HE’S TOURED with N-Dubz star Dappy and UK singer Conor Maynard, sold-out his first one-man show in north London’s The Garage, but the mother of UK rapper PW wants nothing more than her son to go back to education.
“I heard that she was telling everyone at The Garage that she wants me to go back to university,” the 20-year-old laughs coyly.
“She hasn’t said anything to me yet though,” he adds.
But despite longing for her son to return to the books, PW admits that she has been nothing more that “supportive,” following his decision to put his studies (a degree in criminology) aside to pursue music.
“When I asked my mum what she thought about me taking a gap year and potentially doing music for a year she said, ‘I will support you in any decision’ and in that gap year, I got a whole lot done.”
From Paris to New York, the young rapper’s music has taken him all over the world and seen his breakout single Not Thinking About You and follow-up tracks Single and On My Way playlisted on popular TV music outlet, Channel AKA and notching up plays on BBC 1xtra and Choice FM, firmly cementing his place on the UK music scene.
“The last 12 months have been very, very good,” he says. “We’ve had tours with Dappy, Conor Maynard and [US boyband] Mindless Behaviour and we’ve had releases. I’ve been travelling a lot.
I went to New York, Copenhagen and done a lot of soul searching. I think travelling helps with my writing and with my music. Going out there and seeing what other people listen to, seeing other cultures, architecture and fashion, really enhances my knowledge.”
Despite the roar of thousands of fans at the aforementioned arena concerts, PW, real name Akheim Allen, says his highlight, despite a smaller number of fans “has got to be my first headline show.”
“That has beaten all the tours,” he says.
“Nothing was bigger than that for me. It wasn’t the biggest venue, but people came to see me. All these people came out to see me and they were singing my songs. I still can’t get over that right now. I’m ready to get back on the stage.”
PW, who hails from Edmonton, north London, started emceeing at 14 in a bike shed with friends and would often record his music at a family friend’s studio after school or at the weekends.
“It was good because I wasn’t on the streets, I wasn’t doing anything bad. [Our family friend] would say, ‘I’d rather you be here and around me, than on the streets getting involved in foolishness.’ From there I started taking music seriously.”
His first track, W.I.N.N.E.R, earned the rapper 100 views on YouTube in the days following its posting, but this sobering number didn’t deter the young musician.
“I was like ‘Yay!’” He lets out a celebratory laugh. “It eventually got more hits, but it was a start. I then met up with Garbz, who is my label manager [and UK producer] right now and I played another one of my tracks called Sensible. It was a track that I had done with three of my friends, and he was blown away.”
He released debut mixtape NKOTB to rave reviews and critical acclaim. Later this year PW will release his pre-album, From London With Love, which he hopes will inspire and mobilise a generation of young music fans.
“[Over the years] my sound has matured. I always try and put positive messages in my music. If you listen to records like On My Way, I’m always saying something that is inspiring or motivating. The tongue is strong, so I have to think about what I’m saying. I have a little brother and cousins – I have all these kids listening to my music. What are they getting from it?”
And that, he says, is what makes him different from other rappers out there.
“I’m trying to bring emotion back to music, back to the urban scene.”
Cue his latest release, the love-themed EP, From P With Love.
The “single” lothario said: “It was Valentine’s Day and I didn’t have a Valentine so I came up with this concept. It’s a cohesive body of work that goes from when you meet a girl, to being a relationship, to ultimately breaking up. I’m older now, I’ve gone through a lot of things. Right now I’m just constructing my sound.”
And if we talk in five years, would he have accomplished all he set out to do?
“Of course,” he laughs.
“I would have just sold out my first arena tour, my album would’ve gone platinum, I’d have a few awards, including a BRIT. That’s what I’m striving for. I will get it, I’m not going to say hopefully, hopefully means I have doubts, but I will because I believe in myself and I know I can do it.”
And how about revisiting education, once his musical ambitions are fulfilled, of course – for mum? He laughs.
“I talk about it everyday with my friends. A lot of my friends are graduating and I feel kind of left out, but everyone has got their different paths and I’m happy in the direction I’m going in”
From P With Love is out now.The single Here Is With You is released on April 29. Follow @PW_Artist on Twitter or visit www.thisispw.com for more information