig David – Born To Do It
 3. D’Angelo – Voodoo
 4. Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP
 5. Eminem – The Eminem Show
 6. Kev Brown Mixtape
7. Lloyd – Lessons In Love
8. Marques Houston – MH
9. Michael Jackson – Thriller
10. R. Kelly – TP-2.com

* In alphabetical order

A few which I believe deserve an honourable mention as they narrowly missed out include Common’s “Be”, Kanye West’s “College Dropout”, Kevin Mark Trail’s “Sketches”, Mario’s “Turning Point” and  Ryan Leslie’s “Transition”.

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