Cutting his own unique path through UK Rap and Grime, Chiedu Oraka continues to make waves and turn heads with a steadily growing body of solo work. Long known as a leading figure in the Northern grime scene, ‘The Black Yorkshireman’ is defying genres with his blend of raw honesty and lyrical intensity.
Since emerging onto the scene from his native city of Hull, Chiedu is undoubtedly one of the most exciting voices in grime and UK rap. A string of straight up classics include ‘Flex’, ‘Men Behaving Badly’ and the hit single ‘Darcy’, which sits in the top 10 longest tracks to feature on the Grime Shutdown playlist, holding its own for over 300 days running.
Who inspired you to make music?
I would say my main inspiration comes from the area I grew up in, which is a place called North Hull Estate. My sister and my mum have had a big influence on me also. They listened to some amazing music when I was growing up so I think their taste has helped me carve out my sound.
What is your new EP Council Estate Confidence about?
It’s more than a title it’s an energy. This project has everything from club bangers to deep-rooted storytelling. It was important to give my supporters a body of work that describes the journey of Chiedu Oraka in and outside of the music industry. There’s no blueprint around here, you can’t pigeon hole my artistry, so if you’re a fan of music that has an all or nothing approach, then this EP is for you.
If you had to pick a favourite track from the EP, which would it be and why?
Dancing in the Moonlight is my number one. I was sat in the studio with my producers (Blem Production and Deezkid) reminiscing on music from back in the day and found ourselves bopping to some G-Unit. We wanted to create that nostalgia and bring it to current life… I think we did a pretty good job.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the recent release?
I would say narrowing down the songs to fit the project. I had so much music that could have been on this project but I wanted to get the balance right and that was quite a difficult task.
Would you have any advice for would-be artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Find yourself a group of people that you really trust to give feedback on your releases. Music is full of opinions so it is important you trust your gut and a very select few.
There will always be the next milestone you want to hit so try enjoy the process and the wins along the way.
And finally, labels aren’t everything. If you start to get label interest, remember you’re the talent and you need a good return on investment. Don’t let the excitement of these conversations and the big names being thrown at you get you stuck in a bad deal.
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
To enjoy the process more and to give myself a pat on the back once in a while.
Do you have any lucky items, objects or traditions?
I wouldn’t say I have any lucky items or objects but traditionally before any performance I have a routine. I like to start the day with a run and I never drink before I perform.
Do you have any superstitions?
No not really
If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?
Are you happy?
If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?
Never conform to social pressures. Do whatever it is that makes you happy. Always test your self because doing stuff outside your comfort zone makes you a stronger person.